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Life and Arts

On the Town: Southern California Choir brings harmonious touch to the holidays

Those wanting to enjoy the spirit of Christmas through music were first in line for front-row seats at “Rejoice and Be Merry! ”— a free concert performed by the Southern California Choir and presented by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Twinkling holiday lights and a glowing Christmas tree greeted audience members on Dec. 9 as they entered the church’s Glendale Central building.

Brian Corrigan, stake president, and Robin Johnson, music chair, welcomed more than 200 music lovers. Johnson reminded the audience that applause would be appropriate and appreciated.

And, indeed, applause filled the chapel again and again as holiday favorites were sung by the 80-voice choral ensemble opening with “Rejoice and be Merry” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”


Choir participants are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jan Bills directed the choir with aplomb. A Glendale resident, Bills has served as music director of the Southern California Choir since 2008. She had previously been the choir’s associate director.

Benjamin Salisbury was associate music director.

Bill’s husband, Stephen, narrated the program.


JuBELLation, the La Crescenta Stake hand-bell choir, added gravitas as the bells resounded throughout the building. Carol Bruegge directed the hand-bell choir. Hand-bell ringers extraordinaire were La Crescenta residents Suzette Van Sleeuwen and Kathy Ross.

Following the choir’s “Come Away, Exultant Angeles,” the audience’s sing-along caroling raised the rafters.

The program ended with “The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy,” a traditional West Indian carol arranged by Mack Wilberg.

After a benediction given by Shaun Rushforth, refreshments were served at the rear of the chapel.

The Southern California Choir has been “serving through song” for over 65 years.

These days, holiday cheers to the season in the form of choral music or parties are abundant.

One such party celebrated the Cancer Care Network Foundation. On Dec. 11, the newly refurbished Vertigo Banquet Hall on West Glenoaks Boulevard was the scene of the festivities — part party, part donor appreciation, part networking mixer.


Foundation co-founders Karine Bagdasarian and Christeil Gota welcomed the dozens of party-goers. Just as welcoming were the open bar and loads of hors d’oeuvres. Among the favorites were the shrimp skewers.

Bagdasarian said the foundation provides financial assistance for cancer patients unable to meet their co-pays and deductibles for cancer care and therapy. Otherwise, financially needy patients may stop treatment in order to save money for their families.

Event chair and emcee Maria Cozette has a long list of credits as a singer-songwriter, TV personality and USC doctoral candidate in organizational change and leadership.

As part of a short program, this multitalented gal described the foundation’s cancer support services such as counseling, hair and makeup, support groups and nutrition counseling.

New are the foundation’s plans to sponsor scholarships toward oncology nursing and cancer therapy expertise, such as infusion training and palliative care training.

To help meet these goals, the foundation will hold a gala on Feb. 28 to raise funds.

RUTH SOWBY RANDS may be reached at