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CGOA Podcast

CGOA Podcast

Monthly news and interviews from the Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association (Oregon)
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April 2022 Podcast: RENT opens in May
This month the directors of CGOA's production of RENT join Mark for a conversation about the award-winning show. Guests are Joe Garoutte (director) and Dan Kenealy (music director). RENT opens on May 6 in the Bingen Theater. Tickets are available at
April 18, 2022
CGOA Podcast for March, 2022
We're speaking with Edie Polson, who is guest conducting the Gorge Sinfonietta in Haydn's Surprise Symphony. Edie won the chance to direct at last year's fund-raising auction. Also on the March 18/20 program is pianist Tom Grant, making his orchestra debut, and the Schubert Unfinished Symphony. The concerts are in the Gorge Room at the Best Western Hood River Inn. Tickets at
March 13, 2022
Special Episode! Finding Bigfoot's Cliff Barackman
In preparation for our November Sinfonietta premiere of A SASQUATCH PORTRAIT, Mark talks to Discovery Channel's Finding Bigfoot co-star Cliff Barackman--not just about Sasquatch, but music, too! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @gorgeorchestra. Tickets and concert information at Check out Cliff's museum in Boring, OR, the North American Bigfoot Center at  Have YOU had an encounter with Sasquatch? Tell us about it!
October 23, 2021
July 2021 Classical Rock Violinist Aaron Meyer
Aaron Meyer talks to Mark about his upcoming concert with the Gorge Sinfonietta on July 17, 2021. Information at
July 12, 2021
Season 2, Episode 8: Fantastick Corin
Michele chats with Corin Parker, director of CGOA Stages' new streaming production of THE FANTASTICKS.
April 06, 2021
Season 2, Episode 7: Tom Grant
Pianist Tom Grant has been a Portland jazz piano staple for decades, and CGOA is thrilled that he sat down to talk to us about his career and music making during the pandemic. Tom is appearing during our first-ever online auction, "The Show Must Go On," April 8-11. You can get a preview of our dozens of items up for bid at  Music this month: Angel's Crossing by Tom Grant.
March 17, 2021
Season 2, Episode 6: Aaron Eckert Knows Trombone
We're changing up the format, faithful listeners. Look for podcasts whenever we have a special guest or event coming up. This time, Mark sits down with Aaron Eckert, formerly of the CGOA Jazz Collective, now with the US Army Blues Jazz Band. Aaron is an amazing musician and his arrangement of "There is No Greater Love" will be performed by the Collective as part of CGOA's upcoming online auction April 8-11. 
February 28, 2021
Season 2, Episode 5: Happy New Year!!
Cohosts Elaine and Michele catch us up on CGOA News, and Mark talks at length with long-time CGOA fan, supporter, sometime performer and donor Dr Tina Castanares, who has just commissioned a new choral and orchestra work based on Joy Harjo's poem, Remember. 
January 20, 2021
Season 2, Episode 4: Special Holiday Spectacular Episode
We mix things up for December! Michele welcomes CGOA president elect Elaine Thompson as this month's co-host. Mark interviews some of the stars of the Stay-at-Home Holiday Musical Spectacular, now showing on YouTube (tickets at, including Larry Wyatt (from the Hapa Hillbillies), Loop Ninja Tony Smiley and singer Bre Gregg. 
December 15, 2020
Season 2, Ep 3: Kirsten the Concertmistress!
On this episode we meet and chat with Kirsten Norvell, longtime concertmistress of the Sinfonietta. Plus, the Stay at Home Holiday Spectacular.
November 11, 2020
S2 E 2: Tish Hinojosa
On this episode we welcome a singer/songwriter, a recording artist with 17 albums to her credit, a passionate activist and superstar in Korea!, Tish Hinojosa. Tish will be appearing soon with the Sinfonietta in a new virtual performance. Plus, all about CGOA's grants with Kathryn McElwee and bad music jokes. 
October 14, 2020
Season Two, Ep 1: The Return of Sam Baker!
Season Two kicks off with an interview with the legendary singer/songwriter Sam Baker, who has just collaborated with CGOA on a new virtual performance. Plus, Michele's vacation, Mark's suspiciously tall tale of bird rehab, and info about the CGOAcademy. With Mark Steighner and Michele Firsching. or join our Patreon at
September 14, 2020
Episode 11: The Yearbook Edition
Remember when you got your high school yearbook signed by all your friends? That's kind of what this episode is. Mark and Michele recap the season and lots of folks send audio and text messages. It's just like your yearbook, minus the boring parts and kids you didn't like.
June 01, 2020
Episode 10: CGOA's Epic Song Cast Podcast
It's our biggest episode of all time. Interviews with Gorge musical legend Alonzo Garbanzo (Dennis Castanares), Mamma Mia star and Open Mic Diva Lesley Saunders, plus current and upcoming CGOA Presidents Ed Price and Hugh Amick talk about post-pandemic plans for CGOA. Plus, ALL the songs on this episode are new and include Carried Away, How Does, Road Song, and The Plague Years, all with Lyrics by M. Steighner and Music by Dennis Castanares (and performed by Dennis), plus Self-Inflicted Wound and Around Again, with music and lyrics by M Steighner, performed by Michele Firsching.  Check out Alonzo Garbanzo's 500+ videos on YouTube!  Check out Lesley's All Love Open Mic on Facebook.
April 30, 2020
Episode 9: April Foolin' Around
This month, we've got interviews with three musical superstars: famed Maestro Salvatore Da Winci, soprano Giselle Swanhilde, and American composer Holden Kaulfield. 
March 22, 2020
Episode 8: A Little Late but Worth the Wait!
This month we have an extended round table interview with the cast of WEST SIDE STORY! Plus news, and Michele tries to explain just what a production coordinator does. Be sure to stick around for the ending, and the premiere of Michele's new dance floor hit. Tickets and information at
March 04, 2020
Episode 7: Winds, Wires and Floating Worlds, Oh My!
Buckle up! February and March are jam-packed with performances you don't want to miss. This month we have the WORLD PREMIERE of a new radio dramedy about the composers Brahms and Bruckner (starring Tom Burns and Richard Withers), plus an interview with saxophone virtuoso Erik Steighner, who will be returning to the Gorge to play with the Sinfonietta on February 28/March 1. Plus West Side Story 10 Ten Trivia and a CONTEST. Comments? Write us at
January 31, 2020
Episode 6: Calm Before the Storm
This month's episode is short and sweet as we prepare for a very busy February and March. Michele chats with choreographer and dance teacher Susan Sorensen about West Side Story and we have our first Top Ten list. Plus news, the contest, Chill Chamber Music and "Mark's Classroom." Send ideas for future episodes to: 
December 27, 2019
Episode 5: Sam Baker's The Go in Peace Symphony and Other Presents Under the Tree
It's our biggest show ever, including a very special interview with Sam Baker about his upcoming appearance with the Sinfonietta, plus we talk to Voci member and early music devotee Brian Litt about our newest ensemble, Canticum. We talk holiday music, and some new trends in symphony concert etiquette. Weigh in at and you might win our limited edition CGOA t-shirt. Tickets and more at Listen to Sam Baker with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air here (
November 27, 2019
Episode 4: Jazz Rocks (and so do music educators)!
This month, interviews with music educators and CGOA performers Corin Parker (director of the CGOA Youth Chorus) and Dan Kenealy (Hood River Valley HS). We learn why jazz rocks, what Clint Eastwood has to do with the podcast and there's A NEW NAME THAT TUNE CONTEST. Find out what's coming up at!
October 31, 2019
Episode 3: October is Crazy Busy
We've got a very full month of performances, including MURDER BALLAD opening October 3, a special celebration at the Hood River County History Museum on October 9, and the WORLD TOUR concerts with Sinfonietta. Special guests on this episode are Jim Garrett (Principal viola) and Erica Roulier, who has helped create our new exhibit at the museum. Oh, and a NEW CONTEST! Tickets and info at
September 28, 2019
Episode 2: Murder Ballad Bonus
CGOA Stages presents MURDER BALLAD, a rock musical written in 2012 by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash. It opens on October 3 at the River City Saloon. This special podcast episode includes an extended interview with the composer, and a roundtable discussion with the cast. Plus, clips of the songs! Tickets available at
September 19, 2019
September Podcast
Welcome! This month we focus on the Last Chance Dance (September 28) with an interview with Jazz Collective drummer Mike Grodner. Plus a little information about Stages' MURDER BALLAD and Emily Vawter talks about becoming a CGOA volunteer. Ticket and season info at
September 03, 2019