12th Annual

Our Performers

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

Bell Canto Ringers, Handbell Choir ChannelAires Chorus with the Lyra Quartet
Christie Bessinger, Composer & Singer/Songwriter Conejo Slides, Trombone Choir
Craig Mathias, Bagpipes Holiday Saxophone Quartet
Dana Huse & Alysa Nelson Hillside Middle School Mixed Choir
Looking Back, Rock Band Paul Bartlett & Cindy Wight
Simi Community Children's Choir Simi Valley High School Music Chamber Ensembles
Simi Valley High School Vocal Jazz and Vocal Ensemble Simi Valley LDS Community Choir
Simi Valley Music Elementary Chorus Simi Valley Youth Choir
St. Rose of Lima Master Chorale Stonebridge Bell Choir
Tamali'i Poynesian Dance Company Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory Soloists
Valley View Middle School Vocal Ensemble


 
Bell Canto Ringers, Handbell Choir

Bell Canto Ringers      The Bell Canto Ringers are thrilled to return for a ninth season at Simi Community Christmas. The Bell Canto Ringers are a handbell choir consisting of 12 musicians from Agoura Hills, Camarillo, Newbury Park, Simi Valley, and Westlake under the direction of Jodi Ream. Following her eight years as a youth and handbell choir director in Santa Monica, Jodi Ream and her sister, Sally Walter, organized the Bell Canto Ringers in 2008 as a tribute to their parents for the support and encouragement of their daughters’ musical pursuits. The Bell Canto Ringers have performed throughout Ventura County, including the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center, and will be featured performers at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center on Saturday evening, December 18. Handbell music brings a distinctive sound to traditional Christmas carols. Be sure to look and listen for the various techniques used by the ringers to create their unique tone and blend.


 
ChannelAires Chorus with the Lyra Quartet

ChannelAires Chorus

ChannelAire

      ChannelAire 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.

      The International award winning ChannelAire Chorus, shares it's exciting barbershop sound with a show of holiday music for the whole family. For more than 50 years the chorus has been performing though out the Ventura Coast area for civic and charitable organizations, churches, private groups, community events and fund raisers. ChannelAire loves to sing a capella barbershop and welcomes all women who love to sing. Rehearsals are every Tuesday - 7:00-10:00p, 340 Mobile Avenue, Camarillo, CA 93010.

For further informsation: www.channelaire.org, 805-247-1990 or email: contact@ChannelAire.org

Lyra Quartet

LYRA

      Lyra is a quartet that loves to sing a cappella and barbershop arranged music. The foursome met at the ChannelAire Chorus in Camarillo, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, where they continue to sing. They began singing together just over a year ago and enjoy entertaining with seasonal music at occasions including Valentines Day, Fourth of July, Christmas and other holidays. We look forward to singing for you this holiday season.


 
Christie Bessinger, Composer & Singer/Songwriter

Christ Bessinger      Christie is a composer, pianist, and singer-songwriter from Clovis, CA. She has been producing music alongside Kevin Memley, a world-renowned musician, since 2006. Her first album of LDS Hymn Arrangements "Contemporary Arrangements of Timeless Hymns" was released on iTunes Dec. 2015. She has also published two Christmas singles, "The First Noel / Come Follow Me" with full orchestra, and a contemporary piano / guitar solo of "Silent Night." Christie is currently working on her singer-songwriter album, "All the Wrong Guys," due out in 2017. She has a degree in Psychology from Cal-State Fresno, and has been teaching piano since 2007.


 
Conejo Slides, a trombone choir

A trombone choir directed by Art Kharns

      The CONEJO SLIDES return to perform for a fifth season at Simi Valley Community Christmas 2016.  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 Systems Analyst in the health insurance industry.


 
Craig Mathias, Bagpipes

Craig Mathias      Craig 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.


 
Holiday Saxophone Quartet, Alec Olson, director

 
Dana Huse - Organist

Diana Huse      Dana's involvement with and love of music began when she was a small child; piano lessons began at age six, her church music service began at age 12, organ lessons at age 15, and she has actively participated in some form of music or another since. In addition to many opportunities at church she has played the piano for worship services at the Veteran's Administration, participated in a regional music festival, accompanied school choirs, and has even played the tabernacle organ. Dana and her husband, Dan, have six children and five grandchildren, with another on the way; they have lived in Simi Valley for 18 years. She is currently employed at Royal High School and serves in music positions in church.

      Alysa Nelson is 15 years old with a love for music and good food. She has been playing the piano for about 9 years, part of the wonderful vocal program at Royal high school, as well as various church choirs. She is also so grateful for the opportunity to play with the lovely Dana Huse during this Christmas season.


 
Hillside Middle School Mixed Choir

      The Hillside Middle School Mixed Choir is one of three award-winning choirs at Hillside Middle School. The Mixed Choir is comprised of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. This choir has been performing at the Simi Community Christmas for many years now. It is under the direction of Toriann Garner, who has been at that school for 6 years, and in the Simi Valley Unified School District since 2003. Mrs. Garner considers herself extremely blessed to have the opportunity to share her love for choral singing with her fine students every day.


 
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) and David Sardoni (Mandolin). 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.


 
Paul Bartlett and Cindy Wight

      Paul Bartlett is a local actor and musician who loves the stage. His recent credits include the broadway shows; Grapes of Wrath, Jekyl and Hyde, Ragtime, The Mystery of Edmond Drood, Bye Bye Birdie, Christmas Carol, and Songs from the Tall Grass. He is currently performing in Annie at the Simi Cultural Arts Center. When he is not performing, He enjoys hiking, mountain biking, camping and trout fishing. Paul would like to thank Linda Smith for giving him the opportunity to share his gift with the community, and Cindy Wight for unselfishly providing her talent on the piano. He would like to wish everyone in the world a Merry Christmas.


 
Simi Community Children's Choir
Directed by Cathy Cheney

      Simi Valley Children’s Choir consists of children ages 6-12 from the Simi Valley area.  This group prepares to preform annually at the Simi Community Christmas to sing songs celebrating the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  This great group of kids and their big hearts create a pure and angelic sound that will help you remember the reason for the season.    

Cathy Cheney      Cathy Cheney’s love of choirs began when she joined her first chorus in the 3rd grade and continued throughout her school years as she sang in Girl’s Glee Clubs and Mixed Chorus’ through her senior year of high school. Later this love blossomed into performances with Church and Community Choirs in Oklahoma and Southern California to the present day.

      Cathy has been a Choir Director for 40+ years for her Church in each place she has lived (California, Oklahoma, Utah, and in Augsburg, Germany).  Cathy worked as the Music Specialist for Township Elementary School for 16 years teaching songs and producing music programs that she wrote for the different age groups. She cherishes those experiences. In addition to choral directing, Cathy has dabbled in music composition, six of which have been performed by choirs or soloists. Directing adult and children’s choirs has been a joyful challenge to her throughout the years. Working with both in association with the Simi Community Christmas has truly filled her heart with joy.

      Cathy Cheney has been married to her Sweetheart, Don, for 44 years and is the mother of 5 children. Their ‘prolific’ children have made them the very proud Grandparents of 23 exceptionally adorable grandchildren.


 
Simi Valley High School Music Chamber Ensembles

Simi Valley High School Jazz Combo

      More information coming soon.


 
Simi Valley High School Vocal Jazz and Vocal Ensemble

 
Simi Valley LDS Community Choir

Simi Valley Community Adult and Children's Choir

Cathy Cheney      Megan Croshaw Hanks has been involved with music since a young age. Being part of an extended family that plays instruments, sings and enjoys all types of musical experiences she has spent much of her life surrounded by the joys and blessings of music. She has played the violin in numerous orchestras and has been a private violin teacher and assistant teacher in orchestra programs in Northern Utah. She has enjoyed singing with many choirs throughout her life and has been directing various church choirs since 2001. This is her second year as director of the Simi Valley LDS Community Choir. She is very grateful for her supportive and patient husband, Sam and 5 spunky kids Eli, Naomi and Libby, Crae and Monty.


 
Simi Valley Music 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.


 
Simi Valley Youth Choir

Simi Youth Choir

      The Simi Valley Mormon 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 principal accompanist is Arianna Nelson is attending Cal Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks and majoring in Music Production and Business. She has been studying piano for 9 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 a Calypso number entitled Alleluia Lullaby and a French Carol entitled “Bring A Torch Janet Isabella.” We all get to have fun with “Mistletoe” and a 50’s rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” The program includes a medley of traditional Christmas favorites. We hope you enjoy this performance of the Simi Valley Mormon Youth Choir.


 
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. This past June the choir was honored to have performed Mark Hayes' Requiem in New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall. 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 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 December 16th at 7:30pm and Christmas Celebration begins with a Chorale Prelude at 11:30pm on December 24th. In addition, St. Rose of Lima will be having their first annual Christmas tree lighting on December 9th at 7:00pm - all are welcomed to attend.


 
Stonebridge Bell Ensemble

      Stonebridge Bells is a choir of 12 handbell ringers that rehearses weekly and plays at least once a month at Stonebridge Community Church in Simi Valley. This ensemble has been in existence for about 15 years. It has performed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the Strathearn Historical Park, and at Simi Covenant Church, as well as participated in Handbell Concerts in Bakersfield and Ontario. The Bells play for regular worship services as well as special Christian holy days. Often other instruments such as cello, flute, or guitars are added. Handbells add a special joy to any worship setting and are especially appropriate for the Christmas season. Thank you for inviting us to join your special holiday event.

Peggy Sadler, Director


 
Tamali'is Polynesian Dancers

Tamali'is Polynesian Dancers

      Tamali’is was established in 1977 by Dorothy Ae, a resident of Simi Valley for 39 years, along with her husband Tinou and children Stuart, Fa’atamali’i, Nafanua and Vincent. She taught her children, her extended family, friends and neighborhood children the art of Polynesian dance. Today, the Polynesian culture is shared by the Tamali’is throughout Southern California. (Tamali’is means “to be humble”.)


 
Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory Soloists

      The Thousand Oaks Philharmonic was founded in December of 2000 as a California registered non-profit educational organization, with its foremost purpose being to provide exceptional music students an opportunity to be featured as soloists with a professional orchestra.  

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      When Edward Francis (the current board chairman), started the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, it was an idea and a dream which would bring opportunities to these area students as well as other members of the local community. In order to do this, a performing group had to be available, so a professional orchestra was formed.  The music director and conductor is Dr. John Roscigno.  All board members serve as volunteers. 

      The Ventura County area is rich in talent, with an unusually high concentration of young artist-level musicians living in our midst. Perhaps it is no coincidence that our schools graduate some of the highest-ranking and well-prepared students in the state, and their level of achievement in other fields mirrors those results.  Three years ago a pre-college conservatory training program was started.  This program, called “Appassionata!” provides outstanding collaborative opportunities of higher-level learning to enrolled students, including: Master classes by the finest artists from around the world, lectures and seminars on many related subjects, a recital series that brings talented youth into many areas as a community service, and of course the ultimate opportunity to be featured as a soloist with the orchestra.   Learn more by visiting: www.tophil.org 


 
Valley View Middle School Vocal Ensemble

Melissa Gray      Melissa Aguilar is the choral director and Intro to Music teacher at Valley View Middle School. Mrs. Aguilar became passionate about music at a young age primarily because of her mother's musical influence. Mrs. Aguilar's mother, Ruth Gray is a well-renowned choral composer, pianist, and high school choral director. As a child, Mrs. Aguilar quickly became involved with piano, voice, and church musical theater. Later in life, she continued to pursue music and theater through her involvement in high school choir and drama, private voice and piano lessons, and through her participation in Biola Youth Theatre and Point Loma Opera Theater. In 2012, Mrs. Aguilar obtained a BA degree in Music Education with a Voice emphasis from Point Loma Nazarene University, and in 2014, she received a Single Subject Credential in Music from California State University, Fullerton. Mrs. Aguilar would like to thank the organizers of Simi Community Christmas for their invitation to perform at such a wonderful event. She would also like to encourage everyone to come see Valley View Vocal Ensemble perform on Friday, December 2nd at 6 PM.


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