Performances & Tickets

North Star Vocal Artists Present “Sacred Music for the New Millennium”
in San Francisco, Sonoma, San Rafael and Healdsburg

North Star Vocal Artists – our a cappella mixed choir – will perform nine works of sacred music in four performances:

     Friday, October 30, at 8:00pm
     St. Gregory of Nyssa Church, 500 DeHaro Street, San Francisco

     Sunday, November 1, at 4:00pm
     St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 16290 Arnold Drive, Sonoma

     Saturday, November 7, at 8:00pm
     First Presbyterian Church, 1510 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael

     Sunday, November 8, at 4:00pm
     Paul Mahder Gallery, 222 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg

There will be an informative Conductor Chat 30 minutes prior to each.

Advance-purchase tickets are $20 for adults and $8 for students. Click here, to buy tickets on our tickets page.

Tickets will be $25 and $10 at the door.

Discounts for families or groups of eight or more can be arranged by emailing a request to

The program is titled “Spirited Light: Sacred Music for the New Millennium.” This is not your grandfather's church music. Ranging from passages with great energy and exuberance to sublimely ethereal moments, this is music that moves the soul with poetic texts that engage the spirit.

“Spirited Light” by Jake Runestad sets Hildegard’s poem Antiphon for the        Angels with energy and imagination. There are striking choral special effects       in the word painting of such phrases as “plummeted down” and “that a        mud-bound spirit might soar.”
Hildegard Tryptich by Frank Ferko is a double-chorus set of three of the poet’s        original Latin texts of praise and adoration: O vis aeternitatis (O Strength
     Eternal), Caritas abundant (Charity Imbued) and O virtus Sapientiae (O        Strength of Wisdom).
Roxanna Panufnik’s “Prayer” for soprano solo and double chorus features        soprano Ruth Baillie. The George Herbert sonnet text, evokes the richness      and diversity of the experience of prayer, conveying its strength and        gentleness, potency, joy and mystery.
“Psalmus 102” by Pavel Lukaszewski presents the psalm text in a modern        adaptation of chant, setting each syllable to a single note. The harmonies of        the chanted chords are lush and move in unexpected ways as they make        their way to the final Amen
“The Spheres” is an a cappella setting, extracted from Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass       for choir and string orchestra. Using the traditional Kyrie text from the        standard mass, the music conveys a sense of floating in space, surrounded        by stars and planets light years away.
Joseph Gregorio’s “O magnum mysterium” is the first of two Christmas texts on        the program, this one contemplating the humility of Jesus birth story, with        an extensive “alleluia” passage in the style of another choral gem by that        name.
Sanford Dole’s festive setting of “Hodie Chritus natus est” (Today Christ is       born) combines a joyful melody passing through each choral voice with        playful rhythms and responses from the full choir.
The major work on the program is the Missa a Cappella by Einojuhani        Rautavaara, the leading Finnish composer of his generation. The work was        commissioned by – among others – Father Arthur Bridge of Australia, who        has been integral in maintaining the long history of the church in creating        new music. The composer combines modernism and mystical romanticism in        his personal quest to give the listener “a glimpse of eternity through the        window of time.”
Ivo Antognini’s “Canticum Novum” is joyful, bright and jubilant in its mantra-like        exhortation to sing to the Lord a new song

Previous Performances

“Alchemy: creating something new”
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Mt. Tam United Methodist Church
410 Sycamore Avenue, Mill Valley

North Star Vocal Artists – a 27-voice a cappella mixed choir conducted by Sanford Dole – will reprise their popular “Alchemy” concert program on Sunday, June 28, at Mt. Tam United Methodist Church (410 Sycamore Avenue) in Mill Valley.

The program includes one of the masterworks of 20th century choral literature, Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Chorus, and a variety of 21st century choral works, all unaccompanied. Included are British composers, Paul Mealor, Will Todd and Roxanna Panufnik, as well as the Giedrius Svilainis (Lithuania), Ola Gjeilo (Norway), and Americans Stephen Paulus, Donald Skirvin and Sanford Dole. Mt Tam Church is the perfect space in which to hear this kind of richly scored choral music.

The current North Star ensemble is comprised of singers from Corte Madera, Fairfax, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo and San Rafael in Marin County, Glen Ellen, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Sonoma in Sonoma County, as well as Napa, Berkeley and San Francisco. “The singers are all fine musicians and have beautiful choral blend,” said Dole, whose conducting career includes many amateur and professional choirs throughout the Bay Area. “This really came together as a first-rate show, as good as any of the professional productions I’ve been a part of.”

The performance is preceded by an insightful program orientation 30 minutes prior to curtain. A light reception follows the performance.

Other Previous Performances

You can find more information on past seasons and performances of the Sanford Dole Ensemble in our Performances Archive.