In June 24-30, 2000, members of the Sanctuary and Chancel Choirs participated in the World Projects International Music Festival in Sydney, Australia. The featured work was Fanshawe’s African Sanctus. Many choir members extended their stay to include trips to New Zealand and the Great Barrier Reef.
2002 was a huge year for the music program at LAUMC. The Sesquicentennial Celebration for the Wm. B.D. Simmons Organ, 1852 had been in the planning stages of our Fine Arts Committee for many years. Two very big concerts were given. In March, Derek Gordon and a professional brass ensemble played a concert of music for organ and brass. At this event many involved in the acquisition and restoration of this organ for LAUMC were honored: Manuel Rosales, John Ranney, Jon Martin, George Bozeman (who revoiced the instrument in 1993). Christina Kahler, a member of the Fine Arts Committee and Sanctuary Choir, wrote an illustrated history of the organ entitled, Tracker, My First 150 Years. In September, 2002 a second concert was given with Derek Gordon, Organ, and the Symphony Orchestra of CSULB, Richard Rintoul, Director. This concert featured the Poulenc Concerto for Organ and Orchestra in Sol Mineur, and Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 for organ and orchestra.
Also in 2002, members of the Sanctuary and Chancel Choirs sang the Fauré Requiem in a massed choir presentation of MidAmerica Productions in Carnegie Hall, New York. This performance was under the direction of esteemed conductor and composer, John Rutter, of England.
2004 was a big year for music at LAUMC. A 100 voice choir of current and past choir members assembled to present a mega concert to mark the 50th anniversary of the church. Choir members from all over the country came “home.” In addition to current Director of Music, Mary Breuer, former choir directors returning to conduct portions of the concert included Frank Allen, Frank Pooler and Ed Thompson. The church’s first Director of Music, Topper Smith, was also present. A much revered former director, Marc Clemens, who had died, was honored.
2005 was another banner year as we planned a “piano” concert in recognition of the 100th anniversary of our Steinway Model C grand piano. Derek Gordon played a Mozart Concerto in our sanctuary with the orchestra from CSULB, and Ann Shin, winner of the concerto competition at the university played a Rachmaninoff Concerto. This piano was a gift to the church in the1970s by Robert and Virginia Avery.
The Fine Arts Series has continued to flourish in the 21st Century. We have hosted many fine groups of ringers, singers and instrumentalists over the years. Our Sanctuary Choir has given musical leadership with many of the well known Requiems and Christmas oratorios from the standard repertoire. We have continued to bring in brass choirs for Easter and sometimes for Christmas over the years.