La Sierra offers virtual 73rd Candlelight Concert, Christmas Gala

Dr. Ariel Quintana, center, directs an online rehearsal of the La Sierra University Chorale.

La Sierra University’s long-running annual Candlelight Concert and signature music department fundraiser have moved into virtual mode, offering holiday cheer during a season hampered by the ongoing pandemic.

La Sierra’s Department of Music on Friday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. will stream the pre-recorded 73rd Annual Candlelight Concert on the ‘Facebook Live’ platform. And on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. the department will hold a two-hour Christmas Gala on its YouTube channel toward raising funds for student scholarships and resources.

Both events are free admission. Registration for the gala is required. The university’s time-honored Candlelight Concert, a cherished holiday tradition, will take place over 75 minutes on Facebook and feature the university’s chorale, orchestra and UNITED vocal ensemble as well as soloists performing a range of works such as “Candlelight Carol” by John Rutter and an arrangement of “Silent Night” by La Verne-based composer and arranger Shawn Kirshner.

The repertoire will also include a newly written arrangement of the German Carol “In dulci jubilo” by Matthew Culloton, and “La March de Rois,” an organ piece performed by Dr. Kimo Smith, director of keyboard and collaborative studies. The online performance will also incorporate a favorite of in-person Candlelight Concerts, the Christmas carol sing-along. “It will include a chance to sing at the top your lungs and from the safety of your home with the La Sierra choirs, orchestra and organ [playing] “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” two of the most beloved carols of the season,” said Director of Choral Studies Dr. Ariel Quintana.

Woodwind and brass players of the La Sierra University Orchestra under Dr. Dean Anderson rehearse for upcoming virtual holiday performances.

La Sierra’s music groups have been preparing for the recorded performances since the beginning of fall quarter. Smaller string ensembles have been allowed to rehearse under health and safety protocol and in a physically-distanced manner on campus. Woodwind, brass and percussion musicians engaged in virtual rehearsals. Recordings for all choral pieces were done from the students’ homes or in their dorm rooms.

In almost all cases vocal students used their smartphones to make their recordings. The music department this year received financial assistance for mics, lighting, cameras, computers, and video and audio editing software in order to produce recorded performances for the concert season, said department chair and Director of Orchestral Studies Dean Anderson earlier this fall. “We believe that the online platform is here to stay and we are adjusting our program offerings to embrace this new era of performances and education,” he said.

The La Sierra University Music Facebook page for Candlelight Concert attendance will be available at For free registration and information about the Christmas Gala 2020 please visit, or text MusicGala2020 to 41444. Further information on these events is also available by email at or by calling 951-785-2036.

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