“This season is very exciting for the [Santa Clara] Chorale. It’s our 50th season. There are many choral groups, but few others have celebrated such a milestone,” says Dr. Ryan Brandau, Santa Clara Chorale Artistic Director for the past three years, at the debut of “Music of the Americas” at Mission Santa Clara March 16.
“To keep a community volunteer effort going for 50 years is really amazing. I’m very proud of the chorale,” says Susan Jenkins, board member and fund raising chair of the non-profit, volunteer chorale founded in 1962.
“Music of the Americas” was the approximately 75-member chorale’s third and next-to-last concert of the season before they pack their bags and take the concert to South America in June for a 50th anniversary concert tour of Uruguay and Argentina. The concert spans the music of the Americas from Canada and the United States to Venezuela and Argentina.
“American music is not one kind of music—the same as the people who came to America are not the same,” says Brandau in introducing the concert at the first of its two local performances, the second held last Sunday at First Baptist Church of Palo Alto.
“Music of the Americas” includes the nostalgic Canadian folk tune “Song for the Mira,” the Shaker tune “The Gift to Be Simple,” and familiar spirituals such as concert finale “Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep.”
The second half of the concert includes Broadway classics “Over the Rainbow” and “They Say It’s Wonderful.” Argentinean Ariel Ramirez’s Spanish language “Gloria” (from his “Misa Criolla”), with rhythmic accompaniment, was especially moving in the setting of Mission Santa Clara. Dan Cromeenes is the chorale’s piano accompanist.
“Every concert is a joy to put together,” says Brandau, who strives to introduce new music as well as entertain his audience, numbering 265 Friday night.
“It was fabulous!” says Joanne Papoulias from Sunnyvale, attending the concert with friends.
“The chorale works diligently, and Ryan leads by example. They really enjoy performing and practicing together, bonding within the organization,” says Ron Paradies, board president for the last seven years.
“Singing with the Santa Clara Chorale brings joy to my heart. These are tough times for everyone. Singing with this diverse (in every way) group makes me…feel good. Our concerts are an uplifting gift of music to the …community,” writes eleven-year chorale member Beth Robb in an e-mail.
“I truly enjoy singing with the chorale. Ryan is an amazing director. He challenges us with a great variety of music,” writes first season chorale member Elsbeth TeBrake. “I very much look forward to exploring Argentina with the choir.”
“This is a great year for us, and we’d like to ensure another 50 years. May 4th, we welcome back all three former conductors of our chorale. We couldn’t do this without the support of all of you who come to our concerts,” says Brandau, who is also Santa Clara University Director of Choral Programs.
The Santa Clara Chorale’s May 4th, single performance, grand finale concert at Mission Santa Clara on the campus of Santa Clara University will include Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” and Brahm’s “Schicksalslied.” Symphony Silicon Valley will accompany the chorale.
The chorale, which is independent of the university, is funded in part by grants from the city of Santa Clara and Mission City Community Fund. The Santa Clara Chorale of dedicated amateur singers is open to Santa Clarans and others from surrounding communities. Interested singers must audition with Brandau and then make a September through May commitment to rehearsals and concerts.
For information about the Santa Clara Chorale, visit www.scc.org.