Arts & Entertainment

Mastersingers' May festival celebrates music, art, film

The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers plan to jazz up spring with a May festival that will celebrate music, art and film starting May 15.

The three-day event features a concert by the Three Rivers Children's Chorus, a showing of the film The Red Violin, a vocal and piano solo featuring soprano Karen Zizzi and pianist Shela Zilar Gephart, as well as a concert by the Mastersingers group.

The Children's Chorus will kick things off at 4 p.m. May 15 with a free concert at the Richland Community Center, 500 Amon Park Drive, followed by a showing of The Red Violin at 8 p.m. at the Battelle Auditorium, located on the main Battelle campus in north Richland. Take George Washington Way north and turn left onto Battelle Boulevard. Admission is $3.

On May 16, the Mastersingers concert, under the direction of Justin Raffa, gets under way at 8 p.m. in the auditorium.

Raffa chose a selection of 20th and 21st century music by composers Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen, Benjamin Britten and Vincent Perschetti.

"Each of these have set floral texts by noteworthy poets, including Emily Dickinson and Maria Rilke," Raffa said.

The performance also features a string quintet from the Mid-Columbia Symphony led by Mary K. French.

Admission to the May 16 concert is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and free to ages 18 and younger. Tickets are available at Tri-City area Bookworm stores, 701 The Parkway, Suite A, Richland, or 201 N. Edison St., Suite 248, Kennewick, or at the Battelle Auditorium.

The festival wraps up May 17 with a concert featuring Zizzi and Gephart. The show starts at 3 p.m. at Shalom United Church of Christ, 505 McMurray St., in Richland. The program includes works of Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Faure, Lizst, Poulenc, Puccini, as well as a few Broadway tunes. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and free to ages 18 and younger and are available at the door.

Adding to the blend of music and film surrounding the festival will be a painting of a lushly-colored rose bush, called Mary's Rose. The Mastersingers commissioned the work, created by Richland artist Lisa Hill, to showcase the May Festival's spring theme.

The framed 16-by-20-inch painting will be given away at the festival. Raffle tickets are $10 each.

Hill is not only an award-winning Northwest artist, but she's also a member of the Mastersingers. "I have been given a great opportunity to blend my art and my love of choral music by painting Mary's Rose," Hill said.

Hill's inspiration for the rose bush painting came from her own home's garden.

"My late mother-in-law, Mary, lived life to the fullest and was dearly loved by friends and family. The rose bush was a gift from Mary to me and my husband Larry. It's now one of our most prized garden treasures."

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;