The SMC singers are ready to share their joy of song with you…

When asked ‘what is special’ about this year’s Holiday Concert, these Sierra Master Chorale singers had this to say…

Steve Nicholson, Baritone and one of the Soloists in the Misa Criolla

“I’m very excited about singing Ariel Ramírez’ Misa Criolla. It’s historically significant as one of the first non-Latin Masses which also gives it a great emotional depth and exuberance.”

Carolyn Valle, Alto I

“I have been singing with the Sierra Master Chorale since 2007 (the year before its inception in 2008) when the group was still the Sierra College Choir. We’ve made major steps in improving our capabilities, professionalism, and more importantly to our audiences—our sound. Our director, Ken Hardin, continually raises the bar—choosing music that challenges us to worker. It seems that the more daunting a piece is when we first receive it, the more rewarding it is by performance time. That music, for me, this cycle is the first five movements of piece by Argentine composer, Ariel Ramirez, Misa Criolla. What a challenge—fast-paced and all Spanish—but oh, what a reward awaits us, and our audiences!”

Peggy Brewer, Alto 2

“One thing you can be sure of with the Sierra Master Chorale is that the programming is always exciting and challenging, and definitely out of the ordinary. Director Ken Hardin’s choice of Misa Criolla by composer Ariel Ramirez for our Christmas concert is a case in point. This work is described as a ‘folk mass based on the rhythms and traditions of Hispanic America. . . particularly the rhythms and melodies of Argentina’.  

The Latin beat and the text in Spanish is not so natural to most of us, so learning this music has been challenging. However, Ken Hardin has a unique capacity to teach as well as to conduct, and so we expect a finished and professional-sounding performance in December. This music uses a range of percussion instruments including tenor and snare drums, tom-toms, triangle, jingles, gong, and woodblocks, as well as harpsichord, guitar and string bass. Since the instrumentalists have already been commissioned to accompany the voices in this major work, other pieces using the same kind of instrumentation have also been selected, namely African Noel, the West Indian spiritual Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy, a contemporary work by Jerry Grant titled But Have Not Love, and an unusual work by Leonard Bernstein, Gloria Tibi.”

“The program will be filled with other beautiful Christmas music, some of which may be new to the listener’s ear, but also some more familiar work including Angels’ Carol, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and traditional carols. Also the chorus will perform a short movement from The Armed Man, the major work to be presented at the spring concert, and it is hoped that this excerpt will help to whet the interest of our public to attend this event in May.”

The Holiday Concerts are sponsored by John and Valarie Bush; and Quail Ridge Senior Living

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