LBSO Holiday Concerts Ring in the Season at the Terrace Theater

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long beach symphony holiday concert celebrationsTake a break from the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and enjoy some musical cheer when Long Beach Symphony Orchestra presents a pair of Holiday Celebration performances at the beautifully decorated Terrace Theater on Saturday, December 11 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 12 at 2 p.m.

The Holiday Celebration concerts feature guest Symphony POPS! conductor Stuart Chafetz and special guest vocalist Michele Ragusa (Broadway’s Young Frankenstein and Ragtime) along with Southern California Master Chorale (under the direction of Dr. Sheridan J. Ball), Southern California Children’s Chorus, and the Azusa Pacific University Handbell Choir.

This special concert is designed to delight audiences of all ages, and includes multi-cultural favorites like Mele Kalikimaka, Feliz Navidad, and Chanukah songs, along with jazz standards, holiday movie music, and orchestral favorites from Bizet to Mannheim Steamroller. And, of course, there will be a visit from Old Saint Nick! Kids of all ages can have their picture taken with Santa Claus in the lobby.

The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Celebration concerts are set for Saturday, December 11 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 12 at 2 p.m. The performances will be held in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center’s Terrace Theater at 300 E. Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach. Tickets start at $25. For more information, call 562-436-3203, or visit http://www.lbso.org.

Symphony’s Holiday Celebration Concert Special Guests

Guest Conductor Maestro Stuart Chafetz

Stuart Chafetz, known for his ability to engage audiences with innovative classical, pops and family concerts, is a conductor increasingly in demand with orchestras nationwide. Maestro Chafetz is the Resident Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Formerly the Associate Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra and the Assistant Conductor of the Honolulu Symphony, Stuart became a powerful advocate for the musical education of young people and their families. He has conducted hundreds of performances nationwide focusing on the importance of classical music and the fine arts in our everyday lives.

Vocalist Michele Ragusa

Michele Ragusa has performed on Broadway in Young Frankenstein, Urinetown, Ragtime and Titanic, and in the National tours of Fiddler on the Roof and West Side Story. Regional credits at theaters across the U.S. include The Full Monty, Into the Wood, Kiss Me Kate, Guys and Dolls, Lend Me a Tenor, and many more. Her television credits include “Law and Order SVU,” “One Life to Live,” “Guiding Light” and “All My Children.” Her concert work includes Pops at the Kennedy Center with Marvin Hamlisch, and Funny Girl and Music Man with the Boston Pops. She comes to Long Beach on a recommendation from former LBSO music director JoAnne Falletta, who recently worked with Michele in her home town of Buffalo, NY. “Michele has a full, emotion-rich voice and star quality presence,” says the New York Times, while Variety states that “Ragusa boasts a sweet voice with gorgeous top notes…she sings with sweeping romantic abandon.” The Wall Street Journal notes that “not only does Ms. Ragusa do some of the best singing I’ve ever heard on the musical-comedy stage, but she’s a sweetly winsome actress to boot.”

Southern California Master Chorale

The Southern California Master Chorale is a professional ensemble under the direction of Dr. Sheridan Ball. Made up of the finest singers Dr. Ball has encountered in his 30 years as a teacher, performer and conductor in the Orange County/Los Angeles region, SCMC has presented some of the world’s finest choral music to an ever-widening audience. Most recently, the Southern California Master Chorale performed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra in honor of LBSO’s 75th anniversary. SCMC has recently performed Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Marina Del Rey Summer Symphony and Mozart’s Requiem with the Golden State Pops Orchestra. The Southern California Master Chorale, under Dr. Sheridan Ball’s direction, toured China in the summer of 2008 in conjunction with pre-Olympic festivities. The Chorale also did a concert tour of France, the Netherlands and Copenhagen earlier this year.

Dr. Sheridan Ball

When Dr. Sheridan Ball first joined the Cypress College music faculty in 1981, there were a total of seven singers enrolled in two choirs. Now, after 29 years and numerous joyous musical experiences, the Cypress choral program is generally acknowledged as one of the finest community-based choir programs in the Orange County/ Los Angeles region. Dr. Ball is also the founding director of two professional ensembles: The Southern California Master Chorale and Meritáge, which perform regularly with the Long Beach Symphony, the Golden State Pops Orchestra, and the Marina del Rey Summer Symphony.

Southern California Children’s Chorus

The Southern California Children’s Chorus (SCCC), Orange County’s only chorus dedicated exclusively to meeting the educational and performance needs of children, seeks to do more than introduce youth to music and singing.  It strives to enrich the lives of its members through programs stressing musical aptitude, teamwork, discipline, self-confidence and personal growth. Currently there are more than 340 young singers affiliated with SCCC, ranging from 5 to 21 years of age, and encompassing seven levels of sequential vocal and choral instruction.  In addition to learning compositions in multiple languages with themes ranging from the classics to folk and contemporary music, the choristers are taught skills in sight singing, ear training and music theory. This will be the sixth year that the Advanced Chorus will perform with the Long Beach Symphony.

Azusa Pacific University Handbell Choir

Azusa Pacific University Handbell Choir is one of the West Coast’s finest handbell ensembles. APU’s Handbell Choir utilizes six octaves of handbells and three octaves of choir chimes to perform a variety of handbell music appropriate for many different occasions. Under the direction of Donavon Gray, DMA, the Handbell Choir ministers to and serves the community through performance at churches, schools, and other organizations throughout the year, as well as touring in May.

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