Monday, December 16, 2013

Still time for online shopping for Christmas... and.. you can help us year round.

Chorale Bel Canto

Sunday, December 15, 2013

We'll see you in the new year!

Dear readers,

"Destination . . . Chorale Bel Canto" and "Conductor's Notes" will return as regular posts in early February. We'll be talking about Casino Night, our med-season fundraiser, the Whittier College Bach Festival and all its surrounding events, and ageless American musical classics. In the meantime, thank you for reading, thank you for attending our concerts, and have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Linda de Vries, Chair
Board of Directors

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas with Chorale Bel Canto...

In the lovely sanctuary of East Whittier United Methodist Church.
When I was a kid I loved the family Christmas traditions. It is almost even more amazing to be a part of our patron's traditions. Merry Christmas to all our fans and our amazing talent. - David

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Destination . . . Chorale Bel Canto: A Time for Gifting

Destination  . . . Chorale Bel Canto
            By Linda de Vries, Singer and Chair of the Board

Love classical choral music? Think Chorale Bel Canto.

Seldom or never listen to classical choral music? Think again.

On December 7 think the City of Whittier at 4:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., where Chorale Bel Canto will sing Christmas with Chorale Bel Canto at the East Whittier United Methodist Church, 10005 S. Cole Road. This year our holiday concert features Vivaldi’s Gloria as well as new arrangements of Christmas music by Edward Zeliff, a southern California composer and arranger. Mr. Zeliff and members of his choir will be in attendance in the audience. The concert will also include the popular feature of sing-along carols.

Think Whittier is too far to drive for just a concert? Think again.

“Destination . . . Chorale Bel Canto” posts several times in advance of each of our concerts, offering you ideas for a different day trip to the city in which we’re singing, with a Chorale Bel Canto concert at the center of your experience. These trips appeal to a wide variety of interests and share fascinating, sometimes intricate, connections between the city and the music.

A Time for Gifting

Leading up to our Christmas concert we’ve written about the music we're singing and we've suggested several different ways in which you might wish to spend your day in Whittier and surrounding areas. You can scroll down through past posts to review these options:

  • Enjoying the annual Whittier Christmas Parade
  • Fishing, pedal boating, walking, and picnicking at Legg Lake and the Whittier Narrows Recreation Center
  • Preparing Holiday food gifts and touring the historic homes at the Homestead Museum in the next-door City of Industry
  • Traveling back in time to Mexican California by visiting the San Gabriel Mission, the Sanchez Adobe, and Pio Pico State Park
  • Experiencing Asian serenity by visiting the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in Hacienda Heights
 The focus of this post is giving thanks and giving and receiving gifts. Whittier and Chorale Bel Canto offer unique ways in which you can find that special offering to a friend or a family member. In addition to our gift of exquisite holiday music, we have a special gift for you!

Where to Shop for Gifts

Uptown Whittier has many one-of-a-kind boutiques where you can find everything from Apparel to Mike’s “Z” Shop--gifts for your avid reader, trendy teen, vintage clothing fan, cigar aficionado, tiny tot, cyclist, Mexican import lover, vinyl LP collector, art lover, classic car enthusiast, crafter . . . everyone on your list!

Uptown also has a number of great places to find antiques--A to Z Mart, King Richard’s Antique Center, Philadelphia Street Antiques, Uptown Antiques, Yellow Pie Antiques, Chiefs Roadside Antiques, American Antiques and Collectibles, Rodeo Durango, Sunshine Antique, Virginia’s Antiques, Royal Antique Center, and Elegant Elephant.

And don’t forget antiques stores, second-hand emporiums, and great junk shops in the neighboring cites of Pico Rivera and La Habra!

The Quad at Whittier, sited at the intersection of Whittier Boulevard and Painter Avenue, boasts Old Navy, Anna’s Linens, Burlington Coat Factory, Staples, Michaels, Radio Shack, TJ Maxx, and many more.

Whittwood Town Center, further east on Whittier Boulevard at Santa Gertrudes (very near the Chorale concert venue), offers J.C. Penny, Target, Sears, Kohl’s, Cost Plus World Market, See’s Candies, and many more small boutiques. It is home to more than 50 stores. In addition, there are numerous places to enjoy lunch or dinner located in this shopping and dining village.

New! Artists of the Chorale. Many of our singers have multiple talents and engage in other arts in addition to music. We have many crafters, too! This year for the first time Chorale Bel Canto offers lovely handmade gifts created by our singers as well as our own totes, mugs,  and cookbooks. We are also selling very special fruitcakes. Come to hear the magnificent and moving Christmas music and stay to complete your Christmas shopping! Ten percent of each purchase goes to support the mission of the Chorale.

You may also want to give the gift of more beautiful music. Buy tickets to future concerts for your friends and family! Buy tickets for them to this Christmas concert online right after you read this post!

How to Give a Gift to the Chorale

Yes, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and donations are necessary for us to afford to bring this music to you and maintain a reasonable ticket price, so we always welcome your monetary gifts.

Now, however, we suggest some nifty ways to help the Chorale that will not cost you a penny! If you shop online, join the Amazon Smile program and a certain percentage of every purchase you make goes to support the Chorale if you designate it as your charity of choice. Just google “Amazon Smile” and follow the simple steps. The real beauty part is that you can change your charitable designation whenever you want, so maybe you give to the Chorale for six months and then another charity of your choice for the next six months—spread the wealth!

You can donate to the Chorale in the same way by joining the Ralphs Rewards program and designating the Chorale as your charity of choice. The food on your table supports classical choral music!

How to Get the Gift the Chorale has for You

We want you to become a member of the Chorale Bel Canto family and attend all of our concerts. We want to keep you posted on all the Chorale events. We want you to subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter, which keeps you up to date on Chorale activities and delights you with “Chorale Offstage,” highlighting other performances and community activities of our singers and conductors. We want you to follow our blog, where we post not only “Destination . . . Chorale Bel Canto," but in-depth background articles on the music we sing and the artists who present it.

To the first 20 people who call us at 888-460-9222 or email us at and agree to sign up for both the blog and the newsletter the Chorale will give a pair of top price tickets to either the 4:00 p.m. or the 7:30 p.m. performance of Christmas with Chorale Bel Canto. Just call or email and we will let you know if you are one of the 20. We will have your tickets waiting for you at the Box Office at the time of the performance. We're looking forward to celebrating with you!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Conductor's Notes, by Stephen Gothold, Music Director.

Edward David Zeliff  

Chorale Bel Canto’s Christmas concerts this Saturday, December 7 at 4:00 and 7:30pm will include on the program several carols by local composer and educator, Edward David Zeliff.  We will sing Zeliff’s arrangements of several traditional carols: Away in A Manger, Silent Night, Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella, What Child Is This, and the Wexford Carol.  In addition, we will perform an original work by Zeliff, Who Are You, My Little One?, a lovely and poignant telling of the nativity story from the perspective of Mary.

A resident of Southern California, Edward David Zeliff (b. 1947) studied piano with Earle Voorhies (a student of Alexander Siloti, who was himself a student of Franz Liszt and a teacher of Rachmaninoff). He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition at the California Institute of the Arts, and followed that with many years in the religious film community composing and conducting a number of scores for short subjects and features, recording in London and Los Angeles. Later he earned both his Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Composition at Claremont Graduate University, studying with Peter Boyer and Frank Campo. He serves there as adjunct faculty teaching composition. In addition to teaching privately, he continues to serve as a church music director, regularly writing new music for services and special concert programs.

Dr. Zeliff’s catalogue includes works for solo voice, piano literature, choral music, and several substantial works for orchestra, and orchestra with chorus. Highlights from his output include the song cycles Voyager and Of Loss, Life, and Love: Songs on the Poetry of Walt Whitman, both performed recently by the extraordinarily talented young artists Solène and Sarah Le Van with the composer accompanying. In the Memory Of, scored for solo cello and chamber orchestra, received its world premiere at the Royal College of Music under the direction of Marcy Sudock; God Thoughts, for mixed chorus, harp, and strings on select poetry of Emily Dickinson, was featured by Phillip Brunelle and VocalEssence in their Essentially Choral reading sessions; Equatoria, for solo voice and chamber orchestra, was premiered on the CD Composition at Claremont Graduate University with the composer conducting; and Out of Time, a suite for solo piano, is a recital staple given numerous insightful performances by internationally acclaimed pianist Edith Orloff.

Dr. Zeliff’s Christmas music regularly enjoys local performances by the acclaimed Montainside Master Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Sébastien Vallée, and this holiday season sees new performances by the Chorale Bel Canto, led by Stephen Gothold. An original work, Who Are You, My Little One? (scored for mixed chorus, oboe, and piano),was premiered by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay under the direction of Dr. Richard Zielinski, and another work appropriate to the season, the a cappella setting of My Soul Magnifies the Lord was given its premiere by the Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester, Minnesota, under the direction of Michael Culloton.