Sinfonietta promises musical adventure

The final weekend of Blossom Festival will provide local and visiting families a special musical treat to enjoy.

On April 27 at 7 p.m. and April 29 at 2 p.m., the Columbia Gorge Sinfonietta will present a “family classics” concert, featuring familiar and easy-listening tunes geared to appeal to every age, performed at the Hood River Middle School auditorium.

Selections from popular films including “The Sound of Music,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Gladiator” will complement the more traditional classics, including Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture” and the first movement of Schubert’s “Symphony #8, Unfinished.”

“My favorite piece on the program is the Brahms. The music is like a roller coaster of contrasts and changes in tempo, color and rhythm,” said Mark Steighner, conductor for the Sinfonietta.

As an added bonus for the children in the audience, the Sinfonietta has invited the Mid Valley and Parkdale school recorder ensembles to play a “blues” piece, arranged by Steighner, along with the orchestra.

“Appreciating any kind of great art takes patience and developing some tools. Parents can help prepare their children by playing some of the music on the program for them before they come,” said Steighner.

“Great classical music — like great books, films, poetry and drama — speaks to the issues of what it means to be human, in a way that popular culture can’t,” said Steighner. “It’s the nature of popular culture to be consumed and forgotten.

“By contrast, the longing and melancholy in the melodies of Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ symphony are as full of beauty and sadness as they were two hundred years ago.”

These are the final Sinfonietta performances of the season. Two remaining Voci choir concerts, also presented by the Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association, will be offered for Mother’s Day, on May 13 and 14.

All CGOA concerts are free but donations of $10 per individual or family are appreciated at the door.

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