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Gerald Carpenter: Westmont Orchestra, Choir to Preview Program for Italian Tour

The Westmont College Orchestra and Choir, including 120 student musicians, faculty and staff, are making a whirlwind tour of Italy May 12-23.

Soprano Emmalee Wetzel will sing with the Westmont Orchestra and Choir in four local pre-tour concerts.

They'll be playing concerts in Rome, Florence, Cremona and Venice (kind of makes you wish you'd stuck with those lessons, doesn't it?). The tickets are bought, the reservations are made and the schedule is fixed, but before they leave, the young musical voyagers will try out their tour program in four local concerts, two in Santa Barbara and two in the Los Angeles area.

This "Spring Orchestra Concert" will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30 in the Page Multipurpose Room on the Westmont campus, and at 7 p.m. Friday in First Presbyterian Church at State and Constance streets.

The musicians will repeat these concerts, with some variations, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 10 at Saint Peter’s by the Sea Presbyterian Church, 6410 Palos Verdes Drive South, and at 7 p.m. Monday, May 11 in West Valley Christian Church, 22450 Sherman Way in West Hills.

Conducting the combined orchestra and choir is Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship at Westmont. The programs will include solos by soprano Emmalee Wetzel, pianist Aaron Wilk and bassoonist Paul Mori, who conducts chamber ensembles and coaches the wind and brass sections for the orchestra.

“The program," Shasberger says, "will include selections from Franz Josef Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with choir and orchestra, choral selections of contemporary American composers and orchestral selections including Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, and music from the film score for Gladiator.

Tickets to the Santa Barbara concerts are $10, with students admitted free. Admission is free to both Los Angeles-area concerts, but donations will be welcomed to offset travel expenses for the 120 student musicians. For more information, please call the Westmont Music Department at 805.565.6040.

— 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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