Music and social service have come together with a project to make music and money for a local service organization. The Road Home is the new CD by Angel City Chorale, a chorus that performs spiritual and secular songs in concert. Half of the proceeds from the CD will be going to OPCC (formely Ocean Park Community Center).
Produced by Rick Krizman, who also provides accompaniment on the Hammond organ, The Road Home features a diverse collection of songs, ranging from gospel traditionals like “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” and the hymn “Amazing Grace,” to modern gospel (“You Can’t Hurry God”), musical settings of poems by Christina Rosetti, and contemporary songs by the likes of Randy Newman (“Louisiana 1927”) and Billy Joel (“So It Goes”).
While the choral singing of these songs creates rich harmony, Angel City Chorale also features solos by singers from each of the vocal sections (altos, sopranos, tenors, and basses). The solos add the vibrancy of individual singing personalities to the chorus.
Angel City Chorale began in Santa Monica in 1993, when the choir’s director, Sue Fink, brought together a group of singers at McCabe’s Guitar Shop. There were only 18 members in the beginning, but over the years the membership has grown to over 125 members of all ages and ethnic- religious backgrounds.
Dan Barnett, the chorale’s Associate Conductor, spoke recently with the Mirror about The Road Home project.
“We have two or three members who have done a lot of charity work and are currently donors of OPCC,” said Barnett. “I have close connections to John Maceri (director of OPCC), and when we got to thinking about how to expand our [choir’s involvement] in a more community service-oriented way, these two individuals, Mitch Weiss and Deborah Bogen, said ‘We know John. We’d be glad to go talk to him and see if it would be of interest to them.’ So they went over and it was kind of a marriage made in heaven.
“They wanted to be able to expand more into the arts area to reach a larger body of people. And we, being in the arts, we’re looking to expand ourselves more into the community and how we can help.”
Maceri adds that “it’s been a wonderful collaboration” between the Chorale and OPCC. Over the years, OPCC and the Chorale have “shared a lot of volunteers and supporters,” and although the singing group may not be “providing a direct service, they’re proving beneficial to the community through their music.”
The Chorale’s performing “home” in Los Angeles is the Wilshire United Methodist Church of Los Angeles. The Road Home was recorded there, and it is where the Chorale performs its traditional concerts at Christmas and in the late spring. In the past, the Chorale has performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kodak Theater, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and Los Angeles Convention Center, and on national television.
A local series has been launched in Brentwood, with its first concert held June 15 at the Brentwood Presbyterian Church. Barnett says it is not clear yet whether the next concert in Brentwood will be at the year-end holidays or next spring.
The Road Home is available for purchase at angelcitychorale.org.