Chamber singers debut at performing arts center
April 18, 2013
By Darla Martin Tucker
It was the experience of a lifetime, at least thus far, for the young members of La Sierra University’s Chamber Singers, a first performance on a professional stage with a regional orchestra.
On Sun., March 23, the La Sierra vocal ensemble performed the epic “Lord Nelson Mass” with the Riverside County Philharmonic at the storied Fox Performing Arts Center in downtown Riverside. They were joined by four professional soloists. The concert, titled “Heavenly Voices,” included a performance of works by Ludwig van Beethoven and Guiseppe Scarlatti. (Click these links for press coverage and photos: http://bit.ly/15loR6M; http://bit.ly/10CRKCz. Click here for La Sierra University Facebook page and photos: http://on.fb.me/12MjtT4)
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be here with the philharmonic,” said alto Stephanie Perez during a backstage dinner for musicians prior to the concert. Perez is a freshman music technology and vocal studies major at La Sierra. “It’s something I’ve never done before. I’m really thankful for this opportunity,” she said.
The arts center performance was also a new experience for McJevin Tablang, a biology and pre-med major who sings baritone with the group. “For me this is a really big experience I don’t normally get to have,” he said. “I feel privileged that we get to represent who we are. It’s an extraordinary feeling.”
“It’s a really good experience. It’s superb,” added alto Natalyn Rodriguez, a freshman music education major. “I’ve always been watching from the audience.”
Prior to the concert, the chamber singers rehearsed with the philharmonic and the four soloists at the Musician’s Local 47 facility in Los Angeles. “We got to see what the professional world is like. It was really great,” said soprano Paulette Jumalon, a vocal major.
The philharmonic selected La Sierra’s group based on is strong reputation, said Barbara Lohman, the orchestra’s executive director. “The university is well known for musical excellence,” she said. “So when Tomasz Golka our conductor said he wanted to perform the “Lord Nelson Mass” and needed a choir, we knew immediately who we’d like to work with. That was about a year ago this spring,” she said.
The philharmonic and the university have a lengthy history that dates to 1959 when Alfred Waters, La Sierra’s orchestral conductor and violin professor, served as the philharmonic’s first guest conductor. Since that time, many La Sierra professors have performed with the phil throughout its history, said Lohman.
Students Paul Han and Jonathan Kim, former Hinsdale Adventist Academy classmates, found the performance experience unique. “It’s pretty incredible. I never expected to get to a place like this,” said Han, a tenor and a clinical lab science major.
“I’m excited actually,” added Kim, a bass and also a clinical lab science major as he finished his pre-concert dinner. “It’s the first time I’ve sung in front of this many people.”
Following the concert, Maestro Golka expressed his pleasure with the singers’ work. “The orchestra and I really enjoyed working with the La Sierra University Chamber Singers,” he said. “They were terrific, well prepared and performed wonderfully. I’m already thinking about other opportunities for the philharmonic to work with these fine signers and the music department.”