Four concerts in the next seven days bring holiday cheer

Anyone who loves music from the winter season will be enthralled with what's available in West Linn during the next week.

Of special interest is the variety of instruments that will produce the inspiring music, from a nearly 100-voice choir to acoustic guitars, symphonic orchestra, string ensemble and jazz band.

For those who know, it's not news that there's a lot of high-powered talent in the West Linn area.

Some of those talented performers are inviting people to come and experience the many moods of holiday music.

Most of these concerts are free admission.

Acoustic guitars

At the northern edge of the city limits in St. Anne's Chapel on the campus of Marylhurst University, Saturday's concertgoers will enjoy the 12th annual holiday concert from the Acoustic Guitar Summit, beginning at 8 p.m.

The Portland trio is comprised of Terry Robb, Doug Smith and West Linn resident Mark Hanson.

Smith and Hanson are Grammy winners for their contributions to the 2005 CD 'Henry Mancini - Pink Guitar.' Robb is a perennial winner of the Cascade Blues Association's top acoustic blues guitarist award. In September, Smith won the national finger picking championship.

Music by the Acoustic Guitar Summit - which varies from originals to blues, jazz, ballads and folk - is heard on national television, major films, and national public radio. Their music also is licensed for syndicated TV and radio broadcasts and national advertising campaigns.

Tickets are available online at or by calling 503-699-1814. Tickets also are available at Blue Dot Guitars in Oregon City, Lake Music in Lake Oswego or Pioneer Music in Portland.

General admission tickets are $15 for advance sales, and $20 at the door. A $25 guitar workshop will precede the concert at 5 p.m.

Vocal choirs

West Linn High School Choir Director Barb Fontana is promising an unforgettable experience for those who visit the new theater at the high school next Tuesday from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.

This may be the first time some people have heard the sweetest, although eclectic, songs of the season, Fontana said.

'We're going to do a very interesting collection,' she said. 'We're going to do a few carols, but they're not traditional carols. They're a little more obscure, and the arrangements are really new. So, it's going to have a totally different feel - not your traditional ho, ho, ho Christmas concert.'

Groups performing include the freshman choir, 20-voice women's ensemble, jazz choir, men's and women's sextets and symphonic choir.

To conclude the evening of vocal music, the symphonic choir will sing a portion of 'The Messiah.'

Orchestra and ensemble

A good variety of music is on tap for those who would venture out to the West Linn High School theater next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The concert's first half showcases the string orchestra, under the baton of conductor Jeff Cumpston. That program includes the works of Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Saint-Saens and a medley from Harry Potter.

The program's second half will bring smiles to the audience's faces as Cumpston and his professional percussion skills are entwined with two violins, a piano, string bass and a vocalist.

That group, calling itself 'Rising Violet,' will play a short program of holiday favorites that Cumpston said has been 'creatively arranged and meticulously rehearsed.'

Quartet of bands

A huge variety of musical styles is in store for those who attend the holiday band concert Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the West Linn High School theater. Admission is free.

Band Leader Jeff Cumpston said the two concert bands would each play a holiday selection such as 'For Unto Us' and 'C'est Noel.' Also the percussion section and flute will be briefly featured in a Native American piece called 'Lament and Tribal Dances.'

The school's symphonic band will perform Leroy Anderson's 'A Christmas Festival' and Mendelssohn's 'Overture for Winds,' one of the earliest band pieces ever written.

The symphonic band is already very polished, Cumpston said, because it is preparing for a January showcase performance at the Oregon Music Educators Association annual conference in January.

And the award-winning jazz band will knock the audience's socks off with McCoy Tyner's 'Effendi,' featuring Hailey Niswanger on alto saxophone, Toby Reutter-Harrah on percussion and Anthony Meade on trombone.

But the highlight of the evening, Cumpston expects, will be the band's bassist, Kate Davis, singing 'Lush Life' by Billy Strayhorn. Add to that accompanist Eric Nesbit, who Cumpston said is 'sounding more and more like a pro every day' and you have an evening to remember.

'This concert is guaranteed to bring joy to the listener,' Cumpston said.

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