Local students offer Valentine singing telegrams, special evening performance with Men in Blaque

Flowers, candy, dinner, and a show—traditional hallmarks of a Valentine’s Day celebration. And when couples, friends or families get together to celebrate Valentine’s Day, it’s the music that carves out memories. It sets the mood.The Murrieta Valley High School (MVHS) Chamber Singers will spend all day February 13 delivering memories via singing telegrams to valley residents. And that same evening, the Chamber Singers will perform two sets at the 11th Annual Valentine’s Day Love Songs Concert in Temecula, featuring UC Irvine choral singers, Men In Blaque.Joseph Huszti, professor of music at UC Irvine, organized Men In Blaque in 1997. The 17-member men’s choral eclectic vocal stylings have garnered critical praise. Murrieta Valley High School Chamber Singers have spent countless hours practicing for this highly anticipated day. “I am looking forward to our performance, and the opportunity to work with UC Irvine and their director,” says Matt Allen, MVHS senior and Chamber Singer.The word chamber means “small” says John Byun, vocal instructor at MVHS. Out of more than 90 choral students, just 24 students make up the chamber ensemble. “The Chamber Singers are my top singers,” he says.Byun, a UC Irvine alumnus and Huszti’s former student, arranged the Valentine’s Day collaboration. “John was one of the most talented students in California when we recruited him to Irvine,” Huszti says. “He has developed the MVHS program into one of the finest choral programs in the United States and we are amazed at the wealth of talent he has developed. John is well respected by his peers in the field of education.”Men In Blaque are slated to sing everything from opera to jazz musical pieces. In between songs, select performers will recite famous quotes from Mae West, Martin Luther King Jr., Mike Tyson, and numerous other celebrity figures.“We want to bring the humor, silliness, seriousness and just plain talk to our audiences and hope they have as much enjoyment with the concert as we do,” Huszti says. “We really enjoy working with [Byun’s] kids.”When MVHS opened in 1994, the school only had two chorals with 40 students. Byun says they now have five chorals with nearly 200 students.With more than 25 performances a year, singing telegrams and other fundraising events provide revenue for the Chamber Singers long-distance performances. The pre-Valentine’s Day singing telegrams enable students to attend the American Choral Directors Association Western Division convention in Las Vegas, NV, Feb. 25-28. Byun says the convention is not a competition but an opportunity for students to showcase their talents.“It’s such an honor for these kids,” he says. “We’ve been doing really well the last two years.”Additional Information:St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic Church is hosting the 11th Annual Valentine’s Love Songs Concert starting at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 13. For tickets call 695-2787.Prior to the concert, for $30, the MVHS Chamber Singers can deliver a singing telegram and a flower to your special someone between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. To schedule a telegram contact John Byun at 696-1408 ext. 5915.

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