1/6 – 1/9 Befana: A Christmas Fable

Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra and the Cabrillo College Music and Theater Arts Departments
are proud to commission and premiere a new work by Kirke Mechem called: Befana: A Christmas Fable.

The production will be presented in five scheduled performances on January 6th through 9th at the Crocker Theater, located on the Cabrillo College campus in Aptos. Performances will feature local soloists, Cabrillo College Choirs, the Cabrillo Youth Chorus and Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra.

From the VAPA website at VAPA | Visual, Applied, & Performing Arts Complex – Cabrillo College or by calling the Box Office (831) 479-6154, Th-F-Sat noon to 6pm.

About Befana: A Christmas Fable. According to the Italian folktale, Befana was an old woman of
modest means, who was visited by the Three Wise Men on their way to Bethlehem. Befana welcomed
them into her home and the next day they invited her to join them on their quest to find the Christ
Child. Befana, too busy with her housework and lost in her own sorrow, declined to join them. After
they departed, she was filled with regret and tried to find them but was unsuccessful. So, each year on
the Feast of the Epiphany, Befana searches, flying on her broom and traveling from house to house
looking for the baby Jesus. She kindly leaves treats in stockings hung on the fireplace inspiring love and
hope in each child she visits.

Composer Kirke Mechem has been called the Dean of American choral music. He has been honored
and recognized for his contributions by the United Nations, the National Endowment for the Arts, the
American Choral Directors Association, the Music Educators National Conference and was presented
with a lifetime achievement award from the National Opera Association. The American Choral Directors
Association said of Mechem, “The finest in choral composition . . . he combines high artistic integrity
with the ability to communicate directly with performers and audience.”

Conductor and Music Director Cheryl Anderson has served as the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies
at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, California since 1990. During that time, she has conducted Cantiamo!,
Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus, and Cabrillo Chorale. She is founder and director of Cabrillo Opera, Voice
Master Class, Renaissance Consort and the Cabrillo Youth Chorus Programs. She has conducted
Cantiamo! and Symphonic Chorus in performances of Bach’s Mass in B-minor and St. Matthew Passion,
Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Requiem, Lou Harrison’s La Koro Sutro, and
Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610.

Dr. John Anderson is the founding Conductor and Artistic Director of Ensemble Monterey Chamber
Orchestra. For twenty-nine years, he was a member of the music faculty at Monterey Peninsula College, where he taught music history, theory and performance studies. For eighteen years, he also served as Chair of the Division of Creative Arts. He has had national experiences as a guest conductor and clinician.

Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra (EMCO), founded in 1992 as a consortium of professional
musicians in the greater Monterey Bay area, presents adventurous, exciting, innovative music not
commonly performed in our community. Since its inception, EMCO’s goal has been to bring to life
master works of chamber literature not often performed by other groups. EMCO strengthens the
cultural fabric of the Central Coast by providing and encouraging an avenue of creative expression for
professional musicians and composers who are residents of the community. EMCO’s student musician
outreach provides valuable and unique performance opportunities for younger generations.

The Cabrillo College Choral and Vocal Program – Cabrillo College is a community college serving Santa
Cruz County residents on the Central Coast of California. The Cabrillo College choral program, under the direction of Cheryl Anderson, is world renowned for the quality of the choral, vocal, and theatrical
education, performance, and outreach to the community. Cabrillo choruses have toured through
thirteen countries, including Italy, Cuba, and South Africa, and have sung twice at the Vatican and in
Carnegie Hall. The Cabrillo College choral program has a long tradition of commissioning and premiering choral works by prominent national and international composers.

If you would like further information about how you can be a part of this exciting project, please contact Lori Schulman, Advancement Director, Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra, by phone at 831-333-1283 or by email at

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