Press Release December 17, 2017

For immediate release: December 17, 2017

Event Dates: Friday, January 5; Saturday, January 6; Sunday, January 7.
Contact: Jan Murota at:
Telephone: 510-433-9599


BCCO Music Director Ming Luke says “Performing Prokofiev's grand Alexander Nevsky cantata, selections from Rachmaninoff's gorgeous Vespers, performed a cappella, and selections from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra (BCCO) explores the incredibly rich music from the early 20th century in Russia.”

Please join BCCO for a concert on Friday, January 5 at 8:00 PM ; on Saturday, January 6 at 3:00 PM; or Sunday, January 7 at 3:00 PM at Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. Admission is free. Reservations are not required. Donations are gratefully accepted.

The chorus will perform a cappella selected movements from Rachmaninoff's Vespers (All Night Vigil), composed in 1915. The music is based on traditional chants sung in services of the Russian Orthodox Church dating back centuries.

Rachmaninoff considered himself the last of the romantic composers. Indeed, Rachmaninoff’s music is pastoral and warm in contrast to Prokofiev’s dramatic, dissonant 20th century style. The orchestra will perform selected pieces from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, written in 1935, and revised in 1940. Joining the traditional orchestra ensemble is a tenor saxophone.

Chorus and orchestra will come together for the Alexander Nevsky cantata, comprising movements taken from the musical score for Sergei Eisenstein’s film of the same name. The film was created to rally Russian patriotism against the threat of the Nazi military, which loomed large in 1938. Alexander Nevsky is based on the story of a Russian warrior who defeated Germanic invaders in the 13th century. Well versed in academic fundamentals, Prokofiev sought musical innovations. Mezzo-soprano Emily Skilling, winner of BCCO 's first Vocal Soloist Competition, sings the powerful solo in the sixth movement mourning the dead on the battlefield.

Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016.

Its mission is to make the joy of choral music available to everyone. Under the baton of Music Director Ming Luke, 230 singers perform with full orchestra and professional soloists. We inspire singers at all levels of ability to sing choral masterworks. More information is available on our website,