Published November 17, 2012
Soundings: Mason County chorale headed for Radio City Music HallJOHN DODGE
The Anna’s Bay Chorale from Mason County is headed this week to New York City to fulfill an improbable dream. Under the leadership of director Matthew Blegen, the community-based choir from Union on the shores of Hood Canal will perform holiday music at two prestigious venues — Radio City Music Hall and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Pretty heady stuff for a group that formed in 2007 and slowly grew in talent and confidence, adding Handel’s “Messiah” to its repertoire two years ago. The choral will serve as the anchor choir next Sunday during a performance of “Messiah” at the Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Some 70 choir members, ranging from teens to octogenarians, will be joined by other choirs from Montana, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Carolina and Connecticut. But the contingent from Mason County is three times larger than the next-biggest choir, and the only one featured for the entire performance. On Thanksgiving Day, the Anna’s Bay Chorale will perform a short set of holiday music as part of Radio City Music Hall’s “Christmas Spectacular,” featuring the Rockettes. This is one heckuva musical debut in the Big Apple. Joined by a support staff of 30, the nearly 100 Shelton-area visitors could represent the largest gathering of Mason County residents at one time in New York City. For those of us South Sounders left behind, we can follow the choir’s New York City trip via Blegen’s postings Nov. 21-26 on the Anna’s Bay Center for Music Facebook page. When the choir returns from this musical trip of a lifetime, members will be thrust quickly into a busy schedule of holiday performances, starting with a free “Messiah” sing-along at noon Dec. 1 in the Capitol Rotunda. Then the choir has three “Messiah” concerts scheduled in South Sound. They are at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Shelton High School Performing Arts Center; 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Minneart Center for the Performing Arts on the South Puget Sound Community College campus; and 4 p.m. Dec. 9 back at the Shelton High School performance center. LIVE TREE ‘HOSTS’ SOUGHT The live Christmas tree option has waxed and waned over the years, never gaining much of a foothold with consumers. The trees pose no challenge to Washington and Oregon commercial Christmas tree growers who grow them, cut them and ship them all over the country. They’re even less of threat for market share than fake Christmas trees. And here in South Sound, there are scores of U-cut Christmas tree farms to chose from. Starting next weekend, Christmas trees tied down to car roofs or secured in the beds of pickups will be a familiar sight on city streets and county roads. But none of that matters to Olympia resident Rhys Roth, who has started the Community Winter Holiday Grove Project. For more than 20 years, Roth and his family have purchased live holiday trees, then planted them in various places after the holidays. Now he’s looking for about 99 other families to also host a live tree this holiday season. Here’s what makes this a community project: Once the holidays are over, the trees will be collected, acclimated, then planted at the Capitol Land Trust’s Green Cove Wetlands Preserve. “We’ll have a planting party with the goal of creating a thriving, healthy grove of trees — a gift to the community for years to come,” said Roth, who serves as director of strategic innovation for Climate Solutions, a nonprofit environmental group that combats climate change. “They’ll be great for wildlife, and 100 trees would absorb 900 tons of carbon over the next 100 years.” The trees are 4- to 5-foot Douglas firs sculpted for the holidays with a root ball wrapped in a burlap sack. The supplier is Mark Liepold Nursery in Boring, Ore. They will sell for $30 each. “If living holiday trees grow into a tradition here, we’ll hopefully see local suppliers spring up in the future,” Roth said. South Sound families who have a living, native conifer from some other source for the holidays also can participate in the community grove at a cost of $5. To learn move about the project or sign up for a tree, go to www.nwbiocarbon.org or email Roth at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to order a tree is Dec. 3 or when all 100 trees are ordered, whichever comes first. The trees will be available for pickup Saturday, Dec. 15.
John Dodge: 360-754-5444