When Sue Fink founded Angel City Chorale (ACC) in 1993, she said she wanted “to create a small community of singers who felt like they had a home.”
That “small community” is now 160 people strong, and on July 24, competing against 17 other acts on America’s Got Talent, the Golden Buzzer sounded (pressed by guest judge Olivia Munn), and golden confetti rained down on them, guaranteeing a spot in the quarter-finals at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood where the competition starts Tuesday, August 14.
A number of Topangans are ACC members, among them, Grainne Ward (21 years), Ganet Fisher, Mitch Weiss and his wife, who has always been very involved. Scott King is a past member and Steven Ritz-Barr joins in for a season.
Another Topanga person, Carolyn Brandon, says her husband, Charles Ciup, is the Technical Director on America’s Got Talent, and six more members hail from Pacific Palisades: Harry Eden, Norman Helgeson, Kathy Jackson, Marian Niles, Cheryl Robinson, and Adam Wolman.
Winning is one thing, but the concept behind the Chorale is bigger. Their mission statement, “Building Community One Song at a Time,” embodies its approach of blending the power of music to lift the human spirit.
“Los Angeles is a maze,” Fink said, and that night, before the performance, she told the judges, the audience, and millions of people watching from their homes, “We try to represent diversity: different religions, different ages. We’re white, black, rich, poor, gay, straight. Even Republicans and Democrats can sit next to each other in our group.” Then the group went on to sing the winning song, “Baba Yetu.”
For more information, to book the Chorale, or donate: angelcitychorale.org.