Laughter, singing and jazz hands brought in a lively crowd March 11 as the Mountainside Master Chorale performed at their annual gala in Claremont.
Broadway was the theme of the night and the chorale performed various songs from different Broadway musicals.
One song the chorale performed was “America” from the musical “West Side Story,” delivering a performance that had the crowd cheering.
The Mountainside Master Chorale is a semi-professional ensemble with a total of more than 80 members and is the premiere ensemble in the Inland Empire.
Ranging from masterworks to contemporary and commissioned pieces, the chorale performed from 3:00 p.m. onward.
Among the singers was Lissie Quishenberry who has been part of the Master Chorale for a year.
Before the Master Chorale, Quishenberry worked as an instructor for the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus for 10 years.
She decided to pursue her love for music through a different outlet by joining the chorale after participating in a tour to Poland.
Although the atmosphere of the chorale is different than working with children, Quishenberry said she loves it all.
“The work is definitely worth it, I love seeing the artist emerge in every child and the artistry from everyone here performing their solos is just wonderful,” Quishenberry said.
Irene Messoloras who is also director of chorale activities at the University of La Verne, conducted the group through the program.
Messoloras said that through working with both the University’s choral department and the Mountainside Master Chorale, she has been able to put together programs that engage the community.
Messoloras said the gala is also a great way to raise money for the group and involve the community.
Messoloras hopes to bring the Master Choral and University of La Verne Chamber Singers together for their upcoming joint concert to celebrate Earth Day.
“The really great thing about this upcoming concert is that we get to combine with the University of La Verne’s Chamber singers to bring awareness through good programming,” Messoloras said.
The hall was filled with baskets of baked goods, crafts, paintings, jewelry and ceramics that were being bid on at the gala’s silent auction. Many of the products were made by the chorale members or donated by local businesses in Claremont.
Susan Winckler, assistant director of the chorale and original chairperson of the event, has helped put on the event for over 10 years and showcased her own hand-made fine jewelry at the gala.
Winckler said that the only way that the chorale can be successful is if everyone pitches in and does their part, and for the past 10 years the outcome has been positive.
“We have a lot of talent here in the group, and lots support from the community,” Winckler said.
The next performance by the Mountainside Master Chorale will be a joint concert with the University’s Choir for an Earth Day celebration on April 22 and 23.
Marisa Saldaña can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.