Orchestra offers program of family classics

Exciting show includes ‘Peter and the Wolf’

The Columbia Gorge Sinfonietta kicks off its 2013-14 season with a program of classics for kids and adults.

The shows are Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 20 at 3:30 p.m. at the Wy’east Middle School performing arts center.

There is a suggested donation of $10.

The concerts include one of the most beloved introductions to classical music ever written, “Peter and the Wolf,” plus the evocative “Pictures at an Exhibition” and “Procession of the Nobles.”

Music director Mark Steighner says that all three works on the program are “tuneful, exciting and familiar. Plus, they are all showcases for the orchestra’s increasing musicianship. Our local orchestra — which has been playing together 35 years! — continues to evolve and expand.”

Steighner says that audiences continue to grow. “Every concert, we have people who are surprised that the orchestra exists! The Sinfonietta is one of the longest-lived of all our local arts organizations and is an incredible resource in the community.”

While it might be known as a timeless classic, “Peter and the Wolf” was actually a product of the 1930s, written after Russian composer Serge Prokofiev returned to his homeland. Written in only four days, the piece was intended to “cultivate musical taste in children.”

Although the premiere was poorly attended and unsuccessful, “Peter and the Wolf” has been long recognized as a masterpiece. The narrator for the performance will be Gregory Smith, director of the Center for the Arts.

Another familiar Russian masterpiece, “Pictures at an Exhibition,” was composed in 1870 after Modest Mussorgsky attended a retrospective of paintings by artist Viktor Hartmann. Originally written for two pianos, there have been several versions for orchestra based on the piano piece.

From the macabre “Hut of the Baba Yaga” to the triumphant “Great Gate of Kiev,” the suite offers one evocative musical vignette after another.

While the orchestra’s upcoming concerts are the first for the season, they launch a full year of performances by various ensembles in the Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association, which include the Voci community choir, the Interludes vocal ensemble, and the Gorge Strings.

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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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