By BERNICE FOX
‘Tis the season for warm gatherings with family and friends, the annual Ho!Ho!Ho! and – wait for it – choral concerts!
There are three concerts of note this weekend with choir and orchestra. All of these choirs have singers who live in Pacific Palisades.
AN EVENING OF CAROLS
Sunday, December 8
First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica
1008 11th Street, Santa Monica
This concert is a mix of short joyous classical pieces and carols – both unusual and familiar. For some of the well-known carols, the audience will get the nod to sing along.
Franz Schubert’s “Magnificat,” Gerald Finzi’s “In Terra Pax” and Ludwig von Beethoven’s (not George Frideric Handel’s) “Hallelujah Chorus” set the upbeat mood. The carol segment will include interludes with handbells, played by musician-students from Mark Twain Middle School from Venice.
Former chairman of the Santa Monica College music department, Dr. James Smith, is the church’s music director. For this annual holiday concert – as well as for the annual spring concert — Smith supplements the church’s Chancel Choir with about 20 guest singers.
Suggested donation at the door is $20, seniors and children under 12, $10. A reception will follow the concert in Simkins Hall. (Visit: https://santamonicaumc.org/music-events/)
Sunday, December 8
Community Methodist Church
801 Via de la Paz, Pacific Palisades
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, serious? His piece, “The Impresario” is not serious at all. It pokes fun at the stuffiness of some classical music and those who perform it. The concert, which features the Brentwood-Palisades Chorale, includes the overture to this comic composition.
From the humorous to the sacred, the chorale and orchestra perform Mozart’s “Coronation Mass.” Mozart actually wrote this mass for Easter. But it gained its title because it also was performed at a coronation. As would be fitting for a celebration, the music is jubilant.
Also in this program is Mozart’s well-known “Symphony No. 40 in G.” This “where have I heard that before?” piece often is used in films.
The Chorale is under the direction of Susan S. Rosenstein; the orchestra is conducted by Joel Lish. Featured singers include Mariana Ramirez (soprano), Nandani Sinha (mezzo-soprano), Elias Berezin (tenor) and Eric Castro (bass).
The concert is free and there is open seating. (visit: https://www.palisadessymphony.org/Concert20191208.htm)
STARRY STARRY NIGHT
Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8
Immanuel Presbyterian Church
3300 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Palisadians are scattered among Angel City Chorale, a 180-voice choir, which has been popular though the years, but skyrocketed when they competed last year on “America’s Got Talent.”
This weekend’s concerts on both Saturday and Sunday include holiday songs from movies, such as “Home Alone,” “The Preacher’s Wife” and “The Prince of Egypt,” as well as a medley of classics from films of the 1940s and 1950s.
The chorale will perform a Christmas song in Swahili, one in Spanish and an Antonio Vivaldi piece in Latin. They’ll also sing Leonard Bernstein’s stirring “Hine Ma Tov,” a song in Hebrew of peace from his Chichester Psalms.
Carols are part of this concert as well. And the audience is invited to sing along.
The Angel City Chorale is conducted by Sue Fink, who founded the choral group in 1993.
Saturday’s concert, which is nearly sold out as of this writing, includes a youth choir. Check the website for ticket availability. Tickets range from $35 for seniors to $90 for a VIP reserved seat. (Visit: https://angelcitychorale.org/starry-starry-night/