San Benito County Oriana Chorale. Photo by Eden De Alba.
San Benito County Oriana Chorale. Photo by Eden De Alba.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Eden De Alba

EDITOR’S NOTE: The times for performances have been changed in this article. 

Just ahead of Christmas, the San Benito Oriana Chorale is preparing to put on its annual fall concert program, A Light of Hope, a Song of Peace, on Dec. 14 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Christ Fellowship Church, 2066 San Benito Street, Hollister.

What is the San Benito Oriana Chorale? It’s a group of 44 singers ranging from children to seniors who are dedicated to nourishing the creative spirit of the community. The chorale is known for performing two programs a year; the fall show is a Christmas Concert featuring familiar carols such as “The Christmas Song.”

San Benito Oriana Chorale was founded in 1986 by Jeanna Balda, a woman who wanted to be in a community like she experienced as a child in Scotland. When she found that San Benito County did not have a chorale, she decided to create her own. With the help of her friend and Juilliard School of Music graduate Nettie Fields, they created The Oriana Chorale, named after Queen Elizabeth I. 

Since the group’s early days, the chorale has received strong support from the community, along with help from the San Benito County Arts Council and Community Foundation for San Benito County. The chorale now has a board of directors consisting of community members and singers who ensure the group has enough resources to function.

The group is now led by Director Rachel Romina, who has served in the role for eight years.

“Rachel is just fantastic,” Board Treasurer Court Nichols told BenitoLink as the group sang. “She always makes fun out of every situation and brings the best out of all of us.” 

The Oriana Chorale is an active participant in many community events in San Benito County, such as the Relay for Life, Downtown Lights On Parade and the Community Christmas Concert.

Advanced tickets can be purchased for $15 at Postal graphics, located at 1760 Airline Hwy, Hollister California. Tickets can be purchased at the door at $20 for adults, $10 students, and children 12 and under are free. 


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