Archive » October 28, 2010
CHORALE TO VISIT VALLEY
By Jamie Mathews, Contributing Writer
A 90-member male chorale from California Baptist University at Riverside will be singing their way through the Santa Ynez Valley. The ensemble will be performing a free concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Church of the Crossroads, located at 236 La Lata Drive in Buellton. The concert is a collaboration of the Church at the Crossroads and host church, First Baptist Church Solvang. After the concert, auditions will be offered to students seeking college scholarships at CBU. The chorale will also perform at the Santa Ynez Valley High School at 12:45 p.m. that same day. The Valley’s own Matthew Smitley, a 2007 graduate of Santa Ynez Valley High School, is a member of the chorale and is in his second year of participating with the group. At the end of this school year, he will have participated in approximately 100 concerts in multiple states.
The chorale is conducted by Dr. Judd Bonner, Associate Dean of the Collinsworth School of Music at Cal Baptist University. According to the CBU website, “The group features that unique tonal quality that can only be found with a group of all men.” About eight years ago, the chorale started with approximately 12 men and a pianist and has now grown to 90 men strong, with percussion, rhythm, a brass section and a pianist.
“Dr. Bonner is one of the driving forces behind the male chorale,” said Smitley, adding, “The high standard that he continues to set for us as a group, constantly propels us to the next level.” Smitley says one of his favorite parts of participating in the chorale is being able to bond and become a brotherhood.
The chorale practices twice a week for two and a half hours at each rehearsal. In addition, chorale members attend a music camp at the beginning of each year that consists of two 12-hour days and one six-hour day of practice.
While on tour, the chorale stays at the homes of families from the churches and other venues where they perform. They do not charge for the concerts but do ask for help with housing the men. Because there are so many men in the group, they must charter a bus, as well as take vans and a cargo truck for their equipment. The men bring their own sound system, instruments and equipment in case the venues are not able to provide it. During performances, the group sings both with a band’s accompaniment, as well as a capella. “It’s very powerful and moving to hear and feel unamplified voices especially with that amount of people singing,” Smitley said.
Both the First Baptist Church of Solvang and the Church at the Crossroads invite all who wish to attend this powerful musical event. Smitley and the men in the chorale are excited to share their music with the Valley and bring the community together in song.