13th Annual

Our Performers

Click on any of the links below to learn more about our performers.

Cari Celaya, Violinist Schuster Brass
ChannelAire Chorus Simi Valley Adventist School Children’s Chorus
Conejo Slides, Trombone Ensemble Simi Valley Adventist School Joyful Sounds Bell Choir
Craig Mathias, Bagpipes Simi Valley City Council Members
(Christmas Sing-Along)
Harmony Acapella Singers Simi Valley Latter-day Saint Children’s Choir
Harp Duo, Elaine Litster & Linda-Rose Hembreiker Simi Valley Latter-day Saint Community Choir
Hillside Middle School Mixed Choir Simi Valley Methodist Church Adult Bell Ensemble
Looking Back (Christmas Sing-Along) Simi Valley Youth Choir
Patrick Rose, Vocalist The Sixth Hour, Simi Valley High School Jazz Ensemble
Pipe Dream Flutes SVHS Choral Ensembles
Royal High School Advanced Women’s Choir Township Elementary Chorus
  Valley View Vocal Ensemble


Cari Celaya

Bell Canto RingersCari Celaya, a resident of Santa Rosa Valley, brings favorite melodies to life with her violin. She is currently the Assistant Concertmaster of the Westlake Village Symphony and Concertmaster of the annual Easter production Lamb of God. She performs with the Sepia Strings Quartet and Violin~Harp Duo. Cari accompanies the Los Robles Children’s Chorale for various concerts throughout the year. For 18 years, she performed with the California Lutheran University Symphony. She also played with the Sedalia Ragtime Orchestra as principal violinist. “The King and I” and “Les Miserables” are two of her favorite theatre highlights of playing in the orchestra pit. Her solos and ensembles are requested often for church services, and she loves sharing her music with the residents of local health care facilities. Cari began private lessons at 8 years old, and now passes her love of violin onto her own students in her private studio.


 ChannelAire Chorus

Bell Canto RingersChannelAire Chorus is a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, one of the world’s largest singing organizations for women. The international membership consists of nearly 25,000 women, all singing in English, and includes choruses in most of the 50 United States as well as Australia, Canada, England, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, Wales and the Netherlands. Sweet Adelines have performed their unique style of music in a number of popular venues from professional sports stadiums, Olympic ceremonies, with major symphonies, and even on several popular television shows.



Conejo Slides, Trombone Ensemble

Craig Mathias

 

 

 

 

 

 

A trombone choir directed by Art Kharns

The CONEJO SLIDES return to perform for a fouth season at Simi Valley Community Christmas 2014. Members come from Simi Valley, Camarillo, Agoura, and neighboring communities. We draw from local organizations including the Moorpark Symphony, Gold Coast Wind Ensemble, Late Nite Big Band and numerous community bands, jazz bands, and church organizations.

Art Kharns graduated from Pacific Union College near the Napa valley in 1978 with a degree in Music Education with an emphasis in low brass. He taught elementary music for 6 years. Art has also directed a community orchestra and a brass ensemble, has performed with several big bands, with Gold Coast Wind Ensemble, with area community bands, and has played as a featured artist accompanying a dramatic presentation of “God’s Trombones” at La Sierra University. He enjoys writing/arranging music and performing on low brass, guitar and like instruments. Art makes his living as a Solutions Engineer in the health insurance industry.



Craig Mathias, Bagpipes

Craig MathiasCraig Mathias of Clan Buchanan has been playing the highland bagpipes since 1999. He performs throughout the year at community events throughout Southern California including Memorial Day observances, dedications and flag raisings. He has closed every evening of the Simi Community Christmas celebration since its inception.

During the nights of Simi Community Christmas, several pipe tunes will close each evening including Amazing Grace, Going Home and an assortment of traditional Christmas songs.

Piper Craig will wear traditional 19th century attire including kilts of Clan Buchanan in both modern (reds and yellows) and hunting (greens and blacks) tartans. His clan medallion shows an arm holding the crown of Scotland, signifying the role of Clan Buchanan in saving the Scottish crown in several battles of the 15th through 17th centuries.



Harmony Acapella Singers

 

Harmony is a Simi Valley group of five young friends whose mutual love of musical theatre brought them together through Actors’ Repertory Theatre of Simi’s summer musical theatre camp programs. Autumn Jessel, Mia Vavasseur, and Audrey Fischer have been singing together as an acappella trio for nearly three years, performing madrigal songs at the Nottingham Festival and other similar events. Emilie Schwarz joined the trio in 2017 to create a holiday music quartet, and just this year they added their friend, Morgan Guttman, to form the Harmony Quintet. They have been practicing together for the past six+ months under the direction of Jan Glasband, artistic director of Actors’ Repertory Theatre of Simi, and have created a beautiful blend that can only be described as “magical”. Their repertoire includes nearly 50 or more holiday songs, including classic Christmas carols, contemporary non secular Christmas songs and Hanukkah music. They also currently sing in four languages; English, German, Spanish and Hebrew. The girls get great joy out of sharing their music and hope that the joy spreads to everyone who listens.



Elaine Litster, Harpist

Elane LitsterElaine Litster performs and freelances through Southern California. She is the principal harpist of Channel Island Chamber Orchestra, and is currently playing for the Nutcracker Ballet with performances in Ventura and Oxnard. She is a part of Witness Music and has performed “Lamb of God” the past three Easter seasons.

This year marks the 21st anniversary of Harp Extravaganza. She organizes and leads a group of harpists that “spontaneously” perform Christmas carols at the Huntington Hospital in Pasadena. Often there are over 25 harpists participating. Elaine’s solo album has been well received and she has collaborated with multiple recording projects. She is currently serving as the Chairman of the Board of the American Harp Society, with 3000 members. Elaine holds a bachelors degree from BYU, and masters in Urban Planning from UCLA. Elaine is particularly appreciative of her husband Greg, her five children, and two grand children that put up with all of her musical craziness, particularly at this time of the year.

Described by the Denton Record-Chronicle as “evangelizing for the harp,” Linda-Rose Hembreiker is dedicated to sharing the beauty and grace of her instrument. From performances at Yale’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas, the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, and the Soka Performing Arts Center, to local libraries and schools, she conveys the joy of the harp everywhere she plays.

Continuously working with composers and arrangers, she is passionate about creating new music for the harp. Pieces she has premiered include: Chapman Welch’s Four Pieces for Solo Harp and Stratosphere Exit Scenarios, James Worlton’s The Etiquette of Ice and Dilute Light, Isaiah Castro’s Dios Mío, and Yo Goto’s The Talking Trees Tell Great Secrets. She also chaired the Los Angeles Celebrates the Harp: New Music Composition Competitions (made possible by grants from the American Harp Society). Her current projects include bringing new immediacy to the art of story-telling through music by pairing standard harp repertoire with contemporary works of art. She performs and tours regularly as a member of Duo Mystére, with pianist Mei-En Chou.



Hillside Middle School Mixed Choir

Hillside Middle School Mixed Choir has a comprehensive, award-winning choral program. There are three choirs in this program, including the Mixed Choir, Concert Choir, and Choral Ensemble. These choirs produce their own on-campus concerts, as well as participate in choral festivals and off-campus performances. The choirs include students in grades 6th through 8th grade. The Hillside Middle School Winter Choral Concert will be Tuesday, December 4th at Hillside Middle School at 7:00 pm. Please join us for some more holiday cheer!



Looking Back, Rock Band

Looking Back is now entering its second decade of bringing to memory the soft rock sounds of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s to audiences around Southern California. This group came together to share a love of music and talent with a special touch of brotherhood that has been a lively part of our experience together. Our musical diversity and vocal harmonies cover a wide range of songs that defined some of the best music from several great musical eras.
 
The lineup of Looking Back – Del Steele (Keyboard, Accordion), Randy Moffett (Guitar and Lead Vocals), Kent Hambly (12 String Guitar, Bass and Banjo), Darrell Wight (Rhythm Guitar), David Sardoni (Mandolin) Steve Murphy (Percussion, Drums) and Dave DeGregorio (Acoustic Guitar and Vocals). Each of the members of the band enjoy a variety of musical tastes and backgrounds, from Classical Music to Classic Rock and Barbershop all of which brings a unique influence to the music we perform.


Patrick Rose, Vocalist

Patrick Rose is an Emmy Nominated and Pearl Award winning Composer residing in Simi Valley. 

He grew up playing the trombone and performing in musical theater, but his early professional music career was genuinely straight out of the movie Pitch Perfect.  As a founding member of the A Cappella group Eclipse 6, Patrick and the band were winners of the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West Harmony Sweepstakes Competitions and had featured spots in the 2002 Winter Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Although no longer a performing member, he Aca-tastically continues as the band’s music director and producer of the band’s 8 studio albums.

After studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Patrick’s film scoring career began in 2006 after when he landed a job with famed composer Snuffy Walden working on the final season of West Wing. As a composer for film and TV now for over 12 years, his recent projects include creating the music for the television shows Seal Team, Nashville, and Reverie, the film Forever My Girl, and the blockbuster musical, The Grand ;).



Pipe Dream Flutes

Pipe Dream Flutes & Friends has evolved from the original ensemble called Flauto Badinage, which was founded in 1992 in response to the growing flute ensemble repertoire and performance opportunities for flute ensembles. The ensemble has been featured at many venues and festivals throughout the United States and in Vienna, Austria
Pipe Dream Flutes & Friends strives to introduce and promote original works, arrangements, and commissioned works, some of which include percussion, world flutes, voices, keyboards, and strings, plus flutes from the contrabass flute family. Pipe Dream Flutes & Friends were featured performers at the 2013 National Flute Association convention in New Orleans, LA, where they premiered a program of commissioned works
PipeDreamFlutes.com

 


 

Royal High School Advanced Women’s Choir

Advanced Women’s Ensemble is a select auditioned group of young women grades 9-12. This ensemble provides a rigorous and enriching musical experience through challenging repertoire and diverse performance opportunities including festivals, competitions, and community/school events. The group rehearses three times a week, preparing four department concerts each year. These lovely young women perform under the direction of Bethany Spielman. Bethany is in her first year of teaching. Having received her B.A. in Music Education and credential from CSU Northridge, she is honored to return to her alma mater to continue the standard of excellence that has been established in Royal’s vocal music program. Royal is happy to return to Simi’s Community Christmas event and share our voices to spread holiday cheer to you all! If you enjoy our performance, please join us for our Winter Concert, “Up to Snow Good” on Wednesday December 12, 7pm at the Simi Valley United Methodist Church.



St. Rose of Lima Master Chorale

St Rose of Lima Choir

The St. Rose of Lima Master Chorale is composed of talented parishioners from our church. All the members of the group are very dedicated and devote their time and talent in the music ministry at St. Rose. Their main ministry and joy is leading the congregation in song and prayer every Sunday at the 9:00 Mass. This enthusiastic group is directed by Clare Delto and accompanied by Dr. Rachel Yoon.

The director, Clare Delto is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston where she received her Bachelor degree in Music Education. She also earned her Master of Music degree in Conducting from San Diego State University. Clare has been featured as a solo vocalist and conductor at prestigious venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Chartres Cathedral, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the King’s Chapel in Versailles, St. Chapelle, Melbourne Scots’ Church, Sydney Town Hall, and the Sydney Opera House.
The St. Rose of Lima Master Chorale would like to thank the Simi Community Christmas organizers for inviting us to sing again this year. If you would like to hear more from the group, their Christmas Concert is on Friday, December 21st at 7:00pm with featured soloist Father Gregorio Hidalgo and Christmas Celebration begins with a Chorale Prelude at 9:30pm on December 24th. In addition, St. Rose of Lima will be having their third annual Christmas tree lighting on December 14th at 6:45pm – all are welcomed to attend!


Schuster Brass

Simi Valley Adventist School Children’s Chorus


Simi Valley Adventist School Joyful Sounds Bell Choir

Simi Valley Adventist School bell choir is an audition only group for grades sixth through eighth. They perform off campus and at special events. This is an advanced musical experience requiring focus and discipline for the students. It provides an opportunity for the students to learn poise and confidence.

The classrooms at Simi Valley Adventist School, a K thru 8th grade school, operate under the multi-grade model, where students of two or three grade levels learn together in the same classroom. Research has shown that multi-grade classrooms have a positive impact on the attitudes of students and could enhance their academic achievements.

The Choir is conducted by Dave Watkins. David Watkins studied composition at Cal State Northridge but left to begin his career as a professional musician. He has toured with Hank Ballard and the Midniters (originator of “The Twist”) as well as the “World Famous Drifters”. He currently works with the choral and drama departments for Hillside Middle School, Simi High and Moorpark College as well as the Simi Valley Adventist School. He considers this school his home base and teaches a bell choir, concert band and singing chorus. He is passionate about teaching because children are the future and it is exciting to see them grow with a strong musical foundation.


Simi Valley City Council Members (Christmas Sing-Along)


Simi Valley High School Choral Ensembles

Simi Valley High School has a rich choral history, spanning across many decades. The groups performing this evening at Simi Community Christmas are Concert Choir, Vocal Ensemble, and Vocal Jazz. All three are high-ranking, auditioned groups that perform multiple times per year. Concert Choir will be performing “Do You Hear What I Hear?” by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne (arr. By Harry Simeone) and “Christmas Time is Here” by Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi (arr. by Teena Chinn). Vocal Ensemble will be performing “Winter Wonderland” by Dick Smith and Felix Bernard (arr. By Leo Arnaud) featuring solos by Katie Pringle and Katty Sanchez and “Holy Night, Silent Night,” arranged by Ruth Elaine Schram. Vocal Jazz will be performing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” by Eddie Pola and George Wyle (arr. By Mark Hayes), and the Pentatonix contemporary Christmas ballad, “That’s Christmas To Me,” by Scott Hoying and Kevin Olusola (arr. By Mark Brymer), featuring soloists Melanie Whiter, Jacob Gibson, and Jackie Parra.        

Bell Canto RingersBrittney Wescamillo received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA in 2006, and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Longy School of Music of Bard College in 2014. She has released music as a solo artist (Brittney Westover) and performs regularly as a backup singer for Tom Kenny (voice of Spongebob Squarepants). The newly wedded Mrs. Wescamillo lives in Santa Clarita with her husband and two dogs, and although she has been teaching music full-time in high schools since 2014, this is her first year teaching for Simi Valley USD. She is honored and delighted to be working with the youth in this wonderful community.


 

Simi Valley Latter-day Saint Children’s Choir


 

Simi Valley Latter-day Saint Community Choir

 

The Simi Valley LDS Community Choir is comprised of members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Simi Valley area. The choir has been organized for almost 50 years and has enjoyed participating in the Simi Community Christmas event since it's beginning 13 years ago.

Our new choir director, Suzanne Shisley, has over 20 years experience as a choral arranger, pianist, and an instrumental (woodwind/brass) instructor at Viewpoint School in Calabasas.

Our humble choir is so grateful for our talented accompanist- Brennan Bown.



Simi Valley United Methodist Adult Handbell Ensemble

The Adult Handbell Ensemble was formed in 2012 from members of the Adult Quartet and additional ringers from the Adult Handbell Choir. The six ringers and one alternate include Marcy Pelz, Judy Thomson, Dee Tingstrom, Lynne O'Hanlon, Bridget Elliott, Luene Witman, and their director Stuart Thomson. The music they play is arranged for 12 bells.



Simi Valley Youth Choir

Simi Youth Choir

The Simi Valley Youth Choir has a long tradition of sharing their Christmas Spirit in the community. The combined choir of youth – ages 12 to 18 years old - has been practicing since September in preparation for this performance. Conductor Robert Erickson comes from a rich musical background and has led various youth choirs over the last 20 years. This choir is made up of youth from many different Simi Valley Schools.

Our talented accompanists are: Arianna Nelson and Kaleb Erickson. Arianna has been studying Piano for 11 years. She will soon graduate from Cal Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks, majoring in Business. Kaleb is working on a Master’s Degree at UCLA and has studied Piano for 12 years.

These youth have spent many hours preparing for this program. Our music celebrates the sacred story of Christ’s birth and in addition we sing a few fun songs to share the joy of the season, including “Mary Did You Know?” “Christ Is The Reason” and a carol medley entitled “Triumph of the Skies.” We all get to have fun with “Mistletoe” and a Jingle Bell Rock number. The program includes a medley of traditional Christmas favorites. We hope you enjoy this performance of the Simi Valley Youth Choir.


 

The Sixth Hour, Simi Valley High School Jazz Ensemble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Township Elementary Chorus

The Simi Valley Music Children's Chorus is directed by Ruth Elin Drossel, who strives to bring music into the lives of our city’s elementary students. Mrs. Drossel has been directing elementary school choruses for over 20 years as well as teaching general music education in the Simi Valley and Conejo Valley school districts. She is also the Director for the Children and High School Choirs at Westwood United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.

 


 

Valley View Vocal Ensemble

The Valley View Middle School Vocal Ensemble is so excited to share their music with the Simi Valley Community! This choir participates in festivals every year and holds themselves to high musical standards, while also having a lot of fun. We hope you enjoy our performance, and we wish you a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

Mackenzie Mildram is the choir director at Valley View Middle School. This is her second year at Valley View, and her second year teaching! Ms. Mildram received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Syracuse University in New York. She is originally from Massachusetts, and moved out to California in August of 2017 to start her teaching career. She is delighted to be working with such wonderful students, and is grateful to be here making music!


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