November 4, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A PRIMAL HOLIDAY:
Angeles Chorale presents
PEACE! Christmas in Candlelight…
the opening concert of its 41st Season, entitled
Primal Instincts, Music of the Human Spirit
Members of the community are invited to musically experience the primal instinct and human quest to be at peace, safe, and at home with loved ones.
The program features Part One of Handel’s Messiah, plus an international array of songs and carols – some traditional, some that may be a surprise.
An audience sing-along, ‘accompanied’ by 1000 candles,
concludes the evening.
The Angeles Chorale presents
PEACE! Christmas in Candlelight
Featuring Part I of Handel’s Messiah (Christmas Portion)
Plus an array of traditional and not-so-traditional carols and songs,
with an audience sing-along
Anna Schubert, soprano
Niké St. Clair, mezzo-soprano
Timothy Gonzales, tenor
Benjamin Lowe, baritone
Julian Revie, organist
Saturday, December 12, at 7:30 p.m.
First United Methodist Church
500 East Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA. 91101
$25 if purchased in advance online
$30 at the door
LOS ANGELES, Calif. The theme for the Angeles Chorale’s 41st season is “Primal Instincts – Music of the Human Spirit.” And when artistic director John Sutton began programming the first concert of that season – which will take place on Saturday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Pasadena, California – he knew almost instantly that he would call it “PEACE!” There is, after all, no more primal instinct than the wish for peace…particularly during the holidays.
“Before you can have joy, celebration, light – all those other words that traditionally characterize the season – you’ve got to have peace,” Sutton explains.
Sutton continues: “As I look at our world, I think of how many people are walking in darkness, whether they’re refugees I read about in the news or dear friends who are in dark places. The more I thought about this, the more I was overwhelmed by what this concert could mean for all of us. This music is needed.”
“PEACE!” will open with Part I of Handel’s Messiah – a beloved masterpiece synonymous with the holidays. But what many music lovers may not know is that Messiah was a ‘messiah’ for its composer as well.
“Handel was 56 and facing bankruptcy,” Sutton relates. “But two things happened which were to change his life. First, a friend gave him a libretto based on the life of Christ. Then, almost simultaneously, he received a commission from a Dublin charity to compose a work for a benefit concert. Handel set to work and in six days composed the music we’ll perform.”
Guest artists appearing with the Angeles Chorale are: Anna Schubert, soprano; Niké St. Clair, mezzo-soprano; Timothy Gonzales, tenor; and Benjamin Lowe, baritone – all of whom are participants in Angeles Chorale’s Young Artists Initiative. Organist Julian Revie, composer-in-residence of Yale University’s Saint Thomas More Chapel, will also perform. He recently composed the music for the Communion Antiphon played while Pope Francis celebrated Mass during his visit to Philadelphia.
“The price of the ticket will be redeemed by hearing Julian and our soloists alone,” promises Rae Macdonald, Executive Director of the Chorale. “They’re truly thrilling.”
‘Joining’ the guest artists are 1000 candles – the Angeles Chorale’s way of linking singers and audience in a “primal” moment of sharing the light, of literally passing light from one to another via candles.
Candlelight will be reflected musically as well. The Chorale will perform John Rutter’s Candlelight Carol and Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque, a Latin setting of a poem by Edward Esch:
warm and heavy as pure gold
and the angels sing softly
to the newborn babe.
“You’ll sense the mystery of the season as you embark on a musical journey into the unknown,” Sutton promises. “For many of our singers, this is a new work that is becoming a favorite.”
Also on the program are such works as: Sir Christemas by Welsh composer William Matthias; Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree, by England’s Elizabeth Poston, who wrote compositions for many radio/television scores, including BBC’s “Howard’s End;” Gloria by Japanese composesr Kazuaki Ogikubo; and Andre Thomas’s arrangement of African Noel.
“I wanted to bring pieces together that were thoroughly traditional, but I also wanted to bring in a few surprises as a musical Christmas gift for the audience,” Sutton explains. “Something unexpected that they’ll fall in love with.”
And, yes, there will be a work with “peace” in the title, too – Fred Bock’s Christmas arrangement of Peace, Peace. As of this year, the arrangement has entered into its one-millionth printing since it was first published in 1969.
However, the evening’s highlight for Sutton will be the audience sing-along.
“I love how this offers us the chance to lift our spirits and voices together,” he confides.
Tickets for “PEACE! Christmas in Candlelight” are available in advance for $25/person and $30/person at the door on the day of the concert. Student tickets may be purchased for $20, with a valid ID, at the door only. Either visit Angeles Chorale at www.angeleschorale.org or call (818) 591-1735.
First United Methodist church is located at 500 East Colorado Blvd, in Pasadena, 91101.
The Angeles Chorale thanks the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for its help in supporting this performance.
ABOUT THE CHORALE
The Angeles Chorale is a 100-voice, auditioned, professional-level, volunteer choir rehearsing and performing in the Los Angeles area. Its mission is to engage, enrich and inspire its audiences, singers, and our diverse community by performing great choral music with a passionate commitment to excellence, and to increase access to and appreciation of choral music in greater Los Angeles.
The Chorale was founded in 1975 by Bill and Ada Beth Lee, who led the organization until 1987 when John Alexander assumed the mantle of Artistic Director. In 1996, Donald Neuen, Director of Choral Activities at UCLA, stepped to the podium and led the Chorale for the next thirteen years. Under his direction, the Angeles Chorale became best known for its productions of classical masterworks for chorus and orchestra. The 2014-2015 concert season, the Chorale’s 40th season and the fifth under the direction of Dr. John Sutton, will kick off with a rousing encore performance of Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass (September 13), followed by An American Christmas celebration (December 13), Dvorak’s Stabat Mater (March 29), and NEXT: A Preview of What’s To Come (June 13), featuring works by musicians ranging from Orff and Mozart to Led Zeppelin, U2 and the Beach Boys.
The Angeles Chorale has performed with many local orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, and the American Youth Symphony.
The Chorale appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2012 under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel as he conducted Mahler’s 8th Symphony, the Symphony of a Thousand, at the Shrine Auditorium. That season, the Angeles Chorale also was honored to perform with Barbra Streisand at the Hollywood Bowl and with Julie Andrews at the annual Holiday Sing-Along at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, part of the LA Philharmonic’s “Deck the Halls” concert series. In summer 2014, 30 members of the Angeles Chorale returned to the Hollywood Bowl to appear with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a performance entitled “An Evening of Chinese Splendor,” featuring Song Zuying, one of China’s most prominent and best-established artists, and pop singer Wang Leehom. Most recently the ensemble appeared with the Young Artist’s Symphony Orchestra in its inaugural performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection. The Chorale will also once again lead the LA Philharmonic’s annual Holiday Sing-Along at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on December 19, 2015.
For the past seven years, the Angeles Chorale has worked with Immediate Music, one of the largest leasing libraries for movie previews and television commercials, as well as many other similar organizations. Chorale voices can be heard in many Hollywood movie trailers, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Tangled, Meet the Parents: Little Fockers, and Prince of Persia.
ABOUT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JOHN SUTTON
John Sutton’s professional choral career spans over four decades of work in the community, church, academic, and professional settings. From major choral and instrumental works, concert and chamber choirs, to music for television and movies, John is recognized for his work with children, youth, adults, and with amateurs and professionals alike. Today is one of the most active professional conductors in the nation, conducting over 400 singers and orchestra members weekly.
As a student, Dr. Sutton has studied with some of the most distinguished conductors in the field of choral music. John holds degrees from Northwest University (B.A. in Sacred Music and Biblical Literature), San José State University where he was a student of Dr. Charlene Archibeque (MA in Choral Conducting), and the University of California at Los Angeles, where his mentoring professor was Donald Neuen (DMA in Choral Conducting). He continues to actively study with both Dr. Archibeque and Professor Neuen.
Beyond his focused choral training in the university setting, John has studied and performed with notable choral luminaries such as Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, Eric Ericson, Weston Noble, Frank Pooler, Howard Swan, Paul Salamunovich, Anton Armstrong, Eph Ely, Jerry Blackstone, and others. In addition, he has performed extensively throughout the United States and abroad in choral concert tours and recording projects which include performances at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and Constitution Hall. He has conducted international concert tours with church and university choirs thoughout Canada, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and South Korea. In 2011, Dr. Sutton led choirs on concert tours of Argentina and the Southern United States. In 2012, John prepared choirs from the United States and United Kingdom for performances at the Brittania Music festivities in Birmingham and London, England.
His enthusiasm for the choral art and his commitment to excellence has made him a popular choral clinician, festival conductor and adjudicator, leading workshops for the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association of Church Musicians, American Christian Schools International, Choristers Guild, the national Conference on Liturgy and Worship, the Mount Herman Summer Choral Camp, and many others. In January of 2010 he was the featured speaker at the National Association of Church Musicians, Mid-Winter Conference. In 2011, John was the featured clinician for the Lake Tahoe “Summer Sing,” and in June 2013, Dr. Sutton was the featured clinician and guest conductor at the Exultate Deo Choral Festival in Buenas Aires, Argentina. In 2015-’16 John will be conducting concerts, adjudicating choral festivals, and leading choral workshops throughout California, Oregon, and Washington.
Since moving to Los Angeles in 2000, John has conducted choral music heard on weekly television series, and national ad campaigns for major motion pictures such as the Harry Potter series, the Spider Man series, The Divinci Code, Fantastic Four, and countless others. In 2005, he was appointed as the Music Director/Conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s annual Christmas Holiday Sing-a-Long. His relationship with the L.A. Phil has resulted in Hollywood Bowl performances with pop singer Barry Manilow (2009), the legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone (2009), Barbara Streisand (2012), and two sold out performances with Julie Andrews (2012-13) at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. He will again be leading the L.A. Phil’s Holiday Family Sing-a-Long in December, 2015 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
2010 marked Dr. Sutton being named as the Artistic Director of the Angles Chorale, and being selected as the Azusa Pacific University (APU) nominee for the national Arlin G. Meyer Award for Outstanding Musical Performance. In May, 2014, Dr. Sutton was the inaugural recipient of the Faith & Fine Arts Award, presented by the APU’s College of Music and the Arts.
John is an Associate Professor at APU in the College of Music and the Arts, where he leads and gives vision to the entire choral program as the Director of Choral Activities. He conducts the Oratorio Choir and the University Choir and Orchestra, in addition to teaching classes in conducting, and Church Music. Dr. Sutton continues to lead and consult with the choral and worship programs at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, where he has served since Fall 2000.
John resides in Altadena, California with his wife, Dr. Cecilia Patiño-Sutton.
Publicist: Jenine Baines
Executive Director: Rae Macdonald
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