MUSICIANS JOIN FORCES TO PRODUCE BIG SOUND

May 23, 2001 12:00 am

It is not very often that a classical music feast is served up for the residents of Northeast Oregon.

But thats exactly what is happening this week in Baker City, Pendleton and La Grande as two symphony orchestras and four choral groups are melding their talents to perform Beethovens 9th Symphony.

La Grande area residents will enjoy the last of the three concerts at 7:30 tonight at Eastern Oregon Universitys McKenzie Theatre.

The orchestras, including the Grande Ronde Symphony of La Grande and Oregon East Symphony of Pendleton, already have had a chance to perform the classical piece twice with the combined voices of the Eastern Oregon University Chamber Choir, the Oregon East Chorale, the Baker Community Chorus and the Grande Ronde Community Chorus. Those performances were Sunday and Monday evenings in Baker City and Pendleton.

If all the string, horn, woodwind and percussion players and choristers are not enough, four guest soloists, including bass-baritone Dean Ely of Buffalo, N.Y., are on hand to join in the final choral movement of the Beethoven composition. The last movement includes the music commonly known as Ode to Joy.

Classical music lovers will cast their vote for future cooperative projects like this by attending tonights concert and showing their warm appreciation to the Eastern Oregon University music faculty and all the musicians in the region who have worked tirelessly to bring this outstanding work of the 19th century German composer to life.

IMPORTANT FIRST STEP

Union County Commissioner Steve McClure is using his influence effectively as president of the Association of Oregon Counties to bring about a positive change in the countys courtrooms.

The AOC is cooperating with the Oregon Supreme Court to develop a plan to study the adequacy of all courtrooms in the state. The study would determine which ones are not meeting their judicial purposes properly and are in need of new construction or major renovation.

The study is sure to conclude that Union Countys courtrooms and jury and attorney rooms are woefully undersized and inadequate. The courtrooms were retrofitted into what used to be hospital rooms after the county purchased the old St. Joseph Hospital. The buildings concrete construction has made it impossible to do major renovations.

The statewide facility study would be an important first step in a process that hopefully will prompt the Legislature to fund a new courthouse for Union County.