Mastersingers, ballet pair up for concert June 6, 8

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldMay 29, 2014 

The Mid-Columbia Ballet and the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers are pairing up for an evening of music and movement on June 6 and 8 in Richland.

COURTESY MID-COLUMBIA BALLET

The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers and Mid-Columbia Ballet will join forces for a distinctive evening of music and movement called Perfect Pairings on June 6 and 8 in the auditorium at Richland High School.

The event features a selection of work by Howard Goodall and Heitor Villa-Lobos, with guest vocalists Molly Halloran, Karl Hedlund and Max Mendez, all from the Tri-Cities.

Dancers with the Mid-Columbia Ballet, under the artistic direction of Debra Pearse Rogo, will give the audience a dance to remember while listening to the music of Goodall's Eternal Light: A Requiem.

"We couldn't be happier to be collaborating with the Mastersingers again," said Joel Rogo, who codirects the ballet company with his wife. "It's going to be a beautiful performance. Eternal Light: A Requiem is absolutely stunning."

The event features 32 dancers, 84 singers and 16 instrumentalists along with the three guest soloists.

Five of the ballet company's alumni dancers, now either attending college or dancing professionally, will return to perform solo numbers in Perfect Pairings, Rogo said. They are Jamie Lynn Schultz with Ballet West, Kelly Moeller with Rochester City Ballet, Graham Pontarolo with Celebrity Cruise Lines, Taylor Kasko with Utah Regional Ballet and Mariah MacFarlan of the University of South Carolina.

Justin Raffa, artistic director for the Mastersingers, supports collaborative efforts between arts groups.

"Local performing arts groups have proven during the past few years that we believe in collaboration," Raffa said. "Not only for our survival, but for the betterment of the community.

"These collaborative projects are always our most exciting performances," Raffa said. "Like when we combined with the Mid-Columbia Symphony and ballet to do Carmina Burana in 2012."

Symphony musicians have also provided live music for the ballet company's annual Nutcracker ballet.

Eternal Light: A Requiem was written for musicians and dancers, Raffa said. The other music to be performed is Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasieliras Nos. 4 & 5, which features piano, soprano soloist and a cello ensemble, and Bendita Sabedoria for the choir.

The Villa-Lobos performance is part of the Mastersingers Latino outreach program and features a piano solo by Tri-City musician Tara Pegasus.

"Tara does not often get to play standout solo pieces for our concerts, so we are pleased to give our audience the chance to hear more of her as a solo artist," Raffa said.

The concerts start at 8 p.m. June 6 and 3 p.m. June 8. Raffa will talk about the music 30 minutes before the beginning of each performance.

Tickets to each performance cost $20 in advance or $22 at the door. Admission is always free to students age 18 and younger.

Tickets are available at www.midcolumbiamastersingers.org or the ballet company at 21 Aaron Drive in Richland.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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