Thursday, April 18, 2024

Leavenworth Village Voices celebrates 41st 'Christmas in the Mountains’

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LEAVENWORTH - The Leavenworth Village Voices choir will celebrate 41 years of their "Christmas in the Mountains" concert series this holiday season.

They have a few new features this year, including three concerts, each with their own unique sound, and their first benefit concert.

All proceeds and donations from their matinee performance on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. will go to Upper Valley MEND. MEND—a local nonprofit organization dedicated to "Meeting Each Need with Dignity"—tends to the hunger, housing, and wellness needs of residents in the community. Attendees will learn more about MEND from Executive Director Kaylin Bettinger, and the Bavarian Brass will delight with its lively take on holiday favorites. 

When the group sat down in early 2023 to plan for the year, they decided to prioritize giving back to the community. LVV president Allison Bergstrom said it's a bit of a gamble for them because they need every penny to survive, but it is something that is important to them.

"We had done a strategic plan, and we have clarified our mission statement," Bergstrom said. "And you know, all of that includes really enriching our community, and that's through music performance, but it's also ways that we can give back and lift up our community."

"Our focus is on Leavenworth and all of Chelan County, but really, the upper valley is where we're most focused," she said. "And so to be able to directly impact a group (MEND) that does so much good in our community, we really wanted to be able to do that."

LVV is primarily a Christmas choir, and the members feel blessed that they can afford to volunteer their time to the group. And since it is the season of giving, they want to make sure others in the community can have a good Christmas as well, Bergstrom said.

Besides their benefit concert on Dec. 10, the group has two more showtimes in December.

The Saturday, Dec. 2 performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and kicks off their concert series. This performance is LVV's traditional "Christmas in the Mountains" concert featuring special guest artist the Bavarian Brass. The Bavarian Brass will perform their innovative renditions of favorite holiday songs.  

On Saturday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. LVV will hold a joint concert with indie-pop, husband-and-wife band BOSAYA. This unique pairing combines the ethereal coloratura soprano of Galina Bosaya and guitarist/sound producer Vadim Zariuta with the harmonies of Christmas Town's community choir. The audience will enjoy an eclectic mix of favorite carols, classical melodies, and energetic dance-pop arrangements of seasonal favorites from home and abroad.

All three concerts will be in the Snowy Owl Theater at the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts in Leavenworth. Grants from the City of Leavenworth and Chelan County Lodging Tax Funds help to make the concert series possible.

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit leavenworthvillagevoices.org.

Director Mindy Wall is now in her third season with the choir and is a Central Washington University graduate in Music Education with extensive experience as a teacher, director, and performer.

LVV's accompanist, Leah Moats, has returned to the group after many years and brings a resume that includes orchestras, choirs, theater companies, and churches throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The Leavenworth Village Voices is a nonprofit community choir founded in 1982 by the late Eleanor Culling, who also founded the Marlin Handbell Ringers of Leavenworth. The choir strives for performance excellence and seeks to enrich the community and visitor experience through music performance. LVV also offers an annual scholarship to a local student pursuing a career in music or the performing arts.

The choir performs primarily during the holiday season, with rehearsals starting in mid-August and performances going up to Christmas.

"LVV is a friendly, welcoming group of people who share a love of making music," Bergstrom said. "I am so grateful that our community offers a musical outlet for individuals who love to sing."

For those who may feel intimidated, LVV is a non-audition choir. "To join, we simply require some dedication and a willingness to learn and have fun," she said.

In addition to their concert series, LVV carols around downtown Leavenworth during the holiday season and performs at charitable and private events throughout Chelan County.

 "We consider it our greatest joy to share the Christmas spirit with residents of local assisted living facilities each year," Bergstrom said. "It is a highlight of our season to bring our concert to those who cannot easily attend or participate in Leavenworth's festivities."

The group usually performs for residents at Epledalen Retirement and Assisted Living in Cashmere. They have also performed at the rehab center in Cashmere, an assisted living home in East Wenatchee, and in Chelan as well.

Quinn Propst: 509-731-3590 or quinn@ward.media

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