INSPIRARE – Church In The Forest

A beautiful, lazy fall afternoon in the tree house setting of The Church In The Forest at Robert Louis Stevenson School was home to the newest vocal group on the peninsula, INSPIRARE. This program was the third presentation of the debut program under the direction of Dr. Sean Boulware. Inspirare – to breathe, to inspire – is composed of twenty-one singers from the greater Monterey Bay area. “Voices Rising” as a program title was most appropriate for this fledgling group of talented singers. Eclectic repertoire spanned the centuries from 16thcentury Palestrina and Tomas Victoria to contemporary Eric Whitacre and Shawn Kirchner. Interspersed within the centuries was a spirited variety of African songs. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral


Barbershop Extravaganza

The ever talented and creative Kristen Thompson has pulled off yet another delightful Barbershop program. A gorgeous Sunday afternoon, September 30, at the Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula in Carmel Valley was the setting for the irrepressible sounds of Barbershop harmonies – with a few corny jokes thrown in for good measure. In addition to the familiar barbershop gems, student groups from Salinas High School and Pacific Grove High School were featured. A hallmark of this style is not only the blended harmonies, but also not using music. Everything is memorized to the greatest effect of communication with the audience. A particular hallmark of this afternoon’s music was the singers’ ages from 16 to 92 – all blended in vocal harmony as well as the camaraderie of the group. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Choral


Celebration Choir — August 12, 2018

A wonderful combination of song and service! What could be better than Turn The World Around: Stronger Together! ? Connie Fortunato continues her winning streak with the summertime Celebration Choir performing at First Presbyterian Church of Monterey.If music is truly the universal language, then gathering all ages and backgrounds into this stellar group to not only entertain but also continue to bring music to vulnerable children in Eastern Europe exemplifies this service. The happy gathering crowd was quite abuzz anticipating what was to come. And what came was spectacular.

What spirituals night would be complete without Moses Hogan’s music? The choral world and world in general lost a beautiful soul and composer far too young in 2003.  “Music Down In My Soul” makes the perfect opener to this evening’s program. With the signature entry of “surround sound” this choir of happy, smiling and singing faces set the tone as well as toes tapping and hands clapping. Following pieces included Bonse Aba featuring call and response so typical of spirituals as a way of learning and remembering; dynamite arranger Larry Farrow’s arrangement of Turn The World Around; and Craig Curry’s arrangement of “Room At The Welcome Table” with a smooth jazz opening before becoming a boisterous welcome for everyone. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Choral


Carmel Bach Festival 2018 – “Medieval Hymn” at the Carmel Mission

“Medieval Hymn” filled the acoustically rich Carmel Mission Basilica Wednesday evening July 18. There is a continuing tradition with the Chorale of the Bach Festival, under the direction of Andrew Megill, to present a candle light program. Escorted by the red robed Bach Festival Candle Bearers, the Chorale entered while singing a traditional plainchant Jesu dulcis amor meus. Beginning with the tenor/bass sounding as herald trumpets, this was perfectly timed with tenor/bass alternating verses with soprano/alto to reach their positions backlit by the stand of twenty tall tapers. Works of Dieterich Buxtehude, Tomas Luis De Victoria, Anton Bruckner, Knut Nysted, and, of course, Johann Sebastian Bach, were cleverly woven together. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival, Choral


Aria’s “Divagain”

On June 9 and 10, Aria Women’s Choir, led by Dr. Sean Boulware, presented the second concert in their “Diva” series, “Divagain,” at the New Wharf Theatre in Monterey. The show consisted of heart-felt and entertaining renditions of songs from musicals such as Hello Dolly, Funny Girl, Into The Woods, Annie, Rent, Mame, Waitress, West Side Story, The Fantastiks, A Chorus Line, and 9 to 5 The Musical, among others. Many of the numbers were lightly choreographed, and the singers were bedecked in eye-catching sparkle and/or sequin dresses. In a contrast other choral concerts, the highly orchestrated accompaniment was canned. Throughout the concert, some of the singers used sheet music while others used iPads, though some had their music memorized. Read full story

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