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LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS RAISES $187,000 AT GALA BEL CANTO

Location: California, USA
Voicing: Children
The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) raised its voice in song to honor musical luminaries James Conlon, LA Opera Music Director, and Anna Christy, soprano and LACC alumna, as well as visionary corporate partner Nestlé USA, represented by Nestlé USA Chairman and CEO Brad Alford, at Gala Bel Canto on Friday, March 9, 2012, at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion’s Grand Hall in downtown Los Angeles.  More than 150 LACC choristers – from some of its youngest members who began in LACC’s “First Experiences in Singing” class to its highly accomplished Chamber Singers – presented a sparkling musical tribute to the honorees.  The Gala also included a delectable three-course sit-down dinner and dazzling live auction.   Some 200 guests attended the event, which raised more than $187,000 for the acclaimed chorus’ artistic, educational and scholarship programs, including a whopping $21,000 for need-based scholarships through a fund-a-need paddle pledge during the live auction.
 
“We are very pleased to recognize James Conlon, Anna Christy and Nestlé USA for their tremendous impact on LACC and beyond,” said gala Chair Mary Blodgett (San Marino). 
 
Noted opera singer Suzanna Guzmán, described as “a rarity” (New York Times) and “a fire-eating singing actress,” (Time Magazine), served as Master of Ceremonies for the music-filled evening.  Welcome remarks were given by LACC Chair David Scheidemantle and LACC Executive Director Deborah Berman.  Grant Snyder led the live auction.
 
Conlon, who was praised by Los Angeles Master Chorale Music Director/LA Opera Resident Conductor Grant Gershon in his introductory remarks as well as in video-taped comments from LA Opera Chair Marc Stern, was presented with the BEL CANTO AWARD by Gershon.  Conlon, in demand around the globe with the world’s leading musical organizations, has been hailed as “a miracle of equilibrium: his dramatic intuition never fails, nor betrays the transparency of the music” (La Monde de la Musique).  In addition to a busy conducting schedule, he is dedicated to mentoring young artists and has conducted members of LACC in numerous LA Opera productions and, just five days prior to the gala, led LACC and the American Youth Symphony in a joint concert featuring the world premiere of The isle is full of noises by Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason as part of the LA Phil’s “Sounds About Town” series at Walt Disney Concert Hall. 
 
Noted LACC alumna Anna Christy, an ardent supporter of LACC, was introduced by LACC Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson and received the DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD from highly regarded music teacher Alan Geier.  Praised as “nimble of voice, body and spirit” (New York Times), Christy, who has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, LA Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago, among other notable opera companies, has provided her stellar artistry to LACC both as a founding chorister and, more recently as a highly acclaimed professional opera star, though numerous benefit performances and workshops with LACC. 
 
Corporate partner Nestlé USA received the REBECCA THOMPSON FOUNDERS AWARD for it invaluable, leadership support to LACC’s newest program, First Experiences in Singing, which introduces six- and seven-year olds from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds to the wonders and excitement of singing and music.  Generous funding from Nestlé USA has enabled LACC to sink deeper roots into the local San Gabriel Valley community by presenting its “First Experiences in Singing” program at Nestlé-adopted Daniel Webster Elementary School in Pasadena, where LACC will also offer satellite auditions for the school’s young students at the end of the spring semester.  The award was presented to Nestlé USA Chairman and CEO Brad Alford by Sharon Lefler, Principal, Daniel Webster Elementary School.
 
Musical selections, interspersed throughout the evening, included “Come Let’s Be Merry” by James Mulholland, conducted by LACC Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson, Artistic Director with accompaniment by Twyla Meyer, Principal Pianist; “Spirits” by Douglas Beam, conducted by LACC Associate Artistic Director Mandy Brigham; “O Bellissimi Capelli” by Andrea Falconieri, conducted by Young Men’s Ensemble Director Dr. Steven Kronauer; and “Sing All Ye Joyful” by Kirke Mechem.  In addition, Anna Christy and Grant Gershon performed “O luce di quest’anima” from Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix.
 
In addition to Blodgett, gala committee members included Annie Yeager Higgins, Jill Westbrook Roberts, Ann Sunshine, and Andrea Greene Willard.  
 
For information about the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, please call (626) 793-4231 or visit www.lachildrenschorus.org.
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LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS – described by the media as “astonishingly polished,” “hauntingly beautiful,” and “one heck of a talented group of kids” – is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost children's choirs.  Founded in 1986 and currently led by Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson, LACC performs with such leading organizations as LA Phil, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, LA Opera, LA Master Chorale, LACO, Pasadena Symphony and POPs and Calder Quartet.  The chorus' roster includes more than 350 children aged 6-18 from 60 communities across Los Angeles in six choirs and “First Experiences in Singing” classes for young singers.  LACC has toured North and South America, China and Europe, and produced the world-premiere of Keepers of the Night, an opera by Peter Ash and Donald Sturrock.  The chorus appeared on LA Master Chorale’s recently released Decca recording “A Good Understanding,” and Plácido Domingo’s Deutsche Grammophon recording "Amore Infinito" ("Infinite Love").  The subject of a trilogy of documentaries by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock, LACC is featured in the Academy Award-nominated Sing!, about a year in the life of the choir; Sing Opera!, documenting the production of “Keepers of the Night”; and Sing China!, chronicling its groundbreaking tour to China just prior to the Beijing Olympics.  LACC has performed with John Mayer on NBC's “The Tonight Show,” and was featured on Public Radio International's nationally syndicated show “From the Top,” among other credits.  For more information on the choir, please visit www.lachildrenschorus.org.