Celebrate the Season Concert Program

Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson  

Deck the Halls by Carmen Dragon  

Waltz of the Flowers by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky 

Stille Nacht by Franz Gruber

Arranged by Chip Davis and Calvin Custer

Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson  


Selections from Messiah by George Frideric Handel

Special Guest Soprano – Coral Walterman

And the Glory of the Lord
And He Shall Purify
Behold, a Virgin Shall Conceive
O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings/Arise, Shine
For unto Us a Child is Born
There Were Shepherds Abiding
And Lo! The Angel of the Lord
And the Angel Said Unto Them
And Suddenly There was with the Angel
Glory to God in the Highest
Rejoice greatly

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Program Notes

Christmas Festival – Leroy Anderson  

Leroy Anderson (1908 – 1975) was an American conductor, arranger, and composer. He wrote many light orchestral pieces with memorable, optimistic melodies.  A Christmas Festival is a medley of traditional carols written for the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1950.  Anderson selected eight of the most popular Christmas carols and one Christmas song, “Jingle Bells.”  Using these songs, he built a concert overture that is about 9 minutes long.  “A Christmas Festival” has long been a staple of concert performances for both bands and orchestras.

– Program Notes by Juanita Jackson, 2023

Deck the Halls – Carmen Dragon  

Carmon Dragon was born in Antioch, California, near San Francisco Bay in 1914 and died in 1984.  His parents were Italian immigrants, and there was music in the family. Dragon’s big musical break occurred in the 1930s, when a dance band arrangement he wrote caught the attention of future Music Man composer Meredith Willson, who, at the time, was the music director for the Western Division of NBC Radio.  Impressed by his writing, Willson brought Dragon with him to Hollywood, and opened the door to him working in show business.  Dragon conducted many orchestras, including the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, and was a composer and arranger who also worked in radio, film, and television.

Dragon’s arrangement of Deck the Halls was recorded in 1957 by the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra.  The first time Deck the Halls was published with English lyrics was in 1862.  The popular Christmas carol that dates back to the 16th century and wasn’t always associated with Christmas. T he melody comes from a Welsh winter song called “Now Galan,” which is about New Year’s Eve.

– Program Notes by Juanita Jackson, 2023

Waltz of the Flowers – Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky 

Tchaikovsky was born in 1840 in Votkinsk, Russia and died in 1893 in St. Petersburg, and he was the most popular Russian composer of all time.  “Waltz of the Flowers” is the final dance in the second act of the ballet “The Nutcracker” where all the Sugar Plum Fairy’s sweets celebrate Clara and the prince.  The waltz music, popular in Austrian, German, and French culture was among the most common ballroom dance forms in the 19th and 20th centuries.  This ballet was premiered in 1892 and is based on E. T. A Hoffmann’s 1816 fairytale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, which tells the story of a young girl who adventures into the ‘Land of Sweets’ on Christmas Eve. During this time Tchaikovsky was experiencing some emotional turmoil after the death of his sister.  While he was at sea, Tchaikovsky penned much of the music for The Nutcracker, and often struggled for inspiration.  He famously used his fear of mice to create the dynamic music for the army of mice and the battle.  He used the love he had for his sister to create the iconic melodies from Waltz of the Flowers.

– Program Notes by Juanita Jackson, 2023

Stille Nacht – Franz Gruber

Stille Nacht (Silent Night) was written on Christmas Eve in 1818 in the Austrian Alps for a small village church’s special service to celebrate the Lord and Savior.  Church organist Franz X. Gruber (1787-1863) composed this melody to go with a poem written by a local clergyman.  Decades later, “Stille Nacht” has been translated into over 200 languages and has become one of the most universal religious songs of Christmas, and Chip Davis (b. 1948) arranged this instrumental version made famous by Manhein Steamroller.  Mr. Davis is the founder of American Gramafone records, and produces very successful albums under the name of “Fresh Aire by Mannheim Steamroller”.  

– Program Notes by Kate Prestia-Schaub, 2023

Sleigh Ride – Leroy Anderson  

Sleigh Ride, written by Leroy Anderson is a light hearted orchestral standard played to the audiences delight each Christmas season.  It was written over the course of 2 years and finished in February 1948.  Leroy Anderson was one of the great American Masters of Light Orchestra Music.  Ironically, Mr. Anderson started writing this piece in the summer of 1946 during a heat wave!  The Boston Pops premiered this performance as well as recorded the piece in 1949. 

– Program Notes by Kate Prestia-Schaub, 2023

Selections from Messiah – George Frideric Handel

George Fridric Handel 1685 – 1759 

Geroge Fridric Handel’s Messiah was originally an Easter offering first performed in Dublin on April 13, 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. When Handel had originally settled in London in 1712 where he lived for 49 years until his death in 1759 at age 74, there was a thriving Italian opera scene, but, due to the high expense of production and changing musical tastes, the audiences for opera had largely dried up. Handel had invested heavily in his own opera company and was facing financial ruin, so he started turning his attention towards oratorios which had the large-scale orchestra and voices of opera but without the costumes, scenery, and dialogue. 

Handel composed Messiah in only twenty-four days, an extraordinarily brief span of time for such an iconic work. The Messiah’s move to Christmas was based more on marketing than on anyone suddenly realizing that the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ and other parts of the oratorio would magnify the significance of the celebration of Christ’s birth. For some years, Handel’s oratorio was part of both the Christmas and Easter holiday experiences, especially in England. But by the 1960s, the Messiah had been almost completely transformed into a Christmas event.

Messiah has remained popular for nearly 300 years because of the strength and enduring qualities of its melodies. Handel wrote Messiah in English, rather than German or Italian, which appealed to the middle class in England and Ireland, where the work first appeared back in the mid-1700s.

Scholars are divided on the story about standing during the Hallelujah chorus, a tradition said to have begun in 1743, when King George II rose from his seat, enthralled by the beauty of the music. Not wanting to offend the king, the audience also stood, which is still a tradition to this day. There is no evidence that King George the Second ever saw a performance of Messiah, or that he stood up during it, but this certainly does not stop audience members continuing to stand for this great work of music.

Temecula Valley Symphony Musicians

Under the direction of John Mario Di Costanzo

Violin 1

Patricia McCormick * – Concertmaster
Kateryna Kolesnyk
Paul Ciolek
Frances Moore
Brennan Wuchner
Jeff Hitch

Violin 2

Debbie Gagnon*
Marie G. Luedtke
Joanna Crombie
Maria Cantrell
Alex Han
Alexandra Huryn


Dr. Sylvia Lee Mann*
Jennifer Wu
John Lamar
Kenya Nelson


Ruslan Biryukov*
Chris Rorrer 
Bethany Whiting
Jorge Rodriguez


Paul Dallas*
Corbin Foster
Joshua Sibelius

Flute & Piccolo

Kate Prestia-Schaub*
Kara Wuchner


David Hernandez*
Viki Bertram


Dr. Chelsea Howell*
Shelby Huber

Bass Clarinet

Tim Surber*


Dr. Tom Schubert*
Deborah Cox


Dr. Bruce Clausen*
Jeff Gumpertz
Patrick Williams 
Ronda Barnes


Steve Morics*
Josiah Chasteen
John Aranda


Bret Kelley*
Dr. Doug Knechtel
Dale Sanders


Eric Peteroski*


Bob Forte


Trevor Dolce
Ivan Aviles
Rex Lycan


Angie Knechtel


Caroline Reyes*


Coral Walterman


*Denotes Principal

Coral Walterman – Soprano

Coral Walterman has established herself as a leading soprano in the Pacific Northwest. She has appeared with opera companies and orchestras throughout the region. Most recently she has sung as the soprano soloist with the Willamette Falls Symphony, the Portland Columbia Symphony and the Olympia Symphony Orchestra performing an evening of Italian arias, the Mahler 4th Symphony and the Brahms Requiem. She has sung the roles of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Mrs. Ford in the Merry Wives of Windsor and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte with the Cascadia Concert Opera. She also has appeared with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in their performance of Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and she sang the role of Anna with Vancouver Symphony in Puccini’s Le Villi. Coral has sung Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in with the Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra and she has also performed with the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra in their a performance of Richard Strauss’s Vier Letzte Lieder and their concert presentation of highlights from Verdi’s Otello as Desdemona. As a guest artist with the Astoria Music Festival, she appeared with baritone Richard Zeller in their Sopranos concert. Other appearances have been with Oregon Ballet Theater in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Portland Chamber Orchestra in Thomas Svoboda’s work Returns for Symphony and Soprano. She has performed the role of Rosalinde with Opera Theater Corvallis and with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra.

Additional roles include Vespina with Portland Chamber Orchestra in Haydn’s opera L’Infedeltà Delusa and Susannah in Susannah with Opera Theater Corvallis in Carlisle Floyd’s American Opera. She has been featured with both the Portland Symphonic Choir and the Eugene Concert Choir as soprano soloist in Mozart’s Grand Mass in C minor and with the Bravo Vancouver Concert Series in Handel’s Messiah. With Cannon Beach Chorale at the Oregon coast she has performed Haydn’s Mass in Time of War. Apart from the Northwest in Temecula, California, Coral was invited to sing with Temecula Symphony Orchestra’s Principle Artists in a performance of Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock. Coral also is also a frequent guest soloist for the Portland Singing Christmas Tree where she has sung for the last eight seasons.

Please feel free to visit her website for more information!


John Mario Di Constanzo

John Mario, has been noted for his exemplary affinity for accompaniment of singers throughout the Classical and Pop world. His exciting 2012-2014 conducting schedule as principal tour conductor for Jackie Evancho’s Dream With Me and Songs of the Silver Screen tours, included appearances with the Atlanta Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, Stockton Symphony, Dallas Pops, Baltimore Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Long Beach Symphony, Thousand Oaks Symphony, Parma Recording Symphony, Chautaqua Symphony, Marin County Symphony, San Bernardino Symphony, Tacoma Symphony and also notably his Chicago Symphony Center debut.

John Mario is also a veteran opera conductor serving three seasons as Music Director of the legendary Tri Cities Opera of Binghamton, NY, former training grounds for opera stars such as Richard Leech and Placido Domingo, and also the oldest Resident Artist Training Program in the USA. Besides conducting three opera productions a year, his duties encompassed Resident Artist Training Program classes, workshops, and hosting the local NPR radio show Operalogues. SUNY Binghamton also appointed John Mario as a full-time Visiting Professor of Music for the Masters of Music in Opera program. He is the former Artistic Director of Long Island Opera, where he led LIO’s first production of its renaissance–La Traviata in June 2010. From the pit over the past decades, he has led dozens of productions as guest conductor in companies across the US, including Sarasota Opera, Toledo Opera, Syracuse Opera, and Opera Southwest.

In addition to his conducting duties, John Mario performs in recital and is a leading coach of the Italian Opera repertoire in his New York City studio, preparing internationally-acclaimed singers for their roles on the stages of the world. He has accompanied world-renowned conductors and singers in opera rehearsal and has played in master classes for singing legends Licia Albanese and Renata Scotto. He has served as a judge for several major vocal competitions, including the Liederkranz International Opera Competition of NYC, The Metropolitan International Opera Festival Competition of NYC, and the Belvedere International Opera Competition of Vienna. In 2012, John served as Italian Language Coach for New York City Opera’s production of Mose’ in Egitto.

Coachella Valley Symphony (Palm Springs) has just announced that John Mario steps up to the Podium as its New Music Director & Conductor elect for the 2015-2016 season! John has also joined the faculty of training as an opera coach for Opera Works of Los Angeles a training program for Opera Singers renowned for its unique and transformative approach to performance.

Southern California Choral Artists

Under the Direction of Eric Rea


Chrissy Erickson
Melanie Gonzalez
Stefanie Hangen
Sarah Hernandez
Jeanne Kentfield
Katie Lovegrove
Michelle Ngo
Sonia Watson
Nonie Wisdom



Nicole Burkholder
Emma Erickson
Linda Erickson
Cathy Fakes
Lisa Johnson
Susie Kelley
Laura Lang
Erika Nevares
Julie Ngo
Pam Rentz
Marti Shelley
Terry Wolff


Kris Buensuceso
Kevin Costello
Emanuel Esparza
Kathy Fuller
Joshua Hernandez
Chor Kwan
Rudy Vergara


Rob Lennox
Mark Medin
Jon Murray
Tom Nunley
Calvin Selfridge
Randy Stumpp
James Wallace
Santiago Zumaya


ERIC REA is a music educator, church musician, singer, and choral director. He is a tenured, full-time music faculty member of Mt. San Jacinto College. With a B.A. in Church Music and M.A. in Bible, Eric also serves as the Deacon for Worship at Grace Bible Church of Murrieta, the reason he and his wife moved here from the east coast. Since 2006 Eric has directed collegiate and community choirs, including Riverside Master Chorale and Temecula Valley Symphony Chorus, and in 2021 he founded Southern California Choral Artists.

He is currently enrolled in a multi-summer program at Cal State University Los Angeles, pursuing a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting, studying with Dr. Christopher Gravis, Dr. William Belan, and the esteemed Donald Brinegar. This revolutionary program has already deeply impacted his approach to the choral arts and was part of the inspiration for forming his own performing ensemble. He is thankful to God for the many opportunities to intersect with people’s lives through sharing meaningful musical experiences.


WENDI TURK has enjoyed tremendous musical opportunities as a keyboard collaborative artist, musical director, and educator since 1985. Wendi’s vocal and instrumental coaching has prepared young artists for national and international recitals, auditions and competitions. As a member of ACDA, SCVA and NCCO, Wendi has collaborated with renowned clinicians such as Charlene Archibeque, Eric Whitacre, Richard Burchard, Josh Haberman, Geoffrey Boers, Jo-Michael Schiebe, and John Alexander. She also has extensive experience as a musical director/conductor in the field of musical theater for numerous colleges and community theaters.

Wendi earned a Master’s Degree in Keyboard Collaborative Arts at Azusa Pacific University under the teaching of Dr. Joel Clifft (USC), Dr. Eugene Alcalay (Julliard), and Dr. Cheryl Lin Fielding (Julliard). She lives in Murrieta, CA with her husband, David. She also enjoys the opportunity to collaborate with her son, Steven, on film projects. Wendi credits the Lord for her accomplishments.





Board of Directors & Creative Team

Temecula Valley Symphony Conductors

John Mario – Music Director & Conductor
Dr. Zun-Hin Woo – Assistant Conductor & Concertmaster

Board of Directors

President – Susan Miyamoto
Vice President – Chelsea Howell
Secretary – Juanita Jackson
Treasurer – Maria Cantrell

Jenny Shin
Mariann Byers
Mary Williams
Nancy VandenBerg

Managing & Artistic Director Emeritus
Alana Joos

2022 Strategic Plan Chairperson

Bruce Clausen

Advisory Board

Richard Beene
Ruslan Biyukov
Cecilia Burch
Bruce Clausen
Nick Foschetti
Robbie Motter
Jody Nottingham
Terri Paetz
Kate Presita-Schaub
Matt Rahn

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