The San Benito Oriana Chorale practicing for two upcoming Bach to Rock concerts in May. Photo by Carmel de Bertaut.

On April 6 under the purple lenten sashed celtic cross at Christ Fellowship Presbyterian Church, the voices of the San Benito Oriana Chorale filled the holy space. The choir was there to practice for its upcoming Bach to Rock concerts on May 17 and 19. Covering music from Bach, Beethoven, Billy Joel, Queen and more, the concerts will take place at the church, located at 2066 San Benito Street in Hollister.

Musical Director Rachel Romina told BenitoLink the choir is a community and that she is enthusiastic in her approach. Romina has been with the choir for 12 years and director for the last four. She said she pushes the group to do better, to be their best.

“I love to teach”, Romina said, “that is my passion.”

The somber lenten sash and somber compositions did not lend themselves to a somber mood, however. During lunch, laughter and good cheer were as abundant as the tasty dishes. Here the San Benito Oriana Chorale singers loosened up and spoke with BenitoLink about how their success and sense of community is a credit to Romina.

Said member Dena Bless: “Everyone is welcomed and Rachel makes us all better.”

Bob Vasquez, a 12-year member, said he believed the reason the choir is successful is  because of the community. Member Seth Capron agreed and said the choir is inspiring and a “great group of people.”

Others said being with the San Benito Oriana Chorale can turn a bad day good.

“I love to sing with the group because I love to interact with people,” singer Noelle Slandan said.

The singers acknowledged that while work was hard, it was worth it. Their love of singing and songs were fully evident as their voices reached the church ceiling.

Ticket for the two Bach to Rock performances on May 17 and 19 are $15 in advance, $20 at the door and $10 for students. Tickets are available at Postal Graphics. The chorale is open to new members and is currently in need of altos.


Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College and she reports on science and the environment....