Need a little inspiration to get into the holiday spirit? Then why not take a break from all the hustle-bustle of the season and attend the Christmas Cantata concert Dec. 17-18 by the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, conducted by Justin Raffa.
The evening includes traditional and sacred music, with guest soloists soprano Carissa Simpson, Kennewick, and baritone Jeremy Irland, Walla Walla. Also performing will be the Columbia Basin Jazz Orchestra, directed by Randy Hubbs.
"The Christmas Cantata is a mix of traditional English carols, Swedish folk songs, classical harmonies and jazz rhythms," said Mastersinger Molly Holleran. "It was written in 2002, by contemporary Swedish composer and pianist Nils Lindberg, for choir, big band and two vocal soloists."
Two 7 p.m. performances are planned, Dec. 17 in the Hanford High School auditorium in Richland, and Dec. 18 in the Chiawana High School auditorium in Pasco.
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Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for college students and senior citizens and free for students in grades K-12. Tickets available at door.
The holiday concert is part of the Mastersingers regular 2010-11 season, with all the concerts a collaboration with the choral group and local and national artists.
The Columbia Basin Jazz Orchestra is a 16-member group that's kept Tri-City music lovers' toes tapping for more than a decade.
Simpson is a frequent performer with Tri-City opera companies and theater groups. Irland also performs professionally and is a music educator in Walla Walla.
The Mastersingers, made up of about 40 singers, was formed in 1986 and was originally called Consort Columbia.
Raffa became artistic director in 2008, the same year the group adopted the new name.
Raffa, who was raised in New Jersey, brought a new vision to the Master-singers, aiming to widen its appeal. Part of those changes included offering free admission to students in grades K-12. He also has been successful in bringing in well-known performers for concerts, such as New York soprano Julianne Baird, who sang at the Mastersingers fall opening concert in September.
For more information about the group, go to www.midcolumbiamastersingers.org.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com