Hidden Gem: Beyond the obvious

Delving into mystical faith with Vaughan Williams and more 

With the possible (and fictional) exception of the Vulcans, nearly every society has its own brand of mysticism, with its own traditions and vocabulary to boot.  The idea that there are things beyond our understanding is universal, and the multitude ways that the world addresses that hazy reality are rich and often beautiful.Ralph Vaughan Williams dipped into these deeper lines of thought with his ‘Five Mystical Songs’, which premiered in 1911, and are based on the poetry of 17th-century wordsmith George Herbert.  The cycle has been scored for a variety of setups, including (or not) chorus, orchestra, baritone, piano, strings, etc., and the most familiar of the five pieces is undoubtedly ‘The Call’, which is sung by the baritone soloist alone, and is therefore often extracted as a solo work.

This Saturday evening, the San Gabriel Valley Choral Company performs this work and more in Monrovia, a town that is itself more complex than it may seem:  sometimes called “Little Pasadena” (much to the chagrin of its residents), that monicker does nothing to express the strong arts community and artistic force that this smaller ‘burb sustains in its own right.  This choral group is an excellent example, with passionate singers and skill well beyond the usual capability of a community-based ensemble.

Zanaida Robles (pictured), whose well-deserved reputation as a choral conductor has grown significantly in the last few years, took the helm at SGVCC in 2012, and the relatively small group is already attracting attention with high-quality programming and guest artists.  This concert features the considerable baritone talents of soloist Vincent Robles (also the conductor’s hubby), and the program also includes works by Mozart, Lauridsen, Revicki, Casals, Dawson, Hairston, and more.  Good stuff.

San Gabriel Valley Choral Company presents

Mystic Voices


Saturday, April 6, 7:30pm

First Presbyterian Church
101 E. Foothill Blvd.
Monrovia, CA 91016

Map & Directions  

Advance tickets:  $12 general, $9 seniors/students

At the door:  $15 general, $12 seniors/students

Purchase online


Event Listing     Website


One last note: Outreach and education are, like most nonprofits, a significant part of SGVCC’s mission, but this group takes that mission particularly seriously, showing initiative and commitment beyond the norm.  Click here to read about the ensemble’s current project — the Alexander Ruggieri Scholarship Fund.

Rejoice in the Lord Alway (Henry Purcell), 3/10/12
SGVCC performs Purcell’s
Rejoice in the Lord Alway
3/10/12, led by Alex Ruggieri


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