September 19, 2017

U of R choirs perform with The Who’s Pete Townshend

On Saturday, September 16, the University of Redlands Chapel Singers and Bel Canto choirs performed alongside The Who’s Pete Townshend at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. The two-hour performance of Pete Townshend’s Classic Quadrophenia featured solo performances from rock music legend Billy Idol and classically trained tenor Alfie Boe, backed by a full orchestra and an 80-person chorus—U of R voices included. 

“Performing at this event was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had!” says Jimmy Valencia '18, a member of the Chapel Singers. “Being 10 feet away from Billy Idol and singing in front of 6,000 people filled me with adrenaline.”

Professor of Choral Studies Joseph Modica prepared the U of R choirs for Quadrophenia. “I’ve been working with my friend, Steve Trudell, on various projects for about 10 years,” says Modica. “He asked me if I wanted to get involved with Quadrophenia, and, of course, I did."

Nicholle Andrews, director of choral studies at the U of R, said that students worked quickly to familiarize themselves with the music in just 10 days. “Fifty-six students performed at the event, and they received the music the first week of classes!” she says.

The Los Angeles Times described Pete Townshend’s Classic Quadrophenia as The Who’s “great opera.” The show, which was performed in Massachusetts, New York, and Los Angeles, is an orchestral adaptation of the rock group’s 1973 double album, Quadrophenia.

Modica notes that it was the first time many of the students had performed for such a large audience and they were fully immersed in the experience. “Billy Idol talked to them backstage,” he says. “Pete Townshend approached me and thanked me for how wonderful the choir was and wanted me to pass on his appreciation to the students. It was very cool.”