Choral Concerts Kick off the Season
By BERNICE FOX
The first weekend in December kicks off the holiday season for choral music. Choirs that have been rehearsing all fall are ready to spread musical joy starting this weekend. Several of these choirs have connections to Pacific Palisades.
Angel City Chorale
The Angel City Chorale, with seven Palisadians among its 160 singers, continues its 25th anniversary celebration with a performance called “Silver and Gold: A Holiday Concert and Sing-Along.” They’ll be singing some of their favorite tunes from previous holiday concerts. Included are Christmas songs from the classical world, as well as from pop, gospel and R&B. Hanukkah songs are included in this holiday mix, including one composed by the chorale’s founder, Sue Fink.
As it does each year, the Angel City Chorale performs a holiday concert on both the first Saturday and Sunday night in December. The concerts are at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in the mid-Wilshire district. But most likely because of their appearances a few months ago on “America’s Got Talent,” both nights already are sold out. So, tickets are on sale now at www.ACC25.com for an unprecedented third holiday concert. This one is Wednesday evening, December 12 at The Novo in the L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles.
First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica Choir
At about 50 voices, the choir performing Sunday night, December 2 at the First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica may be much smaller than the Angel City Chorale, but it has plenty of heart and loads of musical talent. Five singers are Palisadians–and a sixth has a special link to the Palisades. The choir is a combination of the weekly church choir with about 20 additional singers selected by church conductor James Smith. Many sang with Dr. Smith at Santa Monica College when he was chairman of the music department.
The December 2 holiday concert includes the world premiere of two gorgeous Christmas pieces for choir and orchestra – Yuletide Gloria and Magnificat — composed by the singer with that special link to the Palisades. A retired math and technology teacher with a strong background in music, Michael McClish sings in both the Santa Monica church choir and the High Holy Days choir at Kehillat Israel in the Palisades. Prior to that, McClish regularly sang at the Methodist and Presbyterian churches in the Palisades.
In addition to these two world premiere pieces, Sunday’s concert includes handbell ringers, a rousing portion of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, a moving segment of Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and several sing-along Christmas carols.
Sunday’s concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica, 1008 11th Street, Santa Monica. Suggested donation is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and for children under 12.
The Brentwood-Palisades Chorale serves up Alexander’s Feast by George Frideric Handel on Sunday, December 2. Not a Christmas piece, it still is musically rich as it tells the story of Alexander the Great after he conquers the city of Persepolis in Persia. Handel composed this piece before writing The Messiah.
As always, the Brentwood-Palisades Chorale performs with the Palisades Symphony Orchestra. Sunday’s free performance is at 7:30 p.m. at Community United Methodist Church, 801 Via de la Paz, Pacific Palisades.
For more information, see “Concert on December 2” posted on Circling the News a few stories back on November 29.