Photo by Moloshok Photography, Inc.

Angel City Chorale began twenty-four years ago with 18 singers, all individual voice students of founding artistic director and conductor Sue Fink. Four rehearsal spaces later, the group has blossomed to 160 voices reflecting the diversity of the city of Los Angeles, but also a remarkable musical diversity. For its upcoming concerts this weekend in the stunning stained-glass window-bedecked sanctuary of Wilshire United Methodist Church, Angel City Chorale (ACC) presents everything from Bach to the Beatles, from Schubert to spirituals, and from Mozart to a modern-day Gustav Holst named Andrew Cheeseman. His other-worldy world-premiere composition entitled “A Vibration” plays off of gravity waves rippling through the atmosphere and other astrophysics data converted into audible sounds, augmented by audience smartphone apps activated from the stage, believed to be a first. That new mobile app is called Yourchestra, and like “A Vibration”, it’s being unveiled at this concert.

Photo by William R. Greenblatt

The concert program is called “Interactive: an Imaginative Multi-Dimensional Event”. And they’re not kidding. During a conversation in the comfortable teaching studio in the back of her home in West Los Angeles, Sue Fink told me, “this is the one concert at which we will tell you to leave your smartphones on!” But the concert breaks ground in other areas, too. During a “mosaic” compilation mass featuring individual mass movements by classical, jazz, South American, and gospel composers, artist Gary Villareal will present virtual reality art interpretations of the wildly varying music. And past and present will come together in a surprise video contribution to the Beatles’ classic “All You Need is Love.”

I asked Sue what she surmises from the outpouring of enthusiasm for all these different musical genres from a choir that has grown to nine times its original size. “People are looking for community in a big city,” she says. “There are many ways to find community. But I think in a way it’s like a new version of church. People still go to church, of course. But when we bring our voices together and we feel part of something that we’re creating…this sound that’s coming out of our bodies, and blending with other people’s voices…that sound just fills the air. There’s such a sense of power. It’s love.”

Full disclosure: I joined Angel City Chorale a few months ago after thinking about doing so for a long time. I was a fiercely devoted choral singer from ages 8 to 28 and had taken a brief 30-year pause from singing, missing it every day. And Sue is right. It’s pure love. Hope to see you June 3 or 4, and your smartphone, too! The concert will be out of this world. You can find tickets and more information here.

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