Mission Santa Barbara has the oldest unbroken tradition of choral singing among the California Missions and, indeed, of any California institution. The Mission archives contain one of the richest collections of colonial Franciscan music manuscripts known today, which remain closely guarded (most have not yet been subjected to scholarly analysis).
Saint Barbara Parish at Mission Santa Barbara carries on this musical tradition with two choirs singing at Mass each week:
St. Barbara Parish Choir sings at the 9:00 a.m. Sunday Eucharist in the Mission Church (September through June), for certain Feasts and Holy Days, and for liturgical celebrations throughout the church year. Membership is by audition. The choir has performed in Europe on two concert tours – Italy in 2010 and Ireland in 2017 and has recorded several CDs.
Mission Schola is a professional vocal ensemble which sings each week at the 11:00 a.m. Sunday Eucharist, and for parish weddings, funerals and other events. Membership is by audition as positions become available.
Rehearsals take place on Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 and Sunday mornings at 8:00 a.m. from September through June. Please only consider requesting an audition if you are willing and able to make the ten-month commitment each year.
Auditions for St. Barbara Parish Choir take place from June through August, and all auditions for professional and volunteer singers are by individual appointment only.
Singers must have sight-reading skills, be able to read music at a proficient level, and sing on pitch. Previous choral experience is preferred. For more information, please contact Roy Spicer, Director of Sacred Music and Liturgy at email@example.com or call (805)682-4151, ext. 103.
(Photo by Zach Mendez)
Roy Spicer has been the Director of Sacred Music and Liturgy for St. Barbara Parish at Old Mission Santa Barbara since 2006. Mr. Spicer oversees all liturgical aspects of the parish, including Sunday worship, Liturgical Ministries, and assisting families with funeral planning and various liturgical and prayer events. Musically, as the Director of Sacred Music, Roy is the principal organist and conducts the Parish Choir and Mission Schola for all parish celebrations. With over 30 years of Catholic church music experience, Mr. Spicer has held positions across the state of California in many Catholic parishes. He is also an active and contributing member of the National Pastoral Musicians Association, a board member and chair for several entities within the NPM association, and is an active member of the American Guild of Organists.
(Photo by Zach Mendez)
Rising soprano Summer Scott, originally from San Diego, is pursuing her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at UCSB, studying with Benjamin Brecher. She has appeared in the North American premiere of Franz Léhar’s The Mock Marriage at the Lobero Theater and was a soprano soloist in Rutter’s Magnificat with Poway High School’s Die Lieder Choir. Summer performs regularly with the UCSB Chamber Choir and joined the Mission Schola in 2019.
Hailey Atwell, a native of Las Vegas, received her undergraduate degree at Northern Arizona University and is currently a Master of Music student at UCSB. Her singing credits include the role of Selma in the North American premiere of Franz Lehar’s The Mock Marriage, Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, Mabel in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance and Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneasi. She joined the Mission Schola in 2018.
Santa Barbara native, Kristin Aylesworth, has been singing at St. Barbara Parish /Old Mission Santa Barbara for 22 years. She has been an active member of the Santa Barbara choral community since her teens and has sung in many choral groups, including Canticle A Capella Choir, Quire of Voyces, Adelfos Ensemble, Santa Barbara Choral Society, and The Santa Barbara Symphony Chorus.
Kelly Guerra is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and holds a master’s degree from the Bard College Conservatory’s Vocal Arts Program. A recipient of the Vocal Excellence Award, she was noted as a “standout” in the Wall Street Journal for her performance as Mrs. Doc in Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place and in 2018 performed the role of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro. Kelly also sings with the Santa Barbara Symphony Chorus and Santa Barbara Choral Society.
Benjamin Brown has been active in the Santa Barbara choral community since moving from Pittsburgh in 2017. Most recently, he has performed with the Santa Barbara Symphony, Fratelli Men’s Chorus, Santa Barbara Choral Society, and the Adelfos Ensemble. He is currently the Venues Manager at the Music Academy of the West.
Craig Morphis has sung leading bass/baritone roles in La Boheme, The Merry Widow, Le Nozze di Figaro and all the major Gilbert and Sullivan roles with opera companies throughout the West Coast. In recital, he has sung in the U.S. and Europe, and in concert with orchestras, including the Belgian Royal Opera. Educated in Sacramento and at the Conservatoire Royal Musique de Bruxelles, he was the bass choral scholar at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament for six years, and currently serves this position in the Mission Schola.
Charles (Chuck) Talmadge has a wide range of experience as a church organist in California, Oregon, and Adelaide, South Australia. He was staff pianist for the Capitol Opera in Sacramento from 1998-2000 and, after returning to Santa Barbara in 2001, served as Dean of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, playing in the Lenten and Advent Organ Recital Series. He has been Assisting Organist at St. Barbara Parish since 2018.