Bel Canto Women’s Choir
The Bel Canto Women’s Choir brings to life a wide variety of contemporary Christian music, gospel songs, spirituals, a cappella arrangements, and classical music. Building on the group’s 30-year heritage, the 60-voice-strong ensemble travels extensively, entertaining and ministering to thousands of people worldwide. Most recently, Bel Canto appeared as the featured guest on The Hour of Power at Garden Grove’s Crystal Cathedral and in Disneyland’s Community Artist’s Showcase, performed Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and Vivaldi’s Gloria, and toured orphanages and churches in Romania.
Under the expert direction of David Hughes, DMA, Bel Canto Women’s Choir books more than 25 performances each year and boasts numerous custom recordings.
The Chamber Singers, directed by Michelle Jensen, M.M., perform a variety of musical styles and periods ranging from early Renaissance to contemporary a capella. Founded in 2000, their high level of performance draws and blends the best of talent in students desiring to build their education and performance experience. The Chamber Singers perform at various university events and recitals, churches, high schools, and festivals.
In addition to performances at local concerts, the APU Chamber Singers have toured Germany, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Australia, and Italy, including featured performances at the Sydney Opera House and the Vatican. They have commissioned numerous works, including This Marriage by Eric Whitacre, and have collaborated with artists and composers including Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre, Hila Plitman, Linda Eder, Sydney Guillaume, and Ralph Carmichael. In fall 2011, the Chamber Singers were selected as 1 of 12 performing ensembles for the National Collegiate Choral Organization’s biannual conference in Fort Collins, Colorado.
APU’s Gospel Choir combines unique voices with a fresh sound to establish a gospel music experience that is both artistic and cultural. Combining the gifts and talents of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, administration, and community members makes this choir one of the most diverse organizations on campus.
The choir, led by Letitia Ugwueke, M.M., performs at special events such as Hands Across Azusa, World Vision, the Western Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature, and Night of Champions. Future plans include a CD recording, national tour, and trips to Europe and Africa.
APU Men’s Chorale, under the direction of Harold Clousing, DMA, has been an admired choral ensemble in the School of Music more than 40 years. Comprised of men from all disciplines and majors offered at APU, this 80-voice ensemble performs regularly at churches, schools, and civic organizations. Their repertoire represents many musical styles, including traditional men’s choral music, spirituals, jazz arrangements, hymns, folk songs, and contemporary Christian music. The ensemble regularly performs newly commissioned works by APU faculty, students, and contemporary composers, and appears in concert throughout the year.
Men’s Chorale has appeared on numerous occasions at Disneyland’s annual Community Artist’s Showcase as well as for the Plotkin Memorial Foundation in Orange County. In addition, they have produced numerous custom recordings including their latest release album, Na Kane. They have appeared with Broadway star Linda Eder at the APU Festival of Christmas concert in Segerstrom Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and they have also appeared with the Ralph Carmichael Big Band in concert under the direction of Ralph Carmichael himself.
Men’s Chorale tours annually, including recent appearances at the USS Missouri in Hawaii and the Los Angeles Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. In recent years, tours have included performances throughout the western United States as well as internationally to Romania where they performed at schools, churches, and orphanages. The group recently performed at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
Directed by John Sutton, DMA, the Oratorio Choir comprises 160 music majors. The group studies and performs classic choral works twice yearly.
University Choir and Orchestra
A nationally renowned, mixed-voice choral and orchestral ensemble under the direction of John Sutton, DMA, the University Choir and Orchestra (UCO) performs a wide variety of music with a concentration in contemporary Christian music at churches and schools throughout the United States, as well as overseas. Comprising 125 vocalists and instrumentalists, UCO is known for its rich tones, passionate performances, and moving worship experiences.
UCO's more than 30-year history is made up of collaborative performances, including two NBC Christmas specials, three sold-out concerts at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Symphonic Spectacular, concerts with the Long Beach Symphony POPS! Orchestra, and a performance as the featured musical ensemble for the sixth World Congress for Nurse Anesthetists. Accolades include: the Dove Award for the musical recording Exaltation, and a Grammy nomination for the Gospel recording Amen with the Cincinnati POPS! Orchestra in 1990.
In addition to bi-monthly concert appearances, UCO tours extensively each year, appearing in churches, schools, and civic organizations in the western United States, as well as internationally in countries like Mexico, Canada, and South Korea.
Tapes and CDs are available through the School of Music for many of these ensembles.