Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The Pass Chorale is a community chorus serving the San Gorgonio Pass area. Their annual Celebration of Christmas concert is scheduled for Sunday, December 13, 2009, 2:30pm at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 1320 W. Williams St. in Banning.

The concert features the Magnificat by Johann Sebastian Bach, with Christmas interpolations. This is a festive work for soloists, 5 part chorus, and orchestra. It is based on the biblical text, Mary’s song of praise. The Magnificat follows the biblical text in Latin. The interpolations, in German and Latin, were added by Bach especially for Christmas performances.

Soloists are Patricia Cordova , soprano (winner of the 2009 Pass Has Talent competition), Veronica Angel, soprano, Danielle Perrault, alto, Jonathan Arana, tenor, and Ulises Espinoza, Bass. Soloists Angel, Perrault, Arana and Espinoza are all students in the choral and voice program at California State University, San Bernardino. We are pleased to have them join us for this performance. Soloist Cordova is a regular member of the Pass Chorale. The soloists, chorus, and orchestra are directed by Ernest Siva.

The second part of the program is a sampling of Christmas anthems featuring the Chorale, accompanist, Joan Frost, and the orchestra. The concert ends with the traditional carol sing-along featuring the audience, the chorale and the orchestra. It is guaranteed to put you in the Christmas spirit!

Suggested donation is $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. All donations to the Pass Chorale are tax deductible.

Pass Chorale Director, Ernest Siva, grew up in Banning and has directed the Chorale for 14 years. He has Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music Education and Chorale Music from USC. He taught music in the public schools and American Indian Music ant UCLA. He is founder and President of Dorothy Ramon Learning Center in Banning, a cultural center aimed at saving and sharing the music, languages, traditional arts and cultures of southern California Indian communities.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fifteenth and Sixteenth Rehearsals

We've spent most of our time in these rehearsals on "woodshedding," as the music folks call it. That means making sure we are all secure on our parts. Ernest particularly likes isolating two parts and having them sing together, e.g., second sopranos and tenors, altos and basses, first sopranos and altos. This way we see how the music fits together. We also get an appreciation for all the parts. Often in these sessions we practice singing each other's parts. This also gives us greater appreciation for the entire work. At the end we put all 5 parts together.

We were having particular trouble with the last movement where we all sing something different, only joining in the last few measures. It is a matter of careful counting and knowing your part cold! At the end of the rehearsal, we did it correctly. Now let's hope we can do it again, at our next rehearsal.

Ernest has been busy lining up instrumentalists and soloists. There will be some students joining us from the Cal State San Bernardino choral program.

December 13 will be here before we know it. It is getting to be crunch time as we prepare for the wonderful Christmas program.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fourteenth Rehearsal

I didn't blog about our 13th rehearsal because it was like a step backwards. We were missing several members, so we limped through most of the Bach. But our 14th rehearsal was wonderful. We began with the announcement that Soprano Pat Cordova won the Pass Has Talent contest. We were all very excited. Pat wasn't there so we'll have more details next week. We know there were many contestants, the contest has gone on for several weeks. Our member Pat won the Grand Prize. Congratulations, Pat! We are proud of you.

We started with our anthems, and they are beginning to really sound nice. We're still having a bit of trouble with the Jester Hairston, Mary's Boy Child. The syncopation and going back and forth for multiple verses is still confusing. We're improving though.

We also got all the way through the Bach. We're doing much better on the Christmas interpolations. All in all, a great rehearsal. We love this music!