Live music returns to the lawns of Monterey City Hall Monday afternoon when Conductor Carl Christensen leads Monterey County Pops! in a Memorial Day program of patriotic favorites, pops, choral works and more.
In honor of the return of live concerts, a special arrangement will be performed by Kool & the Gang’s Celebration. In this regard, there is no substitute for live performances, no matter how elegantly presented virtually. This applies to both the audience and the musicians who need each other to feel whole.
Over the past two years, Christensen and his ensemble have skillfully adapted their performances and educational programs to the restrictions of the pandemic. Through video presentations and live streaming, they continued to serve communities across the county. But it’s certainly a relief for musicians and a big cause for celebration to be gathering again for these free concerts that have long been a staple of our region. This time’s theme, To Remember and Honor, includes not only those who have served in the armed forces, but also the many we have lost to COVID.
The Memorial Day program includes a set of Cypressaire’s Barbershop Chorus directed by Kristen Thompson. The orchestra will perform the local premiere of American composer Robert Sheldon’s Rhapsodic Celebration and Spanish Fever by Jay Chattaway, best known for his work on the television series Star Trek.
“We are also very pleased to present the world premiere of a work by our own local composer and horn player, Jackie Orzel,” says Christensen. “Overture in C Minor – The Chukchansi: Trial and Triumph” honors the Chukchansi Yokut tribe who were almost wiped out but are now thriving. Orzel dedicates her work to the Chukchansi tribe of the Picayune Rancheria in Coarsegold, Madera County.
The Hartnell College Chamber Singers, conducted by Sandy Rudo, perform a medley from the musical Hamilton. The concert concludes with “The Navy Hymn”, “Taps” and Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever”.
All ages are welcome to this free concert, which runs from 1pm to 3pm. It is also broadcast live via their website or on Channel 24. Monterey County Pops! is a fully professional 38-strong ensemble.
For more information about Monterey County Pops!, their many programs and upcoming concerts, visit www.montereycountypops.org.
Brahms’ German Requiem at St. Dunstan’s
A major choral work will be performed at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Carmel Valley on June 5th. This opportunity to hear Johannes Brahms’ “A German Requiem” is made possible through a collaboration between St. Dunstan’s Music Director and Organist Rodney Gehrke and the San Jose Symphonic Choir conducted by Leroy Kromm. St Dunstan’s installed a custom built pipe organ in 2015 and has since provided excellent music concerts for the community using this magnificent instrument.
Brahms’ great masterpiece was composed in German and not in the traditional Latin setting of the Liturgy of the Dead. He is quoted as saying: “I would also very much like to drop the ‘German’ and just say ‘der humanity’.” The Requiem is a popular work of choral repertoire and it is exciting that St Dunstan’s forces have brought it together showcase.
The performance at St. Dunstan’s will feature around 50 singers, including several Monterey Peninsula residents performing with the ensemble. Among them is baritone Michael Hendrickson, who grew up listening to choral music and joined the San Jose Choir in 2000. He has served in the vestry of St Dunstan’s and sees this collaboration with others as furthering the congregation’s intention to be a center of excellence in sacred classical and choral music.
Kromm has conducted the San Jose Symphonic Choir since 1985 and is widely recognized as a versatile conductor, soloist, pianist and teacher.
Gehrke will accompany the choir with an organ arrangement for the Requiem. As a concert organist, harpsichordist, pianist, conductor, choir director, teacher and liturgical musician, he carries out many tasks. He has a long career as music director in churches and synagogues in the San Francisco Bay Area and as a touring artist, including engagements with the internationally acclaimed choir Chanticleer. He praises St Dunstan’s organ, which he promises is perfect for the room and provides solid accompaniment for the large group of singers.
The performance takes place at 4:00 p.m. For tickets and more information, call 831-624-6646 or visit www.stdcv.org for an Eventbrite link.
Monterey Chamber Singers Call for Fame!
The Monterey Chamber Singers present their spring concert “Shout Glory!” conducted by Cyril Deaconoff at Carmel’s Church of the Wayfarer on June 3 at 7:00 p.m. The concert features music from operas and musicals as well as Vaughan Williams’ enchanting “Serenade to music”. Also on the program are arrangements of Latin American songs by local composer Bill Gee. Jody Lee and Arthur Wu are outstanding soloists in this program. Cindy Shen will provide accompaniment.
Monterey Chamber Singers is a volunteer choir formed in 2020 and is made up of singers living on the Central Coast. The group plans to present major choral works as well as lesser-known and original pieces. They also look forward to discovering the music of Monterey County and its diverse cultures, as well as treasures from traditional choral repertoire.
Russian-born Deaconoff is an American composer, conductor, and organist. He is a graduate of Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in composition and conducting and holds a PhD in conducting from Indiana University Bloomington.
Tickets are available at the door of the Wayfarers Church in Carmel. For more information, visit www.montereychambersingers.com. Monterey County Department of Health guidelines are being followed.
Smuin Ballet at Sunset Center
Smuin Contemporary Ballet concludes its 28th season with Dance Series 2: PS Forever Smuin, featuring four ballets by established dance makers and emerging choreographers. The Company is bringing this program to Carmel’s Sunset Center on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
The program features Val Caniparoli’s playful ‘Confessions’, an imaginative work weaving a narrative set to music by American contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly and Faroese singer/songwriter Teitur. Amy Seiwert’s “Renaissance” is a powerful dance loosely inspired by the 620-kilometer “Women’s Wall” protests in India to raise awareness for gender equality. It is set to a cappella music by Oakland’s popular Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble
Smuin artists Tessa Barbour and Brennan Wall will also expand on their creations presented at Choreography Showcase 2021 and last spring’s Smuin al Fresco programme.
Founded in San Francisco in 1994 by Tony and Emmy award-winning choreographer Michael Smuin, the company is dedicated to creating work that fuses the diverse vocabulary of classical ballet and contemporary dance. Carmel audiences have enjoyed Smuin’s creative ballets for many years, while the company continues to bring their vibrant dance artistry to Sunset Center.
For tickets and information call Sunset at 831-620-2048 or visit the Smuin website www.smuinballet.org.