By Bea Wolff
Little captures the spirit of the holidays more than beautiful music, and the Family Holiday Show provided just that on Saturday, December 18. L.A. Pierce College Philharmonic Choir presented the San Fernando Valley Master Chorale for one performance, under the vision of artistic director Terry Danne.
The show opened with Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols,” performed with passion by the women of the Chorale, who were accompanied exquisitely by harpist Paul Baker. Next, the entire Chorale – joined by piano (sensitively played by Dr. Donald Caldwell), drums and bass – filled the room with Rachmaninoff’s “Ave Maria,” followed by a variety of Christmas and Hanukkah songs, including the traditional spiritual “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” sung with depth of feeling by alto, Brittney Wheeler. Then, the Merrywood Singers arrived with spunk and artistic perfection, as they did their rendition of a traditional Spanish Carol and the “Hanerot Halalu.”
The second half of the show began with a surprise visit (via movie screen) of Andy Williams singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” from one of his Christmas specials, and then overflowed with the lovely harmony of the Satin Dolls Jazz Trio; the fine sounds of “O Holy Night,” delivered with conviction by soprano Joane Franks and Fe’ao Bloomfield; the smooth lyrical voices of Larray Grimes and Kendra Hill; and more excitement from the Merrywood Singers, especially with their lively rendition of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”; a dance by Frosty the Snow Man; a rendition of “T’was the Night Before Christmas” sung by Chorale; and John Wallis singing the hip “Cool Yule.” At the very end, Santa Clause himself visited the children in the audience and handed out presents to them as the audience participated in a sing-along.
Make a date with yourself to look for information about next year’s Family Holiday Show, in cooperation with the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, at Pierce College, Theater on the Hill. If you love the holidays, this is one show you won’t want to miss!