MUSIC : ‘Messiah’ Choruses, ‘Amahl’ and ‘A Feast of Carols’

<i> Chris Pasles covers music and dance for The Times Orange County Edition. </i>

This is a festive holiday week for Garden Grove Symphony music director Edward Peterson.

On Wednesday, he led the band in accompanying a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony at a local hotel, and on Saturday he will lead the orchestra in a holiday concert at the Don Wash Auditorium in Garden Grove.

Appearing with the orchestra will be the 110-member Southern California Mormon Choir to sing Randal Bass’ “A Feast of Carols” and five choruses from Handel’s “Messiah.”

The program also will include suites from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” ballet and Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”


Said Peterson: “The ‘Feast of Carols’ is not quite the usual ‘Silent Night’ and ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful.’ It’s made up of recognizable carols, but more unique ones, which are done very nicely with full orchestra backup with the choir.”

The excerpts from the “Messiah” will be a “sampling” of the famous work, the conductor said, with the Overture followed by “Glory to God,” “For unto us a child is born,” “Hallelujah!” “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” and “Amen.”

Peterson has been de-jet-lagging after a recent trip to Inchon, Korea, where he led the Inchon City Symphony. His trip completed the second half of a conductor-exchange program that brought Won-Sik Lim, conductor for the Korean Broadcast Service in Seoul as well as the Inchon City Symphony, to lead the Garden Grove orchestra in September.

Lim brought a program of Korean music to Garden Grove, and Peterson reciprocated by taking American music to Inchon in November.

“Not too much American music is played in Korea,” Peterson said. “I got the opportunity with that symphony to give its premiere performance of Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring.’

“I was very surprised by the amount of English over there. I was expecting to have a lot more problems with getting around, and I had no idea what problems there would be in rehearsals. But more than half of the orchestra had a fairly decent command of English.

“Storefront signs had characters in Korean and right under them, the words in English. It was easier than going into the Korean community in Los Angeles or Garden Grove.

“The only really negative thing was the traffic,” he continued. “Seoul is such a hub of business that just about everyone has bought a car, and they’re all out on the streets at the same time. It was only an 18-mile drive from Seoul (to Inchon), and I was chauffeured back and forth.


“On a good day, the trip was an hour and a half. On a bad day, it was a three-hour drive getting back to the hotel. I’ll never complain about the Los Angeles traffic again.”

What: A holiday concert by the Garden Grove Symphony and the Mormon Choir of Southern California.

When: Saturday, Dec. 15, at 8 p.m.

Where: Don Wash Auditorium, Euclid Street and Stanford Avenue, Garden Grove.


Whereabouts: Garden Grove Freeway to Euclid Street exit. North to Stanford Avenue (between Garden Grove Boulevard and Lampson Avenue); turn right. The auditorium will be on your left.

Wherewithal: $10 to $25.

Where to Call: (714) 534-1103.



John Alexander will conduct the Pacific Chorale and the Pacific Symphony in Handel’s “Messiah” at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Soloists will include soprano Jennifer Trost, mezzo Deborah Cree, tenor Jonathan Mack and bass Louis Lebherz. Tickets: $10-$30. (714) 556-2787.

Ted Reid will lead the Orange Coast Chorale in a “Christmas Celebration” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, in the Robert B. Moore Theatre at Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa. The program will include Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” and Daniel Pinkham’s “Christmas Cantata,” as well as seasonal selections. Tickets: $8 in advance; $9 at the door. (714) 432-5803.

John Alexander, the Pacific Chorale and the Pacific Symphony will team up again, this time for a “Heart of Christmas” program, with music by Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn and other composers at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Performing Arts Center. Tickets: $12.50-$38.50. (714) 856-2787.