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Pacific Chorale, Led by Artistic Director Robert Istad, Announces 2021-2022 Season with Return to In-Person, Indoor Performances

August 30, 2021 | By Libby Huebner
Pacific Chorale

Pacific Chorale Artistic Director Robert Istad and Andrew Brown, President & CEO, today announced the chorus’ 2021-2022 Season featuring its return to in-person performances at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, beginning in October, with sweeping programming that builds upon its trailblazing legacy of championing contemporary composers. The “A-list ensemble” (Los Angeles Times) acclaimed for its “polish, poise and tonal splendor” (Orange County Register) presents five transformative programs, bookending the 54th season with two world premieres by Grammy-nominated former Composer-in-Residence Tarik O’Regan, the first, The Stillness Chained, a Pacific Chorale commission set to the poetry of Yone Noguchi.


Each of the five programs includes a range of compelling works by some of the most groundbreaking composers of our time, including the West Coast premieres of Damien Geter’s profound Cantata for a More Hopeful Tomorrow, a message of hope refracted through the lens of Bach’s musical legacy interwoven with African-American spirituals, featuring celebrated soprano Aundi Marie Moore and Pacific Symphony Principal Cellist Warren Hagerty; and Frank Ticheli’s Until Forever Fades Away, a poetic meditation on the elusive nature of time.


Among other vibrant contemporary choral works, Istad conducts Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw’s and the swallow, a setting of Psalm 84 inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis, and her playful Music in Common Time for choir and orchestra; Paul Fowler’s wordless, hypnotic Calling; and Edie Hill’s poignant We Bloomed in Spring, set to the words of St. Teresa of Avila. Pacific Chorale also performs leading Estonian composer Galina Grigorjeva’s On Leaving, a contemplation on the soul’s release from the mortal body; Spiritus Mundi, Dale Trumbore’s hymn of gratitude for the fruits of the earth; Jake Runestad’s exuberant setting of Walt Whitman’s Proud Music of the Storm; and South Korean composer Hyo-Won Woo’s dramatic Me-Na-Ri (Space Music), a work for three choirs and percussion that stretches the boundaries of choral music.


Adding further breadth to the season are three iconic 20th century choral masterworks: Rachmaninoff’s evocative a cappella Vespers (All Night Vigil), Op. 37; Martin’s Mass for Double Choir, a tour-de-force laced with vocal fireworks; and the choir’s first-ever performance of Vaughan Williams’ poignant Dona Nobis Pacem, giving voice to the plea, “Grant us peace,” and featuring renowned guest artists soprano Liv Redpath and Grammy Award-winning bass-baritone Dashon Burton.


Pacific Chorale’s signature holiday programming returns with two performances each of “Carols by Candlelight” – spotlighting timeless repertoire from the Renaissance and beyond, including works by contemporary British composers Bob Chilcott, Patrick Hawes, Cecilia McDowall, and Will Todd – and the beloved family favorite “Tis the Season!,” chock-full of festive carols, seasonal delights, and even a visit from Santa Claus. This year, “Tis the Season!” will conclude with the first live performance of Emmy Award-winning composer Gary Fry’s new arrangement of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” which Pacific Chorale commissioned and premiered during last season’s virtual holiday concert. 


As Pacific Chorale resumes singing in person, I wanted to select works that both recognize the challenges we have all faced in recent times and reflect the diverse repertoire that our singers love to perform and our audiences have come to expect,” says Istad. “Composers creating artistic statements right now are deeply connected to our current human experience. I sincerely hope their messages resonate with our singers and audiences in an immediate, powerful way. At its core, Pacific Chorale exists to unite people through choral music, so returning to live performances enhanced by the sparkling acoustics of Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall will, no doubt, be an incredibly joyful experience for all of us on the stage and in the theater.”


“We are extremely grateful to the Pacific Chorale’s loyal patrons, vital community partners and committed donors for helping the organization transition through the extended closure brought about by the global pandemic,” says Brown. “While we made it a top priority to remain artistically connected to our patrons during this challenging time by pivoting to create innovative, digital programming, there is nothing like the visceral aspect of a live performance. We are thrilled to be able to, once again, welcome patrons back inside the concert hall and showcase the Pacific Chorale’s artistry in a concert setting.”



In addition to presenting its own concert series, the Chorale makes guest appearances on five Pacific Symphony programs this season. They include Handel’s Messiah, led by Robert Moody (December 5, 2021), and four presentations under the baton of Carl St.Clair – A Lunar New Year program (February 5, 2022), Cathedrals of Sounds (February 17-19, 2022), Verdi’s Otello (April 7,9,12, 2022), and Mozart’s Requiem in D Minor (May 19-22, 2022).



Pacific Chorale continues to make the health and safety of its patrons, artists and community its top priority and has adopted the requirement that all audience members attending indoor performances be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In order to be considered fully vaccinated, patrons must confirm that at least 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose of FDA or WHO authorized double-dose vaccines or that at least 14 days have passed since receiving the sole dose of FDA or WHO authorized single-dose vaccines. Audience members may display proof of vaccine on a smartphone or by showing a physical copy of their vaccination card or official vaccination record. Children under 12 and those who are unvaccinated due to a medical or religious reason must provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken no more than 48 hours prior to attending. Rapid or antigen tests will not be accepted. All guests, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks while inside the concert venue. These safety protocols will be re-assessed on an ongoing basis and may be adjusted as public health circumstances evolve. The Chorale is closely monitoring industry and government guidance regarding the COVID-19 virus, including information supplied by the State of California, California Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Orange County Department of Public Health. For information on Pacific Chorale’s most current health and safety protocols, please visit https://www.pacificchorale.org/covid-returning-to-live-performances/.



Season tickets are available in packages of 3 to 5 concerts, ranging in price from $67 to $469. Single tickets to individual performances will go on sale on Tuesday, September 7. All Pacific Chorale concerts are presented in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA, except for “Carols by Candlelight” and “Songs of the Soul,” which are presented in Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach, CA. For tickets and information, visit www.pacificchorale.org or call 714-662-2345.



ROBERT ISTAD, who “fashions fluent and sumptuous readings” (Voice of OC) with his “phenomenal” artistry (Los Angeles Times), was appointed Pacific Chorale’s Artistic Director in 2017. Under his leadership, the chorus continues to expand its reputation for excellence for delivering fresh, thought-provoking interpretations of beloved masterworks, rarely performed gems and newly commissioned pieces. His artistic impact can be heard on two recent recordings featuring Pacific Chorale: “Mahler’s Eighth Symphony” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel on Deutsche Grammophon (2021), for which he prepared the chorus, and “Ecstasies Above: The Music of Tarik O’Regan,” which he conducted, on Yarlung Records (2020). Istad has also prepared choruses for such renowned conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Williams, John Mauceri, Keith Lockhart, Nicholas McGegan, Vasilly Sinaisky, Sir Andrew Davis, Bramwell Tovey, Carl St.Clair, Eugene Kohn, Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop, George Fenton, and Robert Moody. He regularly conducts and collaborates with Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Sony Classical Records, Yarlung Records, Berkshire Choral International, and Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. An esteemed educator, Istad is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at California State University, Fullerton, where he was recognized as CSUF’s 2016 Outstanding Professor of the Year. He conducts the University Singers and manages a large graduate conducting program, in addition to teaching courses on conducting and performance practice. Istad, who is on the Executive Board of Directors of Chorus America and serves as Dean of Chorus America’s Conducting Academy, is in demand as guest conductor, lecturer, and clinician.


PACIFIC CHORALE, an Orange County “treasure” with a “fresh viewpoint” that “can sing anything you put in front of it, with polish, poise and tonal splendor” (Orange County Register) has “risen to national prominence” (Los Angeles Times) since its inception in 1968. Hailed for delivering “thrilling entertainment” (Voice of OC), the resident choir at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is noted for its artistic innovation and commitment to expanding the choral repertoire. It has given world, U.S., and West Coast premieres of more than 35 works, including numerous commissions, by such lauded composers as John Adams, Jake Heggie, James Hopkins, David Lang, Morten Lauridsen, Ravel, Tarik O'Regan, Karen Thomas, Frank Ticheli, András Gábor Virágh, and Eric Whitacre. In addition to presenting its own concert series each season, Pacific Chorale enjoys a long-standing partnership with Pacific Symphony, with whom the choir made its highly anticipated Carnegie Hall debut in 2018. The chorus also regularly appears with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and has performed with such leading orchestras as the Boston Symphony, National Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Musica Angelica, among others. Pacific Chorale has garnered international acclaim as well, having toured extensively to more than 19 countries in Europe, South America, and Asia, and through collaborations with the London Symphony, Munich Symphony, L’Orchestre Lamoureux and L’Orchestre de St-Louis-en-l’Île of Paris, National Orchestra of Belgium, China National Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Estonian National Symphony, and Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Argentina, among others.  Deeply committed to making choral music accessible to people of all ages, the organization, which has a discography of 14 self-produced recordings and an extensive collection of exceptional free digital offerings, places a significant emphasis on choral music education, providing after-school vocal programs for elementary school students, a choral summer camp for high school students, and an annual community-wide singing event at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. www.pacificchorale.org



2021-2022 SEASON



Rachmaninoff Vespers

Saturday, October 30, 2021 – 7:00 p.m.

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Robert Istad, conductor

Pacific Chorale

Aundi Marie Moore, soprano

Warren Hagerty, cello


Hyo-Won WOO                                                                                       Me-Na-Ri (Space Music)                        
Tarik O’REGAN                                                                                       The Stillness Chained (World Premiere)                
Damien GETER                                                                                      Cantata for a More Hopeful Tomorrow (West Coast Premiere)      

RACHMANINOFF                                                                                   Vespers (All Night Vigil), Op. 37          



Carols by Candlelight

Saturday, December 4, 2021 – 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 – 8:00 p.m.

Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach

Robert Istad, conductor 

Pacific Chorale


Featuring timeless seasonal repertoire from the Renaissance and beyond


NILES / Arr. Leonard Enns                                                                      I Wonder as I Wander  

Will TODD                                                                                               The Call of Wisdom  

Arr. Mack Wilberg & Peter Stevens                                                         Ding! Dong! Merrily on High  

Arr. John Rutter                                                                                       O Come, O Come, Emmanuel  

Arr. Reginald Jacques                                                                             In Dulci Jubilo   

DERING / ed. Richard Lyne                                                                    Quem vidistis, pastores?  

Arr. Sarah Quartel                                                                                   This Endris Night   

Arr. John Rutter                                                                                       The Holly and the Ivy  

HOWELLS                                                                                               “Magnificat” from Collegium Regale  

Arr. David Willcocks                                                                                God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen  

Cecilia MCDOWALL                                                                               Lo He slumbers in his manger  

GRUBER / Arr. Bob Chilcott                                                                    Silent Night  

Patrick HAWES                                                                                       Reflexionem  

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS                                                                             Excerpts from Fantasia on Christmas Carols  

Bob CHILCOTT                                                                                       Dona Nobis Pacem  



Tis the Season!

Sunday, December 19, 2021 – 5:00 p.m.

Monday, December 20, 2021 – 7:30 p.m.

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

Robert Istad, conductor

Pacific Chorale

Members of Pacific Symphony


A family-friendly program replete with festive carols, holiday favorites and a visit from Santa Claus


Gary FRY                                                                                                O Come, O Come, Emmanuel  

Arr. David Willcocks                                                                                O Come, All Ye Faithful  

Bob CHILCOTT                                                                                       Angel Voices Ever Singing  

Arr. Jackson Berkey                                                                                God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen  

Morten LAURIDSEN                                                                               O Magnum Mysterium  

Arr. Will Todd                                                                                          Once in Royal David’s City  

Ji-Hoon PARK                                                                                         Gloria from “Lightning Bug” Mass  

Arr. Mack Wilberg                                                                                   Joy to the World  

HERMAN / Arr. Jerry Rubino                                                                  We Need a Little Christmas  

José FELICIANO /Arr. Paul Langford                                                     Feliz Navidad  

STYNE & CAHN /Arr. Teena Chinn & Marc Riley                                   The Christmas Waltz  

BERLIN / Arr. Marc Riley & Mac Huff                                                      White Christmas  

Mariah CAREY & Walter AFANASIEFF / Arr. Mac Huff & Marc Riley    All I Want for Christmas Is You                               

Arr. David Willcocks                                                                                Jingle, Bells  

Rosephanye POWELL                                                                            Christmas Memories from “Christmas Give”  

BIEBL                                                                                                      Ave Maria  

GRUBER / Arr. Dan Forrest                                                                    Silent Night  

Arr. Gary Fry                                                                                           We Wish You a Merry Christmas  



Songs of the Soul

Saturday, March 19, 2022 – 8:00 p.m.

Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach

Robert Istad, conductor

Pacific Chorale


Paul FOWLER                                                                                        Calling  

Edie HILL                                                                                                We Bloomed in Spring               

Galina GRIGORJEVA                                                                             On Leaving                                                             

Caroline SHAW                                                                                      and the swallow                                      

Dale TRUMBORE                                                                                   Spiritus Mundi                                         

MARTIN                                                                                                  Mass for Double Choir                           



Dona Nobis Pacem

Saturday, May 7, 2021 – 5:00 p.m.

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

Robert Istad, conductor

Pacific Chorale

Liv Redpath, soprano

Dashon Burton, bass-baritone

Pacific Symphony


Tarik O’REGAN                                                                                      World Premiere

Caroline SHAW                                                                                      Music in Common Time                                          

Frank TICHELI                                                                                        Until Forever Fades Away (West Coast Premiere)  

Jake RUNESTAD                                                                                    Proud Music of the Storm                       

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS                                                                            Dona Nobis Pacem  




Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

600 Town Center Drive

Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach

2100 Mar Vista Drive

Newport Beach, CA 92660


Season subscriptions available; single tickets go on sale September 7


Artists, dates, programs and venues subject to change



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