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Future of tradition unclear as director and longtime Molalla High School choir teacher Tim Friesen announces retirement

PMG FILE PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - The 2017 Molalla Singing Christmas Tree, pictured heree, had an under the sea theme. THis year, 2019, will be Director Tim Friesen's final show.

Molalla's Singing Christmas Tree is always something special, but for a couple of reasons, this year's is expected to be especially special.

First of all, the Tree has hit its silver anniversary and secondly, Tim Friesen, the Tree's longtime director and Molalla High School choir teacher, is saying farewell. He will retire from teaching in June.

"It's so awesome to have a job that I love to go to when I roll out of bed each morning," Friesen said, "and that's what teaching has been for me. But after 30 years, I'm looking forward to new adventures that have opened up for me with the travel company my brother owns. It's been a summer 'gig' for me since 2004, but now I'll have the opportunity to do it year-round and work side-by-side with him and my wife."

With Friesen's departure, the future of the Singing Christmas Tree is uncertain. That is, this year could be the last chance to experience it in Molalla.

"We don't know if this will be THE final Singing Christmas Tree," Friesen said, "but we know it's my final one. I'm excited to see all of my students excel on stage, and hope the community will come out one last time to support that great music that I've been honored to be a part of for the past three decades."

To all the singers, musicians and supporters over the years, Friesen offers these departing words.

"I would remind them that singing is just the conduit to something much more valuable…relationships," Friesen said. "When you sing in a choir, much like when you play on an athletic team, the bonds you build can be lifelong. It's a trite statement, but it truly feels like a family each day when you go into rehearsal. The festivals we attend, the concerts we perform, the tours we have had the honor of going on, all work towards building phenomenal relationships amongst one another."

The 25th Molalla Singing Christmas Tree finds Tiny Tim as a teenager in 1870s London, and that's about all Friesen wanted to say without spoiling the show.

There are still plenty of good seats available at the Molalla High School auditorium, especially for opening night, Thursday, Dec. 12. The show runs Dec. 12, 13 and 14 with performances at 7 p.m. On Dec. 14, there's also a 1 p.m. matinee.

Tickets are $10 and are available at eventgroove.com by clicking on "Oregon" and selecting the "2019 Molalla High School Singing Christmas Tree." For information, call 503-829-SING (7564).


Kristen Wohlers
Reporter
503-263-7512
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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