William Hall was a 21-year old senior at Whittier College when his newly formed William Hall Chorale gave its first concert in February, 1956.
"I guess there was some ego involved in naming the group after me," Hall recalls today, "But I don't remember it."
Nearly 30 years later, the reason for Hall's name on the ensemble is clear: It is his choral sound, personality and musical taste that have molded the fortunes of the group and allowed it to thrive. After three decades of performing, not only throughout Southern California but also in tours across the country and in Europe and Asia, the Hall Chorale has earned its solid musical reputation, and a high place among American choral organizations.
Where will the 120-voice ensemble be when the actual anniversary of that first concert comes around, in February, 1986?
"Appropriately enough, on tour," answers the tanned, trim and still youthful-looking Hall, now 51. "We leave in January and return in March, traveling from here to Victoria, B.C., across the top of the United States, all over the Midwest, going as far east as Tennessee, then through the South. We will sing 58 concerts in those three months. Then, a week after we get home, the tour group (24 singers) appears on the international vocal ensemble series at Ambassador Auditorium, March 26."
Hall, who has taught at Chapman College in Orange for the past quarter-century, says he never really appreciated the wealth of choral talent to be found here, plus the climate and the advantages of California urban living, until he was offered in recent years three different and prestigious choral posts at universities and conservatories across the United States.
"Suddenly, I realized how beautiful my life and situation are, right here," he recalls. "I think that's what keeps me from burnout, after all these years--the realization that what I have here is so special."
The 30th season of the William Hall Chorale begins next Sunday night at 8 in the Pavilion of the Music Center, when the chorale and orchestra present Verdi's Requiem.
Reduced forces will give three performances of Handel's "Messiah," in Hall's Baroque version, at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, Dec. 13, 14 and 15. The third event of the subscription series is the Ambassador appearance, March 26. The season ends with a multimedia presentation of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem," to be presented in Royce Hall at UCLA, May 31.
AT THE PHILHARMONIC: Andre Previn's second program of the 1985-86 Los Angeles Philharmonic season presents the new music director as both conductor and pianist, and introduces to Philharmonic audiences Benjamin Britten's "Spring" Symphony (1948). As soloist, Previn will be heard in Mozart's Piano Concert in G, K. 453. In the Britten work, the vocal soloists will be Sheila Armstrong, Christine Cairns and Robert Tear. The Los Angeles Master Chorale and Pasadena Boys Choir will assist. This program will be given Thursday and Friday nights, and next Sunday afternoon, in the Pavilion of the Music Center.
Saturday night, the orchestra travels to Santa Ana High School Auditorium, where Previn will conduct works by Mussorgsky, Smetana, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev.
PEOPLE: Nicholas Slonimsky, composer and musical lexicographer, has been named 1985 Regents' Lecturer at UCLA in the College of Fine Arts. In addition to visiting selected classes in the department of music, Slonimsky, 91, will present a free public lecture, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. in Schoenberg Hall Auditorium on the Westwood campus. . . . Pianist Daniel Pollack and conductor Lalo Schifrin open the 1985-86 season of the Glendale Symphony, Saturday night at 8:30 in the Pavilion of the Music Center. . . .
Choral conductor/arranger Jester Hairston will be honored in "An Academic Tribute to Jester Hairston" at Cal State Los Angeles, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Information: (213) 224-3501. . . . Leonard Slatkin, Virginia Eskin, William Kraft and Willis Patterson are the 1985 honorees at the seventh annual awards luncheon given by the National Assn. of Composers, USA, Nov. 2 at the Bonaventure Hotel.