By Karen Schultz Anderson
Do you love to sing? Do you love to warm up your vocal cords with old-fashioned Christmas carol music … in Spanish? Perhaps you would like to join El Coro del Real Presidio, SBTHP’s choral group that performs in Una Noche de las Posadas. It is an easy process to become part of this group. All you have to do is attend the three Tuesday night rehearsal dates, November 29, December 6 and December 13, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., in the Casa de la Guerra. There you will meet fellow El Coro members, many of whom have been singing in this group for twenty-one years, and learn songs in Spanish. Volunteer Luis Moreno is the director and, together with his guitar, will guide you up and down the musical scale.
After three nights of rehearsal, El Coro performs at Una Noche de las Posadas, a Christmas tradition that dates back to early California. This year it will celebrated on Friday, December 16th at 7 p.m. On this evening, El Coro sings in the Presidio Chapel and then winds its way through Santa Barbara, along with guests and children portraying Mary, Joseph, and an angel, until it comes to the Casa de la Guerra where the entire group is welcomed. El Coro performs more songs, and then the entire group enjoys food and festivities at the Casa.
When I asked an El Coro member, Judy Pearce, why she enjoys singing with El Coro in Las Posadas, she said that it is her favorite part of the Christmas holiday because it’s family friendly and totally non-commercial. She commented, “I love the three nights of our singing practice at Casa de la Guerra; the ambiance of the historical home makes me feel we are truly breathing life into a chapter of Santa Barbara history. For twelve years, I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie of El Coro. Singers from years past seem like old friends and those joining for the first time are given a sincere welcome.” When I asked what Las Posadas means to Luis Moreno, he said, “It is a spiritual journey…a time to renew oneself … an occasion to bring people together.”
Mark your calendars and join in! El Coro Rehearsals: November 29, December 6 and December 13, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., Una Noche de las Posadas: December 16, 7:00 p.m.
Karen Schultz Anderson is SBTHP’s Director of Education and has helped organize this special community event for six years. She likes to compare Una Noche de las Posadas to The Grinch Who Stole Christmas when Whoville celebrates the holiday season by gathering together simply for the joy of being together!