Mastersingers to perform at St. Paul's Saturday

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WALLA WALLA -- The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers, under the direction of Justin Raffa, continue their 25th anniversary season celebration with the program From Darkness into Light.

The group will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 323 Catherine St. Raffa will present a "Behind the Music" talk 30 minutes before the concert.

Last April, at the Mastersingers' annual dinner and live auction gala, guests could bid on the opportunity to select music for the group to perform in the March 2012 concert. Each minute of music carried a certain dollar amount.

Boyce Burdick bid several thousand dollars and selected Heinrich Schutz's "Seven Last Words of Christ" and Randall Thompson's "Alleluia," which Raffa programmed as the pivotal pieces of the concert.

Another auction item went to Betsy Vance, who paid to conduct the group in a piece of music of Raffa's choice: Samuel Barber's setting of "Sure on this Shining Night."

Three pieces by composer-in-residence and Walla Walla University/College Reg Unterseher are on the program.

Instrumental accompaniment includes piano with Whitman College music faculty Jeremy Mims, organ, string quartet and oboe. A returning guest is Chief Joseph Middle School Treble Choir of Richland, directed by Mastersingers' member Mary Dann. Conducting intern Michael Blackwood, a Whitman College graduate, will conduct three pieces.

The program is supported in part by grants from the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are $20; free for K-12 students and college students with ID. Tickets are available at the door, or online at www.MidColumbiaMastersingers.org. Visit the website or call 509-460-1766 for more information.

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