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  • WDCH
  • Dec. 14, 2005
  • LA Phil’s Deck the Hall Series Continues with Festive Sing-Along Program Featuring Choir, Organ and Surprise Special Guests


    In a very special presentation by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, actor/comedian Harry Shearer (The Simpsons, Le Show) and his wife, critically acclaimed singer/songwriter and humorist Judith Owen, host an evening of festivities inspired by their own yuletide gatherings in a Holiday Sing-Along at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Wednesday, December 14, at 8 p.m. With special pricing for children 12 and under, the entire family is welcome.

    Featuring the Angeles Chorale, pianist Bryan Pezzone, Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ Conservator Phil Smith on the Hall’s mighty 6,134-pipe instrument, and Shearer and Owen’s special surprise guests, the audience joins in rousing versions of seasonal favorites such as “Silver Bells,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and “Deck the Halls.” Lyrics will be provided to all audience members.

    The festive spirit abounds at Frank Gehry-designed, world-renowned venue with Deck the Hall, a two-week schedule of holiday concert events offering an array of artists bringing their personal touch to the season. Other Deck the Hall concerts include: Peter Schickele meets P.D.Q. Bach with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on December 16; ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas with Assistant Conductor Alexander Mickelthwate and the Los Angeles Philharmonic on December 17 and 18; Christmas with Chanticleer on December 20; The Manhattan Transfer Christmas on December 21; Lila Downs, Calexico and Mariachi Luz de Luna on December 22; Go Tell It on the Mountain: The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show on December 23; and New Year’s Eve with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

    Since its founding in 1975 by William Lee, the ANGELES CHORALE has been a predominantly volunteer organization, drawing upon the significant musical talent in the Los Angeles area. The Chorale experienced significant development between 1986 and 1995 under the leadership of John Alexander. In 1996, Donald Neuen, former director of the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, and close associate of the late Robert Shaw, assumed the position of Artistic Director. Today, over half of its 125 members have significant musical resumes, and the Chorale has become well known for world-class performances of the extended choral masterworks. Neuen's attention to detail and exacting performance standards make every Angeles Chorale performance a memorable musical event. The Angeles Chorale’s mission is to make a significant statement for choral excellence in Southern California. Its secondary objectives are to enhance the cultural environment of the Los Angeles area through quality choral/orchestral concerts; to provide a vehicle for expanding the musical abilities and repertoire of its artistic participants; to broaden the musical interest in, and appreciation for, fine choral music for audiences representing the diverse spectrum of population in Southern California; and to perform a full range of musical styles at the highest level of quality.

    JUDITH OWEN, the daughter of an acclaimed British opera singer, discovered her passion for music through her parents. Upon the untimely death of her mother, a teenaged Judith began writing songs as a way to assuage her grief. Audiences were moved by her deeply personal work, and she quickly developed a loyal following, ultimately leading to a chance encounter actor/satirist Harry Shearer, whom she eventually married. Owen's live performances brim with elements of humor and theatre, distinguishing her from other female singer/songwriters. She regales audiences with stories of growing up Welsh ("We're a melancholy people, happily depressed most of the time"). Once firmly ensconced in Southern California, Owen started recording and touring in earnest. Her first North American release, Emotions On A Postcard (1999), spawned the track "Hand On My Heart", which was featured in the Jack Nicholson/Helen Hunt film As Good As It Gets. She has appeared on The Simpsons, toured with k.d. lang and Richard Thompson. In the fall of 2004, Judith released Christmas In July, a celebration of "the most exquisite and stressful of holidays." With such sultry, yet natural jazz inflections in her vocal styling, the time came for Owen to create the record she had been dreaming of: Lost & Found. Featuring award-winning artists Cassandra Wilson, Keb Mo, Tom Scott and Richard Thompson, the 14-song collection smolders with poignant originals alongside Owen's unique interpretations of Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water", and the classic “These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You).” With each new project, Owen reaffirms her position as a nationally distributed, top-selling independent artist (on CD Baby and while winning new audiences worldwide. Variety magazine wrote about Owen: “It’s the voice that really woos the listener, she’s a charmer and a seducer, a rocker and, a jazz chanteuse.”

    BRYAN PEZZONE is an active free-lance pianist in the Los Angeles area and may also be heard in performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. He is actively involved in the studio scene and has recorded a number of original artist disks for the Yamaha Disklavier. He works regularly with composers and conductors John Adams, John Harbison, Oliver Knussen and Pierre Boulez in their Los Angeles engagements. Bryan can be heard on recordings of contemporary music including Mel Powell's Settings and John Harbison's song cycle, The Natural World, on New World Records. As piano soloist, Pezzone has performed concerti with the Long Beach Symphony, the U.C. Irvine Orchestra, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pacific Symphony, the International Orchestra of U.S.I.U. in San Diego, California and the Eastman Philharmonic. He has created new works and transcriptions for the Yamaha MIDI Grand Piano and has been a featured performer of these works at the United States Piano Pedagogy Conference, the Miami Festival and most recently at Rice University, presenting a program of twentieth century piano works, original compositions and improvisations. He is also a contributing editor for the well-known magazine Piano and Keyboard.

    HARRY SHEARER, a Los Angeles native, began acting at the age of seven at the suggestion of his piano teacher-turned-agent. He made his film debut in the classic Abbott and Costello Go To Mars and had a small role in the first Cinemascope movie The Robe. When the last days of network radio made way for the early days of live TV, Shearer appeared often on The Jack Benny Program as well as appearances on GE Theatre and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and played the role of Eddie Haskell in the pilot episode of Leave It To Beaver. Shearer gained national recognition as one of the creators and stars of This Is Spinal Tap, where he portrayed heavy metalist Derek Smalls in the mock rockumentary. Shearer was a writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live for two seasons. Shearer's film work includes The Right Stuff, The Fisher King, Wayne's World II, and The Truman Show. His television work has included Friends, Murphy Brown and LA Law. Shearer is now known to a new generation as the voice of Mr. Burns, Smithers, and Ned Flanders, among others, on The Simpsons. Shearer recorded a two-CD compilation entitled O.J. On Trial: (The Early Years and That Endless Summer), featuring selected excerpts from his nationally-syndicated public radio program titled Le Show.

    PHILIP ALLEN SMITH is the Organ Conservator for Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Director of Music and Organist at Wilshire United Methodist Church, and Organist and Choir Director for Temple Israel of Hollywood. Active as a teacher in organ, piano, and voice, Smith has accompanied many choruses and soloists in Southern California, including the Ventura Master Chorale and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. He has played many concerts for the American Guild of Organists chapters in California, in addition to performing at the Region IX Convention of the AGO in Pasadena and countless venues throughout the United States and Europe. An active member of the American Guild of Organists, Smith has served as the Pasadena Chapter as Treasurer, Program Chair, Sub-Dean, and Dean. Currently he serves on the board of the Los Angeles Chapter and was Co-Chair for Hospitality for the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists in 2004.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music — Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2005, at 8 PM

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

    Holiday Sing-Along


    BRYAN PEZZONE, piano

    PHIL SMITH, organ


    ANGELES CHORALE, Donald Neuen, Artistic Director/Conductor

    Tickets ($10-$50) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at, 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 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For all information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3422; Cathy Williams, 213.972.3689; Photos: 213.972.3034