Newsletter For Members of The Village Chorale 1-15-2008
Carol Andrews
Vol 1 Special Issue for Presidents' Council   January 23, 2008

      Now in our fortieth year and with seventy five voices, the Village Chorale claims the distinction of being the premier vocal organization in The Village! Our recent “Together for the Holidays” concert was a sellout and rave notices proclaimed it as the “best.” Preparations for our “Celebrate America” concert on Saturday afternoon, May 24th are well on the way.  As well, an exciting program is being planned for the fall / winter ’08 season.   
      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 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.
      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. We have found our perm-anent 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 the Village 25th Anniversary.  

      Please don’t confuse corraling of The Village Chorale with what goes on at the stables! We are vocalists, not equestrians!  But keeping more than seventy five members in the right place at the right time; in the correct attire; music in the hand, head, and heart; ready for listening and learning, for having fun, for eating, and/or for performing takes a bit of gentle persuasion! Hence our monthly newsletter “Corralin’ the Chorale.” This issue is specially pre-pared for today’s Presidents’ Council meeting.
Village Chorale EVENT LIST SPRING ’08
MEMBER RECEPTION DAY ………..…… Tue, 1/15/08
PUNCH & COOKIE DAY …….………Tue, 2/12/08
CHORALE PICTURE DAY ……………Tue, 3/11/08
SOLOIST AUDITIONS …………….…Tue  4/1/08
TICKET SALES BEGIN…………..….. Tue, 4/8/08
DRESS REHEARSAL ………….………Fri 5/23/08
SPRING CONCERT & Celebration……....Sat 5/24/08
ANNUAL PICNIC ………………………Tue 5/27/08
      Ken Min, one of the Chorale’s first-tenors, began singing with the Chorale in January ‘07 after attending the December ’06 concert. Last summer Ken expressed interest in having a Chorale website. And now, the website is fully de-veloped for our use.
            At the last Board meeting Ken announced that our website has been the most active website in Laguna Woods Village. It can be accessed on a Yahoo search with the simple words “village chorale.” And that will link you to Laguna Woods Village. Because it is currently the only 
“village chorale” in cyber space our website is exposing and enhancing the name of the village to the public in a new way.
            The announcement on May 15, 2003 that H. Douglas Custance had accepted the position as Conductor of the Village Chorale began four and a half 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 through-out 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. 

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      Where were you during the “Me Decade” of the seventies when the social activism of the sixties shifted to social activities for one’s own pleasure? Though Karen Carpenter, Pink Floyd, Uriah Heep, “Mash”, Tom Wolfe, and Erich Segal held nationwide attention their impact on music sung by the Village Chorale (then known under a different  name) seems minimal.  
      And what did the Chorale sing in those days? The music chosen to open the spring concerts gives a bit of an overview of repertoire. In 1970 it was “The King and I Choral Selection” and it was “The Star Spangled Banner” in ’71 – both under the direction of Ruth Payne. Director Forest Brigham chose “My Lord, What a Mornin’” to open the ’73 concert. In ’75 Edward Brahams directed Haydn’s “Dona Nobis Pacem” as the opening rendition and “Salvation is Created” by Paul Tschesnokoff in ‘76. With Alvin Brightbill as director in ’77 and ’78 opening music was “O Bone Jesu” by Palestri and “Salutation” by Gaines. The last spring concert of the decade opened with “Honor and Glory” by Bach under the direction of Robert Carl.
        Most generally winter concerts were simply titled “Christmas Concert” and spring concerts were named “Spring Concert.” 
            Juanita Tsu has brought a wealth of talent and expertise to the Leisure World 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.