Concert review: Mastersingers are a must-see

Nancy Welliver, special to the HeraldOctober 16, 2013 

The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers' latest offering is paired with the works of mid-20th century English composer Benjamin Britten and music composed by someone far closer to home -- John Muehleisen.

Muehleisen was a manager at Microsoft before leaving his job to concentrate full time on his music.

The program alternates pieces between the two composers. It is called Perfect Pairings, and that's exactly what it is. The composers' works are similar to the interweaving of different textures and sounds. Both compose music that is a little abstract, varied in pace, dramatic.

Sing to Me is full of dissonance and sweetness.

Hymn to St. Cecelia is ethereal, theatrical and magical.

Snow: The King's Trumpeter was a favorite. Muehleisen wrote it as a memorial for a professor of trumpet and jazz at the University of Washington. The chorus slips in while Troy Lydeen on trumpet slips out. The piece has the not-quite-there feeling of snowfall, like there is no ending but rather the music drifts away.

Other pieces include the short and sweet Hymn to the Virgin led by guest conductor Jeremy Neufeld.

A piece that sounds impossibly difficult to sing, Tales of Old Days, has shades of Japanese-type music. It was commissioned by the Mastersingers specifically for this upcoming concert. Performers include Carri Rose, who does fine work on percussion.

Consolation is haunting and lovely. It is a memorial to the children and adults who lost their lives in the Newtown, Conn., school massacre last December. Tri-City schoolchildren call out the names of the dead as the choir sings the requiem.

Eat Your Vegetables is funny and sweet. It is what you might get if you mashed up your celery and sprouts with a bullfighter.

In a nutshell, this Mastersingers concert is definitely a win-win event.

The Mastersingers' concerts are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18-19 and 3 p.m. Oct. 20 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, at the corner of 10th Avenue and Olympia Street in Kennewick.

Tickets cost $22 at the door, and students 17 and younger are free.

-- Nancy Welliver is a longtime supporter of the arts. She has worked at Hanford as an engineer and is a member of the Camerata Musica organization.

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