A Leavenworth Village Voices’ (LVV) Christmas concert must top your itinerary this Christmas season, whether you are a long-time local or visiting Leavenworth for that quintessential Christmas experience. The 2021 concert series is even more meaningful after the cancellations of live performances and Christmas festivities last year due to COVID-19. The community choir is back, strong, and eager to perform!

LVV made excellent use of its performing hiatus last year to renew, refresh, and rebuild. New director Mindy Wall has added to the excitement of getting back together to sing this past summer. Wall is director of Cascade School District’s high school and middle school programs and is an accomplished musician and mezzo-soprano. She brings fresh vision and dynamism to the group.

“Mindy is raising the bar beyond where we thought we could go,” says LVV President Richard Tabbutt. “She is fine-tuning our performance so we have a tighter, more polished, more professional sound.” Her goal, Wall says, is to work hard in rehearsals so that choir members can have just as much fun as the audience during performances.

Wall has placed a priority on performing with only live accompaniments, a challenge accepted by LVV alto and pianist Susan Butruille. Wall and Butruille work brilliantly together, having collaborated in the school district’s music program. Wall has also challenged the choir by including a cappella arrangements in this year’s program.

LVV gained several new members from the community in its year off, and launched a new website with the help of the city of Leavenworth’s Tourism and Hospitality Grant. The website has all the information you need about purchasing tickets, joining the choir, sponsoring the group, or applying to its student scholarship. Check it out at Leaven worthVillageVoices.org.

As if 2021 hasn’t been exciting enough for the group, LVV had a rare opportunity this summer to sing in a recording session for Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer Ryan Lewis, of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fame. The choir contributed to about a dozen songs for a variety of artists and genres, including Macklemore, Kesha, and a true crime podcast. LVV can be heard singing back-up on the chorus of Macklemore’s new single, “Next Year.”

This Christmas season there are even more opportunities to catch an LVV concert. The choir added two additional concert dates to its busy performance schedule, including a Sunday matinee at the Snowy Owl Theater, Icicle Creek Center for the Arts on Dec. 5, and a weeknight performance at Cascade High School on Dec. 15 — aimed at locals who prefer to not fight the weekend traffic. Three concerts will take place at the Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene, on Dec. 10, 12, and 17.

In addition to its choral pieces, LVV concerts feature talented local artists, including the Bavarian Brass, Steve Morton on piano, and the LVV Women’s Ensemble. An audience favorite is the tradition of closing each concert with a sing-along of Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus from “Messiah.”

Like other performing arts organizations, the pandemic has had a significant impact on LVV and its members have been working tirelessly to come back stronger than before. The choir is reaching out to sponsors and applying for grants to ensure the nonprofit organization is financially healthy and positioned to thrive for years to come. Next year, LVV will celebrate 40 years of performing: an important milestone they want to reach so future generations of singers and listeners can experience the joy of music and Christmas in Leavenworth.

This season’s concert series will be festive as well as safe. All performers are vaccinated and like other indoor venues, the audience will be required to wear masks. Based on the current numbers of COVID cases in the area and guidance from healthcare authorities, choir members likely will have to be masked for performances. Maintaining the health and safety of everyone is the group’s highest priority. Even if the audience can’t see smiling faces, one can “hear” when a singer is smiling: and these singers will be!

LVV has been a local institution for contributing to Leavenworth’s Christmas magic and will once again perform in the gazebo on the final Sunday of the Village of Lights Festival. You will also see groups of LVV carolers downtown on festival weekends to spread the Christmas spirit to one and all.

If you’ve never attended a Leavenworth Village Voices concert, don’t miss out this year. The performance is guaranteed to inspire and spread the joy of the season.

Concert dates are Dec. 5, 10, 12, 15, and 17. Visit Leavenworth VillageVoices.org for details and to purchase tickets, or get your tickets at the door.

Allison Bergstrom has been a member of the Leavenworth Village Voices since 2014.

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