Fall 2023

Chants Encounter

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2023 | 3 pm

Perfoming Arts Center San Luis Obispo

Chants Encounter

Arvo Pärt: Te Deum
Mass in C minor, KV 427
Per questa bella mano, KV 612
W. A. Mozart

San Luis Obispo Master Chorale’s 2023/2024 season begins on November 19, 2023, with “Chants Encounter.” This performance features Estonian-born composer Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum and W. A. Mozart’s Mass in C-minor. Pärt utilizes the beauty of chant mixed with bell-like chords (tintinnabulation) to create a dramatic rendering of the fourth-century prayer. 

Mozart’s Mass, a wedding gift for his wife, Constanza, is influenced by the choral works of Bach and Handel, as well as eighteenth century opera. This work has all the best of Mozart: beautiful melodies, brilliantly written counterpoint, large choral sound with intimate chamber music. “Chants Encounter” will also include Mozart’s concert aria, Per questa bella mano, for baritone and double-bass. 

Concert soloists include sopranos Alba Franco-Cancél and Amy Goymerac, tenor Jon Lee Keenan, baritone Joel Balzun, and Ken Hustad, double-bass.

“Chants Encounter” is sponsored by Lyn C. Baker and Roger Pond.

The “Chants Encounter” concert will be held in Harold Miossi Hall at the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo on the Cal Poly campus. 

Featured Artists

headshot of woman with dark curly hair and bright lipstick wearing lace top

Alba Franco-Cancél


Puerto Rican soprano Alba Franco-Cancél continues to thrill audiences with her “pure,” “silvery” and “bell-like” sound delivered with her magnetic stage presence and “outstanding acting skills” in both operatic and concert appearances.

Recent appearances include her debut with the Arequipa Symphony Orchestras in Peru; her debut with the Barcelona Festival of Song; as well as her European debut as Christine (The Phantom of the Opera) in Bari, Italy. Other appearances: Sarah (La Llorona) with Opera Cultura; Lucinda (Dark Sisters) with Opera Fayetteville; Queen of the Night with Opera San Luis Obispo; Valencienne Pacific Opera Project; Barbarina with Livermore Valley Opera, and Despina with Opera Neo. In 2018 Alba returned to Los Angeles to perform the leading role in a Los Angeles Original Production of the mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna.

Franco-Cancél has also excelled and brought life to many roles, including Tytania (Midsummer’s Night Dream); the title role in La Calisto; Gilda; Musetta; Zerlina; Frasquita; La Fée (Massenet’s Cendrillon); Monica (The Medium); Flora (Turn of the Screw), Elle in the one act opera La Voix Humaine, and María (West Side Story) among many others.

Awards include winner of the Mundo Arts International Art Song Competition; semifinalist in the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition; finalist in the American Prize Vocal Competition; Illinois Opera Theater Enthusiasts Award; Bella Voice Award (Bel Canto Foundation-Chicago); finalist in the Classical Singer’s Competition; and the Public Choice Award from the MET Opera Auditions.

Alba Franco-Cancél received a doctoral degree in voice from the University of Missouri and a certificate in vocology from the National Center of Voice and Speech. She is currently Assistant Professor of Voice at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and voice faculty member at Cuesta College.

headshot of woman with dark curly hair wearing blue top

Amy Goymerac


Soprano Amy Goymerac has performed leading roles and as a concert soloist both internationally and throughout the US and with companies such as Opera San Jose, Opera San Luis Obispo, Pocket Opera, Valley Opera Performing Arts, Amherst Early Music Festival among others. She has appeared in concert with the Athens Philharmonia, San Luis Obispo Symphony, Redwood Symphony, the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale, and at the Berkeley Festival among others.

Highlight roles and repertoire include, Suzanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Michaëla (La Tragédie de Carmen), Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (Barber), Dona Nobis Pacem (Vaughan Williams), Messiah (Handel), and Maher’s 4th Symphony.

Ms. Goymerac premiered the role of Charlotte in the world concert premiere of Kirke Mechem’s latest opera, Pride and Prejudice. She appeared on her first album To All Women Everywhere under Cambria Records in spring of 2022. She earned her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and her Bachelor of Arts from Cal Poly, SLO and is currently working towards her certificate in Vocology. She is on faculty with the Cal Poly Music Department and lives on the Central Coast of CA with her husband, two daughters, and puppy. More information at www.amygoymeracsoprano.com.


beyond the notes logo with white treble clef and bass clef on red and gray background

Jon Lee Keenan


Versatile tenor Jon Lee Keenan is a native of Las Vegas, NV. Influenced by his father, a classical musician and jazz saxophonist, Jon cultivated an early interest in performing a variety of musical styles. After studying classical voice and jazz bass at UNLV, Jon relocated to Southern California to pursue a career in classical singing and to further study vocal arts at the USC Thornton School of Music. In 2007, Jon was selected to join the LA Master Chorale and has been featured as a soloist at Walt Disney Concert Hall in each season since. When not singing, Jon can be found playing jazz bass with Citizen Kitten.

headshot of baritone Joel Balzun

Joel Balzun


Praised as a “mature artist with a voluminous sound,” baritone and composer Joel Balzun is establishing himself as a mature new voice in the future of music. Highlights of his 2021-2022 season include role debuts as Dandini (La Cenerentola) for Pacific Opera Project and Germont (La traviata) for Opera Santa Barbara and a recital which includes a world premiere by Tom Cipullo. As a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, he sang alongside Stephanie Blythe in a concert of Great American Songbook selections and Dawn Upshaw and Sanford Sylvan in Shostakovich’s brooding Symphony No. 14.

His continually-expanding repertoire includes the title roles of Don Giovanni and Gianni Schicchi, Joseph de Rocher (Dead Man Walking), Marcello (La bohème) the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Prince Yeletskiy and Count Tomskiy (Pikovaya Dama), Albert (Werther), Belcore (L’elisir d’amore), Dr. Malatesta (Don Pasquale) and Valentin (Faust), among others. He has also been successful in numerous competitions, including prizes from Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Los Angeles District and Western Region), CS Music Vocal Competition, Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition, Houston Saengerbund Vocal Competition and Orpheus National Vocal Competition.

Mr. Balzun studied Music Composition and Vocal Performance at University of Calgary, Biola University, and the Eastman School of Music, where he earned his Master’s degree under the tutelage of Jan Opalach and Benton Hess. He currently serves on the voice faculty of Biola University as he completes the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Arts at University of Southern California. http://www.joelbalzun.com/

headshot of Ken Hustad

Ken Hustad


Ken Hustad is principal bass for the San Luis Obispo Symphony and the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale and also performs with
the Santa Maria Philharmonic and Orchestra Novo. He is bass instructor at Cal Poly University and Cuesta College, as well as
maintaining a private bass studio. 

In addition to playing orchestral and chamber music, he is an active freelance bassist performing with many jazz, rock, blues,
Americana and country artists.

In 2021 Mr Hustad gave the West Coast premiere of Stefan Podell's Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra with the San Luis
Obispo Symphony under Andrew Sewell.
Ken Hustad lives in Morro Bay, California, with his wife Jodie.

Beyond the Notes

Beyond the Notes features leading scholars whose presentations highlight the times and culture surrounding the works performed by the San Luis Obispo Master Chorale. The educational events offer an in-depth look at pieces being performed and the background and history behind the music, including the opportunity to meet and learn from a noted expert on the subject, an enhanced understanding of the context of the music, an increased appreciation for the music and live performance, and spreading awareness about the arts.

The San Luis Obispo Master Chorale will host two educational presentations given by Dr. Andrew Shenton, Professor of Music at Boston University, as part of its Beyond the Notes series. 

Beyond the Notes is sponsored by Libbie Agran and the Harold J. Miossi Charitable Trust.

Andrew Shenton is a scholar, author, performer, and Professor of Music at Boston University. Born in England, he first studied at The Royal College of Music in London, and holds bachelor, masters and doctoral degrees from London University, Yale, and Harvard respectively. Dr. Shenton is Conductor of Vox Futura and has toured extensively in Europe and the US. He has been the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards and has given more than eighty premieres by composers, including Arvo Pärt. Moving freely between musicology and ethnomusicology, Shenton’s work is best subsumed under the heading ‘music and transcendence,’ and includes several major publications.

Beyond the Notes graphic for Sunday November 16 2023

Saturday, November 18, 2023, 5:00 pm

“The Phenomenal Pärt” presented by Dr. Andrew Shenton

Location: The Bunker SLO, 810 Orcutt Road, San Luis Obispo

Ticketed Event

Arvo Pärt developed a new compositional technique called tintinnabulation which has produced music that resonates with diverse audiences and has consistently made him the most performed living composer in the world. This talk explores his tintinnabuli technique and explains the phenomenon of this transcendent music.

Sunday, November 19 at 1:15 pm

“Defining Genius: Pärt and Mozart” presented by Dr. Andrew Shenton

Location: Pavilion, Performing Arts Center, 1 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo

Free admission 

What makes a musical genius? Learn how a combination of traditional elements combined with innovative techniques and imagination have produced two extraordinary and impactful works of sacred music that speak beyond their Christian heritage to larger issues of human spirituality.