Stop the Beat!
HOLLYWOOD, CA - What better way to celebrate the North Hollywood Arts Festival than by attending Can't Stop The Beat! - A Musical Journey from Haydn to Hairspray. Certainly the evening's program was as eclectic as this sounds. Under the direction of the newly appointed Artistic Director, Karlan Judd, the West Coast Singers smoothly moved through varying musical genres with ease. Select performers from the West Coast Singers made up the smaller ensemble, Classix, which sang a handful of songs which in combination with the larger group and other solos throughout the night kept the concert fresh and moving. Lighter fare like "I Am What I Am" and "Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now" were lively and contrasted very well with the far more ambitious "One Hundred Places" which was based on a poem by Edna St. Vincent with music by Kalan.
Midway through the second act Chorus members surrounded the audience with a lively spiritual, The Gloryland Medley. Rounding out the evening was the spectacular performance of Nicole Garcia on Violin. Garcia's absolute conviction on Pablo Sarasate's Ziegeunerweisen was show stopping. Patty Breitag's piano accompaniment was simply flawless.
- R. Harker .
the West Coast Singers
GLENDALE, CA - The spring concert of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles was a Valentine to the amazing city in which the chorus resides. "Spotlight on Los Angeles" celebrated the diverse talents of various ethnic groups, who blend together giving Los Angeles a vibrant musical tapestry. Original pieces were mixed in with old favorites, and with 'Choralography' by Bill Rugh, the evening was as much a visual sensation as musically outstanding.
Early in the show, GMCLA's Arististic Director, Bruce Mayhall, shared that approximately 100 different languages are spoken in the Los Angeles area and the chorus would be singing in each language over the course of the evening. He wasn't far off. Guest performing groups brought their own distinct sound and would then join the chorus in a song or two. It's a testament to the high caliber of GMCLA as they effortlessly adapted to each style.
In each act, a remarkable female singer (both in amazing tangerine gowns) took the stage and sang songs from their rich cultural backgrounds. Hila Plitmann sang Five Hebrew Love Songs co-written with her husband, Eric Whitacre. Plitmann is a highly accomplished Soprano and her performance reflected the reasons she becoming so recognized on the international music scene.
Lu Na, another internationally acclaimed performer, was joined by Zhiming Han's Chinese Classical Music Ensemble. Their spirited music was easily an audience favorite.
Bringing listeners to their feet at the end of their only song were the Scholarship Students from Creative Planet School of the Arts.
Approximately 28 young performers took the stage with enough passion and energy to keep Socal well lit for the next decade. These low income inner city youth are certainly on the right path with a promising future in the arts.
The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers were simply astonishing. This well polished company of international fame sang a variety of folk music termed "African-American."
Don't miss a performance if they're singing in your town.
Overall, a delightful evening. In their 25th Anniversary Season, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles' summer show is eagerly anticipated.
- R. Harker
Gay Men's Chorus