By Vivian Ramirez
Anthony Lupica Master of Musical Arts and Associate Professor of Music at East Los Angeles College was honored for his 30 years of service as a musician, singer, and maestro Friday at St. Bede the Venerable church in La Cañada.
ELAC’s Chamber Chorale collaborated with the St. Bede’s choir for the 60th anniversary of the church for a musical celebration. The collaboration combined the two choirs, creating one massive choir of over 200 singers. A full orchestra and pipe organ also played along with the choir, all three which were conducted by Lupica.
During the performance, the choir sang chamber music that included works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. One of the most popular tunes of the night was a Trumpet Concerto, featuring one of the St. Bede’s orchestra musicians. For many Elans in the choir, this was their first time being accompanied by an orchestra and organ. It is not unusual for choirs to be accompanied by orchestras, but it is also important for choirs to stand out on their own.
“Here at St. Bede’s we thought long and hard about what would be an appropriate gift to give Tony,” said choir member and Lupica’s long-time friend Gary Desthoff.
“We finally found the perfect one. Something he repeatedly asked for through the years,” said Desthoff as he turned to Lupica. “For the first time in thirty years everyone in your choir is looking right at you.”
The audience erupted in laughter, which consisted of members of the church, donors, supporters, and friends and family of ELAC’s chamber chorale. Lupica was unaware that he was going to be presented with award that night and he was pleasantly surprised.
“(We) took a chance on hiring a 21-year-old guitar player from the University of Southern California,” said Desthoff. “He had everything, looks, charm, a beautiful singing voice, incredible guitar playing skills. Sadly, there was one thing he lacked―the ability to put the letter R in the correct spots,” he said, referring to Lupica’s New Yorker accent.
Members of ELAC’s Chamber Chorale hold Lupica in high regard and admiration.
“Having the background and experience that Dr. Lupica does, he pushes us to be better,” said Elan Gabriela Juarez.
“The Chamber Chorale admires him for his knowledge and we respect him for that. He teaches us not to succumb to the standards for which a lot of community colleges are viewed, but to push past that,” said Juarez.