ACC Sings Joy

Angel City Chorale knocked it out of the park again with another fun, funny, festive, and fabulous holiday concert. “Sing Joy” rang in the season with ACC’s characteristic blend of classical, pop, world, R&B, and soul, transporting the audience musically through time and place to celebrate peace, love, and gladsome tidings from a multitude of traditions from around the world.

The show opened with “Noel,” a rousing, foot-stomping exultation from the African continent, in the Kituba language, before gliding effortlessly into three movements from Vivaldi’s Gloria. Then it was on to South America for “La Peregrinacion,” which got the crowd dancing in their seats. The house lights came up next, to illuminate the audience for their first sing-along, the popular carol, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” After that, things got personal, as the choir premiered a new composition by Barbara Miller, soprano, called “Grant Us Peace,” sung in English, Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin. This was followed by another original composition, “One,” by none other than our own creative director Sue Fink. A lilting, traditional English carol, “The Holly and the Ivy,” came next, reminding us that in a few months we’ll be reuniting with our friends from the Prima Vocal Ensemble, in York, England, whom we first met two years ago on stage at Carnegie Hall. A soulful rendition of “O Holy Night” got the audience grooving, while the tender voices in “Old American Carol” brought them to tears as the first set came to a close.

After a short intermission, the second set opened with the spotlight on ACC’s small chamber groups. First, the Classical chamber ensemble revisited the hauntingly beautiful, “O Magnum Mysterium,” by Morten Lauridsen, which they had the honor of singing at LACMA’s 50th anniversary celebration. The mood then shifted dramatically as Angeli, the women’s chamber ensemble, stepped forward with a delightfully sassy performance of “Santa Baby.” This gave way to the Jazz ensemble, who took center stage to wow the audience with their take on the Pentatonix version of “Little Drummer Boy,” complete with beatboxing.

Once the chamber segment of the show had ended, the choir encircled the audience, who joined in for a few rounds of “Dona Nobis Pacem,” which gave way to the hypnotic rhythm and mysterious cadence of “Mi Zeh Y’maleil,” a Hebrew song from the Sephardic tradition. A sweetly nostalgic arrangement of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” came next, followed by a rousing R&B version of “Joy to the World.” The program ended with two sing-alongs, “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and “Silent Night.”

As the last lovely strains died away, the orchestra struck a reprise of “Joy to the World,” and choir and audience both danced their way out to the reception to celebrate with a vast array of cookies, and bask in the afterglow of another fantastic concert season.

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