Aug 11, 2018Santa Cruz Mountains | Conference Center
The auditorium opens to embrace the sounds and aromas of the surrounding redwood forest. Attendees can be up-close-and-personal inside with the artists, or relax on the mezzanine patio and take in the night while enjoying the beautiful music. Concerts are free, though dinner guests get priority seating.
All concert programs are open to the public without charge, and all are on Saturdays at 7:30 PM. in Mount Hermon’s main indoor/outdoor auditorium. A free-will offering is received towards expenses. Guests are reminded to dress warmly for the indoor-outdoor auditorium. Seating preference is given to those participating in the buffet dinner and/or staying overnight. For those purchasing the buffet, dinner is from 5:00-6:15 PM in the Dining Hall.
For the 21st year, and 17th for Director Connie Fortunato, the musical magic of the Celebration Choir again set toes tapping and hands clapping. This community group comes together for six weeks of rehearsal in July and August with August performances at Mount Hermon and the First Presbyterian Church in Monterey. With music as a universal language, the infectious tone of the program is set with the surround sound of the group’s signature entrance singing the Moses Hogan arrangement of “Music Down In My Soul.” A rare audience member would have a hard time sitting still!
Added to wonderful spirituals is the incredible talent of the tight “back-up” combo featuring Marti Williams on piano, Tony Bolivar on multiple reed instruments even playing both the alto and tenor saxes at the same time. Along with these two phenomenal musicians were the equally phenomenal talents of Mark Kenoly on bass and Dave Rodriguez on percussion providing the heartbeat of the group. Last year, Marti Williams did a medley of songs as song titles were called out from the audience. Starting with a boogie base underscoring a Bach invention, themes of “Wade in the Water,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “God’s Gonna Trouble The Water” “Blue Moon,” “Moon River,” “Exodus,” “Meditation from Thais,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” were deftly modulated with assorted musical twists and turns and styles to bring down the house.
In addition to the rousing numbers with instrumental backup, there are a cappella numbers demonstrating the versatility of this choir.
In celebrating gospel and spiritual styles, no program is complete without an arrangement of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Bolivar demonstrates his instrument prowess by switching all manner of wind and brass instruments - flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto and tenor saxes – played at the same time in harmony – and finishing with trumpet. Definitely something for everyone! This music continues to show the lasting influence and popularity that crosses denomination boundaries.
Ms. Fortunato’s main passion is the work she does with the non-profit group she founded, Music Camp International. This incredible organization works with more than 1500 children in Ukraine and Romania each year. There are camps for blind, deaf, and other special needs children. In addition to the camps, is the newly formed PLUS which is a daily after school program for vulnerable and marginalized children. Not only music lessons but school lessons as well. Older students having come through the MCI program are now mentors to the younger children. More amazing information can be found at www.musiccampinternational.org. If there were ever a true ambassador for making music with impoverished children and giving them educational hope, it’s Connie Fortunato.
Concert attendance is free. Buffet and Saturday stay guests are given preferred seating. Register online or over the phone for tickets.
|2018 Summer Concert Buffet Dinner Pricing|
|Adults (13+)||Kids (4–12)||Kids (0–3)|
Saturday Night Stay (Available only by phone) Limited overnight housing is available by phone registration only. Sunday breakfast is not included. There is no Sunday worship gathering.
|Saturday Night Stay|
|One Adult + Housing||Additional Adult||Additional Child||Additional Toddler|
The Santa Cruz Mountains camp center includes the Conference Center, Ponderosa Lodge and Redwood Camp.