Pick of the Week: Voci Choir presents choral music from around the world

In nearly every world tradition and faith, singing and music play an important role. Music in the sacred tradition can be intimate and reflective, celebratory and exuberant, mysterious, and even challenging. Its role is to communicate something timeless.

On Dec. 15 and 17, Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association’s Voci Choir will explore sacred music from many faiths and in many languages, including choral works from the Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Native American and Hindu traditions.

The concerts will be held at the Hood River Middle School auditorium, at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 17. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students ages 10-17. Children under 10 are free. Tickets are available at the door or at gorgeorchestra.org.

“Sacred music reminds us that we are part of something much larger and more important than ourselves,” said Voci Director Mark Steighner. “There are many names for this, but the transcendent experience is always part of it.”

In addition to Renaissance music, arrangements of shape note hymns, Buddhist mantras, Native American chants and Sufi poetry, the concert will include the world premiere of “Wanderer, There is No Path,” written for the choir by Steighner and commissioned by a CGOA supporter.

“I couldn’t be happier that the patron chose the Machado poem for the text of the new piece,” Steighner said. “It fits the theme of the concert perfectly.”

Steighner said that in addition to the music, he has invited representatives of many faiths to give short introductory talks about the texts and traditions of the music.

“The context of the music is important, and knowing what ideas they represent,” he said.

The Voci Choir is a mixed voice ensemble that was founded over 10 years ago by Steighner, CGOA artistic director and conductor. The choir explores a wide range of choral styles, from early music, to large-scale classics with orchestra, to pop, Broadway and jazz.

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