The Temecula Valley Symphony and Chorus “Fantastic Journey” concert on Oct. 5 will feature the world premiere of Melissa Manchester’s new piece “Awake”  with award-winning pianist Marie Ananian, selections by Beethoven and Debussy, plus acclaimed modern film composers James Newton Howard and Michael Giacchino.

Last year, Music Director John Mario conducted Manchester, known for hits such as “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” and “Midnight Blue,” during a Coachella Valley Symphony performance. Upon discovering the veteran pop music star was writing a new choral work, he relayed to her that the Temecula Valley Symphony plays both classics and original music and has a choir.

“I sent him the demo right away. He got back to me and said they would love to do this,” recalled Manchester, in a phone interview. Peter Hume, the singer’s former tour music director, arranged the piano-oriented “Awake” for orchestra and chorus.

“The work is unlike anything you have ever heard before. It is both easy to listen to and intellectually stimulating,” explained Mario, via email.

When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5
Where: Golden Bears Theater, Temecula Valley High School, 31555 Rancho Vista Road, Temecula
Tickets: $15-$30.
Information: 951-587-1536,


By GEORGE A. PAUL | | Photo ©