Classically Trained: OCC choral program gets matching donation

The good news from Orange Coast College's music department just keeps coming.

First, it was word about the school's Chamber Singers performing in Carnegie Hall earlier this month.

Now, a donor has come forward to match contributions to the Costa Mesa campus' choral and vocal program through the end of May, said Eliza Rubenstein, OCC's vocal and choral director. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, will match up to $10,000.

Those funds will be used toward singer scholarships and to support private vocal instruction, Rubenstein said.

"But they may also help students in need take part in future choral-related activities along the lines of this spring's New York trip," she wrote in an email.

The tax-deductible donations can be made through the OCC Foundation at — check out the "double your donation" link — or by mail to the OCC Foundation, P.O. Box 5005, Costa Mesa, CA 92628-5005.

For more information, contact Rubenstein at


The two professional Costa Mesa-based ensembles also have plenty to sing about these days.

The Pacific Chorale will be exploring French sacred music with its program at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, titled "Cathedral Echoes: From Saint-Sulpice," in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. There will also be a concert preview at 4:30 p.m.

The program alludes to the Chorale's festival tour this July, where they will be touring Paris and singing at the Église Saint-Sulpice, among other churches.

The featured organist is Thierry Escaich, who last performed with the Chorale in 2009.

The Chorale will also be part of the chorus for the Pacific Symphony's closing concerts of its 2011-12 classical season, which feature Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The iconic masterpiece is "a symphony in search of a voice," as conductor Carl St. Clair puts it, that is finally heard in the final movement.

The 8 p.m. concerts in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall run from May 31 through June 2 and also feature works by Frank Ticheli, the symphony's first composer-in-residence.

All three concerts will have work by local artists on display in the hall's lobby from the "OC Can You Create?" initiative, which asked for "original expressions reflecting the numerous ways Beethoven's Ninth Symphony has impacted humanity," according to a press release.

For the June 2 concert, though, is another special something: the first "Pacific Symphony Plazacast," a live simulcast of the symphony's Beethoven performance in the Arts Plaza, which is next to the concert hall within the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

The simulcast, which is free to attend, starts at 9 p.m., with some festivities starting a half-hour beforehand. Symphony officials are calling the event a celebration of St. Clair's 60th birthday, John Alexander's 40th anniversary with the Pacific Chorale, and the 25th anniversary of the Segerstrom Center (formerly known as the Orange County Performing Arts Center).

Lastly, there will be a exploratory concert dubbed "Beethoven's Ninth Revealed" at 3 p.m. June 3 in the concert hall that further probes Beethoven's vastly influential work. Coffee, conversation with St.Clair and the performers, and a reception for the "OC Can You Create?" artists will be after the concert.


The Orange County Women's Chorus is having a concert June 2 as well.

"Divas, Drinks and Desserts" is at 5 p.m. in Bourne Hall at St. George's Episcopal Church and Academy, 23802 Avenida de la Carlota, Laguna Hills.

The Newport Beach-based ensemble will be singing pieces from both Broadway and opera, or, as they put it, "'Carmen' and 'Der Freischutz' to 'Hairspray' and 'The Drowsy Chaperone,'" according to a press release.

There will also be hors d'oeuvres, desserts, wines and a silent auction.

Tickets start at $20. For more information, call (949) 451-8590 or visit

BRADLEY ZINT is a copy editor for the Daily Pilot and a classically trained musician. Email him story ideas at and follow him on Twitter @BradleyZint.

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