Santa Clarita Master Chorale celebrates life and death with spring concert

Voices rang and strings hummed with an almost angelic aura as the Santa Clarita Master Chorale performed their concert titled “Beginning to the End” at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center on Sunday.

The chorale, comprised of 75 vocalists including some members still in high school, holds a concert of a “major work” each March. This year they performed excerpts of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation” to represent birth and beginning and John Rutter’s “Requiem” to represent death and ending.

Larry Wood, singer and chairman of the board of the Master Chorale, said the pieces are as enjoyable to perform as they are to listen to.

“Haydn knew the voicings of choral music really well and his piece is a joyful celebration of life and a very fun piece of music,” he said. “Rutter is a very prolific choral composer and all of his works are spectacular. His harmonies are exquisite and it’s a very expressive and touching piece of music.”

Wood added that though the chorale only had nine rehearsals together, there was an immediate cohesion among the members while preparing for this show.

“Normally it can be a little difficult when we’re starting out, but actually for this concert we gelled and meshed right from the beginning,” he said. “We didn’t have to take a lot of time learning our parts so we had more time to work on the musicality and the nuances of the music.”

Michael Millar is a member of the Santa Clarita Arts Commission and has played bass trombone for the chorale

“Haydn’s ‘Creation’ is one of the great pieces of the 18th century and the Master Chorale is spectacular with everything they do,” Millar said. “It’s important to support arts performances like this because help us define ourselves and our quality of life.”

Attendee Duncan Ewart said he is a fan of Haydn’s music and often attends the Master Chorale’s performances.

“I’m a big fan of Haydn and I don’t think he does anything bad so I’m excited to see the chorale performing this piece,” he said. “It’s vital to have classical music performed because we don’t want the young kids growing up without it. If we don’t support the arts they’ll fall by the wayside.”

Lisa Cheney was also familiar with Haydn’s music  and came to the concert to support her friends who are members of the chorale.

“There was a part in the performance that I particularly enjoyed about animals and each animal had its own music,” Cheney said. “This was the popular music back then and today’s popular music is so different so it’s good to be well rounded and compare the different styles.”

The Master Chorale is scheduled to hold its next concert at the Performing Arts Center on June 1 titled “Color Me Music” which will feature contemporary songs all with the theme of color.

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About the author

Matt Fernandez

Matt Fernandez

Matt Fernandez is a local news reporter for The Signal. He is a 2017 graduate of UCLA and his previous work experience includes the Daily Bruin newspaper and Variety magazine, where he focused on arts and entertainment news. Fernandez has lived in Santa Clarita since 1998.