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Students Bring Holiday Cheer at LAMusArt’s Winter Holiday Concert


LAMusArt’s annual Winter Holiday Concert was held at the East Los Angeles College Performing Arts Center on Sunday December 17, 2017 . The performance showcased and celebrated the hard work of our many student ensembles including the Choir, the Jazz Ensemble, the MOPP String students at KIPP Raices, the MOPP Choir students at Alliance Middle School #8, the Youth Orchestra, the Mariachi Ensemble and the Hip Hop, Ballet, and Jazz dance groups. With a company of over 100 students, LAMusArt’s yearly display of both holiday cheer and artistic excellence was a huge success.

The performance began with jazzy renditions of classics like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Silver Bells” by the LAMusArt Jazz Ensemble, led by Ensembles Director, Austin Chanu. The Jazz Ensemble, made up of 8 members, consisting performs in venues around the city, most recently at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles and LA City Club.

LAMusArt’s newest and fastest growing music ensemble, the Mariachi Ensemble, performed after the Jazz Ensemble, bringing the long-held tradition of mariachi music to life. The group of 24 students, ranging in ages 7 to 14, is led by Grammy-nominated mariachi artist and LAMusArt alum, Maira Solis.

In a rare but special occurence, the LAMusArt dance students shared the spotlight with the music ensembles for three numbers. Kelly Ciurczak’s Hip Hop and Jazz students, and Carissa Songhorian’s Ballet students took the stage with upbeat choreography to hits like “All I Want For Christmas” and “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” as well as classics like “Waltz of the Snowflakes.”

Directed by LAMusArt newcomer, Patrick Behnke, the Music Outreach Partnership Program (MOPP) Strong students presented a lovely mix of folk songs and pieces by Shinichi Suzuki. The MOPP String program, consisting of 30 students, is one of LAMusArt’s largest ensembles.

Directed by Chanu and accompanied by Teaching Artist Brendan White, the LAMusArt and Alliance Choir followed the MOPP String ensemble with several holiday staples like “Christmas Time is Here” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”

Last but certainly not least, the LAMusArt Youth Orchestra, directed by Chanu with the help of four section coaches (Patrick Benkhe, Michael Basak, Isaac Lopez and Zachary Ramacier) debuted Chanu’s original piece commissioned by the school. Inspired by his recent trip to Iceland, “Snjopurrkur” is a symphonic poem evoking the changing scenery, icy weather, and isolating qualities of the region. Chanu describes the piece as having “a slow beginning, flowing middle, and an intense minimalist end.”  The Winter Holiday Concert provided a perfect place to premiere the piece, garnering acclaim from the many attendees.

The program hosted over 350 guests, and ran for approximately 90 minutes. The event was sponsored by our generous supporters at the Colburn Foundation, the Eastside Arts Initiative, El Super, and The Rose Hills Foundation. Thank you to all who attended and continue to support our programs.

For more information about LAMusArt’s Tuition-Free Music Ensembles, click here.

For more information about LAMusArt’s Dance program, click here.

For more photos of the concert, click here. 

To listen Austin Chanu’s original piece commissioned by LAMusArt, click here.

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