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Gift of Light holiday spectacular
The Mountainside Master Chorale
The rain did not hold the crowds back on Friday evening, December 17th., for the Orange County Symphony’s Gift of Light Concert and program. The evening started out with a reception at the Muzeo and ended with an almost capacity crowd at the Heritage Forum adjacent to the Anaheim City Hall across the street.
According to executive director, Ms. Dorothy Rose, “the repertoire selected for the evening was for wide audience appeal with the first half of the program oriented toward the diversity in our Latin American community celebrating holiday traditions. The theme was, Celebration with the Light and Magic of music—a multicultural celebration.”
Since the evening was a collaborative effort with the Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center (OCCTAC) in Santa Ana, the affair started off in the Muzeo which showcased an exhibition of their children’s art as well as a harp quartet under the direction of Senora Alegra Hardulfi who performed a medley of Latin American favorites as well as traditional Christmas songs on the harp.
One room in the Muzeo was dedicated to art work done by children from OCCTAC. According to Dr. Anna Jimenez-Hami, executive director, “the work reflects a wide range of subjects painted by children from 7 to 12 years of age in a variety of mediums. The mission of the group is to offer unique programs targeting at risk youth and children with special needs from diverse social and cultural backgrounds to include arts, academics and creative therapies to empower youth.”
Some guests walked through the Divine Reflections Muzeo exhibit of over 450 icons and objects from 17th century to 20th century Russian Orthodox Christian origins. Executive Director, Peter Comiskey, was a gracious host to highlight notable pieces including a stunning 20th century painting of the Archangel Michael in full battle armor with sword drawn. From there, guests moved across the street to the Heritage Forum.
As the audience settled into their seats at the Forum and the house lights were lowered, children from the OCCTAC carrying lighted candles came down the aisles creating a mystical effect while Christmas songs were sung in the background in Spanish.
Orange County Symphony composer in residence, Joe Cristina, had his Luz chamber group with soloists Ana Gonzales, and, Stephanie Diaz sing Latin American ballads. Ms Diaz is autistic, and, is from the OCCTAC and sings in five languages.
Folkloric dancers from Anaheim’s Project SAY, danced in colorful and beautiful costumes to traditional Latin American music.
After a short intermission, the Orange County Symphony orchestra took the stage. Guest conductor, Dr. David Rentz, conducted the Symphony musicians in the William de Fesch Concerto in D Major for flute and orchestra featuring Alice Park, soloist, who holds the principal chair as flutist for the Symphony’s main Ensemble Orchestra and the piccolo chair for the OC Winds Symphony. As a finale, the 70 member Mountainside Master Chorale sang selections from Handel’s Messiah earning a well deserved standing ovation at the conclusion.
It was truly a wonderful evening and a great way to get in the holiday spirit. The variety of children’s art, Russian Christian art, harp music, folkloric dancing, the Joe Cristina Luz Chamber Group, the OC Symphony with flute solos and the Moutainside Master Chorale, all added up to a spectacular evening. The night was jam packed with color, music and holiday spirit. What more could attendees ask for! Bravo OC Symphony!
Printed with permission from the Anaheim Independent