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Vol 56 No. 16 | Dec. 2004
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Winter Festival Concert Celebrates 25 years

CSULB's annual Winter Festival Concert celebrates 25 years at the First Congregational Church of Long Beach when it returns Saturday, Dec. 4, at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m.

“This year we will offer three performances which feature the University Choir, 49er Chorus, Women's Chorus, the vocal jazz group Pacific Standard Time, the mighty 72-rank Moller Organ and other surprises," said Music's Lee Vail, who also serves as director of Kaleidoscope, a campuswide festival held every April. “The music is seasonal and always of a high quality.”

The Winter Festival Concert has its roots in the early 1960s under the direction of Frank Pooler, director and founder of the Choral Studies Program. In its original home in CSULB's Gold Mine Gymnasium, Winter Festival featured the A Cappella Choir, the 49er Chorus, the Women's Chorus, and the Men's Chorus. In 1973, the Concert moved to the Multi-Purpose Rooms of the new Student Union, adding a brass band along the way to create more variety. “Unfortunately, with so many performers, the space did not allow for much of an audience (about 300),” said Vail.

In 1977 the event moved to Los Altos United Methodist Church just north of the campus and, in 1978, Richard and Karen Carpenter agreed to appear with the combined choirs and the University Symphony Orchestra in a single performance at the newly opened Terrace Theater in downtown Long Beach. In all, 3,000 seats were sold for this occasion.

In 1979, the decision was made to try the First Congregational Church. The three-sided balcony, large loft area, and organ allowed for all of the choirs to participate and still hold about 750 patrons. A handbell choir was added, the vocal jazz group became a staple, and brass was used from time to time. Two concerts were given in 1979, then three, then four, reaching a total of 2,800 patrons.  

“There is a new spirit in a terrific old concert,” said Vail. “This is an excellent way to begin the holiday season before an audience of community and university people. Audiences are always enthusiastic about Winterfest. They love it and because of that, so many groups return year after year. It will be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or evening with family and friends.”

More information is available by calling the university box office at ext. 562/985-7000.
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