Newsletter For Members of The Village Chorale 9-2007
Carol Andrews
Vol 1 No 5  September, 2007

The Village Chorale of Laguna Woods has begun work for the Fall-Winter Semester as preparation is under way for the December 15th ticketed concert on stage in Clubhouse 3. The group is still welcoming and encouraging new members and alumni to become a part of this, the 40th Winter Concert of the Village Chorale of Laguna Woods. 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 full Leadership Team 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.

Director Doug Custance has chosen an outstanding selection of music for our December 15th concert! With the careful artistry of Juanita Tsu assisting at the keyboard the audience will be treated to music by the masters – Rutter, Pergolesi, Vivaldi, Britten, Schubert, Saint-Saens, Mozart, Holst, and Handel. Chorale members are loving the brand new “Pavane for a Silent Night” based upon “Pavane pour une infante défunte” by Maurice Ravel and arranged by Patrick M. Liebergen.. As well, the audience will hear a traditional Israeli Melody; an African Folk Tune; and o celebration of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas all in one piece by Jerry Estes. An Italian Carol “Dormi, Dormi” will have harp accompaniment. Other pieces call for percussion, flute, oboe, and violin.

Our audiences have an appetite for the sparkle, the blend, and the sweep of sights and sounds by which they become enveloped. But members have the joy of being in the center of all that sparkle and sweep. For registration information call the Emeritus Institute at 949/582-7579. 

Returning Chorale Members Sarah Raifaisen and Dick Smith lined up to go through Registration procedures outside the temporary meeting place in Clubhouse 1 as Dorothy Stevens, Del Matonic, and Maribeth Clausen did the paperwork. (Photo by Chorale Member John Stevens)
Part of the Soprano section, Chorale members look over the packet of music, a Chorale Handbook, schedules, and the Leadership List presented to each Registrant on August 21st. Initial registration of 63 members increased on Aug. 28th to 75. (Photo by Chorale Member John Stevens)

       The announcement on May 15, 2003 that H. Douglas Custance had accepted the position as Conductor of the Laguna Woods 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 Uni-versity, 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 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 age 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.

Do You Remember ?
The following article was found at the Historical Society - in a Chorale scrapbook of news clippings and programs dated 1966 thru Spring 1982. With a byline of Dec.9, 1971 the article reveals the excitement surrounding a big event for the Chorale! (Organization names have been changed to comply with current administration guidelines).

      “Because the demand for tickets for the Laguna Woods Chorale Concert scheduled Saturday evening was so great it was decided to add a 2 p.m. performance so that no one need be disappointed, noted a publicist.
      “The afternoon event will include the full Christmas concert which will be presented again in the evening at 8 p.m. and will feature not only the 100 member plus chorale, but the 15-member Laguna Woods String Ensemble, The Chansonettes, a ladies’ singing octette and the 40 male-voice ensemble in special numbers,
      “The details of adding the extra matinee were handled by the chorale president, Dorothea Eichenlaub, and her board of directors along with the cooperation of the Education and Recreation department.
      “Tickets, at $1.50, are now on sale at the box office of Clubhouse 3 each afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets for the afternoon program will be available up to 2 p.m. Saturday.”