Chorale mixes traditional and modern pieces

Gabriella Chikhani
Online Editor

In the dimly lit First Christian Church, the University of La Verne Chamber Singers and Aldersgate Chorale joined forces to perform as the Mountainside Master Chorale Sunday in Pomona for their Earth Day concert, “Big Blue Marble.”

“Our world, as seen from space, looks like a little blue marble, hence the name of our program,” Irene Messoloras, assistant professor of music and Mountainside Master Chorale director, said.

With a swift flick of her wrist, Messoloras cued the singers.

The show opened with “Come to the Woods” by Jake Runetsad.

Each vocalist carried a black folder and turned their sheet music in unison, keeping their eyes locked on their energetic director as she moved in time with the piano.

The Chamber Ensemble opened the show and was later joined on stage by the Chamber Singers and Aldersgate Chorale.

The variety show included a balance of traditional pieces like “How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place,” a German requiem by Johannes Brahms and modern upbeat songs like “I Love You/What a Wonderful World” arranged by Craig Hella Johnson.

“I wanted to choose music that would get a reaction from people,” Messoloras said.

Walnut resident Masako Chen was so moved by the music that she waved her hands in the air, as if conducting the choir herself.

When the group accomplished their crescendo in “I Can Tell the World,” Chen let out a deep breath she had been holding in.

“I think they’re excellent,” Chen said.

“I went to their Christmas performance and I bought their CD.”

The choir was accompanied by a string quartet: Irene Shia on violin one, Wendy Waggener on violin two, Ting Huang on viola and Ana Maria Maldonado on cello.

Jon Bocanegra played percussion and Julian Johnson played bass.

The program incorporated different styles of sound like scatting, tapping, clapping, snapping and patting on their chests to resemble the sound of a heartbeat in “It Takes a Village” written by Joan Szymko.

During the medley “I Love You/What a Wonderful World,” Lainie Lapis, American Sign Language interpreter, stood in the front right of the choir to sign along with the song.

“I thought the show went really well,” soprano Brooke Soto, junior music major, said.

“It’s always nice to perform outside of La Verne because it becomes a community thing and we get ourselves out there.”

The choir had another performance the night before at Covina United Methodist Church.

“Combining both choirs made me less nervous,” alto Rachel Aspey, sophomore political science major, said.

“There are more people, so the spotlight isn’t on me and it was cool to hear the songs because usually we’re just 22 people,” she said.

Both choirs will participate in a performing arts tour this June in Germany and Austria.

The Mountainside Master Chorale will have their next program “Great Big Chorus” on June 11 and will focus on songs from Broadway.

Gabriella Chikhani can be reached at

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