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Pasadena Chorale and Orchestra to perform “GIVEN”

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

WHEN: Saturday, 11 December 2021 | 7:30pm

WHERE: First United Methodist Church, Pasadena

TICKETS: “Listen First, Then Give” (expected donation)

For the first time since January 2020, the Pasadena Chorale is returning to the concert stage with GIVEN, a program of music for the holidays including favorite selections from Handel's Messiah, and an exciting work by Black American composer Margaret Bonds entitled The Ballad of the Brown King. As always, the concert is accessibly offered to all on a "Listen First, Then Give" basis.

Why is the concert called GIVEN? “The idea of giving is central theme of the holiday season,” notes founding artistic director Jeffrey Bernstein, “and the Ballad of the Brown King is about the journey of the wise men, who were, of course, bearing gifts.”

The Ballad of the Brown King

American composer Margaret Bonds (1913-1972), born in Chicago, studied music composition at Northwestern University and at the Juilliard School, where famed teacher Nadia Boulanger declared that Bonds "had nothing left to learn." Bonds was friends with Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, and the two collaborated on The Ballad of the Brown King, completed in 1951. Nine years later, Bonds created a full orchestration of the work and dedicated it to Martin Luther King, Jr. On Dec. 11, 1960, Bonds conducted the premiere performance with the Westminster Choir for broadcast on CBS. This rarely heard work has only been recorded once. The Chorale will perform Bonds’s original full orchestration.

composer Margaret Bonds


Accompanied by an orchestra of 30 players the Chorale will sing, in addition to the Bonds, the Christmas portion of Handel's beloved Messiah (including the Hallelujah Chorus). All the solos in the concert will be performed by members of the Chorale.

COVID Safety

For the safety of our performers, staff and audience:

• All audience members over age 12 must show proof of full vaccination

• Children under 12 are encouraged but not required to show proof of vaccination

• All patrons must wear a mask indoors at all times

• Admission is capped at half the capacity of the church, so there will be plenty of room to safely distance from others.

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