Author Archives: MaryClare Martin

Hartnell Community Choir at Church of the Wayfarer

On June 10, Church of the Wayfarer in Carmel was the acoustically lovely setting for the Hartnell Community Choir’s ambitious program under the direction of Robin McKee Williams. This small but mighty vocal ensemble continues to prove its vocal chops with challenging music more often programmed with larger groups. The richness of sound and blend with string instruments, piano and flute was more than evident. Four guest vocalists began the program featuring arias and art songs from a variety of composers. Gabriel Faure’s En Sourdine, featuring Kirl Havezov, baritone, set a peaceful feeling that evolved into “the nightingale” singing as the “voice of our despair.” Anna Yelizarova, mezzo-soprano, followed with a most confident, and wide vocal range, Amour from the second act of Camille Saint-Saens “Sampson and Delila.” What may appear as a love song and enticement for Sampson to go to Delila, is actually a song of vengeance with a wish for the god of love to “pour poison in his heart.” Veronica Jensen, mezzo-soprano, displayed a very flirty and strong Carmen from the moment she walked on. There was no doubt as to what was on Carmen’s mind. In Nemico della patria, from Umberto Giordano’s “Andrea Chenier”, Krassen Karagiozov, baritone, sang of being the “Enemy of the Fatherland.” Strength of conviction and emotion was consistent throughout the aria finishing with “the only truth is passion.” The piano mastery of Marina Thomas underpinning these strong soloists goes without saying. It was as if Thomas was an orchestra unto herself. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral, Romantic Era


Monterey Peninsula Voices –“Let’s Go the the Movies”

Monterey Peninsula Voices under the direction of Dr. Sean Boulware definitely took us to to the movies for this rousing program on May 13 at the newly-renovated Monterey Conference Center. Boulware knows how to get the best from this group of 100+ singers of all ages and abilities. What could be better than music representing a wide variety of films? So much of the enjoyment of almost any film is the emotion provoking background music. While some can be older music rearranged, so much is newly and specifically created for a film. Whether warning of impending gloom and doom or the lushness of a romantic pastoral scene, music pulls at our emotions. As these enthusiastic singers demonstrated, any emotion is available and has been arranged musically. So, in the newly remodeled and sterile gray of the ballroom, the Peninsula Voices transported the audience to these movie locations in musical ways for the audience to enjoy. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral, Piano


Camerata Singers – To Pauline – With Love

Image result for Pauline Troia

The Camerata Singers, under the direction of John Koza, presented To Pauline,…with Love on May 12 at First Presbyterian Church, Monterey. This bittersweet occasion to bid farewell to Pauline Troia – exemplary pianist, accompanist for 30+ years – was a terrific program of choral jewels. With the likes of Aaron Copland, Daniel Brimsmead, Randall Thompson, John Rutter, Moses Hogan along with arrangements by Josephine Poelnitz and Craig Hella Johnson all represented, some of the finest and most enduring works of choral repertoire were presented. Troia chose many of these selections as some of her favorites through the years. However, this was definitely a “working” tribute to Troia as she was most expertly busy at the piano. She continues to make the keyboard music look and sound effortless. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral, Classical Era, Piano, Vocal, Vocal ensemble


I Cantori — “Let Me Fly”

Mixed weather provided the backdrop for a gloriously mixed music program, Let Me Fly, presented by I Cantori di Carmel, Sunday afternoon May 6 at First United Methodist Church of Pacific Grove. Under the direction of Conductor Tom Lehmkuhl, these singers continue to show their prowess handling styles from the 16th century to the present. While size of sections might suggest difficulty in balance, this was certainly not in evidence. Lehmkuhl has the right touch to work the numbers to an advantage. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral


Aria — “She Sings!” March 25 at First Presbyterian Church in Monterey

Sean Boulware

Aria Women’s Choir, under the direction of Dr. Sean Boulware, presented She Sings! At First Presbyterian Church, Monterey, Sunday afternoon. Boulware chose this time to program new versions of familiar works as well as to introduce some exciting new works as well. Singers and audiences who are familiar with Rachmaninov’s “All Night Vigil” and the beautiful “Bogoroditse Devo,” have most likely heard and/or performed the mixed choir SATB version. Lucyanne Gordon has arranged this for women’s chorus and the effect is stunning. Purists might argue against excluding the Russian basses who plumb the depths, but this arrangement jelled beautifully especially with the parallel octaves and voices intertwined. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Choral