Classically Trained: Pacific Chorale marks 45th season with 'Elijah'

The Pacific Chorale will celebrate its 45th concert season at the end of the month with a performance of Mendelssohn's "Elijah."

The concert is at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, where the chorus is one of three resident companies.

"'Elijah' is the greatest oratorio of the 19th century, including some of the most beautiful and sublime music ever written, in service to a highly dramatic story of battles between powerful personalities," John Alexander, the chorale's longtime artistic director, said in a prepared statement.

The featured soloists are Eric Owens, bass-baritone; Christine Brandes, soprano; I-Chin Feinblatt, mezzo-soprano; Nicholas Preston, tenor; and organist Lori Loftus.

Also of note: Rita Major and Jim Dunning are celebrating their 45th anniversaries with the group. The two sang in the Pacific Chorale's very first concert in 1968, when it was known as the Irvine Community Chorus.

Tickets start at $15 and are available at and (714) 662-2345.


'The Russians are Coming' to Newport Beach

The innovative Hutchins Consort plays at 3 p.m. Nov. 4 at the St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 2200 San Joaquin Hills Road, Newport Beach.

On the program, titled "The Russians are Coming," are selections by Tchaikovsky, Balakirev and Stravinsky. Tickets are available at at $15 for students and seniors, $25 for adults. There is also a family special for $50.

The Encinitas-based group is an octet of eight scaled violins whose founder and artistic director, Joe McNalley, is a Corona del Mar native.

McNalley graduated from Corona del Mar High School in 1982, according to Executive Director Cindi Young. He also played with groups at Orange Coast College and UC Irvine.

His mother, Sharon McNalley, is a board member for both the Pacific Chorale and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

These days, among his many duties in the music world, Joe McNalley plays contrabass violin with the Hutchins Consort, for which he's arranged or composed more than 170 works since 1999.


Classical music for a social media generation

Chip Michael, the Pacific Symphony's web coordinator, has come up with a new classical music style for a social media generation: the TwtrSymphony.

Participants of this group have met on Twitter and record works of 140 seconds. The recording process, however, is done remotely.

All the musicians are given their part and a click track, according to the group's website. They record it on their own time and then send it to the TwtrSymphony's sound engineer who puts it all together to create a "full orchestra sound, without having the expense of a hall."

"Each track is the pure essence of the music, with no time for long, drawn-out developments often associated with classical music," their website states, adding that "part of what makes Twitter unique is the terse conversations that take place. It isn't a place where long, drawn-out diatribes are posted.

"Rather, Twitter is communication boiled down to the essentials. Conversations happen, but they tend to be quick exchanges of ideas and concepts. TwtrSymphony captures that with short pieces filled with energy and intensity."

Check out TwtrSymphony's website at or follow them on Twitter @twtrsymphony.

BRADLEY ZINT is a classically trained musician. Email him story ideas at

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