Category Archives: Member Spotlight

At Camas UMC many of our members are deeply engaged in the good work of the community.

Member Spotlight: Jonathan Liao

We are a Christian organization deeply rooted in the community, and we are so happy to promote and celebrate the accomplishments of those we know and love. As such we want to offer our ongoing encouragement and warmest congratulations to our own Jonathan Liao.

Mr. Jonathan Liao will perform with the Oregon Sinfonietta on May 15th.

Jonathan Liao performs May 15 at 3pm with the Oregon Sinfonietta.
Jonathan Liao performs May 15 at 3pm with the Oregon Sinfonietta. See the concert flyer for more details.

Mr. Liao is an engineering student at the University of Portland and an award winning pianist. As a senior at Camas High School he was the WMEA (Washington Music Educators Association) 2014 Regional’s Competition Winner, and in May 2014 was invited to play as one of the ‘Ten Grands‘ piano soloists in Benaroya Hall, Seattle.

This year, as the 2015 Chamber Music Society of Oregon Concerto Competition Winner, and will perform Mozart Piano Concerto no. 24 with the Oregon Sinfonietta on May 15, 2016. A flyer for the concert can be viewed here.

Jonathan shared his thoughts with us regarding his upcoming Chamber concert: “Music transcends all forms of language and expression. It’s not something that can be described or easily understood. Music is something where creativity can be readily applied and tested. But it’s also a chance to demonstrate discipline and patience. My goal is pretty basic; it’s to share my music and talent with others. But I especially look forward to sending a message to my own generation: I’ve noticed that fewer and less of my peers study music or take it seriously. I hope that as an engineering and computer science student, my dedication to my performances shows the potential that music has to offer.”

The CMSO is a non-profit organization that is devoted to promoting musical opportunities for persons of all ages. The Oregon Sinfonietta is a full symphony orchestra of community musicians, conducted by Dr. Donald L. Appert. The Orchestra presents a series of four free concerts each season. The Oregon Sinfonietta traditionally offers a superb selection of classical music, as well as outstanding performances by young musicians, winners of the yearly CMSO Concerto Competition in performances of full concertos, and world-class soloists.

In addition to his musical excellence, Jonathan Liao is an accomplished science and engineering student who has interned at HP and Siegner and Company. He also gives back to the community. His volunteer efforts include working to relieve homelessness and hunger. He in an Eagle Scout and has donated time and energy at the Camas Church assisting with building repair and sharing his talents at the piano during worship.

A Grazioso Duo Halloween

What a joy it is to begin something new!

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Tatiana Kolchanova and Nilda Curtis are the Grazioso Duo, Spring 2015

This last Spring we welcomed Tatiana Kolchanova into our church. Tatiana Kolchanova is a world class violinist and pianist who teaches locally at the Music and Arts Academy in Camas. She is the conductor and leader of the Camas Washougal Community Orchestra that meets at the church, and she and her Grazioso Duo partner Nilda Curtis have now preformed for two Benefit Concerts at the church, one last spring and one for Halloween!

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We want to say Thank you!! Both concerts have been absolutely amazing, (And thank you to Kennedy Violins who sponsored both concerts!) Our October 24th concert filled the church with not just beauty, but also a spooky playfulness.

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For this last concert,  our own Tatiana Kolchanova and her musical partner Nilda Curtis were joined by Marc Bescond, who plays upright bass for the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra. Music included the goosebump-inducing ‘Dance Macabre’ by Saint-Saens,

Primarily, however, the concert was about playfulness and fun. The Duo opened the concert with Aaron Copland’s ‘Hoe Down’ for which they donned cowboy hats. For Bescond’s part of the fun he strode out into the sanctuary dressed as a pirate with big black boots and proceeded to bring the sounds of shipboard to the listeners, expertly plying bow and plucking strings to imitate sea gulls, the whistling wind, and the creaking of a great mast.

The concert was very well received and the generosity of Kennedy Violins who sponsored the event means that all donations will go toward youth and family ministries.  What layers of blessing on blessing!

Trail Blazin’ … Part I

Trail Blazin’ … Part I
by Gary Carter

While the covered wagon was a big ol’ SUV, the trek along the Oregon Trail was just as rustic and filled with excitement and promise as that of the pioneers.

My little family and I packed up all our belongings, sold our home in Texas and gave away just about everything we couldn’t carry, and came to live among the evergreens of the Pacific Northwest during the summer of 2015.

“Come to the Northwest,” they said, “where the summers are cool and it rains.” Well, that was enticing enough as we in North Texas had just begun the tenth summer of a desperate drought where 110 degree days and 90 degree nights were the norm. I mean, it was so dry, cats coughed dustballs and tumbleweeds were too crackly to tumble.

For my little family, my wife Jan and two sons Bobby and Will, the move was highly anticipated as it was our first foray out of the confines of North Texas other than travel. We all suffered from wanderlust, to be sure, having visited all but a handful of these United States and Canada and such. But putting down roots, that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.

Surprisingly, just after settling in the fine city of Camas, I instructed my youngin’s to “blend in.” Well, ya’ll are fixin’ to be surprised, but I believe our Texas accents gave us away. Everywhere. From the checker at Wal-Mart to the folks at the Water Department.

“You’re not from around here, are you?”

From what I gather, we’re not alone in that category in Camas. Seems the school district is bustin’ at the seams. There seems to be traffic congestion where there was nary a car back in the day. But like I keep saying, if you’ve got something good, people wanna share it.

Weeks before we settled on moving to Camas and putting down roots, it was a tweet I noticed by a local pastor at the Methodist Church. It was slightly political, and 100 percent genuine. There was thought and care put into what this woman was writing, and I was immediately drawn to her other writings. That drew me into Camas United Methodist Church and I knew my family would have to seek it out once we moved. Just a day after our covered wagon pulled into town, we were at a Sunday service listening to Pastor Richenda Fairhurst hold court.

The smiling faces and welcoming vibe was overwhelming. We had not felt that loving embrace in a long time. And for our family, it was time. We were transitioning to another chapter in our lives, after a time of difficult goodbyes and howdy-don’ts. We were looking for fertile ground for thought, for love, for inclusion, and for opportunity. My children sought more comfortable confines, pleasant scenery, and a wonderful sense of place. Me? I was seeking a home.

—- to be continued

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Family makes a difference

The Maas family is making a difference.

On this page we want to send love, prayer, and a shout out to a special family! Thank you to the Maas family, who has met struggle in the world with forthrightness, honesty, advocacy, and love.

Learn about their story in this video produced by the American Diabetes Association:

Every year the Maas family works to advocate for Diabetes awareness. Their advocacy has taken them to Olympia and Washington D.C., where last year they met with U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.

Maas TdC23While they didn’t ride bicycles all the way to the White House, they have ridden literally 100s of miles as participants in events like Tour de Cure, an awareness and fund raising event for the American Diabetes Association.

July 25th 2015 is the annual ADA event, and once again the Maas family will participate. Brad Maas, who is a pilot, has pledged to ride 104 miles, and the whole family will be part of the effort. Even as I write this and notice the sunny day, I am wondering if Brad is even now on the road getting in the practice he needs for that 100 mile ride!

The family has their own team and web page promoting the July 25th Event. The team is called ‘Paige’s Pilots,’ and anyone wishing to support the family should click over to that page to get more information. Paige Maas also has her own fundraising page–Paige Maas’ Page–centered on the event,

More information in general can be found online at the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure website.

When: July 25, 2015
Where: AmberGlen Park
Address: 20025 NW Gibbs Drive, Hillsboro, Oregon, 97006

Registration Fee: $25.00 + a Fundraising Minimum
Route Distances: 5/10M, 29M, 49M, 69M, 104M

Maas First TdC22You can support this family with a contribution of love. Add the Maas family to your prayers, and all of those who turn trial into advocacy and effort. Prayers for those who deal with Diabetes and its real effects every day.  Let us as a church family surround this family with love, that we may reflect for them great gratitude for the good work that they do, and that they may know through our care the loving touch of God.