Newsletter For Members of The Village Chorale 6-2007
Carol Andrews
Vol 1 No 1  June, 2007

       Now in our fortieth year and with close to one hundred voices, the Village Chorale claims the distinction of being the premier vocal organization in The Village! There were small groups of Laguna Woods Village vocalists who gathered informally as early as 1965 but by 1967 the singers became a fully formed organization under the name “The Village Chorale of Laguna Woods.” We have found our permanent home in Clubhouse 3 ever since it opened its doors in 1971. Through the years our membership has varied from less than 50 to over 90 voices. In May of 1992 there were 100 singers on stage to celebrate Laguna Woods Village’s 25th Anniversary.

Formally, we are a class, taught weekly on Tuesday afternoons by H. Douglas Custance of the Saddleback College Emeritus Program. Informally, we are a club, with a board and a full yearly schedule of activities. Club members are all Laguna Woods residents but we welcome Guests from the surrounding area who want to experience the best of four (or even eight) part choral singing while developing ensemble sounds through correct singing and correct vocal production.

With the careful artistry of Juanita Tsu assisting at the keyboard the climax of each semester’s work is our ticketed concert – on stage in the Clubhouse 3 Auditorium. Our concerts include choral literature of varying demands, styles, and periods. Our audiences have an appetite for the sparkle, the blend, and the sweep of sights and sounds by which they become enveloped. 

Sandra Marzilli, Director of the Emeritus Institute, has assured us that residents will receive their Saddleback College Fall/Winter ’07 catalog in their mailboxes the week of June 21. As soon as the catalogs are received new and returning Chorale students may begin registering (1) on line or (2) via the USPO. Information and forms will also be available at the Emeritus Institute office in Clubhouse 4. The Institute office telephone number is (949) 770-9669.
There are no fees for Emeritus Institute registration but because the Chorale purchases its own music and has substantial monthly expense there is a small rental fee per student payable on “Member Reception Day” at the first rehearsal on August 21, 2007.
The Saddleback College Emeritus Institute was established as an educational opportunity for the pursuit and enhancement of lifelong learning, primarily for the older adult. The Chorale is indebted to their continued support and oversight. 

The announcement on May 15, 2003 that H. Douglas Custance had accepted the position as Conductor of The Village Chorale began four exciting and happy years in the recent life of the Chorale. Mr. Custance, well known in the world of music, has an impressive resume of appearances throughout the United States and Europe both as a soloist and as a conductor.

Mr. Custance has appeared in the Hollywood Bowl, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Orange County Center for the Performing Arts, the Redlands Bowl, Carnegie Concert Hall, in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. and at the Crystal Cathedral. He has conducted the Boston Pops, The Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, the LA Baroque Orchestra, and the Cypress Pops Orchestra and prepared choirs for Carmen Dragon, Keith Lockhart, the Pacific Symphony, the California Philharmonic, and William Hall. For more than 10 years He served as Conductor of the Southern California Mormon Choir and has been a Guest Conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of Salt Lake City for varied radio and television broadcasts.

With a degree in Choral Music from Chapman University, Mr. Custance has studied at UCI, USC, and UCLA. He has been a member of the faculty of Saddleback College as adjunct professor of music Emeritus Institute for 26 years and Director of the Chorale now beginning his fifth year.

Doug and his wife, Linda and his youngest son, Nathan are residents of Laguna Hills and are parents of 5 children, 11 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.


      Juanita Tsu has brought a wealth of talent and expertise to the Laguna Woods Village Chorale ever since in 2002 she took the position of Chorale Accompanist.

She has performed extensively on stage, radio, and television as a recital soloist, as soloist with various orchestras and chamber music groups, and as accompanist for a wide range of instrumentalists and vocalists.

At the age of seven and a half, Ms. Tsu started playing the piano and at 15 she entered the National Academy of Arts in Taiwan as a piano performance major. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland and acquired her Master of Music Degree at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. Ms. Tsu was on the Faculty of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, from 1977 – 2000 where she was coordinator of the piano program.

Ms. Tsu opened her Southern California Piano Studio after moving to the Laguna Woods Village in July, 2000. In addition to accompanying the Chorale, she serves as Choir Director for the Reform Temple of the Village, accompanies the Mission Viejo High School Choirs, and accompanies the Seventh Day Adventist Church Choir of Garden Grove. 

The place was the same but the year was different!
It was the Clubhouse #3 Auditorium! It was 1993!
      It is fun to look through old concert programs of the Laguna Woods Chorale to find “The Happiest Time of the Year” concert program fourteen years ago on December 15th included some of our Village Chorale members today: Marilyn Berman, Margery Chamblin, Maribeth Clausen, Gloria Kirben, Shirley Levin, Doris Margolis, and Phyllis Trilling were among the 88 people listed in that 1993 Chorale program. .

Barry Silverman was Conductor, Bobbette Cameron was accompanist, David Hall did percussion, and Freda Smith was at the organ back then.

The Chorale rendered seasonal music by Benjamin Britten, Meredith Willson, Frederick Silver, and Stephen L. Lawrence and sang several Traditional Carols and arrangements. Tenor Raymond Krager sang Jester Hairston’s “Mary’s Little Boy Chile” and “Some Children See Him.” Larry Birket and Lorraine Grundke combined to sing the “Sabbath Prayer” from “Fiddler on the Roof.”