The Masters of Harmony Raises Consciousness in San Diego

June 24, 2007

Lou Tedesco, Jun 28, 2007

It was not the Terrace Theater or even the much smaller Carpenter Center at Cal State Long Beach. But for the afternoon of Sunday, June 24, the Linder Hall at the First United Methodist Church in San Diego became the latest venue in a long list of successful performances for the six-time international chorus champion Masters of Harmony.

Thanks to a church member, who is also the insightful mother of MOH bass Gary DePew, the church’s Cultural Events Committee agreed to add the Masters to their prestige Music Series, whose billing through the years has included nationally recognized vocal and instrumental ensembles, artists and groups performing the music of Purcell, Handel, Mozart and Beethoven.

But on this particular Sunday, it was all “barbershop” as the Masters of Harmony and its hugely talented director Mark Hale reprised the critically acclaimed spring repertoire, and the capacity audience of over 500 music series patrons, joined by local barbershop aficionados, jumped out of their folding seats to several standing ovations.

The history of the church dates back to 1869. Those who took time to visit its sanctuary were struck by the beauty of its ecclesiastic architecture and inspiring lighting. The cozy Linder Hall with its surprisingly decent acoustics, blue folding chairs and postage-stamp-size stage gives one the feeling that this multi-use space could just as well host a large bake sale as a band or chorus.

The Masters smoothly shared their performance time with additional acts, including: Les Weiser and his percussion and strings ensemble performing a calypso medley, the exciting 2007 Far Western District College Quartet Champion The Crush, and a spectacular performance from 2006 International Quartet Medalist OC Times.

Unsolicited, but entirely positive exit polls and e-mails from appreciative patrons have led the Music Committee to sense that the Masters of Harmony will be back to this venue in years to come.


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