Arts & Entertainment

Mid-Columbia Mastersingers to offer bit of heaven on Earth

The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers open the 2009-10 season Oct. 16 with a concert that will offer audiences a little bit of heaven on Earth.

The Company of Heaven is the title of the opening concert, which features the music of composer Benjamin Britten, and a radio cantata with guest performers.

The cantata will have Matt Leggett and Ginny Quinley, both Tri-City educators, acting as narrators with guest organist Gene Hersrud and a few members of the Mid-Columbia Symphony providing the music for the chorus.

"Between the movements of music are interpolated spoken texts of varying sacred and secular natures that primarily portray visions of heaven and angels," said Justin Raffa, artistic director for the Mastersingers.

Some of the texts are biblical, some are prose, and some are poems by Christina Rossetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins and William Blake, he added.

"Also on the program is Britten's Simple Symphony, a delightful little work for string orchestra written in 1934 that features themes from several of Britten's earliest compositions as a child," Raffa said.

"The strings will open the concert with this work."

The Company of Heaven concert starts at 7 p.m. at United Methodist Church, 2 S. Dayton St. in downtown Kennewick. The concert will also be at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 and 3 p.m. 18 at Central United Protestant Church, on Stevens Drive in Richland.

Here's a look at the rest of the season:

-- Dec. 18-20: Navidad Nuestra is the Mastersingers holiday event and features the works of Heinrich Schutz, Steven Sametz, Ariel Ramirez and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Keeping with the ensemble's intent to blend the cultures of the world into its concert seasons, Raffa chose a Latin theme for this concert.

Concert times are 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at St. Joseph's Church, 520 S. Garfield St., Kennewick and at 3 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Salvation Army Temple, 303 W. Clark St., Pasco. There also will be a concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 in Othello but the venue will be announced later.

-- Feb. 19-21: Earth, featuring the music of guest composer Libby Larsen. The new music composition is titled Missa Gaia: Mass for the Earth.

-- May 15: Requiem, a Guiseppe Verdi piece features guest conductor Nick Wallin, maestro for the Mid-Columbia Symphony.

Concert time is 8 p.m. at the Three Rivers Convention Center, 7016 W. Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick. Season tickets to all regular season concerts is $40 for adults and $32 for students and senior citizens. Individual tickets to each concert is $15 adults and $12 for students and seniors. Kids 12 and younger are free.

The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, formerly known as Consort Columbia, is a 45-member group of experienced singers who perform around the Pacific Northwest.

The ensemble also perform with the Mid-Columbia Symphony at its Christmas pops concert Nov. 29 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. More information about that concert is at www.midcolumbiasymphony.org.

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

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