A weekend of sorrow, joy and elation followed by Beatles and Christmas songs is coming to Santa Monica. The programming may sound unconventional, but it’s all for a good cause.
SMC and Chorosynthesis Singers join together this weekend to present “World AIDS Day Celebration & Contemporary Mass for Volatile Time”, a series of socially-conscious chorale compositions in honor of the World AIDS Day Celebration.
The event will feature classical choral compositions, modern music and movements, and panel discussions with the composer, HIV/AIDS advocates and the conductors.
Reading the words “chorale”, “choir” and “baritone” can cause many people’s eyes to glaze over and Jeremiah Selvey, professor of Music Santa Monica College and President/Co-Artistic Director of Chorosynthesis Singers, knows it.
It’s why he chose to marry art and empathy and synthesize that into song and composition.
For Selvey, being socially conscious isn’t just a tagline, it’s his singing group’s raison d’etre.
“We wanted to address issues of our time while bridging the gap between lovers of choral music and the rest of world,” Selvey said. “The themes we’re exploring in our repertoire can bring someone in that might not initially have been interested in chorale music. They might learn something, too.”
Composition choices for both evenings will deal with weighty subject matter, with Selvey and fellow Chorosynthesis cofounder Dr. Wendy Moy adding the performances will make audiences feel a wide spectrum of emotions.
“I think anyone that comes will have moments of laughter, tears, and a moment of sheer ecstasy and beauty,” Selvey said.
Subjects such as family separations at the border, positive HIV diagnoses and international bombing will be explored, using music as a mechanism of healing.
To balance the mood, the SMC Concert Chorale ’s sing-alongs to holiday classics and Beatles songs will be presented as well.
The goal of these evenings, Moy says, is to give audience members empathy for others in an entertaining way. She hopes these performances do something she says the world is having difficulty doing at the moment– bringing people together.
“We live in times where there’s so much change and conflict between people,” Moy said. “It’s nice to come to a place and have a have a sense of community and learn about each other through the medium of music.”
Chorosynthesis Singers, SMC Concert Chorale, SMC Chamber Choir, and Guest Baritone Stephen Lancaster’s: World AIDS Day Celebration and Contemporary Mass for Volatile Times takes place Saturday and Sunday, December 8th and 9th at 7:30 pm.
Tickets at the door are $25; $10 students/seniors.