Christmas Cantata Choir director Lee Schrepel leads the group during a practice session last Saturday. 

Marcus Larson / News-Register
Christmas Cantata Choir director Lee Schrepel leads the group during a practice session last Saturday. Marcus Larson / News-Register
Kathy Bernards of the Christmas Cantata Choir sings a solo during a practice session last Saturday. 

Marcus Larson / News-Register
Kathy Bernards of the Christmas Cantata Choir sings a solo during a practice session last Saturday. Marcus Larson / News-Register
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New season, new home for Cantata Choir

By HELEN LEE

Of the News-Register

The 2015 Christmas cantata, “Hope of the Broken World,” has a title that “fits our times,” according to Director Lee Schrepel.

“As we approached this season, we were not finding something that felt right, that had all the right components for the choir this year,” said Schrepel, who’s in his 27th season as director. “So we looked back to a title we’d used in 2012.

“We felt it was such an appropriate title for all the difficult things happening around the world. And that was especially reinforced by the tragedy within the last week in Paris.”

The choir faced its own problems in the course of preparing for its upcoming performances.

Schrepel said the choir lost its usual practice space this year. It had practiced at St. John Catholic Church in Yamhill for the past 20 years, but had to seek new space elsewhere this year.

“That left a lot of people frustrated,” he said. “But we were able to find somewhere else to practice, and ended up in the cafeteria of Yamhill-Carlton High School.”

Schrepel said the move was facilitated by the Yamhill Community Action Partnership, which has been partnering with the choir since 2004. YCAP operates the regional food bank serving Yamhill County.

The choir collects monetary donations for the food bank at each of its performances.

“Moving actually worked out very well,” he said.

“Our partnership with YCAP broadened this year, because in order to rehearse in a public facility, we had to have insurance for our group.” He said YCAP officials offered to include the choir under their umbrella, “with an affiliation that allowed them to insure us through their policies.”

After rehearsing at the high school since October, the choir is ready to begin its performances in December.

Schrepel said he enjoys “seeing the way that the choir, which starts in October as a group of individuals coming from many communities, many counties and many faith backgrounds,” comes together as a “living, breathing music-making thing.”

“It’s always a surprise to see who is going to join the choir. I liken it to the opening of a Christmas gift. You get the surprise of seeing what’s inside.”

The Community Christmas Cantata Choir is slated to perform as follows this year:

1) Wednesday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m. — St. John Lutheran Church, 2142 N.E. McDonald Lane, McMinnville

2) Friday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m. — First Presbyterian Church, 390 N.E. Second St, McMinnville

3) Saturday, Dec. 5, 6 p.m. — First Baptist Church, 300 Flower Lane, Dayton

4) Sunday, Dec. 6, 4 p.m. — Christian Church, 1305 Goucher St., Amity

5) Friday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m. — Andrew Lutheran Church, 12405 S.W. Butner Road, Beaverton

6) Saturday, Dec. 12, 6 p.m. — Church of the Nazarene, 23177 Old Yamhill Road, Newberg

7) Monday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m. — Elks Lodge, 333 N.E. Evans St., McMinnville

8) Friday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m. — St. Paul Lutheran Church, 17500 S.W. Cederview Way, Sherwood

9) Sunday, Dec. 20, 4 p.m. — Joyful Servant Lutheran Church, 1716 N. Villa Road, Newberg

10) Friday, Dec. 21, 7 p.m. — St. James Catholic Church, 1145 N.E. First St., McMinnville

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