Vanguard University’s department of music performed their 19th annual Christmas Fantasia concert at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Tuesday, December 9, 2015. The festival of sacred and popular Christmas music was performed for a sold-out audience of over 1,600 Orange County concertgoers, all poised to share in the spirit of the season.
Nearly 200 students from the university’s award-winning music ensembles took to the sizeable Segerstrom stage, following a powerful Christmas prelude by organist, Dr. Jung-A Lee, on the 48-foot silver leaf pipe organ. After a rousing overture of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, the audience took to their feet and joined the university’s choirs and orchestra in a festival of classic Christmas carols. During the 90-minute performance, nine of the department’s 13 music ensembles filled the acoustically vibrant concert hall with holiday music.
A VIP reception was held at The Center Club, where red lighting, silver décor, and crystal chandeliers lit up the room of 250 guests including Vanguard University faculty, board members and community leaders. Hot cocoa, candied apples and eggnog were served amidst the Christmas trees and twinkling lights, while student musicians serenaded in the background. Vanguard University President, Dr. Michael Beals, and Vice President for University Advancement, Justin McIntee, took the stage at the reception to thank guests and honor top sponsors, Meguiar’s, Farmers & Merchants Bank, and Hoag Orthopedic Institute. Dereesa Reid, CEO of Hoag Orthopedic Institute, expressed her gratitude for Vanguard’s department of music and acknowledged the school’s distinguished reputation in higher education.
Vanguard University began its Christmas Fantasia tradition 19 years ago, with the Orange County community in mind. Since its inception, the concert has grown from an intimate dessert reception to a major event, now in its 6th year at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.
Since 2009, the concert has concluded with a special presentation of the Ralph Carmichael Scholarship Award. This award was established in honor of the famous composer and arranger who studied music at Vanguard University—the first four-year college in Orange County. Carmichael graduated Vanguard and went on to write arrangements for top performers including Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, and Stan Kenton, while serving as musical director for I Love Lucy.
During the December 8 Segerstrom performance, Vanguard University’s president, Dr. Michael Beals, awarded Janelle Harriman with the Ralph Carmichael Scholarship Award for her outstanding academic performance within the university’s music performance program. Harriman, class of 2016 and a native of Vancouver, Washington, will receive her degree in worship studies, one of the newest majors of study at Vanguard University. Robert McIntire and Sarah Whaley were also awarded with $1,000 in music scholarship dollars, at the December 4 Christmas Fantasia concert, held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach. McIntire, a sophomore, and Whaley, a junior, are also students in the worship studies program.
“The department of music at Vanguard University is a preeminent place to be exposed to the music and arts industry of Southern California,” said Justin McIntee, vice president for university advancement. “We are thrilled with the commitment of our donors and their support of our students—the next generation of industry leaders.”