The soloists at Masterworks Choral Ensemble's holiday concert include an Olympia fourth-grader and a professional opera singer from Germany.
The Saturday night concert will include Christmas tunes from tried-and-true to totally new – with the audience invited to sing along on some of the former.
Roosevelt Elementary School student Bethany Herrmann was the elementary school winner of the ensemble’s annual Youth Music Competition last year. She’ll play “Fantasia on Greensleeves” on the violin, accompanied by her mother, Jennifer Herrmann, a music professor at South Puget Sound Community College.
The professional is Dirk Mischke, who moved to Tenino from Germany to research opening a branch of a German marketing firm here. He’ll sing “Ave Maria.”
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“He has a wonderful baritone voice and lots of experience singing in choirs,” said Gary Witley, the group’s artistic director. “He just wowed people when he did his audition for the solo.”
In Germany, Mischke sang with the chorus of the Gelsenkirchen Opera House.
He’s modest about his experiences there. “I went to an audition for the amateur choir,” he said. “Then somebody from the main choir got sick, and they asked me to take his position there, and so it came that I was singing there in the professional choir for one full season.”
He sang in the chorus of such productions as Wagner’s “Percival” and Verdi’s “Rigoletto” as well as Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes.”
When he moved to South Sound, Mischke wanted to continue singing and came upon Masterworks’ website on the very day that auditions were being held.
He said he is impressed by how much Masterworks expects of its members compared to amateur choirs he’s familiar with in Germany. “It was a pleasant surprise that it is such a high standard choir,” he said. “It is very professional.”
Mischke isn’t the only European touch to the program. An octet led by soprano Elizabeth Berndt will sing “Ritsch, Ratsch, Filibom,” a Swedish carol.
While there will be plenty of traditional favorites on the program – some with new arrangements and some straight-ahead sing-alongs – the concert will also include some unfamiliar tunes.
Among them: the jazz-inflected “Christmas Is Coming,” the spiritual “Somebody Built a Manger,” and “All for a Baby,” arranged by Witley.
Oh, yes, and “Adeste Fidelis.” “People will read that in the program and expect to hear the song they know,” Witley said. “This is a completely new song, not the traditional hymn.”
Sometimes, the choir’s winter concert includes songs for other holidays, but this year, the music is all about Christmas.
“I fell in love with so many interesting arrangements and versions of even the standard Christmas tunes that I got more excited about Christmas this year,” Witley said.