Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), one of the world’s leading children’s choirs, celebrates the holidays with its annual Winter Concert, entitled “Winter Wonderland: Sounds of the Season,” which marks the first stand-alone program led by the Chorus’ new Artistic Director, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, on two consecutive Sundays, December 9 and 16, 2018, at 7:30 pm, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. Some 250 choristers are featured in the multi-media vocal program, which is geared for people of all ages and includes an array of favorite carols, seasonal songs from Venezuela and winter-themed works by Bach, Kodály, Elgar, Verdi, Saint-Saëns and others.
“A true communal event, LACC’s Winter Concert is a wonderful time for people of all backgrounds to come together and experience the harmony and joy of hearing children’s voices raised in song,” says Malvar-Ruiz. “I am delighted that this seasonal offering will be my first public concert conducting LACC.” (Earlier this season, he prepped the Chorus for performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and LA Opera.) Malvar-Ruiz notes that this will also be the first performance by LACC’s new SATB Choir (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), the mixed-voice ensemble he established in August.
The program includes five sections, each based on a different holiday theme and introduced by a single a cappella voice. Among the works featured are Elgar’s evocative The Snow, with lyrics by his wife, Caroline Alice Elgar; Kodály’s Stabat Mater for male voices and Mountain Nights, a wordless piece that uses vocalizations to emulate the sounds of nature and expressed the composer’s deep love of the outdoors; Bach’s cantata Sleepers Awake and the inventive Domine Deus from Mass in G; and Hope for Resolution, composed by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory in 1994 to celebrate the end of Apartheid and the beginning of reconciliation in South Africa, which remains particularly poignant today.
Malvar-Ruiz has also programmed a selection of holiday music from Venezuela, where he spent his early childhood, and such beloved carols as Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls and Ding Dong, Merrily on High. Featured as well are L’Dor vador by former cantor Meir Finkelstein; Tervetuloa, a Finnish welcome song; Vera Kistler’s setting of Robert Frost’s poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening; Donald Fraser’s This Christmastide (Jessye’s Carol) composed for legendary soprano Jessye Norman; and Sníh-Snow by Czech composer Petr Eben. The Chorus also performs Britten’s New Year’s Carol; Three Moravian Carols set to Czech folk melodies by Phyllis Tate; Elaine Hagenberg’s As the Rain Hides the Stars; Barber’s Sure on this Shining Night; Verdi’s luminous Laudi Alla Vergine Maria, based on a prayer from Dante’s Paradiso; Joseph Martin’s richly expressive Sing Your Way Home; and Tollite Hostias (Praise Ye the Lord of Hosts) from Saint-Saëns’ “Christmas Oratorio.”
Malvar-Ruiz conducts LACC’s Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and SATB Choir. Associate Artistic Director Mandy Brigham leads the Intermediate Choir, Diana Landis leads the Apprentice Choir, and Dr. Steven Kronauer conducts the Young Men’s Ensemble. The choirs perform separately and combined.
Tickets to LACC’s Winter Concert $27, $40 and $46; children 17 and under are half price. For tickets and information, visit www.lachildrenschorus.org or call (626) 793-4231. Pasadena Presbyterian Church is located at 585 East Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101.
LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS (LACC), widely recognized for its agile bel canto sound and artistic excellence, has been lauded as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), “astonishingly polished” (Performances Magazine) and “one of the world’s foremost children’s choirs” (Pasadena Star News). Founded in 1986 and led by Artistic Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, who began his tenure in August 2018, LACC presents its own concerts and regularly performs with such organizations as LA Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Master Chorale and Jacaranda, among others. The Chorus serves 400 children ages 6 to 18 in seven choirs – Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Mixed Chamber Choir, Young Men’s Ensemble, Intermediate Choir, Apprentice Choir and Preparatory Choir – and a First Experiences in Singing program and First Experiences in Choral Singing Ensemble for 6-8-year-olds. LACC, recipient of Chorus America’s 2014 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, tours internationally, is the subject of three documentaries and has appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” PBS’s “Great Performances,” BBC Radio, Public Radio International’s “From the Top” and is featured on John Williams’ latest recording, John Williams & Steven Spielberg: The Ultimate Collection. www.lachildrenschorus.org.
FERNANDO MALVAR-RUIZ, internationally regarded choral conductor, clinician and educator, is the Artistic Director of Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. He has worked with children’s and youth choirs his entire career. From 2004 to July 2017, Malvar-Ruiz was the Music Director of The American Boychoir, leading some 150 performances and up to five national and international tours annually. He prepared the choir for appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra, among others, working with such conductors as Marin Alsop, Pierre Boulez, Charles Dutoit, Michael Tilson Thomas and Valery Gergiev and artists ranging from cellist Yo-Yo Ma, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and pop legends Beyoncé Knowles, Sir Paul McCartney and Josh Groban to opera singers Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman. He also conducted the choir on six recordings, led its performances on the Academy Awards and a 9/11 Memorial Service, broadcast globally on CNN and was the music director on the film “Boychoir.” Malvar-Ruiz previously served as The American Boychoir’s Associate Music Director from 2000-2004 under James Litton. An expert in the adolescent male evolving voice, Malvar-Ruiz has guest conducted children’s and youth choirs around the globe. He has a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Ohio State University and completed the coursework toward a doctoral degree in from the University of Illinois.
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus
Winter Concert – “Winter Wonderland: Sounds of the Season”
Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, Conductor/Concert Choir/Chamber Singers/SATB Choir
Mandy Brigham, Conductor/Intermediate Choir
Diana Landis, Conductor/Apprentice Choir
Dr. Steven Kronauer, Conductor/Young Men’s Ensemble
David Scheidemantle, violin
Cheryl Scheidemantle, violin
Natalie Boberg, violin
Catherine Karoly, flute
William Schmidt, organ
ELGAR The Snow
KODÁLY Stabat Mater
KODÁLY Mountain Nights
BACH Sleepers Awake
BACH Domine Deus from Mass in G
PAUL CALDWELL & SEAN IVORY Hope for Resolution
MEIR FINKELSTEIN L’Dor vador
traditional Finnish folksong Tervetuloa
VERA KISTLER Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
PETR EBEN Sníh-Snow
BRITTEN New Year’s Carol
PHYLLIS TATE Three Moravian Carols
ELAINE HAGENBERG As the Rain Hides the Stars
BARBER Sure on this Shining Night
VERDI Laudi Alla Vergine Maria
JOSEPH MARTIN Sing Your Way Home
SAINT-SAËNS Tollite Hostias (Praise Ye the Lord of Hosts)
DONALD FRASER This Christmastide
+ a selection of holiday music from Venezuela, favorite Christmas Carols and other works to be announced
Sunday, December 9, 2018, 7:30 pm (Concert Choir, Intermediate Choir, Young Men’s Ensemble, SATB Choir)
Sunday, December 16, 2018, 7:30 pm (Concert Choir, Apprentice Choir, Chamber Singers, SATB Choir)
Pasadena Presbyterian Church
585 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101
$27, $40, $46; (half-price for students 17 and under)