The individual water bottles next to each of the John Alexander Singers' chairs Sunday night at Founders Hall in Costa Mesa might have suggested a group of temperamental, pampered stars. Instead, listening to this select touring ensemble of the Pacific Chorale, audience members would have been struck by the same unselfish discipline and homogeneity that has long distinguished the singers' parent group.
The program, repeating an afternoon concert of Romantic and Impressionistic works, launched the Orange County Performing Arts Center's new choral series.
The demanding repertoire, coupled with the air system in a closed room, could explain the water bottles. Yet, even under those conditions, the 24 voices combined for a consistent, burnished blend that showed little wear-and-tear from the day's tasks. Music Director John Alexander led the ensemble in works illuminated by finely delineated phrasing and compelling rhythms.
Performances of a cappella compositions, such as Charles Stanford's "The Blue Bird" and Frederick Delius' "To Be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water"--showed unaccompanied choral music in its most straightforward form, through sustained vocal purity and quiet control.