Sinfonietta to herald ‘Heroic’ performances

Viola soloist, Beethoven highlighted

The Columbia Gorge Sinfonietta winter concert series will be held Friday at 7:30 p.m. in The Dalles Civic Auditorium and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Wy’east Middle School’s performing arts center.

Photo by Julie Raefield-Gobbo.
The Columbia Gorge Sinfonietta winter concert series will be held Friday at 7:30 p.m. in The Dalles Civic Auditorium and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Wy’east Middle School’s performing arts center.

Music has always played a part in stirring up patriotism in the hearts of humankind. Two Columbia Gorge Sinfonietta concerts slated for this weekend will explore that phenomenon through their presentation of “The Heroic Spirit in Music.”

On Friday in The Dalles Civic Auditorium and Sunday at Wy’east Middle School performing arts center, the 45 musicians of the Sinfonietta, under the direction of Mark Steighner, will offer an array of musical perspectives that explore this theme.

Featured pieces include “Fanfare for the Common Man,” by Aaron Copland, “La Peri” by Paul Dukas, Symphony No. 3 (Eroica), by Ludwig van Beethoven, and “Concerto for Viola,” by George Phillip Teleman featuring soloist Jim Garrett.

According to Steighner, Garrett attended the San Francisco Conservatory of music and studied under Leonid Gesin, one of the founding members of the Shostakovich String Quartet. He has played in many regional orchestras and was the principal violist for Americas Vancouver Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2008.

“It is rare to feature a viola as soloist; they tend to be the hidden middle voices of the strings,” said Steighner. “We are thrilled to be able to share Mr. Garrett’s evocative musicianship with our community.”

Steighner offered some additional details on the concerts.

“The Beethoven symphony is a huge challenge — technically difficult, structurally intricate — and requires an immense amount of focus and concentration on the part of the orchestra,” said Steighner.

“Beethoven’s third symphony (“Eroica”) is a monumental piece,” he said. “It is really the first symphony in which music is used to represent something more than itself — the struggles, passions and sorrow of humanity.

“George Phillip Telemann was a contemporary of J.S. Bach, Handel and Vivaldi. His many concerti are models of elegant Baroque design and melodic invention, and he was one of the few 18th century composers to feature the viola in a solo role.

“La Peri” is the opening fanfare from Paul Dukas’ ballet by the same name. The music combines late Romantic harmony with French impressionism and colorful harmonic elements.”

Steighner credits Hood River and the Gorge residents with the long-term success of the Sinfonietta.

“All communities are, in part, defined by the depth and breadth of the arts that thrive and are supported. The fact that the orchestra has existed for over 35 years suggests that our community is committed to preserving an important cultural institution, and recognizes its value,” he said.

A $10 donation is encouraged at the door. Performances are Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. at The Dalles Civic Auditorium, 323 E. Fourth St., and Feb. 24 at 1:30 p.m. at the Wy’east Middle School performing arts center (behind the gymnasium), 3000 Wy’east Road, Odell. Both facilities are handicapped-accessible.

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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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