UCSB’s gold-standard Chamber Choir, led by its founder and director, Michel Marc Gervais, and guest conductor Eric Holtan, will be splitting the bill with the celestial UCSB Women’s Chorus, conducted by Helena von Rueden and Michael Vitalino, for their last concert of the academic year.
The performance will begin at 8 p.m. Friday in the St. Anthony’s Seminary Chapel, 2300 Garden St. in Santa Barbara.
As appealing as we might find it to have these two exceptional vocal ensembles joining forces for a combined concert, that does not appear to be what is going to happen this Friday night. It will be first one, then the other.
The evening will begin with Von Rueden and Vitalino leading the Women’s Chorus in a program of Spanish-flavored love songs by Kathleen Allan, David Childs, Diane Loomer, Pfeifer Nuñez and Cristian Grases. They will be aided and abetted, in their Iberian dreaming, by guitarist Mark Covey, for it is hard to conceive of even Spanish choral music without a guitar making itself known somewhere along the line.
Exit the Women’s Chorus, enter the Chamber Choir, who take us north across the Bay of Biscay for music of the British Isles and on into Scandinavia. Guest conductor Holtan from Tucson, Ariz., will lead a performance of the ethereal and otherworldly Requiem by English composer Herbert Howells. Then Gervais will lead his exquisite choir in the witty and engaging Four Shakespeare Songs by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi. (Gervais spent an important part of his early career in Scandinavia, and he continues to champion — eloquently — music from the lands around the Baltic Sea.)
Like most UCSB concerts — those that aren’t free — the tickets to this choral event are $15 for general admission and $7 for students, with donations collected at the door.