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Linfield Chamber Orchestra joins with choir for final season concert

The Linfield Chamber Orchestra will present the final concert of its 2011-12 season on Friday, May 4, at 8 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in McMinnville. The orchestra will be joined by the Linfield Concert Choir.

The 40-member choir is made up of Linfield College students and directed by music Professor Anna Song. It was the first ensemble of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and has toured every year since its formation in 1930, visiting the western U.S., Hawaii, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, China and Southeast Asia.

The “Reformation and Consolation Concert” will feature student soloists and include Felix Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No. 5,” composed in honor of the 300th anniversary of the creation of the Augsburg Confession, the primary confession of faith during the Protestant Reformation. The symphony’s final movement is based on the beloved hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” written by religious reformer Martin Luther in the 16th century.

The performance will also feature “Requiem Mass in D minor,” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The work, long shrouded in mystery and controversy, is a masterpiece. Its message is that death is not to be feared, but rather, is a welcome transition to the joys of the hereafter.

While composing the piece, Mozart became ill and took to his bed. He gathered a choir of friends around his bedside to sing the movements he had completed, and died 12 hours later, leaving his final masterpiece unfinished. Less than three months later, a completed music score was delivered to its anonymous commissioner. The mystery of its authorship has tantalized musicians for more than two centuries, and can never truly be laid to rest.

The chamber orchestra is conducted by Michael Gesme, who also directs the Central Oregon Symphony in Bend. Since its beginning in 1991, the McMinnville-based group has provided a unique opportunity for the community to experience the joy of chamber orchestra music. The group now attracts top guest artists from across Oregon and southwest Washington. The orchestra, in its 21st season, is supported by Linfield College.

Every year since 2004, fourth-grade children in Yamhill County schools have been introduced to classical music through a youth concert presented especially for them. This year the orchestra will perform music by Mendelssohn on Tuesday, May 1, at Linfield.

The First Baptist Church is located at 125 Southeast Cowls Street. All seats are general admission, priced at $22, and $5 for students K-12. Linfield students are admitted free with student ID. For ticket and concert information, visit Linfield Chamber Orchestra or contact the orchestra at (503) 883-2637 or LCO@linfield.edu.