Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 – 12:35 PM
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), a leading children’s choir, honored opera legend Placido Domingo and philanthropists Jo Bufalino Libaw and Shawn D. Libaw at its Gala Bel Canto late last month at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.
More than 350 LACC supporters attended the sold-out gala, which raised $240,000 for LACC’s artistic, educational and scholarship programs.
The celebration featured accolades and tributes by guest performers mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and soprano Lauren Libaw, the Libaws’ daughter and a former LACC chorister, as well as 228 choristers from five LACC ensembles, led by Artistic Director Anne Tomlinson. Duff Murphy, host of KUSC’s (91.5FM) The Opera Show with Duff Murphy, was the event host.
• Domingo received LACC’s Bel Canto Award, presented by LA Opera Chairman Marc Stern. LACC has a decades-long history with Domingo, having performed with him on stage as well as under his baton in numerous LA Opera productions, including Tosca, Carmen, La Bohème and I Pagliacci.
• The Libaws, recipients of LACC’s Rebecca Thompson Founder’s Award, presented by Edward S. Garlock, Managing Principal of Payden & Rygel, are LACC alumni parents, former board members and chairs. Their daughter, Lauren, spent 10 years with LACC and is pursuing an opera career.
The overture for the musical program featured all 228 LACC choristers performing the Chorus of the Enchanted Islanders” from Act I of Handel’s opera Alcina, conducted by Tomlinson with Mitsuko Morikawa on piano, followed by LACC’s Chamber Singers showcased on Saint-Saëns’ El Desdichado. In tribute to her parents, Libaw sang O mio babbino caro from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and the finale from Act II of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, which she performed with LACC choristers Caelan Carter, Jack Fagan, Enzo Grappone, Micah Luna, Ian Rispin, Brandon Takahashi and Pamina Knaben.
The LACC Apprentice Choir, led by Diana Landis, was featured on A Suite of Children’s Choruses arranged by Morikawa, and Là, sui monti dell’est from Puccini’s Turandot, followed by the Intermediate Choir performing Noël! Noël! from Massenet’s Werther. The Children’s Prayer from Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Puccini’s Gloria, gloria, o vincitore, also from Turandot, featured LACC’s Advanced Intermediate Ensemble and Chamber Singers conducted by Associate Artistic Director Mandy Brigham.
The musical tributes continued with LACC’s Young Men’s Ensemble (YME), under the director of , performing the Huntsmen’s Chorus from Act II of Weber’s opera Der Freischütz, and the Concert Choir singing Avec la garde montante from Bizet’s Carmen. Graham, accompanied by pianist Jeremy Frank, performed C’est ça la vie, c’est ça l’amour! by Moisés Simons. YME and the Chamber Choir joined forces to present La Verbena de la Paloma by Hernández, which featured LACC choristers Maya Barajas-Tavera, Lydia Brown, Shalini Haupt, Jamal Jaffer, Eric Kim and Robert Santoni dancing to choreography by Alicia Richardson. In a tribute to Domingo, Graham also performed La Vie en rose, lyrics by Édith Piaf and melody by Louiguy and Marguerite Monnot. For the grand finale, the choristers were featured on Allister MacGillivray rousing Here’s to Song.
LACC serves more than 400 children ages 6-18 from 50 communities across L.A. In demand for its artistic excellence, LACC performs with such organizations as LA Opera, LA Phil, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, L.A. Master Chorale, L.A. Chamber Orchestra, Calder Quartet and Jacaranda. LACC, recipient of Chorus America’s 2014 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, shares its artistry around the globe, touring to North and South America, Africa, China, Cuba, Australia, Japan and Europe. The chorus is also the subject of a trilogy of documentaries by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock, has performed with John Mayer on NBC’s The Tonight Show and was featured on PBS’s Great Performances, BBC Radio and Public Radio International, among other credits.
For information about LACC, its Spring Concert on May 7 and 14, and auditions June 1-4,call 626-793-4231 or visit www.lachildrenschorus.org.