The Columbia Chorale was formally organized in 1983 by Patsy Ford and Chris Jeffris, and directed by Dick Lapo, then professor of music at Wenatchee Valley College. In its early years the group of about 30 singers was affiliated with the North Central Washington Museum and held 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 70 singers who perform three completely different concert repertoires each year as well as appearing at various community functions such as Festival of Trees, Leavenworth Choral Festival, and fund-raising events for organizations such as Spurs & Spokes, Mobile Meals and the Wenatchee Valley College Foundation.
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 Glorias, 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.
Dr. Hibbett, a native of Kansas, has maintained a dedicated career in music education, church music, and performance for over 30 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 30 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 seventeenth season as conductor of the Columbia Chorale!
ACCOMPANIST & COMPOSER
Ron Lodge, Accompanist, born and raised in Wenatchee, has spent most of his life accompanying school and church choirs, soloists and ensembles. He accompanied the Whitman School boys choir under Dan Morgan, the Orchard Junior High choir under Earnest Featherkile, and participated in the outstanding choral programs at Wenatchee High School and Wenatchee Valley College. Ron studied piano with Pauline Lieb and Joy Henderson in Wenatchee, and with Gwendolyn Harper at Eastern Washington University. He is currently staff Organist & Accompanist at Eastmont Presbyterian Church, and also accompanies students and choirs at Cascade High School.
Affiliated with the Columbia Chorale since 1985 as a choir member, soloist, music composer and arranger, board member, board president and program editor, Ron became the Chorale's accompanist in the fall of 2001. He continues to compose choral works specifically for the Chorale. Ron and his wife Jeanne have three children and own a security business in Wenatchee.