For Angel City Chorale, the chance to make memories with friends, sing songs that delight in their beauty, and feel the warmth of the season starts early each year. On the morning of December 10th, a splash of holiday color made its way down National Boulevard as over 100 of Los Angeles’s brightest vocal talents boarded buses to bring smiles back into their community on Angel City Chorale’s 2016 Tour of Hope.
When ACC arrived at Catholic Worker Peace Garden, the tour’s first of four stops that helps those in need of a warm meal, the crowd was quiet. Through the choir’s collaboration, festive keyboard solos from Principal Accompanist Mark McCormick, and the power of their group sound, the concert became an experience that won the crowd over as they ate their breakfast. Many diners who hadn’t looked up at first were now singing along, chatting with those around them, shaking hands with choir members, and even making up their own dance moves from the audience.
For the first time in the tour’s history, the ACC buses made a stop to sing for some happy veterans at the Cal Vets Soldiers home in Los Angeles in their second performance of the day. The festivities kicked off as the choir performed acapella for veterans during their lunch and extended them a personal invite to a special concert in the lobby. “One of the veterans stood at the door as I exited the VA lobby,” Organizer Kathy Clyman mentioned. “He kissed my hand and said how much he appreciated our warmth and energy. There were memorable moments at each site, but that one stood out.”
As ACC gathered on the sunny veranda at the Cal Vets Soldiers Home to share lunch, they swapped stories about individual eyes they had met in the audience and the moments that they had found most touching. This is always a heart warming day,” ACC’s Managing Director Dan Barnett said, “a day when I witness tears from the people I sing with and the people we sing to. Whatever is behind those tears I will never know, but it touches me to be a part of the experience.”
Nazareth House, which carries the mission of creating a “safety net for seniors” greeted the choir with gratitude and excitement at their sprawling flower-filled property adjacent to Culver City. Audience members glowed as ACC scattered through the crowd to sing directly to their newfound friends, helping to make holiday memories and spread unforgettable joy through the community.
A rewarding day closed out with a short community concert at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church that catered to children. Choir members used a little clever improvisation under the guidance of Director Sue Fink to take requests on the spot and liven up a crowd of young faces with an hour of songs that served as an early holiday package to children and their parents.
The day was exceptional in the way it suited the holiday season and ACC’s mission to gather with friends and spread cheer. “My experiences on past Tours of Hope have always been very meaningful and emotionally touching,” said Kathy. “Our 2016 exceeded my wildest expectations. I was thrilled that our audiences were so appreciative and moved by our music.”