Sunday, December 16th (3pm) Westwood UMC Sanctuary
Enjoy a FREE family-friendly Christmas concert featuring the Westwood UMC Chancel Choir with organist James Walker, harpist Alison Bjorkedal, and the USC Trombone Choir. You will also have the opportunity to sing some of your favorite Christmas carols! A reception will follow. No childcare provided.
HARPIST: Alison Bjorkedal, harp, is a freelance GRAMMY award-winning musician who teaches and performs in the Los Angeles area. She is a member of Southwest Chamber Music, Golden State Pops Orchestra and MUSE/IQUE. She has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Pasadena Symphony/Pops Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Long Beach Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and wildUP. Alison is harp faculty at Azusa Pacific University, Pasadena City College, and California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Named “excellent player” and “enterprising young harpist” by the Los Angeles Times, Alison’s notable chamber music performances include the world premieres by William Kraft, Anne LeBaron, and Wadada Leo Smith. In the studio and stage, Alison has performed for artists including Sia, Pentatonix, Madonna, Nate Ruess, and Kid Cudi. She records for the motion picture and television industry. She accompanied singer Andrea Bocelli in two PBS Specials for David Foster and Andrea Bocelli; “My Christmas” and “Cinema” and most recently appeared in the Pentatonix’s 2017 Christmas Special on NBC. Alison was born and raised in Kennewick, WA. She earned her Masters and Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in harp performance from the USC Thornton School of Music and received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oregon. Alison also plays the Kithara (an instrument created for the music of Harry Partch) with LA-based ensemble Partch. Partch’s 2014 recording “Plectra and Percussion Dances” took home the 2014 GRAMMY for Best Classical Compendium.
ORGANIST: A nationally-recognized conductor and concert organist, James Walker entertains and enlightens audiences throughout the United States, and his solo recitals are broadcast on National Public Radio. Winner of the prestigious Mader National Organ-Playing Competition in 1986, he is a featured soloist at Bach festivals and regional and national music conventions. In addition to solo and chamber music recitals, James maintains an active teaching schedule as well as guest conductor and guest accompanist appearances for special events and consulting in church music. Walker enjoyed a long and fruitful tenure of 34 years, leading the music department at All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena. He was College Organist and Instructor of Organ at Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1981 to 2004 and Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Bach Festival 2014. Walker holds both undergraduate and Master of Music degrees from the University of Southern California School of Music. He studied organ with Marcia Hannah Farmer, Ladd Thomas and Cherry Rhodes. His conducting coaches have been Thomas Somerville, Leo Nestor, James Vail, William Schaefer, and with Helmuth Rilling as a masterclass conductor at the Oregon Bach Festival.