Wild Rose Chorale will host holiday concerts tonight and Sunday at First Presbyterian Church. Singers are (clockwise, from top) Doug Rodgers, Marj Iuro, Al Thompson, Lynn Nowak, Leslie Lewis, JES Schumacher and Charles Helman. (Barney Burke)

Wild Rose Chorale will host holiday concerts tonight and Sunday at First Presbyterian Church. Singers are (clockwise, from top) Doug Rodgers, Marj Iuro, Al Thompson, Lynn Nowak, Leslie Lewis, JES Schumacher and Charles Helman. (Barney Burke)

Wild Rose Chorale to perform two concerts this weekend

PORT TOWNSEND — The Wild Rose Chorale invites some musical friends to share the stage at the a cappella ensemble’s seasonal concert bash this weekend, in what has turned into an annual community holiday tradition.

The Port Townsend Youth Chorus and the Townsend Bay Ringers bell choir will join the seven-voice Wild Rose Chorale for its “Have Yourself a Wild Rose Christmas” program, at 7 tonight and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Both concerts are at First Presbyterian Church, 1111 Franklin St., in Port Townsend.

Concert tickets to “Have Yourself a Wild Rose Christmas” are available at the door for a suggested donation of $15.

“Many folks see this as the true start of the Christmas season,” said Wild Rose bass Al Thompson.

“Wild Rose Chorale, the children and the bells combine for a truly festive and uniquely small-town, yet quality, celebration of the holidays.”

Leslie Lewis, who directs Wild Rose and the Youth Chorus, and plays in the bell choir, said she loves including kids and bells on the program since they provide a change in texture to the unaccompanied sounds of the adult singers in Wild Rose.

“Plus, giving students an opportunity to perform is part of our Wild Rose mission statement ‘to further the musical education of young choral musicians,’ ” Lewis said.

In keeping with that goal, two of her piano students, Leona Lee and Orion Pendley, are set to accompany the youth singers.

“Both are experienced ensemble musicians who are now taking that next step in their musical education to serve as a choral accompanist,” Lewis added. “I’m so pleased.”

“It’s always uplifting and heartwarming to hear children sing, and thrilling to hear teens find their voices,” said Wild Rose alto JES Schumacher.

In fact, the Wild Rose Chorale offers an annual scholarship to graduating high school seniors or established college students who want to further their choral music education.

At the concerts, the young people, Wild Rose, and the bell choir — directed by Judy Schussler — all perform their own sets; they join forces for two finale numbers.

Wild Rose Chorale repertoire lineup includes sacred and secular songs, and everything from traditional carols — always with a twist — to two charts by the popular a cappella group Pentatonix. One is an up-tempo interpretation of a favorite seasonal tune, “Up on the Housetop,” and the other a lilting lullaby composed by two of its singer-arrangers called “Light in the Hallway.”

The singers also try their hand at “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” a tune made popular by Mariah Carey that is now considered one of the best-selling modern Christmas songs ever.

“Our shortest piece is a mere 30 seconds long, and a bit on the silly side, as some have come to expect from us,” Schumacher elaborated.

Doug Rodgers, who sings bass, tenor or whatever is needed, said singing, for him, has been a part of his life since he met his wife-to-be in the college choir in 1964.

“Singing today in Port Townsend is wonderful because there are so many possibilities and opportunities,” Rodgers said. “I love that Wild Rose has challenged my singing into new directions and I love the positive way that people respond to us.”

For more information about the concerts or the ensemble, visit www.wild rosechorale.org, call 360-385-1402, or like the group on Facebook.

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