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Santa Clara Chorale Celebrates 60th Anniversary

The Santa Clara Chorale’s 2022 – 2023 season sparkles like none before as it celebrates its diamond jubilee—six decades of outstanding performances of choral music in the Mission City.

String Up the Lights, the Chorale’s season-opening holiday concert, will be performed twice: Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. at Mission Santa Clara on the campus of Santa Clara University.

“It’s exciting to look back at all we’ve accomplished over the past 60 years and to look forward to what we’ll do in the next 60!” said Dr. Scot Hanna-Weir, artistic director since 2013.

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“It’s not just the quality of the music we make that makes our organization so special and so enduring,” said Hanna-Weir. “It’s also about the wonderful community that we build together. We truly create a musical community among our singers and with our audience.”

Tom Marshburn from Palo Alto has been a Chorale member since 2000.

“Singing with a group of 60 to 100 is a unique experience,” said Marshburn. “You can do justice to some major works—classical as well as modern works that we premiere. I’m exposed to music I might not run across otherwise.”

Extraordinary Chorale directors—5 in 60 years—also attract singers.

“The dynamic, entertaining way Scot teaches and leads us makes being part of the Chorale such a rewarding experience,” said Joel Mjolsness from San Jose. “The two-and-a-half-hour rehearsal on Monday nights is like taking a vacation; it’s so different from the tech work I do.”

Santa Clara residents Carol and Spence Hinkle have sung with the Chorale since 2002.

“It’s great we have this town and gown relationship,” said the Hinkles. “We get to sing with Santa Clara University students for one concert.

“Scot is so knowledgeable that it’s a real growth experience,” continued the Hinkles. “He’s a master at creating a concert program that’s cohesive and meaningful. We do new and unusual works, not just the old masters.”

While Chorale singers are attracted to great music directed by great directors, they stay because they become family.

“The Chorale is my family,” said Izzie Wright, who joined the Chorale in 1964, two years after its founding in 1962. “My life would be totally different if I hadn’t joined the Chorale.”

String Up the Lights, with a string quartet from San José Chamber Orchestra, features two sparkling Baroque works, contemporary gems and carol sing-alongs.

Vivaldi’s dramatic Magnificat, first performed by the Chorale in the 1967 – 1968 season, is paired with a lesser-known Magnificat by Vivaldi’s esteemed Italian contemporary Francesco Durante.

The cinematic Dark Night of the Soul by Ola Gjeilo is paired with Tim Takach’s multi-movement work The Longest Nights, reflecting winters past and the hope of springs to come.

“The past decade has really been incredible with the Santa Clara Chorale,” said Hanna-Weir. “It’s humbling to be part of an organization with such a rich history of making incredible music and also so rewarding to bring my own perspective to our programming and performance.”

In 2023, the Chorale performs Greatest Hits, Vol.1 on March 24 and Love Is Love, which includes the premiere of Hanna-Weir’s Four Principles of Marriage, on May 12. For ticket information, visit the website at https://www.scc.org/.

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