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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 11:17 am | Fair 61º


Gerald Carpenter: SBCC’s Quire of Voyces to Reveal ‘Mysteries of Christmas’

The annual holiday concerts by Santa Barbara City College's stellar acapella choir, Quire of Voyces, still under the inspired direction of founder Nathan Kreitzer, have become one of the premier musical events of the festive season. Bearing the continuing title "The Mysteries of Christmas," this year's concerts will take place — Thomas Fire permitting — at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in St. Anthony’s Chapel on the campus of the Garden Street Academy, 2300 Garden St.

Same title, new program: We'll hear works by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), Steve Dombek (born 1953), Sir Herbert Howells (1892-1983), Alexander L’Estrange (born 1974) and Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen (born 1980).

While it will be lovely to hear a work (Of the Father’s Love Begotten) by Dombek, one of the indispensable leaders of our local music scene, this program pretty much belongs to the 16th century Spaniard, Victoria.

While music historians have, for centuries, proclaimed Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1526-94) the founder of the baroque and main voice of the Counter Reformation in music, Victoria has ever so gradually supplanted Palestrina on modern programs of period music and in the hearts of audiences for choral music. His greatness is undeniable, though difficult to pin down. He is never overbearing or melodramatic — two qualities that usually impress audiences — but in this case, their absence proves to be a positive virtue. His music flows seamlessly, with liquid grace. He is a soul whisperer.

Tickets to these concerts are $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors. They are available at the door or by phone from the Garvin Theatre Box Office at 805.965.5935. (Call to find out if the concert is still happening, too.)

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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