In a room filled with family and friends of the members of the choirs, the Wilshire Auditorium had what seemed like just an average-sized audience. Fortunately, the size of the audience didn’t matter when compared to the quality of the performance that was about to be given.
Special guests for the night were the Asuza Pacific University Chamber Singers, a collegiate choral group directed by Dr. Michelle Jensen. They have toured the world performing a variety of musical styles and periods ranging from early Renaissance to contemporary a capella, according to the APU college site.
Jensen showed dedication to her choir group by getting up from the wheelchair she arrived in and conducting their performance on her two feet, despite the foot surgery she just had. Jensen also noted that they were honored to be singing with the Fullerton College choir because she has always admired John Tebay’s work.
The Asuza Pacific Chamber Singers first piece instantly captured the audience’s attention with their harmonic sound. Although the piece was sung in German, they captivated everyone solely on the skilled sound of their voices. They demanded to be heard and the talent they possessed was evident in their performance.
The following pieces were so moving that it brought people to tears. Whether one could interpret the meaning of the songs did not matter because the audience clearly felt the emotional intention behind the music.
The APU Chamber Singers’ tone went from somber to uplifting to playful and upbeat in an overall performance that left the audience wanting more.
As set came to an end, the Fullerton Chamber Singers joined them on stage in performing a piece together called “Hear My Prayer, O Lord” by Henry Purcell. With the powerful voices of both the Asuza Pacific and Fullerton College Chamber Singers, it was a nice transition going between the two performance groups.
The Fullerton College Chamber Singers and the Concert Choir sang spiritual, theatrical and poetic pieces giving a more vigorous performance than the APU Chamber Singers. The talented soloists gifted the audience with a memorable experience. Their performance was accompanied by various instruments including African drums and hand bells.
The difference between the Chamber Singers and the Concert Choir is that the Chamber Singers are a more condensed group that sings more difficult pieces and tackles them at a faster pace. The Concert Choir is larger and not as demanding, but they proved to be a group of exceptionally qualified singers that had to audition to be considered.
Watching the Fullerton College Chamber Singers and Concert Choir one can see the type of hypnotizing effect that Music Director John Tebay has on them. His dedication to producing music with a group of tremendously talented singers can be inspiring and manifests in amazing ways.
After the two hour concert, each group dispersed happily with a combination of relief and joy. Many members hung outside of the theater in a relaxed mood as they congratulated and hugged each other. There was a noticeable change in the attitudes of the choral members from the intensely focused one displayed during the performance.
Jensen is not the only one who holds admiration for the Fullerton College music director. Chamber Singers members Zach Nalezny, Brianna Krupiarz and Nikki Knight took a few moments to express their feelings on being in the school choir and working with Tebay.
Krupiarz said that joining the choir began as an obligation for her but turned voluntary because she admired Tebay as a director and mentor. Nalezny and Knight agreed that he is the staple of the music program and he makes them feel welcomed and at home.
They all agreed that they considered themselves family with no hesitation and said there are some things you just bond over that nobody else understands. Krupiarz said they have all the aspects a family does, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Nalezny said that what’s nice about being in groups like the Chamber Singers is the dedication that everyone has. They all want to be there and get better.
“It’s the coolest feeling when you hit that final chord of the piece and everything interlocks together… It’s indescribable,” Nalezny said.
“To work with such creative minds within your own group inspires you to be creative and to branch out and do wonderful things,and I think that’s what John goes for,” Knight said.
“Because he gives so much, we give so much, and then you get so much… it’s like the circle of life,” Krupiarz added. “And when we say family, he’s the dad.”
The choir members felt that even though their performance was great, it was intense and vocally strenuous and they were not convinced it was their best. They said they do strive for perfection because they want to touch the lives of every audience no matter who the audience is.
Many people are victims of being their own worst critic, but if these members believe that their performance Wednesday night was not their best, then they fooled the gratified audience.
Knight explained that Tebay’s big thing is to remember what you’re doing, which is giving people a gift that can last them a lifetime. This gift can change people’s opinions and evoke emotion and that’s what is so wonderful about music and performing together.
Surely, many can agree with Knight in saying that the creative ways of delivering music can be rewarding, but experiencing a live performance of music can positively enrich anyone’s life and that is truly an unforgettable gift.