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Young and old sure to enjoy 'Messiah'

Concert celebrates Christmas and Hannukah

Photo Credit: COURTESY PHOTO - The Hillsboro Community Youth Choir will join the Portland Chamber Orchestra during a special concert in Hillsboro Friday.Thirty members of Hillsboro Community Youth Choir’s Premier and Encore groups will join Portland Chamber Orchestra and the Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland for a performance of G.F. Handel’s “Messiah” at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 19, at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Hillsboro.

This is the third year PCO’s artistic director Yaakov Bergman — who places high value on combining young and adult voices for such compositions as “Messiah” — has invited the young singers to participate in the orchestra’s holiday concert.

“As a child, I always sang so I know the meaning and effect of bringing young voices to a serious project like this,” said Bergman. “And, it is a traditional Baroque treatment of the composition, just as Handel intended it to be.”

This concert is likely the first pairing of the “Messiah” and Handel’s oratorio “Judas Maccabeus” in the Portland area, according to Portland Chamber Orchestra’s President Robert Kingdom.

“This will be an ecumenical concert, celebrating both Christmas and Hannukah,” Kingdom said. “It represents major accomplishments of our culture. ‘Messiah’ is one of Christendom’s most hallowed works and ‘Judas Maccabeus’ is a work based on the story of Chanukah. In its day, ‘Judas Maccabaeus’ was one of the most popular of Handel’s Oratorios.” 

Founded in 1947, PCO is one of the country’s oldest chamber orchestras.

Hillsboro Community Youth Choir, which is celebrating its 10th year, has three ensembles, a preparatory Prelude group for first- through fourth-graders; the Premier group, for fifth- through seventh-graders; and the Encore ensemble for high schoolers.

“This is a time when human beings find their passion,” said Debby Garman, HCYC’s marketing director. “The choir gives kids a warm and accepting place to pursue their interests in music and develop skills they can use for the rest of their lives. This concert gives the young singers an opportunity to perform with some of the finest musical talent that Portland has to offer.”

Comprised of singers who attend 39 different schools in Washington County as well as several home-schooled students, the choir is directed by retired Hillsboro choral music teacher Cindy Uecker, who serves as artistic director.

“The youth singers are disciplined and well-trained,” said Berman, who calls the combination of orchestra and adult and young voices “mesmerizing.” 

Uecker, said Bergman, does an excellent job of preparing the young singers for their performance with the renowned Portland Chamber Orchestra and the celebrated Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland, which is directed by David De Lyser, assistant professor of music at the University of Portland.

Featured singers from the Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland will be Courtney Ruckman, soprano; Sarah Mattox, mezzo; Les Green, tenor; and Charles Robert Stephens, bass. The ensemble is now in its 46th season.

In addition to Friday evening’s concert in Hillsboro, the Hillsboro Community Youth Choir will join the Portland Chamber Orchestra and the Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland for a second concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 21, at the Agnes Flanagan Chapel at Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland.

Tickets for the concerts are $25 for adults; $20 for seniors 65 and older; $15 for students; $5 for children; and $15 for groups of 10 or more. For tickets or more information, go to portlandchamberorchestra.org or call 503-771-3250.

Sponsors include the Oregon Air Show, Hillsboro Community Foundation, Pacific University, the City of Hillsboro and Hillsboro-based Rodgers Instruments.


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