Few artists are astute enough or lucky enough to step away from their careers at the peak of their powers. Vocal conductor William Hall is one of these.
Sunday night, Hall bid farewell to his eponymous ensemble, the William Hall Master Chorale, and to Segerstrom Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, which the chorale has called home since its opening in 1986. Hall founded the ensemble in 1956; in 1989, it merged with the Orange County Master Chorale.
It was an auspicious night but not one fraught with tears or false emotion. Conductor Hall, a vigorous 68, will continue as the dean of music at Chapman University in Orange, and the ensemble is also expected to find a home there, although its name, exact form and leadership have not yet been announced.
The Sunday concert treated the milestone appropriately, with a resplendent, memorable performance of the Verdi Requiem.
For the occasion, the chorale was enlarged by the Chapman University Choir plus an Alumni Choir to 296 singers and accompanied by the Chorale Orchestra.