Steven Zopfi, artistic director of the Portland Symphonic Choir, won't be able to conduct the choir's concerts this weekend. Zopfi is attending to family matters on the East Coast because his father just passed away. Fortunately for the choir (of which I am a member), we have a very talented assistant director, Anna Song, who will direct the pieces (except for a couple of them). Song has a BA in composition from UCLA and an MM in conducting from the School of Music and the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. She has conducted the choir in several pieces before, but this will be her first time to lead an entire program. So that will add a bit more excitement to the concert.
The program includes traditional Christmas carols, a Hanukah piece entitled “Aleih Neiri” (“Rise Up, My Light”), a Kwanzaa song called “Harambee” (“Call to Unity”), and the Ukranian folksong “Shcedrik,” which is popularly known as the “Carol of the Bells.” The choir will also perform a suite of songs called “Native American Ambiances,” which was written by Jackson Berkey, one of the members of Mannheim Steamroller. Berkey combined texts from American Indians with flute, pre-recorded percussion and environmental sounds (wolves, rivers and other nature sounds) to create a thought-provoking atmosphere. On the humorous side, we'll sing PDQ Bach's "Good King Kong Looked Out," and in a nod to the gospel genre, the women of the choir will perform "Go Where I Send Thee." That's not all of the numbers, but that's all that I have time now to mention. For more information about the concert, see http://www.pschoir.org/. See you at the concert!