Concert Program: Where All Are Welcome

Our 2023-24 Season opens this Saturday and we can’t wait to present “Where All Are Welcome” for you on November 4 & 5, 2023. Saturday’s concert will include a pre-concert talk at 3:00 pm featuring accompanist Bryan Verhoye and Music Director John Russell.

Following are program notes and the full program for Saturday and Sunday’s performances. For concert details and tickets, click here.

A note about “Where All Are Welcome,” by Music Director John Russell:

The point of inspiration for the selection of repertoire you will hear is Jennifer Lucy Cook’s composition, They Are Mother, which the Master Chorale first performed at our 2023 High School Honor Choir in March. Both in the music itself and in her description of the work in her composer’s note, there is an invitation to look for ways to develop inclusivity when discussing the idea of God. 

I wanted to explore the many aspects of the divine, pairing a grounded Mother Nature with a joyous, playful being who is capable of laughter, a force that is present in the large and small moments, the noise and the silence, and most importantly, the divine creative spark in each of us.

— Jennifer Lucy Cook

Similarly, Saunder Choi’s The New Colossus points out that as a nation of immigrants, we are all living proof that the ability to find common ground exists in our culture despite our country’s current climate of polarization.

The title of this concert is derived from another composition on this program. Jocelyn Hagen’s amass is a work that aims to celebrate the connective tissue of the world’s various religions and highlight the concept of interreligious harmony. In it, she sets the five sections of the Roman Catholic Mass and surrounds them with English translations of spiritual poetry by Daniel Ladinsky. Of her work, she says the following in her composer’s note:

What would happen to the world if, despite our cultural differences, we all believed in this: the necessity of love and compassion towards every living thing on earth? What if we all concluded that, as St. Thomas Aquinas avows, we are all “madly in love with the same God?”

– Jocelyn Hagen

A chorus embodies the idea of coming together collectively, setting aside our differences to find common ground. In many ways, this concert reflects the essential element of choral singing – finding commonality amongst a diverse group of people to create a beautiful, living, breathing artistic product to share with an audience. This is our objective at each rehearsal and each concert and is a testament to the importance of live choral music at this point in history. 

Today, more than ever, live music provides us with a sacred moment of prolonged reflection, without using our various electronic devices, to look at ourselves and our world through the lens of beautifully composed music. 

We hope that this performance allows you to reflect on the grand and diverse beauty that exists in the world and inspires you to find ways to celebrate the differences that make us all unique.

— Music Director John K. Russell


San Diego Master Chorale
John K. Russell, Music Director & Conductor
Bryan Verhoye, Accompanist
Sharon Taylor, Cello

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing* – J. Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954), Arr. Zanaida Robles (b. 1979)

Vision of Peace, mvt. 4 – Jean Berger (1909-2002)

They Are Mother* – Jennifer Lucy Cook (b. 1988)

The New Colossus* – Saunder Choi (b. 1988)

Dona Nobis Pacem – Mark Butler (b. 1965)

Selections from amass – Jocelyn Hagen (b. 1980)

   Where All Are Welcome*
   Agnus Dei

True Colors* – Billy Steinberg (b. 1950) and Tom Kelly (b. 1952), Arr. Matthew Brown (b. 1978)

O, What a Beautiful City – Traditional Spiritual, Arr. Shawn Kirchner (b. 1970)*

*These selections will be performed on Sunday, November 5 at The Rady Shell.

This concert is part of the California Festival: A Celebration of New Music. Saturday’s concert is made possible through the support and generosity of Ellen & Hal Meier. 

Preview the full concert with this video playlist:

“Where All Are Welcome” concert trailer:

These concerts are part of the California Festival, A Celebration of New Music. This statewide music initiative showcases the most compelling and forward-looking voices in performances of works written in the past five years. View full concert details here >