The Master Chorale of Orange County spread holiday cheer on Sunday with a Christmas concert that ended on a high note with a post-performance party.
After its "Christmas for the Family" production at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the chorale staged a Christmas gala for sponsors and season ticket-holders at Windows restaurant in the Marriott Suites Costa Mesa.
About 100 guests were in jolly spirits as they mingled with chorale members and nibbled on a buffet of dainty sandwiches, Christmas cookies and assorted hors d'oeuvres.
"I used to sing myself so I appreciated every note they sang," said Nora Jorgensen, a season ticket-holder and patron of the Chorale Guild. "Every note was perfect."
Maxine Trotter, a chorale member since 1979 who attended the party with husband George, was happily hoarse from the night of song.
"This is my favorite concert," she said. "I love the carols, and we did so many unfamiliar ones--it was wonderful."
Sound of Angels
For William Hall, music director of the chorale, the annual Christmas program is a favorite because of the warm feelings it inspires.
"I love the theater of it and the time of year," Hall said. "People really respond to the music."
Hall led his chorale, the Concert Choir of Chapman University and the Costa Mesa Children's Chorus in obscure and well-loved Christmas songs. By the concert's end, he had the entire audience caroling.
Hall credited the chorale with "delicious singing" on Tomas Luis da Victoria's "O Magnum Mysterium" and the classic hymn, "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming."
Maestro in the Making
Guest conductor John Brown, a medical doctor, led the chorale in "Silent Night."
Brown, a former oboist, was coached by Hall for the evening's performance. Brown's wife, Kay, a chorale member, paid $3,000 at the chorale's April auction so her husband could play the part of maestro.
"You could see what a thrill it was for him," said Chorale Guild President Lynne Galt, who attended the party with her husband, Hugh, a chorale board member.
Other party-goers included James Doti, president of Chapman University; Philip Winsor, chairman of the chorale's board of directors and his wife, Jane; Stan and Georgina Califf; Earl Fields; Jan Flanagan; Gretchen Letson; Steve Ostrin; and Jean Updegraff.