In This Issue
Christmas on the Coast on Dec 17th & 18th
Meet OCWC's Interns
Help Behind the Scenes
New OCWC Board Member
OCWC at ACDA 2012

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A Note from the Artistic Director


Christmas in my family---and maybe in yours, too---meant presents, snow, cookies, cranberry sauce, and a house festooned with greenery and glass ornaments, but most of all, Christmas meant music. My earliest choral education came from singing carols in four-part harmony with my parents and sister around the piano, and my mother blared Handel (the Messiah) and Bach (the Christmas Oratorio) from the record player. Meringues and garlands were great, but music was always the soul of the holiday for our family.


California has its own Christmas soundtrack, one colored by the diversity and beauty of the Golden State and the richness of its musical culture, and we'll set out a feast of homegrown holiday fare for you this December! "Christmas on the Coast" highlights works by composers who lived and worked here in California---some familiar, some brand-new. Take a peek:

  • Kirk Mechem's "Seven Joys of Christmas" have been a holiday staple for nearly 50 years. Mechem, a friend of the OCWC and a favorite of our audiences, gives new life to seven traditional carols---including "Fum, Fum, Fum" and "Pat-a-Pan"---in settings that are by turns serene, sprightly, and humorous.
  • Ruth Huber, from whom the OCWC commissioned the beautiful "To My Excellent Lucasia, on our Friendship" in 2007, has created a new treble arrangement of her award-winning "Winter." You'll hear the world premiere of this cheeky setting of a Shakespeare text.
  • From Bay Area composer Frank La Rocca comes an especially beautiful discovery: "O Eve!," a simply stunning work with words taken from a Christmas card sent by Sister Columbia Guare of the Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey in Iowa. This one has quickly become a favorite of the chorus, and we suspect it'll be one of yours, too.
There's much more where those came from, including a variety of solos and a set of carols by Emma Lou Diemer conducted by our talented interns, Sarah Hughes and Megan Schuller-Donoff. As always, we'll follow each concert with a sumptuous reception, and we're excited to debut in a new venue, St. George's Episcopal Church, for our Saturday-evening show. Make plans now, and invite a friend who could use some Christmas cheer! We'll see you in December.

Saturday, December 17, 2011 7:00 p.m.

NEW VENUE: St. George's Episcopal Church,

23802 Avenida de la Carlota, Laguna Hills 


Mission, Vision, Values, Goals 2011  

Sunday, December 18, 2011  3:00 p.m.  

Newport Harbor Lutheran Church
798 Dover Drive, Newport Beach


  Mission, Vision, Values, Goals 2011  

 Adults: $20; Students and seniors (65+): $15

Meet the Interns


How does a young artist evolve into an experienced conductor? Practice, practice, practice.

The OCWC Conducting Internship Program is a unique Southern California program that gives emerging women choral conductors the opportunity to practice and hone their skills as choral professionals. The program continues this year with two very talented local women.

Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is a 2011 graduate of the Chapman University Conservatory of Music, where she received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Music Education. Currently a graduate student in Chapman's College of Educational Studies, she is completing a Master's Degree and teaching credential in music education. She is currently assisting the Santa Ana High School choral department. 


An experienced performer in choral, operatic, and chamber repertoire, Sarah brings a vast array of experience to the OCWC. With the Chapman University Singers, she was the featured soprano soloist for Debussy's Salut Printemps with orchestra and chorus in 2010. Other memorable choral performances include Carmina Burana with the Idyllwild Festival Choir in 2009 and singing for Pope Benedict XVI on a tour of Italy with the University Choir in 2008. She is still actively performing with the group.

"I dove into conducting right out of my undergrad program," says Sarah, "and became a part of one of the best hands-on learning programs in California. Every week, I get to practice my craft and receive immediate feedback from singers who want me to succeed. It's invaluable experience."Megan Schuller-Donoff

Orange County native Megan Schuller-Donoff is also a 2011 graduate of the Chapman University Conservatory of Music. She has been featured as a guest artist with the Laguna Woods Chorale and with the interdisciplinary performance group Sonatasia, where she has received praise for her talent and artistry as a classical soloist.

Most recently, she was awarded a scholarship to attend the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz (Austria) where she performed in master classes for Christa Ludwig and Gabriele Lechner. She has also been seen in numerous productions with Opera Chapman, including scenes from Carmen, Les Contes d'Hoffman, and Cosě fan tutte.

"Singers have so many opportunities to practice their craft," says Megan. "I realized that to become the best artist I could, I needed to find experience conducting in an environment that challenges me." In addition to the confidence she has gained from successfully leading rehearsals, "I now look at a a piece of music very differently. Not only do I have to be able to interpret the intentions of the composer, but I am learning how to show a group of great singers how to embrace the composer's vision. Very few people get that chance right out of school." 

Volunteers Needed! 

The success of our concerts depends upon having volunteers to support all the important logistical details and behind-the-scenes work so that our singers may concentrate on bringing you extraordinary music. If you would like to join our volunteer auxiliary to help at the Christmas on the Coast concert, contact our Board member responsible for volunteer coordination, Laurie Soderbergor visit the Volunteer page of our website.

Spotlight on New Board Member:

Laurie T. Soderberg


Mission, Vision, Values, Goals 2011California native and first alto Laurie Soderberg has sung with the OCWC for about six years, but has been involved in choral music most of her life. She was a founding member of the Mountainside Master Chorale in Upland and has also enjoyed making music with The Claremont Chorale and Saddleback Master Chorale. 


After moving to Dana Point in 2000, Laurie discovered the OCWC when she attended a concert with her daughter, Kristen. Both became members shortly after, and Kristen has served the board twice as Marketing and Development Co-Chair.


Laurie has been a nurse for over forty years and currently manages about a hundred employees in the surgical/perioperative care department at Kaiser Permanente, Anaheim. On providing continuing education classes and training for other professionals, she says, "Teaching is really rewarding and I'm glad I made the change." She is especially proud of having just finished a two-year program where she trained sixteen nurses in operating room procedures. Outside of work, Laurie enjoys exercising, particularly cycling. She averages 40-50 miles on weekends and often participates in century rides. She also loves to read and spend time with her family, including her younger daughter, Beth.


Laurie was motivated to join the board because she realized she had come to a place in her life to be able to give back to OCWC. She has always been a very active member, and because she has also served on the boards of previous choirs, she wanted to show her support of the organization and its mission. Her enthusiasm and positive attitude are evident as she asserts, "I have always believed strongly in being involved in the organization with which I perform." Her aim this season is to boost excitement in member involvement and to develop a small organization of non-singer volunteers to help with concert-related management. In looking to the future of OCWC, she says, "We have a lot of potential and a long way to go to become better known. There is a lot of opportunity out there, and I hope we can achieve that by performing outside of our area, by touring, and by getting involved in more competitions." Laurie says she is already thankful for the relationship OCWC has with area colleges as well as for its program for conducting interns. She especially looks forward to performing at the ACDA convention in March.  

OCWC Invited to ACDA 2012 Conference


ACDA 2011 logo

The Orange County Women's Chorus is one of only 14 choruses across five states invited to sing at the Western Regional Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Reno, Nevada in March 2012. To learn more about ACDA, click here.

The Orange County Women's Chorus
1 Mansfield Drive, Irvine, California 92620
(949) 451-8590