Monterey Peninsula Voices

Sean Boulware

The audience trickled in to the hustle and bustle of the dynamite combo warming up for the Monterey Peninsula Voices program on Sunday, May 12, at the Santa Catalina High School auditorium. Under the direction of Dr. Sean Boulware, just the warm up was an exciting predictor of what was to come. These 100+ voices in their terrific themed tee shirts showed unflagging enthusiasm and delight to be part of this group. As a Road Trip theme might be imagined, Boulware has chosen a wealth of location songs stretching from I Left My Heart in San Franciscoto Boy From New York City with stops in between along Route 66. John Lett and Robin Jepsen soloed more than ably in Tuxedo Junction. As with many of these familiar songs the recording artist who made it famous is often more remembered than the actual composer. Erskine Hawkins wrote this piece made popular by numerous big bands as well as soloists. Hard to imagine Lynard Skynard being responsible for Sweet Home Alabama, but with the killer guitar work of Noah Reeves, the singers brought it home. Another popular song, Georgia On My Mind, is mostly remembered for the Ray Charles version. Phil Price not only soloed, but also provided his own guitar accompaniment. Next up, the tenors and basses gave a hearty treatment of Westward Ho! from the 1935 film of the same name. Actually moving eastward, Diane Ehlers gave Glen Campbell a run for his money with her version of By The Time I Get To Phoenix supported with a prerecorded backup.

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

Camerata Singers — Wrapped in Song

John Koza

Talk about musical comfort food for the soul, Camerata Singers, under the direction of John Koza, Artistic Director and Conductor, presented Wrapped In SongAudience members were virtually wrapped in a cocoon of not only familiar choral works but also some newer versions of familiar texts. The multi talented George Peterson demonstrated his more than nimble fingers accompanying Dan Forrest’s The Music of Living to start off the program. This accompaniment is a definite “wake-up” call for the singers to maintain balance. The more familiar The Eyes of All Wait Upon Me by Jean Berger followed in a gentler mood. Eric Whitacre used the poetry of Octavio Paz for his setting of A Boy and a Girl. Such poignancy of the image of young love savoring their togetherness stretched out on the grass, stretched out on a beach, until stretched out underground keenly touched the audience’s heart. The delightful premise and novelty of Anders Edenroth’s I sing, You Sing, features the alto section. Koza explained the set up of SATB music with the sopranos getting the melody, basses the foundation and usual root of chord, tenors the color and altos “whatever is left” harmonically. This alto section more than held their own getting to sing more than the three or four notes often assigned to the section.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral

I Cantori di Carmel: Expressions of the Heart

Cyril Deaconoff

Expressions of the Heart is a most apt title for the evening’s program from I Cantori di Carmel. All Saints’ Church in Carmel, provided the beautiful acoustics for an eclectic program ranging from Bach to contemporary Russian composer Georgy Sviridov. As Conductor Cyril Deaconoff pointed out, this selection of choral works is sung from the heart to the heart of the listener. I Cantori program notes are known for rich descriptions – definitely an appreciated mini history lesson without sitting through graduate classes! 

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

Ensemble Monterey — The King Shall Rejoice

Director John Anderson

The Season Finale of Ensemble Monterey was a wonderful collection of regal music. The title for this concert is taken from the last piece offered: Handel’s Coronation Anthem. Included in the program material was a graphic featuring “The Fab Five.” This refers to 5 composers who wrote mostly in the 18thCentury with one work from the 17thCentury. I attended the Saturday evening concert on April 27, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church in Monterey, CA. The day was a lovely Spring day, so the room grew warm as the evening progressed. Still, I thank the church for opening their doors and sharing the good acoustics of their space.

As is the custom of Ensemble Monterey, Conductor and Artistic Director Dr. John Anderson offered his insights prior to the concert as a short talk with question/answer session. This opportunity to learn about the music and performers is so vital. Dr. Anderson has a gift for conveying information that engages those literate in music while being accessible to those just beginning their musical journey. It makes concerts more enjoyable when the audience is as attentive and engaged as they were Saturday. These talks along with the excellent printed program are gems we should encourage and take advantage of regularly. 

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Chamber music, Choral, Vocal, Vocal ensemble

Aria Women’s Chorus in Monterey

Sean Boulware

A chilly spring afternoon on March 24th hosted the warmth of Aria Women’s Chorus program, She Sings!, at Monterey First Presbyterian ChurchUnder the direction of Sean Boulware, this women’s group continues to provide some of the best of choral music. Greg Gilpin’s arrangement of Christopher Marlowe’s text, Come Live With Me, provided the opening with a lovely gentleness of fluid voices. Sunlight, by JW Keckly had the “choir weave in and out of harmonic structures” as explained by Boulware by way of introduction. With Michelle Galindo trading the piano for flute, there was an ethereal ghostly quality to begin to set the stage for the vocal weaving – done to great effect.

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Archived in these categories: Choral