The Columbia Chorale began in the late 1970’s as a group of singers from the community gathered together by Patsy Ford and Chris Jeffris and directed by Dick Lapo, then professor of music at Wenatchee Valley College, to perform Handel’s Messiah. In 1983 it was formally organized as the Columbia Chorale under the direction of Mr. Lapo. In its early years the group of about 30 singers was affiliated with the North Central Washington Museum and held its concerts there. Mr. Lapo was joined and then succeeded as director by Brad Miller. Other former directors include Dan Jackson and Dr. Margaret Licon. Dr. Mike Hibbett was appointed director in 1999. Under his leadership the group has grown to a membership of more than 75 singers who perform three completely different concert repertoires each year and have appeared at various community functions such as Festival of Trees, Leavenworth Choral Festival, and fund-raising events for Spurs & Spokes, Mobile Meals and the Wenatchee Valley College Foundation. The Chorale is in its 37th season this year.
The Columbia Chorale has performed major works including Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Karl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah and John Rutter’s Magnificat with the Wenatchee Valley Symphony. They have also performed the Rutter and Poulenc Gloria’s, Haydn’s Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Mass in C and Solemn Vespers, and requiem masses by Schubert, Fauré, and Rutter, all with orchestras comprised of musicians from the greater Wenatchee area.
The Chorale enjoys presenting a variety of musical styles including American & European folk and classical, opera choruses, broadway and musical theater, spirituals and even occasionally jazz! They have performed two complete concerts of the music of Gilbert & Sullivan.
Dr. Mike Hibbett, Director
Dr. Hibbett, a native of Kansas, has maintained a dedicated career in music education, church music, and performance for over 35 years. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education degree from Seattle Pacific University and earned a Master of Music Education degree from Wichita State University where he studied with René Clausen (director of the Concordia Choir from Moorhead, Minnesota). In 1989 he received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, studying with Dr. Eph Ehly. Dr. Hibbett was the Assistant Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony Chorus from 1987-1988 and has taught choral and vocal music at the college level for five years. He has been conducting college, church, and community choirs for 35 years. Dr. Hibbett and his wife, Terri, have two daughters. He is the owner of a piano tuning business in the Wenatchee area and has taught music part-time at Wenatchee Valley College. This is his twenty-first season as conductor of the Columbia Chorale.