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Center Chorale gets ready for new season

Aficionados of the most sublime musical instrument of all, the human voice, will be pleased to read that the Center Chorale is returning for another series of concerts at various locations in North County.

“It’s going to be pretty exciting!” says Joe Stanford, director of the Center Chorale, about the group’s new season, which will open on Friday, October 27 with “Celtic Choral Celebration,” 7 p.m. at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido Center Theater, a program with lilting Scottish tunes accompanied by bagpipes.

One of the most exciting shows of the season will be the Saturday, February 10, 3 p.m. St Olaf Choir that will be appearing with the Chorale at Village Church Ranch Santa Fe.

“Getting the St. Olaf Choir here from Minnesota for our series is a feather in our crown!” said Stanford. “It’s tough to get them. I dogged them for a long time to come to North County.”

The biggest concert of the year, i.e. the one with the most voices, will be the staging Sunday, February 25 of the Bach Magnificat paired with a new oratorio “A Time to Dance” by Alec Roth.  “I happened on this piece on the internet,” said Stanford. “And I found the title intriguing.”

Of course, the title comes from the Biblical chapter in Ecclesiastes 3 that begins: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” a passage that was given new coinage in Pete Seeger’s “Turn, turn, turn.” He describes the 50-minute piece as being like an oratorio or Cantata.

Dancing to this poetry will be the Mojalet Dance Collective based in Rancho Bernardo, led by choreographer Faith Jensen-Ismay.  The group is an internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company that performs with a passion to share the beauty of expression through movement and artistic collaborations.

As described in their website: “The work performed by the professional company varies from large ensemble work to intimate duets and solos using strong elements of design, musicality, and athletic movement. Themes range from abstract, to the intimacy in relationships, and the pure beauty of movement.”

“A Time to Dance,” will span five centuries of poetic expression.

“They are funky and sexy and all kinds of emotions,” says Stanford. “The work has something to say about the four seasons.”

The Bach Magnificat will be performed on the same program, and it’s nothing similar except that the music will be performed by the same instruments. However, the Roth piece was written with the express purpose of being performed side by side with the Bach work.

In June, with a date to be announced, the season will conclude with African Sanctus by Fanshawe, a work of powerful rhythms and dramatic sound.

For more information on the chorale, visit

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