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Hood River rings with Christmas music

Looking for Christmas music to infuse the season?

In the next two weeks, the Hood River will ring with spiritual and secular music to celebrate the holidays. Here are the events:

Friday brings the second of three Advent concerts at Riverside Community Church. The Dec. 14 program will feature Oswego Handbell Ensemble, performing familiar Christmas music. The quartet is a professional handbell quartet that performs concerns and for other events throughout the Portland area. They have been featured at national events of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers and Handbell Exploration International.

Nancy Hascall of Lake Oswego is the artistic director and arranger for the OHE and also directs two handbell choirs at Portland First United Methodist Church and the Bells of the Cascades.

Admission is free to the noon concerts.

* Cascade Singers presents is Christmas concerts, "Holiday Smorgasbord," Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Both concerts will be at the Zion Lutheran Church, 10th and Union Streets in The Dalles. Scandinavian Christmas music will be featured along with classical choral music being prepared for the Singers' tour of Scandinavia scheduled for next summer.

Musical pieces include "A Babe Is Born In Bethlehem," a traditional Danish carol, and "Wonderful Peace," a 20th century carol composed by Gustaf Nordqvist with English text by Norman Luboff. Also on the bill are two carols by American composer Albert Burt, works from Johannes Brahms' Requiem, and the spiritual "Deep River."

Tickets are $5 at the door. The Sunday concert starts at 2 p.m. to give audience time to also take in the Gorge Winds concert, starting at 4 p.m. at the Civic Auditorium.

* During the Christmas season at Columbia Gorge Hotel, Columbia Gorge Carolers will stroll throughout the hotel, offering festive songs for guests' enjoyment.

* Dec. 21-23, CAST presents "An Irish Christmas," with music and readings from community members and the Hood River Valley High School music department. The bill will include a variety of ancient, sacred, secular, and contemporary music and readings about Christmas from the Irish/Celtic tradition. The show is produced by CAST's Judy Yeo and directed by Mark Steighner, HRVHS music director.

Two of the performances will benefit the HRVHS choir trip to Ireland in the spring. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

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