Musicians host benefit for moview in the park

March 3, 2012

Manhattan School of Music is a top-notch school training some of the world's leading musicians - and seems a long way off from Hood River.

That elite citadel of classical music, however, represents an unusual connection between two local women who discovered their shared alma mater quite by accident.

Meredith Holcomb, operatic soprano, and Karen Eddleman, concert pianist, both graduated from MSM without ever having met.

Now that they have discovered their shared Gorge residency, however, they are combining their considerable musical forces to offer a benefit concert in support of a local, beloved, community summer program.

Movies in the Park, a regular event series coordinated by the Hood River Community Education Program, requires considerable financial support to keep going every year. Although the program brings thousands together over the summer and offers great community entertainment to families free of charge, budget cuts threaten its future.

That is where the lucky meeting between Holcomb and Eddleman comes in.

At a recent yoga class facilitated by Holcomb, Eddleman noticed something particularly beautiful in Holcomb's voice as she sang along with her "singing bowl." Approaching her instructor after class, Eddleman asked Holcomb where she had been trained.

Surprised to be recognized as a trained singer, Holcomb realized she must be speaking to a trained musician as well. Since that day, Holcomb, who received her master's in opera and voice performance, and Eddleman, who received her master's in piano, both from MSM, realized they were being called to perform together.

Luckily for Hood River, on March 9 the pair will present a fundraising concert with net benefits going to Movies in the Park.

Beyond just offering support to the community education program, anyone who attends the event will be treated to world-class performances by both artists.

"To me, music is celebratory of the human spirit," said Holcomb. "When we work within our creative spheres, we encourage others to have access to their creative selves as well."

Like every good opera singer knows, everything comes down to the breath. Holcomb, who has lived in Hood River for about five years, has also pursued another form of breath awareness and now operates her own yoga studio and trains yoga practitioners around the world.

Eddleman, too, brings a broad worldview to her playing and a deeper philosophical perspective.

Following her master's degree and in a quest to rediscover a more vibrant "soul" within her own music, she journeyed to Argentina to play chamber music. Instead Eddleman found herself drawn to the fiery music of the tango.

Finding the spirit and musical freedom she was looking for after her classical training, Eddleman then immersed herself in the music and became a touring pianist with the orchestra of "Forever, Tango!" a Broadway-style dance musical featuring some of the best tango musicians in the world.

Eddleman acknowledges that fire and freedom still infuse her playing today.

Although their paths have each taken unusual turns, both women have extensive performance histories in renowned venues across Europe and the U.S. Both also hope that local audiences will share their love and passion for the pieces they perform here locally.

The 90-minute program for the evening will include arias from operas by Mozart, Rossini and Gounod and classic arts songs in four different languages.

The community can join the musical celebration and support Movies in the Park by attending the Holcomb-Eddleman "Classical Voice Recital" at Hood River Middle School auditorium at 6:30 p.m. March 9.

A special reception with the artists will be offered to donors of $25 or more per person immediately following the performance.

Performance-only tickets are available at the door or in advance by contacting Ross Holcomb at or 541-490-3269. Adults: $10; youth (18 and under): $5 and family tickets for $25.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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