Contact: Allison Griffin
Public Relations Associate

November 13, 2006



Portland, Ore. … The Oregon Symphony’s performance of Gospel Christmas will return for its eighth year of expressive, soul-stirring Christmas music in gospel style on December 8, 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

The performance features the soulful harmonies and contemporary rhythms of the Northwest Gospel Choir, a group of more than 100 singers from more than 30 of the Portland area’s gospel choirs. Conductor and arranger Charles Floyd will return to lead the Symphony. A nationally known conductor, Floyd has led more than 500 orchestras since 1991, including the San Francisco, Atlanta and Houston Symphony Orchestras. His eleven-year partnership with Natalie Cole included the multiple Grammy Award-winning tribute to Nat King Cole entitled “Unforgettable, With Love.” His conducting appearances have included the annual “Gospel Night at Pops” at Boston’s Symphony Hall and Esplanade Pavilion and a PBS telecast of “Evening at Pops,” featuring Patti LaBelle and Edwin Hawkins in a program of gospel music.

The choir is directed by Gary Hemenway, pastor of Journey Church in Walla Walla, Wash. Rehearsals take place three months prior to the performances and occur each weekend.

“These choir members, soloists and musicians are people who love to sing and proclaim the Good News through the medium of gospel music,” said Choir Coordinator Dorothy L. Davis.

This year’s program will feature guest ensemble Derrick McDuffey & Chosen Generation performing “King of Glory” and “Don’t Forget the Baby.” Under the
direction of Minister McDuffey, Chosen Generation has been performing for almost a decade. Hailing from Mississippi, the group blends a large portion of traditional and East Coast gospel ensemble with a West Coast mass choir feel.

The concert will also include arrangements including “Tell It On the Mountain,” “Let Us Adore Him” and “The First Noel.”

Tickets are $25 to $73 and may be purchased at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office, located at 923 S.W. Washington. Ticket office hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can be charged by phone at (503) 228-1353 or (800) 228-7343, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets or by calling (503) 224-4400. Discounted tickets for groups of eight or more are available through the group sales hotline at (503) 416-6380.

Media support is provided by KINK fm102 and Portland Tribune.

Images and guest artist bios are available at

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