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Songs of the Season

December 19, 1991|RODNEY BOSCH

Feliz Navidad.

The Ventura County Master Chorale & Opera Assn. invites you to two holiday performances at the San Buenaventura Mission on Sunday.

The 70-voice chorale, under the direction of Burns Taft, will present music written by Spanish and Latin American composers.

Music from the 16th Century to the present will be covered. The program will highlight "Navidad Nuestra" by Ariel Ramirez, a contemporary composer born in Argentina. This work features many folk melodies of Hispanic America, telling a musical Christmas story from "Annunciation" through "The Pilgrimage to Bethlehem" and "The Nativity."

"Burns Taft has drawn the connection from the old world to the new with the program," said Lee Montemorra, chorale personnel director.

San Buenaventura Mission, Ventura County's earliest Spanish monument, provides an ideal setting for the Christmas concerts. Narrow and with towering walls, the mission is an acoustical treasure, Montemorra said.

"The music just swirls beautifully through the mission," she said. "It's a wonderful place for vocals and quite thrilling to be in that church during a concert."

Classical guitarist Matthew Greif and an instrumental ensemble that includes percussion, harpsichord and bass will join the chorale. Chorale member Carol Bentzen will provide explanatory commentary on the program, presented in English and Spanish. A traditional favorite will end each concert.

" 'Noche de Paz' or 'Silent Night' will also be performed in Spanish and English," Montemorra said.

The mission is at 211 E. Main St., Ventura. The first concert will begin at 4 p.m., followed by an 8 p.m. performance. Tickets are $15 and are available at the Ventura College Community Services office, the Ventura Book Store and Henson's Music in Oxnard and Ventura. Group rates are available. Advance purchase of tickets is advised. For information call 654-6459.

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