Sunday, March 29, 2015

Guest conductor Ben Johns to lead University Chorus on June 6

From page A13 | May 20, 2014 |

Check it out

Who: UC Davis University Chorus led by guest conductor Ben Johns

When: 7 p.m. Friday, June 6

Where: Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis

Tickets: $12-$17 general, $8 students; or 530-754-2787

The UC Davis University Chorus closes out its 2013-14 season on Friday, June 6, at 7 p.m., in a concert that will be led by guest conductor Ben Johns.

Johns sang with Chanticleer, the male choral ensemble from San Francisco, from 2003 to 2006, and has continued with Chanticleer as the group’s education director since 2006. His duties as education director include holding workshops with groups like the Davis High School Madrigals, with whom he’s worked several times.

Johns grew up in Sacramento (both of his parents had been UC Davis students), and attended the old Sacramento High School, before it became a charter school. His chorus teacher at Sacramento High was Bill Zinn, who now teaches music in the Davis school district and leads the Davis High Jazz Choir.

Johns also recalls “singing in some Music Circus shows during summer vacation when I was in high school. And I was also in some Sacramento Opera productions.”

Johns  went on to attend UC Irvine, where he did an unusual multidisciplinary “triple major,” earning degrees in dance, vocal performance and chemistry. He led a student vocal ensemble at UC Irvine called Men in Blaque, and he gave a presentation at the American Association of Physics Teachers conference at Sacramento State in 2004 on the topic “Exploring the Neurobiological Basis for the Effect of Movement on the Voice.”

Johns subsequently earned a master’s degree in choral conducting from UC Irvine in 2009.

As a member of Chanticleer, Johns sang at the Mondavi Center on several occasions, and he performed as a member of the UCD University Chorus, led by Jeffrey Thomas, during a performance of Benjamin Britten’s “Saint Nicholas” last December.

Johns also sang with the American Bach Soloists, led by Thomas, at Davis Community Church for that group’s concerts in February and April.

Thomas is on sabbatical this quarter, and invited Johns to lead the University Chorus while he is away. Johns started leading rehearsals with the group in early April, “which is definitely a unique and exhilarating experience,” he said. And he’s looking forward to working in the Mondavi Center once again: “It is a great, lovely space. And from my experience, the larger the choral group, the better.”

For the June concert, which wraps up the spring quarter, Johns said that “Jeffrey Thomas recommended that I choose music that was on the lighter side. … I was also looking for songs that had spiritual themes, and others with themes relating to love. And I wanted to do a lot of shorter pieces, which is what Chanticleer usually does, rather than a single full-length piece.”

The program will open with two selections by the English composer Gerald Finzi (1901-56), “Spirit” and “My Spirit Sang All Day.” The English focus continues later in the program with selections by Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958), Gustav Holst (1874-1934) and Hubert Parry (1848-1918).

There is also a Spanish/Latin American current in the program, with a piece from the 1500s that was composed by Spanish composer Cristóbal de Morales, and a 20th-century piece by the Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla.

The concert will close with “Agnus Dei” by the American composer Samuel Barber, which is a 1938 choral setting of the piece that is probably better known for its 1936 orchestral string version, “Adagio for Strings” (which was itself based on the slow movement from Barber’s String Quartet, written in 1935-36).

Tickets are $12-$17 general, $8 for students, available at or 530-754-2787.





  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Where do Davis recyclables go?

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    UCD faculty receive lowest pay in the system

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

    Motive for murder-suicide remains a mystery

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Davis sewage to get new digs

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Human Relations Commission hosts Chávez celebration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

    Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    ‘Music as Medicine’ is radio show topic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Friendship the topic on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6



    These results were meaningless

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Survey not representative

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Answers on the green waste program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    A phone call could have fixed this

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Milt Prigee cartoon

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Some ‘survey’ …

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Mayor’s corner: Looking ahead to spring

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

    By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: B5

    Universities need more funding

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

    Father of the bride snubbed

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Which experiences count as ‘once in a lifetime’?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A8

    After a month of no TV news, I’m feeling much better

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A8

    Take a hike for your heart

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



    Republic stun Galaxy with repeated history

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Bad fourth quarter sinks boys lacrosse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Aggies’ walkoff win clinches series against Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie softball splits doubleheader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Burns scores shootout winner to lift Sharks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    UCD women’s tennis dominates at home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10 | Gallery







    Millennials are changing our community

    By Rob White | From Page: A9

    With new owner, DAC will Get Fit

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Grant writing for non-profits workshop set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9





    Comics: Sunday, March 29, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8