MusicWatch Weekly: winter’s tales

Operas and other musical stories enliven Oregon music stages

Remember when opera lovers despaired of experiencing their favorite art form during Oregon’s indoor seasons? Well, after switching to a summer festival schedule last year, Portland Opera has added back a fall performance and December brings several other operatic opportunities. Opera Theater Oregon returns this weekend with The Little Prince,  British composer Rachel Portman’s operatic, family friendly English-language adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s beloved classic tale. The plucky independent opera company features new management and old favorites, including Portland Opera singers Hannah Penn and Anton Belov, local stars Damien Geter and Catherine Olson, and more. Stay tuned for Matthew Andrews’s ArtsWatch preview.
Friday-Sunday at Portland5 Winningstad Theatre.

Opera Theater Oregon’s ‘The Little Prince’ runs this weekend at Portland’s Winningstad Theatre. Photo: Theodore Sweeney

• An earlier French fantasy furnishes the story for another opera onstage in Portland this weekend and next. Imagine the government dictating women’s reproductive choices. Crazy notion, I know, but after the massacres of the first World War (and other times too), nationalist rulers encouraged the women in some combatant countries to deploy their uteri to replenish the depleted ranks of cannon fodder, and crank out babies like so many production-line tanks. French poet Guillaume Apollinaire’s 1903 surrealist drama The Breasts of Tirésias (Les Mamelles de Tirésias) imagined what would happen if a French woman refused to do her patriotic duty, delegating the task to her husband — who in an outburst of patriotic fervor delivers — to the tune of 40,049 babies in a single day, all of whom have successful careers in the arts, of course.

Actually, the tunes belong to French composer Francis Poulenc, who in 1947 turned his buddy Apollinaire’s crazy farce into his own breezy first opera. This full staging with piano and percussion is the big event in one of the year’s most appealing classical music programs: Portland State’s fab Poulenc@PSU series, bringing deserved local prominence to one of those composers I always recommend to classical music fans who mistakenly believe that the 20th century produced little music of charm and tunefulness. Like Poulenc himself, the opera bursts with both humor and seriousness. And the gender-bendy story, such as it is, remains resonant.
Friday through December 9. Studio Theater, Lincoln Hall 1620 SW Park Ave. Portland.


Swinging into Nehalem

Jazz singer Rebecca Kilgore & Her Band bring the Great American Songbook -- and a few holiday tunes -- to the Oregon Coast

She’s been inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, the Jazz Society of Oregon’s Hall of Fame, and honored as a Jazz Legend at the San Diego Jazz Party. She’s played famed American jazz venues from New York to L.A., as well as performing in Holland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Norway – not to mention on jazz cruises around the world.

And now, Rebecca Kilgore is coming to the Oregon Coast. On Saturday, Rebecca Kilgore & Her Band will take the stage at the NCRD Performing Arts Center in Nehalem to present a night of the music that’s earned Kilgore countless accolades, including “one of America’s leading song stylists … of the Great American Songbook.” Her discography numbers more than 50 recordings, her repertoire more than 1,000 songs.

Portland singer Rebecca Kilgore says she loves small venues for the intimacy they create with the audience.

In a phone interview days before her performance, Kilgore and I talked about music, performing and the highlights of her career. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Nehalem — I’m guessing this is a relatively small venue for you?

Rebecca Kilgore: Yes, and I love small venues. It’s intimate and you can really create a relationship with the audience. I am not one of those singers that emotes a lot. I really like to just have fun with the music because I love it so and I want to impart that to my audience.

What can audience members who haven’t seen you perform expect?

RK: If they’ve heard of Ella Fitzgerald or Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, or any of the singers of the classic Great American Songbook, that is kind of my wheelhouse. I learned from them. Those are the people I was inspired by. I do a lot of jazz standards. I also tend to sing less-well-known things. That’s good in some ways and bad in some ways. If people are unfamiliar with the genre, they will be really unfamiliar with what I sing. I won’t do a lot, but I will throw in a few holiday songs.

You’ve also done shows performing songs from Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland.

RK: Yes, but I don’t imitate them and I don’t dress up like them. I pick things from their repertoire and borrow their arrangements.

Does the size of the audience affect your performance?

RK: I’m planning my program this week. Sometimes when you are in a venue like that, you can tell what people are responding to. If they like a particular type of song, I may change things on the spot.


River and Elliott: Remembering two troubled princes of 1990s Portland

River Phoenix and Elliott Smith brushed Portland and maybe Portland brushed them

There’s a name you keep repeating
You’ve got nothing better to do

— Elliott Smith, “Alphabet Town”

From James Dean to Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain to Heath Ledger, we have immortalized a constellation of famous artists—especially musicians and actors—who died young and, then, through a combination of their talent and the public’s grief, lived on. Robbed of the futures we imagined for them, yet frozen in time and thus never to suffer the indignities of aging or late-career artistic mediocrity, their luminosity—and our love for them—intensifies as if in proportion to the tragedy.

Portland and Oregon haven’t traditionally produced a lot of bold-type names that have endured in the international pop zeitgeist. Far from America’s entertainment capitols, this is arguably a place where talents are nurtured, not where one becomes a full-fledged star. The most high-profile artists, such as the great abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko or Simpsons creator Matt Groening, have tended to move on and live their career-defining creative moments elsewhere. Yet even if their time here is fleeting, sometimes these artists don’t just remain culturally relevant long after their deaths but also come to represent something essential about a particular time in the city.

Last month brought reminders of two such one-time Oregonians and what they left behind. October 21 was the 15th anniversary of musician Elliott Smith’s death, at the age of 34 in 2003, while Halloween brought the 25th anniversary of actor River Phoenix’s death, at the age of 23 in 1993. They died a decade apart, but each moment of mortality came in Los Angeles, and the two sites are less than nine miles away from each other: Phoenix outside West Hollywood’s Viper Room club after an accidental overdose, and Smith by stabbing at his home in Silver Lake (a presumed suicide but never officially determined).

Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho

The coincidences don’t end there. River Phoenix and Elliott Smith were born within a year of each other: Smith in Nebraska (he was raised until age 14 in Texas) and Phoenix in Madras, Oregon (raised mostly in Florida). Each arguably made his most famous work in collaboration with director Gus Van Sant. Phoenix co-starred (along with Keanu Reeves) in Van Sant’s 1991 film My Own Private Idaho and Smith was nominated for an Academy Award for the song “Miss Misery,” on the soundtrack to Van Sant’s 1998 film Good Will Hunting. Each struggled with drug abuse, which in different ways led to each artist’s untimely death. River Phoenix and Elliott Smith presumably never met, yet each is a kind of fleeting prince of ’90s Portland, and their work acts as time capsule and talisman for the days many locals now look to longingly: a grittier, more affordable and off-the-radar city that predated Portlandia, a succession of swooning New York Times stories, and an ensuing wave of tourism and gentrification.

Like Rothko, neither stayed here for good. But also like Rothko and many of the city’s other most famous sons and daughters, Phoenix and Smith were transplants to the city who saw Portland with fresh eyes. Like rain clouds that give way to bright sunlight almost daily for much of the year, each artist’s Portland-based work is personal and often deeply melancholic, yet also joyful, lyrical and instinctual. It’s not always pretty, yet we are drawn to their work again and again.


Accessible Arts 3: streaming sounds

Multnomah County Library services provide free access to classical and other music from your computer


I began collecting records in earnest almost as soon as I got my first glimmers of the astonishing range and power of classical music. Some came from a couple of those old “Record Clubs” that sent you recordings in the mail; most were acquired on visits to an array of now-defunct record stores. When I divorced some decades ago the most wrenching episode of the entire process was the split of our records, when I played the part of the mother in that Solomon story about cutting the baby in two and gave up the entire Brahms collection rather than break apart that lovingly-crafted creation.

Last year I revisited one of those recordings whose custody I had so painfully ceded. I did not have to track it down in one of the surviving record stores, or order it online, or indeed pay anything at all. Instead I simply brought up my bookmark for one of Multnomah County Library’s music-streaming services, searched for “Brahms Violin Sonatas” and among the album covers was that lost stepchild: Pinchas Zuckerman and Daniel Barenboim playing the Brahms Sonatas for Violin and Piano plus those for Viola and Piano. I clicked “Borrow,” then “Play,” and was soon immersed in the beauties of performances that had formerly been delivered by a box-set of LPs. For several nights running this was the music playing on my headphones while I wound down my evening on the computer.

Multnomah County Central Library provides access to music from home.

After one of my Facebook friends shared a New Yorker story that focused on three Wayne Shorter albums from 1964, I simply opened my music folder, clicked “Hoopla,” punched in the jazzman’s name, and quickly found all three albums. They became the music I played on headphones from my phone for a couple of my sessions of cardiac rehab exercises, an energetic soundtrack for the spinning of wheels on exercise bikes, and the heave and slide of the rowing machine. And when Willamette Week reviewed a new album by Kamasi Washington I was delighted to discover that the same service allowed me to seek it out to find out what all the fuss was about.

There’s no substitute for the live music experience, and as you might guess from the first two parts of this series, about Arts for All tickets and wheelchair access, I’m dedicated to the proposition that the concert experience belongs to all of us. ArtsWatch’s Gary Ferrington has also described the increasing number of Oregon concerts now being live-streamed: another way to access this experience. But there’s no genre of music I know where the dedicated fan doesn’t want to supplement the live experience with recordings by one’s favorite musicians.

If your tastes run to the past, whether the riches from various decades of the 20th-century or the vast treasures laid by over the centuries before that, you will find it especially important to supplement your live music experience with recordings. But while paid streaming services have found a way to reduce the performers’ payoff to an even smaller pittance than in the old days when producers siphoned off most of the loot, they have not yet reduced the price to consumers sufficiently to make recorded music cheap enough for the large potential audience that cares–or might care, if they got the chance to explore a little–about music such as jazz and classical that lacks a mass-market hype machine. But if you’re a debt-saddled twenty-something, or are just discovering how how “fixed” your Social Security really is, you’ll be happy to know that our splendid local library system has your back, with albums in the tens of thousands you can access anytime your want. Here’s an overview of the free options available to Multnomah County library card holders, and a how-to guide to using them.


This week is more about connecting with friends and family, contemplating gratitude, and consuming vittles than imbibing music, but Oregon nevertheless offers its usual bounty of concerts this week if you know where to look.

Lucas Pitts stars in the Portland Ballet’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert.

One place is in a dance performance: the Portland Ballet’s annual live-music enhanced Thanksgiving show this time features John Clifford’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Friday-Sunday at Portland State’s Lincoln Performance Hall. Ken Selden leads the PSU Orchestra and opera singers in Mendelssohn’s ever-sparkling score, accompanying an 80+ member cast in one of the season’s most reliably entertaining events.

An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas features Chicago/Broadway musical star Evan Tyrone Martin reminding us why Cole was one of the last century’s finest singers. Friday-Sunday at Portland’s Winningstad Theatre.

Evan Tyrone Martin covers Nat King Cole this weekend.

Speaking of Portland State, a free recital Tuesday at Lincoln Hall celebrating the PSU String Scholarship Fund features some of the city’s finest classical musicians, including cellist Hamilton Cheifetz, violinist Tomas Cotik, pianist Julia Lee and PSU students playing Vivaldi, Bach, Gliere, Handel, Popper, Granados, Rachmaninoff and Beethoven.


‘Miss Julie’ still challenges the chains of convention

If Strindberg's classic, at The Verona Studio in Salem, is too intense for the holidays, head to Gallery Theater for "It's a Wonderful Life"

The Verona Studio in Salem will do some heavy lifting in the Willamette Valley’s theater scene this month. The company, based in the Reed Opera House Mall, is mounting a production of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, where the Darwinian theory of “survival of the fittest” is put to the test with a romantic encounter that crosses class lines.

The show opens a three-weekend run on Nov. 29. While the show was in rehearsal last week, director Gregory Jolivette exchanged a few emails with me. That interview is below, but first, a bit about the play, for the uninitiated.

Johan August Strindberg was a prolific Swedish writer (in addition to the naturalistic theater for which he is famous, he was also a novelist, essayist, and poet) whose career spanned about four decades — mostly during the latter half of the 19th century. He wrote more than 60 plays, and his 1888 drama Miss Julie is widely considered his masterpiece. It’s performed frequently and has been adapted to film many times — most famously in 1951 by the Swedish director Alf Sjöberg and most recently in 2014 by Liv Ullmann. I haven’t seen that one, which stars Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell, but I have seen Sjöberg’s version, which is available on home video through the Criterion Collection and is well worth your time.

Belladina Starr and Seth Allen tackle the bucket-list roles of Julie and Jean in “Miss Julie,” Strindberg’s searing classic about class, gender, and money. Photo courtesy: Roman Martinez of Roman Films for The Verona Studio

Miss Julie features a cast of three. The title character (played in Verona’s production by Belladina Starr), the daughter of a Swedish nobleman, is drawn to Jean, her father’s valet (played by Seth Allen). Christine (Penelope Bays) is a cook for the estate who finds herself in the thick of it. It’s such a challenging, complex work, so rich in its themes and characters, that I wanted to know something about the person who decided to tackle it for The Verona Studio.

Tell us about your background and involvement in theater.

Gregory Jolivette: I stumbled into the theater during my freshman year of high school and have since been doing it as a hobby. I’ve been involved in over 40 productions, mostly as an actor in both community and professional theater companies. Although I grew up in Northern California, Oregon has been a significant part of my theater journey because of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Seeing plays there as a high school student is what really got me hooked on theater arts. Those formative experiences at OSF also explain my interest in the classics. My interest in directing was piqued around the time I moved to Salem in 2013. I started out by assistant-directing a couple of shows at the Pentacle Theatre, and, in 2017, had my directorial debut with The Verona Studio’s well-received production of ‘Night, Mother.

Do you remember a particular play and/or performance you saw at OSF that showed you what theater can do?


Resonance Ensemble: amplifying ‘Hidden Voices’

Vocal ensemble's collaborative concert features musical responses to experiences marked by racism and resistance


It’s a testimony to Portland choral group Resonance Ensemble’s sense of community that they collaborate with and share their concerts with other artists—sometimes several. At Resonance’s October 21 Hidden Voices concert, the choir shared the spotlight with journalist-turned-poet S. Renee Mitchell, BRAVO Youth Orchestra, and local gospel choir Kingdom Sound. Together, they performed music by a pair of composers both born in 1980: Australian Melissa Dunphy and Resonance’s own Damien Geter.

“Remain Hopeful”

Reverend Terry McCray-Hill welcomed the packed, restless audience to Northeast Portland’s Bethel A.M.E. Church, where the mix of Resonance enthusiasts and regular Bethel churchgoers made for a gathering more diverse—racially and religiously as well as across age and class boundaries—than most Portland concerts, an integrated solidarity which has become especially important in these fractured times. “I dream a world,” McCray-Hill said, “where hidden voices can find a comfortable place to scream out who they are.”

Kingdom Sound gospel choir performed at Resonance Ensemble’s ‘Hidden Voices.’ Photo: Rachel Hadiashar

Resonance Ensemble’s founder and Artistic Director Katherine FitzGibbon described the group’s commitment “to presenting powerful performances of music that will, hopefully, make change happen in the world.” This season—their tenth—continues Resonance’s tradition of socially conscious music making, each concert spotlighting timely issues: upcoming concerts focus on women’s voices and the health challenges of childhood and parenthood, and Hidden Voices focused on experiences marked by racism and resistance.

“Today we celebrate artists of color, composers of color,” FitzGibbon continued. “We have some music today that is really challenging; I think music should challenge us,” she said, warning the audience of the presence of violence in the music, and closing with a promise of hope. “What a gesture it is to remain hopeful.”

She’s right: collaboration, consistency, and commitment are all acts of resistance against complacency, a way of meeting challenges and overcoming them.

Pearls of Great Price

It was wonderful, in a very churchy sort of way, to hear the kids of BRAVO Youth Orchestra, Portland’s El Sistema-aligned non-profit music program, play two pieces by American composer Florence Price. Her compositional voice—distinctly American, a little Ivesy—shone through in the orchestra’s enthusiastic performance of Adoration and the first movement of her Mozarty Symphony 1 in E minor, the string orchestra anchored by a strong, vocal tone in cello and bass.

BRAVO Youth Orchestra strings performed at Resonance Ensemble’s ‘Hidden Voices.’ Photo: Rachel Hadiashar

The Kingdom Sound octet, led by Minister Derrick McDuffey, performed a total of five songs—nearly half the concert. H.T. Burleigh’s arrangement of the coded Jordan/Ohio spiritualDeep River” was one of two songs they sang with Resonance. On Patrick Lundy’s “Even Me,” the male trio sang high harmonies up in countertenor territory; when they sang low later they sounded like the Oregon Symphony’s splendid trombones. All eight voices were individually powerful, their ecstatic sonic blend not a matter of eliminating variance but of retaining each signer’s unique vocal quality while balancing all into beautifully tuned chords and a finely sculpted expressivity.

At the end of Donnie McClurkin’s “All We Ask,” soprano Jamelia Boney, tenor Emmanuel Henreid, and Saeeda Wright built up a complex, interwoven network of dazzling solos on the line “all we ask is teach us love indeed.” When they were done, I swear I heard an older man nearby whisper, with deep reverence, “shiiiiiiit!” Not too many choirs in town could come this close to stealing a show from Resonance Ensemble, which Kingdom Singers nearly did with the closing three songs, Charles Tindley’s “Stand By Me” and “The Storm is Passing Over,” followed by the Ben E. King version of “Stand By Me,” a promise and a challenge. Let’s hope they perform together again.

Kingdom Sound gospel octet sang at Resonance Ensemble’s ‘Hidden Voices.’ Photo: Rachel Hadiashar

Taking Away Names, Taking Away Sins

As FitzGibbon was introducing composer and bass-baritone (and Arts Watch contributor) Damien Geter—at the start of the concert, just before he and Resonance performed his arrangement of “There’s a Man Goin’ Round”—she teased him a bit, saying, “we’re sharing him with Portland Opera; he rushed over here from a rehearsal!” That massive voice of Geter’s is no stranger to Portland audiences, and I’ll admit to being a part-time fanboy: just in the last year or so I’ve gone to hear him sing David Lang and Christopher Corbell, having been quite taken with his turn as the Devil on a Cascadia Composers concert some time back.

Composer Damien Geter sings with Resonance Ensemble. Photo: Kenton Waltz.

His opening solo was rich with heavy vibrato, a bold operatic tone, nothing folksy about it, a well-trained voice meant to fill a concert hall, intimidatingly beautiful in the small church, supported by the choir’s voices rising up on Geter’s dense, colorful chords. “There’s A Man Goin’ Round” is both art and artful warning, a catchy tune advising the hearer of trouble and danger afoot; it also serves as a dirge for all those whose names were — literally, brutally — taken them from them by The Man. I heard a few folks humming somberly along nearby, a melding of performer and audience that would continue with S. Renee Mitchell’s poem and recur throughout the concert.

FitzGibbon described Geter’s “Agnus Dei” as “the only a cappella movement” of his An African-American Requiem, which will ultimately consist of twenty movements for choir, orchestra, and vocal quartet. The complete symphonic choral work, modeled partially on Britten’s War Requiem and described by Geter as “a commentary on the war of racism,” will merge the traditional Latin Requiem with a variety of texts from other sources (civil rights activists, spirituals, Eric Garner’s dying words). Resonance performed Dominick DiOrio’s The Visible World—which uses the same technique, which Gabriel Kahane calls“palimpsest” —this summer. It’s one of the best things about choral music: its capacity for layering levels of meaning across time, space, genre, language.

The “Agnus Dei” movement was all in Latin, the familiar “qui tollis peccata mundi” (“who takes away the sin of the world”) vibrating through Geter’s call-and-response melodies and contemporary choral harmonic sense (big open chords, tight close dissonances), with bits of tricky imitative counterpoint worthy of Haydn. This was my first time hearing Geter the composer, and I was pleased to discover that he writes the way he sings: with dramatic, powerful tenderness. I can’t wait to hear the whole thing in 2020.

“Drink up, DREAMers”

As a composer, I often go to concerts just to hear new composers. I like Resonance Ensemble anyways, and if all they ever sang was Samuel Barber I’d still be at every concert, but their commitment to living composers is an inspiring example of their “programming with purpose.”

Resonance’s West Coast premiere of with Melissa Dunphy’s eight part American DREAMers dominated the second half of Hidden Voices. After shimmery majory-minory humming on the word “dreammmmmmm,” the choir moved through texts by five poets affected by the difficulties of immigration to the U.S.

American DREAMers (the title refers to the DREAMer movement) showed a poppier side of Dunphy’s voice than her fairly straightforward polyphonic choral piece, “What Do You Think I Fought for at Omaha Beach,” which Resonance performed in June’s Bodies concert. This is why it’s especially exciting to hear the same ensemble sing the same composer across multiple concerts.

In four of the sections setting Marlene Rangel’s story of migration, assimilation, and education, four Resonance singers sang solo melodies atop sparse accompaniment from the rest of the choir. The other four sections set poetry and testimony by Javier Zamora, Janine Joseph, Julia Montejo, and Claudia D. Hernández. On “Dancing in Buses,” vocal percussion grooved against rhythmic whispering on “pretend a boombox blasts over your shoulder,” Roches-type vocal harmonies giving way to driving chants as dancing turned into dodging bullets, an explosion of violence and chilling lines like “Face the mouth of the barrel” and “Do the protect-the-face-with-hand” and “Don’t scream.” At the end of the enchanted “More milk, milk makes it better,” the big brilliant ending on the line “It was worth all my work in the world” evoked a bunch of “Woo!”s. The closing strains of “#UnitedWeDream” got complicated and spiritual, with overlapping text layers and big lush resolutions on “RESIST! RESIST!”, a haunting ending reminiscent of Peter Gabriel’s wistful “drink up dreamers, you’re running dry.”

Resonance Ensemble and Kingdom Sound joined forces at ‘Hidden Voices.’ Photo: Rachel Hadiashar

Musically and thematically, this was the most challenging part of the concert, an act of solidarity and illumination of hidden, marginalized, internalized voices. Dunphy’s music flowed gracefully from sorrow to joy to terror, hints of the U.S. national anthem (that iconic descending trumpet call) turning sour and grief-stricken. Whenever the music was not itself outright provocative, it was transparent to let the text’s poignancy come through and do the challenging. Marlene’s story was told clearly and plainly, using the same basic musical technique as Cappella Romana’s Heaven and Earth composers—for the same reason, and with the same spiritual result.

“Keep Listening”

FitzGibbon described Resonance’s poet-in-residence S. Renee Mitchell as “somebody I admire more than just about anyone.” It’s relatively uncommon for a choir to have its own poet-in-residence, collaborations usually running more in the composer-poet direction. But Mitchell isn’t a common poet any more than Resonance is a common choir: she’s a journalist, in fact, a former writer for The Oregonian who says art saved her life.

Early in the concert, Mitchell read her customary concert poem, quoting from and reflecting upon the concert’s choral texts and themes. “We are in a black church,” Mitchell began, “so if I ask you a question—please respond!”

Poet-in-Resonance S. Renee Mitchell performed in ‘Hidden Voices.’ Photo: Rachel Hadiashar.

We still got all those characteristically punchy Mitchell lines, like “intoxicated with the nostalgic aroma of hate” and “spiritual acts of defiance / Against hostile words both spoken and imagined,” but we also got to engage in a good old fashioned call-and-response routine, flowing crescendos of verbal interplay building to a liturgical quilt of social bonding and ritual interlocution:

Mitchell: Will you stand by me / Despite my faults and my failures?
Audience: Yes!
Mitchell: Will you understand / The times when I need to just catch my breath?
Audience: Yes!
Mitchell: Will you watch with me / As the storm passes over?
Audience: Yes!
Mitchell: Will you hear our hidden voices?
Audience: Yes!
Mitchell: Will you pay attention to the world of possibilities?

And throughout the entire poem, the refrain:

Mitchell: Are you listening?
Audience: Yes!
Mitchell: Keep listening.

Mitchell seems to be settling into a comfortable role with the ensemble, her poetry now a regular routine quickly becoming a true tradition. Her contributions are always a highlight of the show, and I think she has gotten better at each concert since I first heard her do her thing at February’s Souls concert. I hope they keep her on for the next decade.

Next Up

Resonance Ensemble won’t be back until February, but you can hear Kingdom Sound doing their Christmas show at Emmanuel Church next Friday or catch local theater company Passinart’s presentation of the Langston Hughes “gospel song play” Black Nativity at Bethel A.M.E. Church December 2-16. BRAVO, meanwhile, is everywhere: with Fear No Music on December 10, with Portland Baroque Orchestra this Saturday, and with Black Violin at the Schnitz Friday. Damien Geter still performs all the damn time (wouldn’t you?), and his next gig is a three-date run with Opera Theater Oregon’s production of Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince.

Matthew Neil Andrews is a composer, singer, percussionist, and editor of Subito at Portland State University, and serves on the board of Cascadia Composers. He and his music can be reached at

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