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August 5, 2009

Sisters With Voices: The L.A. Ladies Choir

L.A. Weekly:

“We have restrictions in every other place in our lives, so I wanted the choir to be a place where there are no rules, where we just enjoy each other,” says Aska Matsumiya, one of the two leaders, along with Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark, of the L.A. Ladies Choir. “Actually,” she says, correcting herself, we do have one rule: “Sing joyfully.”

In a city crammed with noise, punk, metal and thug bands, the L.A. Ladies Choir seems downright radical: a group that is exactly what its name implies. But that’s the simple truth: They seem to have no ulterior motives other than to spread the proverbial peace and love. For real, a fluttering, unironic rainbow of pastel-colored vintage dresses, genuine smiles and beautiful faces. (This isn’t a requirement in the Ladies Choir, just some freakish accident.) Upon closer inspection, what becomes obvious is that each member’s beauty is a result of Matsumiya’s golden rule.

Formed in January after what seems to be a fated meeting, the choir gave its first performance, fittingly, on Valentine’s Day at the Aaron Rose–curated show “Passion for the Possible” at the California State University Northridge Art Galleries. The exhibit’s focus was Sister Corita, a sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Order, famous for her antiwar lithographs during the Vietnam War. She serves as a powerful source of inspiration for the group. “If the Ladies Choir was a religion, Sister Corita would be our god,” says Matsumiya, who also performs in Moonrats, AsDSSka and Aaron Rose’s band, the Sads.

Stark was inspired to form some sort of choir a few years ago, after she’d finished writing music for the Tom Hanks–produced film City of Ember, which came out last fall. “It’s this story about an underground city,” she explains. Her friend, the director Gil Kenan (whom she’d met at the Smell), recruited her for the project. “[He] asked if I wanted to write postapocalyptic children’s hymns for this movie. And I just said, like, ‘Yes!’ ”

Stark speaks in excited gasps over the phone. “Making the music for that film was the most unbelievable experience ever, and it left me totally wanting so much to make music with a choir. The experience of singing together is so powerful. I had choral parts I wanted to try, but I wanted it to be a ladies choir for myself and for the world.” Read more.

Posted by acapnews at August 5, 2009 10:05 PM


This article was inspiring. I emailed the LA Ladies Choir about joining yet they have received more requests than they can handle so they suggested for others to start their own local group. Thus the birth of the OC Ladies Choir aka Karma Rocks OC band. I'm looking forward to our Behind the Orange Curtain version. I grew up in the L.A./Hollywood music scene yet moved here in 1989. I look forward to this new music journey. Check it out at www.ocladieschoir.ning.com! Sing a song a day to keep the blues away! Lorraine at www.myspace.com/emeraldlorraine and www.myspace.com/karmarocksoc.com

Posted by: Lorraine Chambers at August 19, 2009 9:12 AM

I am interested in getting more information about your choir. Please tell me how to get in touch with you.
Thank you,
818 585-8621 C
310 542-8392 H

Posted by: kathleen at August 22, 2009 2:00 PM

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