Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in California: Carmel-by-the-sea

Between rainstorms, Californians do what Californians do. Yes those are people in the water, but none of them is any of us! Carmel, just south of Monterey, is traditionally the last pair of Christmas performances for us. Always a wonderful place to end the tour, so close to Christmas.

We have performed in the Carmel Mission for many many years and it was featured in our "Mission Road" DVD/CD.

We made it! The twelve of us will scatter now to all the places across the country where we come from, but you can still see us together on Christmas morning on the TODAY Show. We'll be resting up for a busy spring which includes the world premieres in the Bay Area of new pieces we've commissioned from three brilliant young composers, Youth Choral Festivals in San Luis Obispo, California, Hibbing, Minnesota, and Darien, Connecticut - and preparing for our May debut in China.
In the meantime, we wish for all of you a peaceful and joyous holiday, and all the best to come in the New Year.
see you soon!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas in California: Davis

We took shelter with our audience from a pretty intense rainstorm in the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center in Davis-close to Sacramento. The audience here at the Mondavi Center is always fun to look out at - lots of red, and lots of Christmas-y garb.

The Mondavi Center - a first class concert hall - is only a few years old - we've been doing Christmas here since it opened.

A moment of warmth before we all go back into the storm - which had intensified during the concert. We DO have weather in California..although certainly not as severe as some of you are having right now.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas in California: San Francisco ( again)

Back in San Francisco's St. Ignatius for a second concert. The closer we get to Christmas Day, the more festive are the audiences - many bringing family members who are home for the holidays.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas in California: Petaluma

The city of Petaluma, in Sonoma County, is a Christmas town. Many of the beautiful Victorians are fancifully decorated.

Petaluma is also home to St. Vincent - one of our favorite acoustics, for decades.

Matt gave our seasons greetings to two packed houses.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas in California: Los Angeles

Dodging storms up and down the California coast - a run to Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles for our sixth annual
appearance in the L.A. Philharmonic's Christmas celebration. We're proud to have been invited every Christmas season since the opening of the hall.

It's always fun to be behind the scenes in an important concert hall. Walt Disney's backstage areas feature a lot of plywood - a Frank Gehry signature.

There are a lot more things to think about in this kind of setting: lighting, the adjustable platforms in the stage, and the concert hall acoustics which of course differ considerably from those in churches.

The concert was sold out, and it seemed that everybody showed up! That doesn't always happen in major metropolitan areas where traffic and weather sometimes keep people from attending. We've always enjoyed our performances here, but this one seemed special - a very very warm and attentive audience seemed to hang on our every note, and gave us a standing ovation.

For the people behind us!

Eric's family lives in Los Angeles and has been coming to see him perform for l9 years now!
Back to San Francisco tomorrow, then no Christmas concert on Thursday. What WILL we do???

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas in California: Caroling Party!

On a stormy San Francisco afternoon we enjoyed our relatively new Chanticleer Christmas tradition - a caroling party in the
gorgeous Roos House ( designed by Bernard Maybeck, built in 1909.) We decorated together, we sang carols together - we had a few hours of the peace and fellowship and fun which Christmas is for. Lucky us!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas in California: San Francisco

San Francisco's St. Ignatius - we call it 'the mother ship' - site of A Chanticleer Christmas for 30 years! We give two performances here and it's always amazing to see people who have been coming for most of those 30 years, as well as many first-timers.

We produce our performances in Northern California ourselves. We couldn't do it without our dedicated band of volunteer ushers who have very little time to prepare between the end of our rehearsal and the opening of the house.

St. Ignatius is the largest of our venues for Christmas, holding about l800 people.

As at all of our Christmas concerts, many friends and family wait to see us afterwards.

Christmas in California: Berkeley

Between the grandeur of Memorial Church and St. Ignatius - the intimacy of Berkeley's First Congregational Church - a warm and inviting environment.

The fascinating population of Berkeley includes Rita Moreno, who comes often and seems to like what we do!

A chance to meet and greet our audience, thank them for coming and wish them happy holidays.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas in California: Stanford

Our first stop in California is Memorial Church ( aka Mem Chu, built in 1899) at Stanford University. Two appearances at Stanford are part of our Christmas tradition, and that of many people who come year after year, who this year arrived shivering in the dark and cold ( 45 degree) California night. That's a bit colder than we're used to. ( we know, we're spoiled.)

Memorial Church is a magnificent place for a Christmas concert. These were taped by Minnesota Public Radio and will be hitting the airwaves in the next few days, so perhaps you can join us where you are on your local national public radio station.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas: Goodbye to New York

Back to the Metropolitan Museum. A packed house had braved heavy wind ( street signs were being knocked over on 5th Avenue) and extremely chilly temperatures to join us in the serene warmth of the Medieval Sculpture Court for our last of six concerts.

"Mission Road" -our CD/DVD about the California missions- sold out tonight -perhaps because of all the publicity on the Today Show and WQXR.

Tonight was a night for network newscasters: Martha Teichner and Morley Safer of CBS and Tom Brokaw of NBC were in the audience. Our New York performances also attract lots of friends and relatives and longtime fans.Todd's parents were there, as well as Gabe's parents and aunt and uncle.

Goodbye to the Met until we return on April 16 to perform in the Temple of Dendur. No snow this time ( it's always the perfect ending to a Christmas concert), but it's down to about 20 degrees. Even though New York is the world's greatest Christmas city and it's always hard to leave - we guess we'll be happy to get back to California and the moonlight and palm trees, where 50 degrees seems chilly.