The Quire of Voyces Inaugurates a New Santa Barbara Institution: the Santa Barbara Historic Venues Invitational Chamber Choir Festival

On November 3, 2001, the Quire of Voyces and the Santa Barbara City College Music Department hosted the first annual Santa Barbara Historic Venues Invitational Chamber Choir Festival. Nearly 300 singers from seven distinguished high school choirs from all over the state of California participated in this event. The choirs were adjudicated by two nationally recognized clinicians: Dr. Thomas Davies of Cal Poly San Luis Opisbo, and Dr. William Hall of Chapman University School of Music.

the Quire of Vocyes performs for the students at the Old Mission, Santa Barbara

The festival culminated in performances by the Santa Barbara City College Chamber Singers, the Westmont College Choir, a selected piece by each festival participant, and a combined performance of a new work by Emma Lou Deimer. The Festival was designed to promote the Santa Barbara City College as a regional center for dynamic choral performance. Since Nathan Kreitzer assumed the leadership of choral music on the campus, the number of students participating in the college's performance groups and the quality of choral music have grown steadily. The Festival represents a major step in attracting the best West Coast singers to the Music Department. The Festival was a day-long event. The morning kicked off with an introduction at the Old Mission and a concert by the Quire of Voyces.

Dr. Tom Davies works with a choir at St. Anthony's Seminary Chapel

The participants then departed to Trinity Episcopal Church and Saint Anthony's Chapel, where each choir performed before one of the clinicians. The clinicians then worked with each choir, bringing constructive insights to help them improve their choral technique and musical skill. At midday, the choirs met at the beautiful Santa Barbara City College campus for lunch and a brief orientation to the campus. After lunch, the participating choirs returned to their venues to continue working with the clinicians. The Festival concluded with an evening concert at the First Presbyterian Church featuring each choir performing a piece chosen by the clinicians. The Westmont College Choir under the direction of Dr. Stephen Hodson, performed works by Bach and Whitacre.

Dr. William Hall works with students at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

The Santa Barbara City College Chamber Singers performed, under the direction of Nathan Kreitzer, works by Hassler and Bach. To close the concert and the event, all the choirs sang together "Hallelujah", a commissioned piece by Emma Lou Deimer under the direction of Dr. William Hall.

Dr. William Hall conducts the mass choir in the commissioned choral piece, "Hallelujah" by Emma Lou Diemer

Santa Barbara's architectural treasures are many, and the Festival sought to share a few of the city's beautiful churches with the participants. The Festival offered each choir an opportunity to enjoy concertizing and listening to choral performances by others at Santa Barbara's Old Mission, Trinity Episcopal Church, Saint Anthony's Seminary Chapel and the First Presbyterian Church. The Quire of Voyces was honored that Dr. William Hall and Dr. Thomas Davies adjudicated the Festival. Dr. Hall is the founder and Artistic Director of the world-renowned William Hall Master Chorale. Dr. Hall is the Dean of the Chapman University School of Music. Dr. Hall has been a distinguished guest conductor of choirs and orchestras throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Davies is the Director of Choral Activities at Cal Poly San Luis Opisbo, where he conducts the Polyphonic Chamber Choir and the University Choir. Dr. Davies is a past president of the American Choral Directors Association, Western Division.

The Quire of Voyces is also pleased to thank the many volunteers and supporters and the sponsors whose assistance made the Festival possible. We would like to thank the Santa Barbara City College Hotel, Restaurant and Culinary Department for providing a meal for each of the participating singers. We thank our Festival Sponsors, who made generous gifts to support the Festival. We also thank the Arts Council for a generous grant to assist in promoting the Festival. With help from the Quire of Voyces Guild, the Santa Barbara City College Music Department, our sponsors and supporters, the Quire of Voyces is proud to have inaugurated the Santa Barbara Historic Venues Chamber Choir Festival, a new musical tradition in our city.

photo credit: Gildas Halle