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Mid-Columbia Mastersingers: Focus on collaboration broadens region’s arts experience

Mid-Columbia Mastersingers performing September 2018 for the 3rd year at the B Reactor Historical Landmark, Manhattan Project National Historic Park: Hanford Unit.
Mid-Columbia Mastersingers performing September 2018 for the 3rd year at the B Reactor Historical Landmark, Manhattan Project National Historic Park: Hanford Unit. Casie Davidson

“Transforming lives through the power of choral music” is the mission statement of the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers (MCM), and in everything that we do, we reflect on how we can achieve this mission.

One of the most effective ways for us to do this is through collaboration with other organizations that have vision and values that align with our mission. This year, we have developed significant partnerships with the African Children’s Choir, Richland Players, Mid-Columbia Symphony, Canticus Vocal Ensemble, Mid-Columbia Ballet and Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre.

We believe that when the arts community is united, it brings a more powerful and resounding message that everyone benefits from the arts. Whether through creating, performing or experiencing the arts, we are all beneficiaries.

This year, MCM expanded our youth choir program to create the Mastersingers Youth (MY) Choirs. This has been a tremendously positive experience on several fronts. For their inaugural performance, the MY Choirs were fortunate enough to be joined by the African Children’s Choir for a one-of-a-kind event that brought cultures together to share in the universal language of music.

MCM continues to offer scholarships to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to create music with others, and to experience being a part of something larger than themselves. The organizational growth that comes from this expansion includes nearly doubling our staff, increasing the number of performances, and drawing new stakeholders in the form of singers and their families, and new supporters and consumers of choral music.

Another highlight of this season has been MCM’s first collaboration with The Richland Players. Our adult choir and MY Choirs joined actors in a fully-staged performance of “The First Nowell” at The Richland Players Theatre. This sold-out three-day event succeeded in reaching as many arts constituents as possible, and helped us forge a new bond with our theatrical sister-organization.

MCM works toward inclusion in our singers’ roster, our audience and our board of directors, with the goal of reflecting the diversity of our community within our own organization. Our efforts include participating in community events like the Martin Luther King Jr. children’s event held at the Richland Public Library, the Mariachi y MasFestival, and the Juneteenth Festival, among others, as well as presenting our annual Latin American Celebration Concert.

Our Outreach and Education Committee is working to expand our volunteer base to reach out to even more groups in the community for the coming year.

This season will culminate with the ever-popular Carmina Buranaon May 24 and 25 on the outdoor stage at the REACH. This collaboration with the Mid-Columbia Ballet and members of the Mid-Columbia Symphony will require over 100 adult and youth singers, and will finish our season of choral music with the ultimate arts spectacle.

In the fall of 2019, MCM will kick off the next season with our fourth performance in the B Reactor National Historic Landmark, featuring a newly commissioned piece of music by our Associate Conductor Reginald Unterseher, and poet Nancy Welliver. Our performances in the B Reactor attract international attention, as a unique and innovative cultural experience, and this concert promises to be our most sensational yet.

This year has marked a period of pivotal growth for the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers. We have expanded our organization to include three more choirs to equal a total of seven choirs. We plan on engaging even more arts consumers, continuing to grow our family of singers, participating in more community events, and collaborating with more sister organizations, always focused on our mission of transforming lives through the power of choral music.

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