Gorge musicians unite for jammin’ swing concert with Sinfonietta

On May 3 and 5, some of the Gorge’s most popular musicians are soon to be featured with the Columbia Gorge Sinfonietta.

“The Off Beat Swing Band” is made up of Ben Bonham, Rick Hulett, Victor Johnson, Char Mayer, Ron Ontiveros, Dennis Williams, Larry Wyatt, Tim Ortieb, and Kerry Williams — all of whom have been delighting local audiences for years.

Sinfonietta conductor and musical director Mark Steighner had the idea of bringing all these great musicians together and writing some backing arrangements for the orchestra. Ben Bonham then “cajoled and corralled” the musicians into rehearsals.

The group and orchestra will perform such standards as “Daphne,” “All Of Me,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and “After You’ve Gone.”

Also on the program is the world premiere of a new concerto for trombone, written by Steighner for soloist and orchestra member Hugh Amick. The concerto is in four movements, each of which was loosely inspired by the subject line of spam email, according to Steighner.

For example, the first movement is “You May Already Be a Winner,” and musically, it reflects a disingenuous optimism characterized by themes that sound a little like those written by Leroy Anderson (“Trumpeter’s Lullaby,” “Syncopated Clock,” etc). The listener can comb through his or her spam box to find titles that match the remaining three movements.

Kicking off the concert will be Aaron Copland’s “Outdoor Overture,” and the evening will also include a performance by the Gorge Ukestra and music by American composer John Mackey.

The concerts are at the Wy’east Middle School auditorium, and begin at 7:30 p.m. (May 3) and 2 p.m. (May 5). There is a suggested donation of $10.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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