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LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS’S GALA BEL CANTO RAISES $231,000

Location: California, USA
Choir type: Children's and Youth Choirs
Voicing: Children
The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), considered one of the world’s leading children’s choirs, celebrated three Southland arts luminaries, whose visionary and exceptional leadership has had a major impact on the field of choral music, at its annual Gala Bel Canto on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles.  LACC honored Los Angeles Master Chorale Founding Board Member Marshall Rutter and Chorale President & CEO Terry Knowles (who are husband and wife) with the Bel Canto Award for their tremendous, groundbreaking and pace-setting contributions to the choral arts, and former LACC Chair David R. Scheidemantle with the Rebecca Thompson Founder’s Award for his judicious leadership, unwavering dedication and significant generosity to the chorus.  Choristers from all of LACC’s progressively experienced performing ensembles raised their voices in a heartfelt musical tribute to the honorees.  The Gala also included a delectable three-course sit-down dinner by famed chef Neal Fraser and dazzling live auction.  The event, which raised $231,000,benefits Los Angeles Children's Chorus’s artistic, educational and scholarship programs.
 
“Terry, Marshall and David, through their dedication and selfless efforts, have inexorably altered the musical landscape in Los Angeles and beyond,” said gala Chair Jennifer Sliskovich.  “It is an honor to recognize them for their lasting legacies and the profound influence they’ve had on the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus and the world of choral music.”
 
KUSC personality Brian Lauridsen served as Master of Ceremonies. Los Angeles Master Chorale Music Director Grant Gershon paid tribute to Knowles and Rutter, who were presented with the Gala Bel Canto Award by eminent opera, theatre and festival director Peter Sellars.  LACC Board Chair Jennifer Terry introduced Scheidemantle, who was presented with the Rebecca Thompson Founders Award by former LACC Borad member Rick Roberts.  
 
Among numerous highlights, LACC members performed Tanzen und Springen by Hans Leo Hassler, Dirait-on by Morten Lauridsen, Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes by Shawn Kirchner, I’m Gonna Wait on the Lord, arranged by Damon H. Dandridge, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by J.S. Bach, and Here’s to Song by Allister MacGillivray, arranged by Lydia Adams.  In addition Scheidemantle’s children, Sara, Kaela and Luke – all current or former LACC members – paid tribute to their father with a performance of Tango by Michael McLean.  A vocal quartet featuring noted singers Grant Gershon, Elissa Johnston, Shawn Kirchner and Adrianna Manfredi honored Knowles and Rutter with several musical selections as well.
 
Guests also enjoyed a live auction featuring vacation escapes to a quaint pied-à-terre in Paris’s lively Montmartre District, a 2,400 square feet villa in Puglia, Italy, on the Adriatic and Ionian seas, and a spacious ski condo in Mammoth Mountain, CA.  Also up for grabs were several music and entertainment packages, including an LACC “Salon” and brunch in a private home in San Marino.  In addition, there were opportunity drawings for an “instant” wine cellar valued at $4,000, and a jewelry and handbag package valued at $4,500.
 
Terry Knowles, who is married to Rutter and shares his abiding musical passion, has served as President & CEO of the Los Angeles Master Chorale since 2000.  During her tenure, the chorus has released five CDs, established a recording partnership with Decca Classics, increased its operating budget by more than 80% to $5.4 million, expanded its season and institutional profile significantly, undertaken ambitious commissioning projects, and toured to Europe, New York and the Midwest.  It also launched the “Voices Within” education outreach program, inspiring the next generation of composers, singers and music lovers, and under her management has twice received the ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming – in 2003 and 2010 – as well as Chorus America’s prestigious 2012 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the nation’s highest choral music award.
 
In 1964, Marshall Rutter, an esteemed attorney with a deep passion for music and dreams of enriching Southern California’s cultural scene, helped to establish the Los Angeles Master Chorale.  He has continuously served on the Chorale’s board for 50 years, providing unerring commitment and support to foster its artistic growth, mission and outreach efforts.  Thanks in great part to his leadership, the Chorale, which is a founding resident company of the Music Center and performs at Walt Disney Concert Hall, has become one of the world’s preeminent professional choirs, reaching millions of people with its remarkable artistry through live performance, recordings and radio broadcasts.  The Chorale also regularly collaborates with such acclaimed organizations as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Musica Angelica and the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, among others.
 
David Scheidemantle, a highly regarded attorney and Juilliard-trained violinist, served on LACC’s Board of Directors from 2007-2012 and as Chair from 2009-2012, during which time he adroitly navigated the chorus through the worst economic crisis in modern history.  His consummate leadership, prudent business insights, pro-bono legal representation, extensive musical experience, and profound dedication to the organization have helped the chorus build upon its considerable foundation and elevate its stature in the international arts community.  An LACC parent as well, his influence has been felt at every level of LACC, from chaperoning tours and performing with the chorus, to shaping LACC’s future by leading the development of the chorus’s new mission statement and long range plan.David started as an LACC parent, and I recall that our former E.D. Rachel Fine shared that her first experience in getting to know David was on an Intermediate Choir tour in 2007.  She raved, “he’s great and I think he’d be an amazing board member.”  Well, she was right.
 
In addition to Sliskovich, the gala committee included Valeria Balfour, Patricia Barajas-Tavera, Elissa Johnston, Jill Westbrook Roberts, Ann Sunshine, Kelly Wilkniss, Andrea Willard and Rae Yan.                                                                          
                                                                                   
LOS ANGELES CHILDREN’S CHORUS – lauded as “one of the world's foremost children's choirs” (Pasadena Star News), and described by critics as “hauntingly beautiful” (Los Angeles Times), “astonishingly polished” (Performances Magazine), “extraordinary in its abilities” (Culture Spot LA), and “one heck of a talented group of kids” (LA Weekly) – is recognized throughout the country for its exceptional artistic quality and technical ability.  Founded in 1986 and led by Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson since 1995, LACC’s roster includes more than 400 children ages 6 to 18 from more than 50 communities across Los Angeles in six choirs and First Experiences in Singing program.  LACC has toured North and South America, Africa, China, Australia and Europe.  It appears on the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s critically acclaimed 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 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 LACC’s commissioned family opera 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 information on the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, please call (626) 793-4231 or visit www.lachilrenschorus.org.