• WDCH
  • Holiday Organ Spectacular Decks the Hall
  • Dec. 17, 2008
  • Featuring Organist David Higgs, Soprano Lisa Vroman and Harpist Mindy Ball

    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2008, AT 8 PM

    The splendor of the annual Holiday Organ Spectacular, featuring organist David Higgs, returns to Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of the Deck the Hall series, Wednesday, December 17, at 8 PM. Guest soloists, soprano Lisa Vroman and harpist Mindy Ball, join Higgs in holiday selections on this glorious night sure to kindle everyone's festive spirit.

    The program commences by honoring Mendelssohn's 200th birthday (2009) with a performance of a movement from his Organ Sonata No. 1 by Higgs in the organ loft above the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage. The concert continues with a combination of sacred and holiday organ music, including "Ave Maria" and "O Holy Night," blending the three soloists in unique instrumental combinations. The audience will sing-along on beloved favorites "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "O, Come All Ye Faithful" and more.

    Deck the Hall, presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, is a series of festive performances throughout the month of December featuring an array of exceptional artists offering seasonal music. Other performances include 'Twas the Week Before Christmas, December, 20 & 21; Holiday Sing-Along, December 21 at 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM; The Count Basie Orchestra, December 22; Soweto Gospel Choir, December 23; and Pink Martini, December 31 at 7 and 10:30 PM.

    DAVID HIGGS, chair of the Organ Department at the Eastman School of Music, has inaugurated many important new instruments, including those at St. Stephan's Cathedral, Vienna; the Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas; and the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City. His performances with ensembles have included the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chanticleer, the Orpheus Ensemble and the Empire Brass. In 1987, he made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony and for 12 years played annual Christmas recitals to capacity audiences at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall. Higgs appears frequently at major national and international organ festivals. Recent engagements have included the International Organ Festivals of Calgary, Naples, Redlands, San Anselmo and the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, as well as Summer Organ Academies of the Interlochen School for the Arts and Mt. Royal College-Conservatory in Calgary. In England, he has appeared several times at the Oundle International Festival, the St. Albans International Festival and the Cambridge Summer Festival. A native of New York City, Higgs earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the Manhattan School of Music, and a Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. His teachers have included Claire Coci, Peter Hurford, Russell Saunders and Frederick Swann. A sought-after teacher himself, Higgs is a frequent lecturer and master-teacher for conferences, workshops and festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. He was appointed to the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music upon graduation from that institution and was later the Director of Church Music Studies at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley. He was appointed to the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in 1992, and since that time his students have won major competitions and hold many of the top positions in the United States. Higgs has recorded for Delos International, Pro Organo and Gothic Records.

    LISA VROMAN starred as Christine Daae in The Phantom of The Opera on Broadway, in a record-setting run in San Francisco, and most recently at the Ahmanson theatre in Los Angeles. She sang the role of Laurey in Oklahoma for the BBC PROMS festival 2002, and was seen as Johanna in Stephen Sondheim's Emmy award winning PBS special Sweeney Todd in Concert with the San Francisco Symphony with George Hearn and Patti LuPone. Vroman starred as Rosabella in The Most Happy Fella with the New York City Opera and as Lilli Vanessi in Glimmerglass Opera's Kiss Me Kate. She starred as Marian Paroo in The Music Man last March with Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy and will sing the role of Birdie in Regina with the Utah Opera in January 2009. Vroman recently made her Carnegie Hall debut (NewYork Pops), and is a frequent guest with Boston Pops (Keith Lockhart), Philly Pops (Peter Nero), San Francisco Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas), as well as Chicago, National, Vancouver, Nashville, Dallas, Detroit and Pacific Symphonies. She has sung and danced with Dick Van Dyke at the Hollywood Bowl for Disney's 75th Anniversary. Vroman has also performed for Queen Elizabeth, former President Clinton, and former Vice President Gore on separate occasions, and her first solo CD "Broadway Classic' features 47 of San Francisco's finest symphonic players. (www.lisavroman.com)

    MINDY BALL began playing the harp at the age of 12, studying with Marjorie Call-Salzedo. She received her degree in harp performance from Chapman University and graduated with honors. She also trained with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra under the distinguished American conductor Leonard Bernstein. Since 1979, Ball has served as principal harp with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Chorale. She is also currently principal harp for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and served as principal harp with Opera Pacific for 22 years. She was principal harp for Pittsburgh Opera in Pittsburgh, PA from 2003-2007 under John Mauceri. She performs regularly for major national and international touring ballet companies and has recorded for major motion picture and television, including PBS specials for Barry Manilow, American Ballet Theater, NBC Movies of the Week, Superman and Batman cartoons, and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register have used such words as "expressive, timely executed, vigorous and assertive, unflappable, virtuosic skill, and exciting and profound" to describe some of Mindy's past performances. Mindy has toured with the Pacific Symphony to Europe. She has toured with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra to Japan and Brazil and Cancun with Johnny Mathis. For 12 years, Ball performed for the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach and the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. In addition, Ball has played for political dignitaries such as former President George Bush, former President Richard Nixon, and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Since 1993, Ball has been the founding director and current conductor for the Pacific Harp Ensemble. Along with keeping busy freelance career, Ball teaches harp at Biola, Chapman, Cal State Fullerton, Vanguard and Concordia Universities as well as limited private teaching in her own studio. Mindy is currently the President of the newly formed Orange County Chapter of the American Harp Society in which she holds a two year term. Ball is married to a retired United Airlines pilot and resides in the city of Orange along with her dog Sophie, and three cats, Gloria, Sanctus, and Benedictus.

    EDITORS PLEASE NOTE:

    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2008, AT 8 PM


    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Ave. Los Angeles



    Holiday Organ Spectacular



    DAVID HIGGS, organ

    LISA VROMAN, soprano

    MINDY BALL, harp

    Tickets ($24-$71) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, online at LAPhil.com, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full-time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. Tickets make great gifts! For information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • contact:

    Leah Price, 213.972.3406, lprice@laphil.org; Laura Cohen, 310.867.3897, lcmediapr@gmail.com; For photos: 213.972.3034