by Karen Lunde for OLY ARTS
The Masterworks Choral Ensemble will brighten the Washington Center Main Stage on Saturday, December 2, with its annual holiday concert. This year’s performance, entitled Season of Light: A Christmas Celebration, will include familiar carols (some with new arrangements), medleys and four audience sing-alongs. The choir will even keep up with the digital times with a fun novelty song, I Want to Stare at My Phone With You.
Angi Swan returns to accompany the choir on piano. Swan, a K-5 music teacher, will bring her Olympic View Elementary fifth grade choir, the Soaring Eagle Singers, to perform with the Masterworks Choral Ensemble (MCE). Suad Maya Dirar, an eighth grade student at Aspire Middle School for the Performing Arts, will perform on violin. Dirar is the winner of Masterworks’ 2017 Youth Music Competition at the middle school level.
Gary Witley, MCE’s artistic director and conductor, described the holiday music concertgoers will enjoy as a blend from different religions and cultures. “December is the darkest month of the year,” he said, “and all the seasonal celebrations that happen at this time of year use candles, and the returning of the light, as symbolism.” The concert will include seasonal tunes, both sacred and secular, honoring the winter solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Witley described the event as a “fun family holiday evening.”
Witley is a founding member if Masterworks Choral Ensemble. The choir formed in 1981 and is currently in its 37th season. Each season, Masterworks performs four one-night concerts in October, December, April and June at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. They also produce and host the Harmony Sweepstakes—the northwest regional segment of a rollicking nationwide a capella competition—every March. MCE is about seventy voices strong and welcomes prospective new members twice per year by audition.
WHAT Season of Light: A Christmas Celebration
WHERE The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia
WHEN 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 2
HOW MUCH $10-22