Community choir performs in three concerts

Mid-Columbia Community Choir will offer three concerts this holiday season.

This local volunteer group of choral musicians kicks off the holiday concert series at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 at Riverside Community Church, Fourth and State streets, Hood River. Benefit Christmas concerts are also planned for Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at Riverside Community Church and Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. at Grace Baptist Church in White Salmon, Wash.

The concert, entitled “Hymns of Thanksgiving,” is a benefit concert for Give Them Wings Inc., a local nonprofit two-phase program that provides housing, work, education and wrap-around services for young men who are currently homeless and in need of support. They provide these services to young men between the ages of 18 and 23, who are from, or have ties to, the Columbia Gorge area.

Volunteer choir members have come from the communities up and down the Mid-Columbia region and have performed benefit concerts since 1989 when Bob Van Alstine of White Salmon, Washington formed the group. Van Alstine retired in 2001 and Perry Cole became the choral director in 2003.

The Mid-Columbia Community Choir will be joined by the Riverside Community Church Chancel Choir, and several instrumentalists from the Gorge will join the choirs during the program, including Dawn Rankin (flute) and Susan Tickner (pianist/organist) on “Homeward Bound,” an original arrangement by Mack Wilberg, music director for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Perry Cole, director of both groups, will lead the choir and congregation in hymns and anthems celebrating the harvest. Cole will be joined by Diana Beterbide, pianist for both groups.

The group will be performing “The Night Before Christmas,” arranged by Joel Lindsey and Twila LaBar, who bring the Christmas story to life through this stirring new musical.

Dynamically arranged by Dove-Award winning producer, J. Daniel Smith, this compelling re-telling of the events leading up to Christ’s coming combines a carefully crafted choir arrangement and simple narration for an inspiring Christmas musical presentation of hope.

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