Carols by Candlelight Concert Features Pacific Chorale Dec 2 & 6, Newport Beach

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Pacific Chorale,Led by Artistic Director Robert Istad,Celebrates the Holidays with“Carols by Candlelight,” Featuring

Timeless Traditional and Contemporary Seasonal Music

Saturday, December 2, 2023, 8:00 pm, and Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 8:00 pm,at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach

COSTA MESA, CA (November 6, 2023) – Pacific Chorale unwraps its delightful signature holiday programming with two performances of “Carols by Candlelight,” an intimate concert offering timeless traditional and contemporary seasonal music. Special musical guests organist Jung-A Lee and pianist David Clemensen join members of Pacific Chorale, bathed in flickering candlelight, for this distinctive and memorable program on Saturday, December 2, and Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 8:00 pm, in the hushed sanctuary of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach. Artistic Director Robert Istad conducts Taylor Scott Davis’ Solstice, reflecting on the quiet of winter; Bob Chilcott’s powerful Dona Nobis Pacem; Herbert Howells’ enduring A Spotless Rose; and a moving arrangement of Angels We Have Heard On High by Benjamin Harlan.

Istad says, “’With Carols by Candlelight,’ we’re telling a timeless story. It’s also a story of healing, reflection, and community. We look forward to sharing this beautiful and heartfelt holiday program with you.”

Among other featured works are Will Todd’s tranquil carol Softly, capturing the peace and spirit of the season; Ola Gjeilo’s The Rose, in which Christina’s Rossetti’s mysterious poem is wrapped in soaring vocal lines; Nico Muhly’s Magnificat from First Service; and Peter Phillips’ joyful Christmas motet O Beatum et Sacrosanctum Diem.

Istad leads three audience sing-alongs  as well, including The First Nowell, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Silent Night. In a nod to the year ahead, the choir also performs Desmond Early’s graceful arrangement of Auld Lang Syne, set to the instantly-recognizable Scottish melody.

“Carols by Candlelight,” the first of two holiday offerings presented by Pacific Chorale in December, is followed by “Tis the Season!”, a family-friendly program replete with festive carols, holiday favorites and even a visit from Santa Claus, on December 17 and 18, at the Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa.

Pacific Chorale’s 2023-24 Season is made possible by generous support from Platinum Season Sponsor Phillip N. and Mary A. Lyons. The “Carols by Candlelight” concerts are generously sponsored by Trish O’Donnell in loving memory of John O’Donnell.

Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, 2100 Mar Vista Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660. For tickets to “Carols by Candlelight” ($25 – $80) and information, visit or call 714-662-2345.

ROBERT ISTAD, a Grammy Award-winning conductor who “fashions fluent and sumptuous readings” (Voice of OC) with his “phenomenal” artistry (Los Angeles Times), was appointed Pacific Chorale’s Artistic Director in 2017. Under his leadership, the chorus continues to expand its reputation for excellence for delivering fresh, thought-provoking interpretations of beloved masterworks, rarely performed gems and newly commissioned pieces. In July 2023, he led Pacific Chorale’s first international tour in seven years, conducting performances at leading venues in Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom. His artistic impact can be heard on two recent recordings featuring Pacific Chorale, including the 2022 Grammy Award-winning “Mahler’s Eighth Symphony” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel on Deutsche Grammophon (2021), for which he prepared the chorus. It won Best Choral Performance and also garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album, Classical. Additionally, Istad conducted the Pacific Chorale’s recording “All Things Common: The Music of Tarik O’Regan” released on Yarlung Records (2020). He regularly conducts and collaborates with Pacific Symphony, Berkshire Choral International, and Yarlung Records. His extensive credits also include recording for Sony Classical and guest conducting Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Bach Collegium San Diego, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Bath Philharmonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Tesserae Baroque, and Freies Landesorchester Bayern. Istad has prepared choruses for such renowned conductors as Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Williams, John Mauceri, Keith Lockhart, Nicholas McGegan, Vasilly Sinaisky, Sir Andrew Davis, Bramwell Tovey, Carl St.Clair, Eugene Kohn, Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop, George Fenton, and Robert Moody. An esteemed educator, Istad is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at California State University (CSUF), Fullerton, where he was recognized as CSUF’s 2016 Outstanding Professor of the Year. He conducts the University Singers and manages a large graduate conducting program, in addition to teaching courses on conducting and choral literature. Istad, who is on the Executive Board of Directors of Chorus America and serves as Dean of Chorus America’s Conducting Academy, is in demand as guest conductor, lecturer, and clinician.

The Grammy Award-winning PACIFIC CHORALE, an Orange County “treasure” with a “fresh viewpoint” that “can sing anything you put in front of it with polish, poise and tonal splendor” (Orange County Register), has “risen to national prominence” (Los Angeles Times) since its inception in 1968. Hailed for delivering “thrilling entertainment” (Voice of OC), the resident choir at Segerstrom Center for the Arts is noted for its artistic innovation and commitment to expanding the choral repertoire. It has given world, U.S., and West Coast premieres of more than 40 works, including numerous commissions, by such lauded composers as John Adams, Jake Heggie, James Hopkins, David Lang, Morten Lauridsen, Tarik O’Regan, Karen Thomas, Frank Ticheli, András Gábor Virágh, and Eric Whitacre. In addition to presenting its own concert series each season, Pacific Chorale, led by Artistic Director Robert Istad, enjoys a long-standing partnership with Pacific Symphony, with which the choir made its highly anticipated Carnegie Hall debut in 2018. The chorus also regularly appears with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with which it won the 2022 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for its contribution to the live recording of “Mahler: Symphony No. 8, ‘Symphony of A Thousand,’” conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, featuring Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Los Angeles Master Chorale, National Children’s Chorus and Pacific Chorale. The choir has performed with such leading orchestras as the Boston Symphony, National Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Musica Angelica, among others. In addition to receiving national accolades, Pacific Chorale has garnered tremendous international acclaim. In July 2023, the chorus completed its first international tour in seven years with appearances in Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom in collaboration with Bath Philharmonica, Free State Orchestra of Bavaria, and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra. Previous tours have taken the choir to 19 countries in Europe, South America, and Asia, including engagements with the London Symphony, Munich Symphony, L’Orchestre Lamoureux and L’Orchestre de St-Louis-en-l’Île of Paris, National Orchestra of Belgium, China National Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Estonian National Symphony, and Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional of Argentina, among others. Deeply committed to making choral music accessible to everyone, the organization has a discography of 14 self-produced recordings and an extensive collection of free digital offerings. Among other artistic highlights, Pacific Chorale’s “The Wayfaring Project,” an original concert film conceived and conducted by Istad and produced during the pandemic, will be streamed through December 1, 2024 on, and the PBS app, reaching audiences around the globe. Pacific Chorale also places significant emphasis on choral music education, providing after-school vocal programs for elementary school students, a choral summer camp for high school students, and an annual community-wide singing event at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.



Pacific Chorale Presents Carols by Candlelight

Robert Istad, conductor

Members of Pacific ChoraleJung-A Lee, organDavid Clemensen, piano

WHEN: Saturday, December 2, 2023, 8:00 pmWednesday, December 6, 2023, 8:00 pm

WHERE:Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church2100 Mar Vista DriveNewport Beach, CA 92660

PROGRAM:The Wexford Carol – arr. Michael McGlynn

Softly – Will Todd

Come, Emmanuel – arr. Mary McDonald

SING-ALONG: The First Nowell – arr. David Willcocks

O Beatum et Sacrosanctum Diem – Peter Phillips

Virga Jesse Floruit – arr. Michael Austin Miller

Angels We Have Heard On High – arr. Benjamin Harlan

from First Service, Magnificat – Nico Muhly

The Christ-Child – Gabriel Jackson

SING-ALONG: O Little Town of Bethlehem – Lewis Redner, descant by Rutter

Es ist ein Ros – Michael Praetorius & Melchior Velpius

A Spotless Rose – Herbert Howells

The Rose – Ola Gjeilo

Solstice – Taylor Scott Davis

Auld Lang Syne – arr. Desmond Earley

SING-ALONG: Silent Night – Gruber, arr. Bob Chilcott

O Splendour of God’s Glory Right – Toby Young

Dona Nobis Pacem – Bob Chilcott


single tickets are $25-$80www.pacificchorale.org714-662-2345

Artists, dates, programs and venues subject to change

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