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Short Intermission

Shawn Kirchner

David Foster  & Linda Thompson-Jenner / arr. Krishan Oberoi

Elaine Hagenberg

Brandon Waddles

Stephen Sturk & Christina Rossetti

David Lang




Angelica Eclar

Calieanne Grossheim

Jasper Sussman*

Rebecca Ung

Libby Weber


Sonja Brun

Lanett Grant

Gianna Hamilton*

Ellie Mout

Michelle Risling


Colin Barkley

Andrew Bearden

Brad Fox*

Daniel Moyer

Kurt Wong*


Uriah Brown*

Thomas Lokensgard*

Jonathan Nussman

Allen Pace

Andrew Riggs


Cellist - Cliff Thrasher

Accompanist - Jenn Opdahl



Karl Bunker, President

Tori Haberman, Secretary

Eric Swanson, Treasurer

Leslie Conner

Jan Farley

Linda Kewin

Mirabelle Kirkpatrick

Glenda McKibben

Krishan Oberoi


Juan Carlos Acosta, Artistic Director

Aaron Burgett, Assistant Conductor

Rebecca Ung, Chorus Manager

Jessica Trost, Social Media

Jamie Swann, Operations Assistant



Founded in 2009 by Krishan Oberoi, SACRA/PROFANA quickly gained acclaim as “San Diego’s go-to choral ensemble” for their collaborations with the region’s top performing arts groups including the San Diego Symphony, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Choir of San Diego, the L.A. Choral Lab, Mainly Mozart, Malashock Dance, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Opera, Bodhi Tree Concerts, and San Diego Dance Theater, among many others. Notably, the group gave the red carpet world premiere live performance of Michael Giacchino’s score for Star Trek: Beyond with the San Diego Symphony at San Diego Comic-Con in 2016, as well as Alan Menken’s and Stephen Schwartz’s stage adaptation of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2014.


Specialists in the work of living composers, SACRA/PROFANA have given world, national, and regional premieres by contemporary luminaries such as David Lang, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Shawn Kirchner, Saunder Choi, Brandon Waddles, Anthony Davis, Amy Gordon, Stephen Feigenbaum, Jason Carl Rosenberg, Stephen Sturk and many others. They have also embraced the challenging choral masterpieces of twentieth century icons Arnold Schoenberg, György Ligeti, Dominick Argento and Ernst Krenek.

The group released their first full length album Elegies & Ecstasies in 2012, followed by the world premiere recording of when we were children by David Lang in 2014. Since then, the group has produced numerous recordings and videos, most notably their socially distant pandemic cover of “Cars” by Gary Numan. SACRA/PROFANA recently released A Longing for Christmas with Grammy award winning producer Peter Rutenberg.


Krishan Oberoi, aka Renoir Kobashi, is a graduate of Yale University and a musical artist with numerous critical accolades. Ensembles under his direction have been praised for their “impressive warmth and verve” (Boston Globe), “startling depth” (Variety magazine) and “clear diction, perfect pitch and clear purpose” (San Diego Union-Tribune). 


Hailed for his “visionary direction” (San Diego Story), Krishan has conducted world premiere recordings of works by Shawn Kirchner, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang. 


Since 2020, Oberoi has served as Director of Choral Activities at Providence College, where he also teaches Music in World Cultures. At PC, he has been a contributing writer for Heritage Journal, the newsletter for PC's Black Studies Program. 

Krishan is currently collaborating with Brooklyn-based playwright Rhiannon Ling on an original musical. Bedlam theater company (hailed as “critical darlings” by the New York Times) will present the first workshop performances of Krishan’s original musical in New York City in March 2023.


A few years ago, composer David Lang told me that his Pulitzer Prize-winning setting of the little match girl passion had become a holiday tradition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It is now performed every year under the Met’s famous 20-foot-tall Christmas tree. I was intrigued by this phenomenon, especially since the little match girl passion is not exactly a festive piece; its musical language is sparse and evocative, rather than celebratory. Unlike traditional holiday fare- Handel’s Messiah and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, for example- the little match girl passion is understated, introverted, haunting and even disturbing at times. Its goal seems to be to challenge us, rather than provide “comfort and joy”. And yet, in its wintry textures and ethereal melodies, there is ultimately a strange sort of comfort. But comfort itself is only part of the picture.

The story of Little Match Girl, originally written in the 19th century by Hans Christian Andersen, presents a stark picture of the plight of society’s neglected ones- particularly those impacted by poverty and homelessness. These are personified in the character of the Little Match Girl, an abused child who goes out on New Year’s Eve to try and sell her long wooden matches to gain enough money to feed her family. Rebuffed by indifferent passersby, she eventually retreats to a forgotten corner of the city. There she passes away, carried up to heaven by a vision of her grandmother- “The only one,” the story tells us, “who had ever loved her”.

It may seem curious to center a holiday concert around such a somber theme. But like A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life, the little match girl passion invites us to confront our tendency toward self-involvement, and to look outward. Like those other seminal Christmas tales, this piece challenges us to see the impact that our actions (or lack thereof) have on the communities in which we live.

It's an old-fashioned notion, to be sure, one perhaps steeped in a 19th century ethos. Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, provides the most famous example of the “meaning of Christmas”; Hans Christian Andersen’s tale dates from 1845. In 1889, The American Magazine wrote:


To give up one's very self – to think only of others – how to bring the greatest happiness to others – that is the true meaning of Christmas.


David Lang has noted that he himself is not Christian, but that “I started wondering what secrets could be unlocked from this story if one took its Christian nature to its conclusion and unfolded it.” The little match girl passion thus provides a powerful moral, one that remains evergreen regardless of our own personal spiritual or religious beliefs. As one famous Christmas carol put it (this one composed in 1853):


Ye, who now will bless the poor

Shall yourselves find blessing.

- Krishan Oberoi



I wanted to tell a story. A particular story — in fact, the story of The Little Match Girl by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The original is ostensibly for children, and it has that shocking combination of danger and morality that many famous children’s stories do. A poor young girl, whose father beats her, tries unsuccessfully to sell matches on the street, is ignored, and freezes to death. Through it all she somehow retains her Christian purity of spirit, but it is not a pretty story.

What drew me to The Little Match Girl is that the strength of the story lies not in its plot but in the fact that all its parts—the horror and the beauty—are constantly suffused with their opposites. The girl’s bitter present is locked together with the sweetness of her past memories; her poverty is always suffused with her hopefulness. There is a kind of naïve equilibrium between suffering and hope.

There are many ways to tell this story. One could convincingly tell it as a story about faith or as an allegory about poverty. What has always interested me, however, is that Andersen tells this story as a kind of parable, drawing a religious and moral equivalency between the suffering of the poor girl and the suffering of Jesus. The girl suffers, is scorned by the crowd, dies, and is transfigured. I started wondering what secrets could be unlocked from this story if one took its Christian nature to its conclusion and unfolded it, as Christian composers have traditionally done in musical settings of the Passion of Jesus.

The most interesting thing about how the Passion story is told is that it can include texts other than the story itself. These texts are the reactions of the crowd, penitential thoughts, statements of general sorrow, shock, or remorse. These are devotional guideposts, the markers for our own responses to the story, and they have the effect of making the audience more than spectators to the sorrowful events onstage. These responses can have a huge range—in Bach’s ”Saint Matthew Passion,” these extra texts range from famous chorales that his congregation was expected to sing along with to completely invented characters, such as the ”Daughter of Zion” and the ”Chorus of Believers.” The Passion format—the telling of a story while simultaneously commenting upon it—has the effect of placing us in the middle of the action, and it gives the narrative a powerful inevitability.

My piece is called The Little Match Girl Passion and it sets Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Little Match Girl in the format of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion, interspersing Andersen’s narrative with my versions of the crowd and character responses from Bach’s Passion. The text is by me, after texts by Hans Christian Andersen, H. P. Paulli (the first translator of the story into English, in 1872), Picander (the nom de plume of Christian Friedrich Henrici, the librettist of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion), and the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. The word ”passion” comes from the Latin word for suffering. There is no Bach in my piece and there is no Jesus—rather the suffering of the Little Match Girl has been substituted for Jesus’s, elevating (I hope) her sorrow to a higher plane.

- David Lang



Pat-a-Pan - Shawn Kirchner

Tu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan


Willie, get your little drum

Robin, bring your flute and come

Aren’t they fun to play upon?


Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan

When you play your fife and drum

How can anyone be glum?


Tu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan


When the folk of olden days 

Gave the King of Kings their praise

They had pipes to play upon


Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan

And also the drums they’d play

Full of joy, on Christmas day


Tu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan


On this day the Savior’s grace

Makes the Devil hide his face

Let the merry tune play on!


Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan

For the tune that you now play

Drives the darkness far away!


Tu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan


Heav’n and earth today become

Finely tuned as flute and drum

Let the joyous song play on!


Tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan

O be merry as you play

Sing and dance this Christmas day!

Grown Up Christmas

Grown-Up Christmas List - Krishan Oberoi

O Come Emmanuel
Love Came Down at Chistmas
Little Match Girl Passion

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies
Well I'm all grown up now
Can you still help somehow?
I'm not a child but my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself but for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
And wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list

As children we believed
The greatest sight to see
Was something lovely wrapped beneath the tree
Well Heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal a hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
And wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my only lifelong wish
This is my grown up Christmas list

O Come, Emmanuel - Elaine Hagenberg

O come!


O come, O come, Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appears


O come thou Dayspring come and cheer

Our spirits by Thine Advent here

And drive away the shades of night

And pierce the clouds and bring us light!


Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to Thee, O Israel


O come, Desire of nations, bind

All people in one heart and mind

Bid envy strife and quarrels cease,

And fill the world with Heaven’s peace


O rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to Thee, O Israel


O come

Love Came Down at Christmas - Stephen Sturk & Christina Rossetti

Love came down at Christmas

Love all lovely, Love Divine

Love was born at Christmas

Star and Angels gave the sign


Love all lovely, Love Divine


Worship we the Godhead

Love Incarnate, Love Divine

Worship we our Jesus

But wherewith for sacred sign?


Love all lovely, Love Divine


Love shall be our token

Love be yours and love be mine

Love to God and all men

Love for plea and gift and sign


Love Divine came down

Amen! - Brandon Waddles

Amen, good Lordy

Amen, singin’

Amen, amen, amen!


See the little baby

Lying in a manger

On Christmas morning

Amen, amen, amen!


See him in the temple

Talking to the elders

Oh! How they marveled!

Amen, amen, amen!




See him in the garden

Praying to his Father

In deepest sorrow

Oh, my good Lord!

Amen, amen, amen!


See him on the cross

Bearing all my sins

In bitter agony

Oh, my good Lord!

Amen, amen, amen!




Yes, he died to save us

And he rose on Easter

Now he lives forever

Oh, my good Lord!

Amen, amen, amen!



Jesus us my savior

For he lives forever

Oh, my good Lord!

Amen, amen, amen!


Amen, good Lordy

Amen, singin’ amen


Oh, Lordy! Amen

Oh, Lord, have mercy! Amen

Sing it over! Amen



the little match girl passion - David Lang

1. Come, daughter


Come, daughter
Help me, daughter
Help me cry

Look, daughter
Where, daughter
What, daughter
Who, daughter Why,

daughter Guiltless

daughter Patient

daughter Gone

2. It was terribly cold


It was terribly cold and nearly dark on the last evening of the

old year, and the snow was falling fast. In the cold and the darkness, a poor little girl, with bare head and naked feet, roamed through

the streets. It is true she had on a pair of slippers when she left home, but they were not of much use. They were very large, so large, indeed, that they had belonged to her mother, and the poor little creature had lost them in running across the street to avoid two carriages that were rolling along at a terrible rate. One of the

slippers she could not find, and a boy seized upon the other and ran away with it, saying that he could use it as a cradle, when he had children of his own. So the little girl went on with her little

naked feet, which were quite red and blue with the cold.


So the little girl went on. So

the little girl went on.

3. Dearest heart


Dearest heart

Dearest heart

What did you do that was so wrong?

What was so wrong?

Dearest heart

Dearest heart

Why is your sentence so hard?

4. In an old apron


In an old apron she carried a number of matches, and had a bundle of them in her hands. No one had bought anything of her the whole day, nor had any

one given her even a penny. Shivering with cold and hunger, she crept along; poor little child, she looked the picture of misery. The snowflakes fell on her long, fair hair, which hung in curls on her shoulders, but she regarded them not.

5. Penance and remorse


Penance and remorse Tear

my sinful heart in two My


May they fall like rain down upon your poor face

May they fall down like rain

My teardrops


Here, daughter, here I am

I should be bound as you were bound All

that I deserve is

What you have endured


Penance and remorse. Tear

my sinful heart in two My


My remorse
My penance

6. Lights were shining


Lights were shining from every window, and there was a savory

smell of roast goose, for it was New-year's eve- yes, she remembered that. In a corner, between two houses, one of which projected beyond the other, she sank down and huddled herself together. She had drawn her little feet under her, but she could not keep off the cold; and

she dared not go home, for she had sold no matches, and could not take home even a penny of money. Her father would certainly beat her; besides, it was almost as cold at home as here, for they had only

the roof to cover them, through which the wind howled, although the largest holes had been stopped up with straw and rags.


Her little hands were almost frozen with the cold.
Her little hands were almost frozen with the cold.

7. Patience, patience!


8. Ah! perhaps


Ah! perhaps a burning match might be some good, if she could draw it from the bundle and strike it against the wall, just to warm her fingers. She drew one out-"scratch!" how it sputtered as it burnt! It gave a warm, bright

light, like a little candle, as she held her hand over it. It was really a wonderful light. It seemed to the little girl that she was sitting by a large iron stove, with polished brass feet and a brass

ornament. How the fire burned! and seemed so beautifully warm that the child stretched out her feet as if to warm them, when, lo! the flame

of the match went out, the stove vanished, and she had only the remains of the half-burnt match in her hand.


She rubbed another match on the wall. It burst into a flame, and where its light fell upon the wall it became as transparent as a veil, and she could see into the room. The table was covered with a snowy white table-cloth, on which stood a splendid dinner service, and a steaming roast goose, stuffed with apples and dried plums. And what was still more wonderful, the goose jumped down from the dish and waddled across the floor, with a knife and fork in its breast, to

the little girl. Then the match went out, and there remained nothing but the thick, damp, cold wall before her.

9. Have mercy, my God


Have mercy, my God.

Look here, my God.

See my tears fall. See my tears fall.

Have mercy, my God. Have mercy.


My eyes are crying.

My heart is crying, my God.

See my tears fall.

See my tears fall, my God.

10. She lighted another match


She lighted another match, and then she found herself sitting under a beautiful Christmas tree. It was larger and more beautifully

decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door at the rich merchant's. Thousands of tapers were burning upon the green branches, and colored pictures, like those she had seen in the

show-windows, looked down upon it all. The little one stretched out her hand towards them, and the match went out.


The Christmas lights rose higher and higher, till they looked to her like the stars in the sky. Then she saw a star fall, leaving behind it a bright streak of fire. "Someone is dying," thought the little girl, for her old grandmother, the only one who had ever loved her, and who was now dead, had told her that when a star falls, a soul was going up to God.


11. From the sixth hour


From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour she cried out:


Eli, Eli.

12. She again rubbed a match


She again rubbed a match on the wall, and the light shone round her; in the brightness stood her old grandmother, clear and shining, yet mild and loving in her appearance. "Grandmother," cried the little

one, "O take me with you; I know you will go away when the match burns out; you will vanish like the warm stove, the roast goose, and the

large, glorious Christmas tree." And she made haste to light the whole bundle of matches, for she wished to keep her grandmother there. And the matches glowed with a light that was brighter than the noon-day, and her grandmother had never appeared so large or so beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and they both flew upwards in

brightness and joy far above the earth, where there was neither cold nor hunger nor pain, for they were with God.

13. When it is time for me to go


When it is time for me to go

Don’t go from me

When it is time for me to leave

Don’t leave me

When it is time for me to die

Stay with me

When I am most scared

Stay with me

14. In the dawn of morning


In the dawn of morning there lay the poor little one, with pale cheeks and smiling mouth, leaning against the wall; she had been frozen to death on the last evening of the year; and the New-year's sun rose and shone upon a little corpse! The child still sat, in the stiffness of death, holding the matches in her hand, one bundle of which was burnt. "She tried to warm herself," said some. No one

imagined what beautiful things she had seen, nor into what glory she had entered with her grandmother, on New-year's day.


15. We sit and cry


We sit and cry And

call to you

Rest soft, daughter, rest soft

Where is your grave, daughter?

Where is your tomb?

Where is your resting place?

Rest soft, daughter, rest soft


Rest soft

Rest soft

Rest soft

Rest soft


You closed your eyes.

I closed my eyes.


Rest soft

Thank You

We are grateful to our supporters for their generous contributions! Please join us in thanking them for being an important part of what we do. Total donations October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022. Please let us know if any info is listed incorrectly.



Visionaries $10,000+

Sandra New


Underwriters $5,000-9,999

Tori & Aaron Haberman

Sustainers $2,500-4,999

Karl & Leslie Bunker

Susan Childs

Leslie Conner

Larry & Susan Gerling

Linda Kewin

Glenda McKibben

Peter Rutenberg

Eric & Rexanna Swanson

Benefactors $1,000-2,499


Juan & Andrea Acosta

Clifford & Carolyn Colwell

Fusenot Foundation

David & Patricia Lokensgard

Krishan Oberoi

Greta & Stephen Treadgold

Advocates $500-999

Anonymous - In Memory of Father Xuan Acosta

Jan & Rick Farley

Alan & Pam Hay

Carol Manifold

Holly & Warren Otto

Deborah Rimkus

Friends $250-499

Anneke Doty

Supporters $100-249

Martin & Sherry Bloom

Jay & Mary Hanson
Mary Koto
Stacey Love
Elaine & Doug Muchmore
Joani Nelson
Mary Ellen O’Malley
Mary Ray
Bill & Georgiana Simmons
William Slack & Mark Malean
Kent Swedell
Pete & Ellen Weber

Judith Walters


Thank You!

Wendy Naylor, Volunteer Coordinator

Clara Joy Welcome, Program Design

Adam Davis, Social Media Graphic Artist


Donate online:

By Check Payable to:


P.O. Box 712049, San Diego, CA 92171-2049

SACRA/PROFANA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, EIN 46-0549914.  All donations to support SACRA/PROFANA are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Financial support is provided by the

City of San Diego and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. 

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