The reviews are in with a resounding cheer for The Choral Society’s “Hallelujah” concert, December 18/19 at the Music Academy of the West’s splendid recital theater, Hahn Hall. Not only were the chorus of singers and soloists “in fine voice”, but they and the orchestra managed to keep the audience in rapturous attention throughout the concert, despite everyone respectfully observing COVID restrictions by performing while fully masked. Only when April Amante (mezzo-soprano), Ben Brecher (tenor), Ralph Cato (bass) and Tracy Van Fleet (soprano) stepped downstage for their solos, did they remove their masks. Otherwise, the musicians, singers, and the entire audience wore masks throughout the concert, ensuring that everyone could be confident they were not risking their health to be there.

This policy will be in effect as long as the County Health Department guidelines demand it.

Masks not withstanding, the singers were thrilled to be onstage again after a two-year hiatus.
Assistant to the Conductor and Section Leader Steven Thomson opened the concert by leading the audience and chorus in a rousing “O Come All Ye Faithful”. This was followed by The Choral Society’s Conductor and Artistic Director Jo Anne Wasserman taking the orchestra and chorus through a stirring “Personent Hodie”. Then it was time for the “main event” of the program – Handel’s great choral masterpiece, “The Messiah.”

messiah 2021Please enjoy these images from the artistry of photographers David Bazemore and Zach Mendez. If you were not among the enthusiastic audience, these photos will provide you with a feel for what you missed. And, if you were among the fortunate concert-goers, you can revel in the memories these images will bring to mind. See if you can spot Opera Santa Barbara’s General and Artistic Director Kostis Protopapas in the bass section or singer/songwriter Will Breman of NBC’s The Voice fame.