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Conducted by Krishan Oberoi and Aaron Burgett


DeReau Farrar

Stephen Feigenbaum

Michael Kregler

Krishan Oberoi

Carol Barnett

Krishan Oberoi

Merrill Garbus


Dominick Argento (1927-2019)




Courtney Minor

Jasper Sussman

Jessica Trost

Rebecca Ung

Libby Weber


Lanett Grant

Gianna Hamilton

Ellie Mout

Danielle Perrault

Meghan Rossi


Aaron Burgett

Corey De Tar

Sean McCormac

Michael Sakell

Kurt Wong


Shelby Condray

Adam Davis

Brandon Di Noto

Jonathan Gonzales

Thomas Lokensgard


Juan Carlos Acosta, Artistic Director

Aaron Burgett, Assistant Conductor

Adam Ferrara, Collaborative Pianist

Rebecca Ung, Chorus Manager


Karl Bunker, President

Tori Haberman, Secretary

Eric Swanson, Treasurer

Leslie Conner

Linda Kewin

Mirabelle Kirkpatrick

Glenda McKibben

Krishan Oberoi


Jennifer Opdahl, piano & percussion

Alex Greenbaum, cello

Elizabeth Brown, cello

Abe Liebhaber, cello

Elena Mashkotseva, harp

Juan Carlos Acosta, percussion

Taylor Smith, bass



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.


Composer, conductor and lyricist Krishan Oberoi has received widespread critical acclaim for his innovative leadership. 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). Oberoi is the Founder & Principal Guest Conductor of SACRA/PROFANA, a critically acclaimed, San Diego-based chorus described as “a divine vocal canopy” by The Los Angeles Times.


Hailed for his “visionary direction” (San Diego Story), Oberoi has championed the music of living composers, as well as seldom-performed works from earlier centuries. He has conducted world premiere recordings of music by such composers as Shawn Kirchner, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Pulitzer-Prize winner David Lang. SACRA/PROFANA's 2017 collaboration with composer Stephen Feigenbaum received national attention, and was described by Time magazine as "a sharply orchestrated piece of futuristic pop." 


Oberoi has also prepared ensembles for Oscar-winning film composer Michael Giacchino, Tony award-winning composer Alan Menken, and producer Carlton Cuse (LOST, Locke & Key).


A passionate recruiter and advocate for choral singing, Oberoi has engaged underserved populations through innovative education and outreach programs. These efforts include a month-long after-school program at San Diego’s Monarch School, an institution devoted to students impacted by homelessness.


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 written for the Heritage Journal, the newsletter for PC's Black Studies Program. He has also worked closely with the Institute for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to bring programs to campus that explore the intersectionality between choral music and current social issues. 


Krishan attended Yale University on a full-tuition scholarship, and received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University in 2018. With Bedlam Theatre Company in NYC, he is currently developing an original musical with workshops slated for 2022.


Krishan lives in Medway, Massachusetts with his partner Kirsten and their two Golden Retrievers, Chester & Charlie. 


Juan Carlos Acosta was appointed Associate Artistic Director and principal conductor of SACRA/PROFANA in 2015, and named Artistic Director in 2018. Under his direction, the group has continued its artistic excellence and commitment to contemporary choral music, while diversifying its repertoire, representation and engaging in socially relevant issues. 


Juan Carlos has received critical praise for his interpretations, as well his refinement of the choral sound, with Ken Herman (San Diego Story) writing “The warm, superbly balanced sonority of Sacra/Profana persuasively communicated this work’s emotional depth. Kudos to Acosta for cultivating such a well-balanced, finely tuned ensemble sound that still retains the color and vitality we cherish in a great singer.”


In 2018 Juan Carlos conducted San Diego Opera’s collaborative performance of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 for three sold out audiences and live broadcast on KPBS. The performances were hailed as “masterfully conducted” (San Diego Union-Tribune) and were awarded the 2018 Craig Noel Special Event award by the San Diego Theater Critics Circle.


Over a career that is approaching twenty years, Juan Carlos has been active nationally, regionally, and locally as speaker, presenter, and clinician for such groups as Choristers Guild, the American Guild of Organists, the San Diego Arts Mega Conference, and the California and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Together with composer Brandon Waddles, Juan Carlos and SACRA/PROFANA were awarded the inaugural Diverse Voices Collaborative Grant by the ACDA for a work based on the life and work of activist James Baldwin for double choir and jazz trio. 


In addition to his work with SACRA/PROFANA, Juan Carlos Acosta also serves as the Director of Worship at the Village Community Presbyterian Church, where he directs the Chancel Choir, Youth Choir, Choral Scholars, and the Village Community Chorale. He has also conducted the Concert Choir and Choral Scholars of the University of San Diego, the Cuyamaca College Choir, and served as choral director for the Chula Vista School for the Creative and Performing Arts. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education, and a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from San Diego State University. Juan Carlos has done additional study with Charles Bruffy at the Westminster Conducting Institute, and Jon Washburn with the Vancouver Chamber Choir.


"Since I left those shores, the wood-choppers have laid them waste. But I remember. I remember..."


These haunting words from Thoreau's "Walden" were written in 1854, but they have lost none of their cautionary power. As we view with alarm the ongoing depletion of our natural resources, Thoreau's timeless meditation on the beauty of nature (and our abuse of it) takes on even greater significance. 


When SACRA/PROFANA’s Artistic Director Juan Carlos Acosta first approached me with the idea for this program last year, our initial concept was to build the concert around pieces that SACRA/PROFANA had sung only once. Having performed an excerpt from Dominick Argento's musical setting of Walden Pond with Art of Élan in 2016, we decided to revisit that piece. But the more I thought about this program, the more I felt that we could make a poignant statement by using Walden Pond as a thematic centerpiece for the program. While still honoring the concept of "Seconds", I began to think about renewable and non-renewable resources; the idea of second chances, but also the awareness that some resources are limited- some things have to be done right the first time. 


With that, I decided to build this program around an ecological theme, without losing the musical idea of "seconds". So all of the pieces on tonight’s program are works that SACRA/PROFANA has done only once- or pieces that I've personally conducted only once (or pieces that have only ever been performed once!) But they also all bring us back, in some way, to the themes of conservation, preservation, stewardship and renewal. 


DeReau Farrar’s exuberant Gospel-tinged arrangement of Carole King’s Way Over Yonder embodies the hopeful spirit of people striving for a better life. Similarly, Stephen Feigenbaum’s haunting setting of Elisa Gonzales’s poem Home paints a picture of individuals grappling with their own darkness- both internal and external. 


Nicole Callihan’s poem The Origin of Birds is a wonderfully reimagining of the creation story- this time with Eve as the protagonist. Evocatively set by Michael Kregler, the piece speaks to humanity’s symbiotic relationship with our winged friends. My own song Rivers & Roads comes from the dance drama SNAKESKIN that I co-created with choreographer John Malashock in 2015. 


Carol Barnett’s setting of the traditional African-American spiritual By & By captures the rhythmic vitality that is so crucial to that genre of music. But an underlying note of resignation- even sorrow- can be heard beneath the vocal interplay. 


I first encountered Kate Wakeling’s wonderful poem Telescope in 2019, in her collection Moon Juice: Poems for Children. The poem immediately captured my imagination, with its clever repeated use of the letter O, and its haunting and dreamy quality, which is somehow eerily whimsical. In my musical setting, I’ve tried to mirror in music what the author created so skillfully in her composition of the poem. Just as the poem “revolves” around the fixed point of the letter O, in my choral setting, I've used the fixed point of a single pitch (in this case, D4), so that the entire harmony revolves around that locus. I think that Telescope, with its repeated pleas of “show me”, is really a metaphor for the secret and solitary discoveries of childhood. 


Singer-songwriter and activist Merrill Garbus is one-half of the pop duo Tune-Yards; their song Water Fountain was an indie hit in 2014. The lyrics are suggestive and at times oblique, but there are some deeper issues at play here: the inequities of global water supplies, human objectification, and the tainted nature of the international currency. The lyrics are challenging and at times disturbing, but the songwriter is clearly addressing these issues in a way that is more satirical than on-the-nose. 


The progressive website cites Thoreau as “one of America’s first and most important environmentalists”, noting that Thoreau “laid the foundation for modern-day environmentalism” and “articulated a philosophy based on environmental and social responsibility.” His seminal text Walden was freely adapted by Minnesota-based composer Dominick Argento in 1996 for his 5-movement cycle Walden Pond. 


In Catalogue Raisonné As Memoir: A Composer's Life Argento notes that Walden Pond is one of his favorite choral works (and that many of his friends share this sentiment). The unusual scoring of the harp and three cellos is meant to evoke the shifting nature of water- from the tremulous rippling of the harp to the sensuous depths of the three celli. In his memoir, Argento also mentions his lifelong fascination with bodies of water; clearly that predilection is on display in Walden Pond. 


Argento uses a nostalgic lens through which to view the process of deforestation, so that much of Walden Pond has the cast of a bittersweet memory. Still, there are moments of sheer wonder, as the poet reflects on the magnificence of the natural world. In the first movement, Argento declaims Thoreau’s statement that the pond is “earth’s eye, looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”  This idea takes on profound significance at the end of the piece, when the narrator observes his own reflection in the pond, and whispers: “Walden- is it you?” It’s almost as if Thoreau (through Argento) is suggesting that we are Walden- and that any damage done to the earth is only damage that we do to ourselves. 


I hope you'll find this music as intriguing as I do. As Thoreau writes: "It struck me again tonight: Why, here is Walden- the same woodland lake that I discovered so many years ago. Where a forest was cut down last winter- another is springing up as lustily as ever." Thoreau is perhaps challenging us to rebound as well: to do better than our past mistakes- to learn from nature, and to leave things better than we found them. 


-  Krishan Oberoi




Way Over Yonder - Carole King

Way over yonder

Is a place that I know

Where I can find shelter

From the hunger and cold


And the sweet tasting good life

Is so easily found

Way over yonder,

that's where I'm bound


I know when I get there

The first thing I'll see

Is the sun shining golden

Shining right down on me


Then trouble's gonna lose me

Worry leave me behind

And I'll stand up proudly

In true peace of mind


Talkin’ ‘bout a

Way over yonder

Is a place I have seen

It’s a garden of wisdom

From some long ago dream


Maybe tomorrow

I'll find find my way

To the land where the honey runs

In rivers each day


And the sweet tasting good life

Is so easily found

Way over yonder

That's where I'm bound


Home - Elisa Gonzales


Mama sings of the sea when she does the laundry,

or she sings of God in old hymns she learned in West Virginia.

So God washes upon on shore the color of sand.

And the sea shanties keep us company 

in the mornings, and in the evenings when she gathers up the laundry

after a long day hanging on the line. 



I am a gatherer of magnolia stories

for Mama, a colonial explorer 

with hundreds of cases 

for biological specimens, 

a thousand flower presses, a gun.


Sweetbay, Mama loves the name 




the underbelly of a secretive jungle bird

found at long last. 



Mama sobbing by the sink as she soaps the dishes,

watching the backyard grow indistinct 

fading into green swirls.


Mama in bed all day: I only want to sleep.

I want to sleep forever. 


I fall asleep with Mama, dreaming. 

I stand between her body and a black wave.

The wave has reached us where we huddle. 


Wake up, wake up. 

I can show you the color of water.

Mama, to everything that’s sad 

I can add something happy,

a pure unwasted yellow.

The sun will come alive. 

And finally the boats will come too, circling under the sun.


The Origin of Birds - Nicole Callihan

For hours, the flowers were enough.

Before the flowers, Adam had been enough.

Before Adam, just being a rib was enough.

Just being inside Adam’s body, near his heart, enough.

Enough to be so near his heart, enough

to feel that sweet steady rhythm, enough

to be a part of something bigger was enough.

And before the rib, being clay was enough.

And before clay, just being earth was enough.

And before earth, being nothing was enough.

But then enough was no longer enough.

The flowers bowed their heads, as if to say, enough,

and so Eve, surrounded by peonies, and alone enough,

wished very hard for something, and the wish was enough

to make the pinecone grow wings; the wish was enough

to point to the sky, say bird, and wait for something to sing.


Rivers and Roads - Krishan Oberoi

I believe a time will come

When all will be made one

When loss is redeemed and hope restored


Everything that once was true

Will arise and spring anew

And dry river beds will flow once more


It’s like gravity’s pull, inevitable

Harness the heavens

The tidal wave on the verge


Tame the force that feeds the flower

Where our roads converge


Roads that I’ve traveled

Frayed and unraveled

I never reckoned the cost


Rivers behind me

Scars that remind me

Of all the years that I’ve lost


But I swear tonight

We’ll look to the heavens

And watch all the stars emerge


Far beyond the horizon

Where rivers and roads converge


This world’s never seen me

In its vast machinery

I have but one small part


So light the way for me

Rewrite my story

My memory and my heart


By and By - Traditional African - American Spiritual

Oh by an’ by, by an’ by

I’m gonna lay down this heavy load


I know my robe’s gonna fit me well

(I’m gonna lay down this heavy load)

‘Cause I tried it on at the gates of hell

(I’m gonna lay down this heavy load)


Oh by an’ by, by an’ by

I’m gonna lay down this heavy load


Oh hell is a deep and dark despair 

(I’m gonna lay down this heavy load)

So stop, poor sinner, an’ a don’t go there

(I’m gonna lay down this heavy load)


Oh by an’ by, by an’ by

I’m gonna lay down this heavy load


Oh one of these morning, bright and fair

(I’m gonna lay down this heavy load)

Gonna take my wings and cleave the air

(I’m gonna lay down this heavy load)


Oh by an’ by, by an’ by

I’m gonna lay down this heavy load


Oh when I get to heaven gonna sing and shout

(I’m gonna lay down this heavy load)

For there’s no one there to turn me out

(I’m gonna lay down this heavy load)


Oh by an’ by, by an’ by

I’m gonna lay down this heavy load


Telescope - Kate Wakeling





the m




the w



the pr













the w

that rev








Ow me




Ow me




Ow me






Om the

Ough to




Ow me


Ow me









Water Fountain - Merrill Garbus

No water in the water fountain

No side on the sidewalk

If you say Old Molly Hare, whatcha doin' there?

Nothing much to do when you're going nowhere

Wooha! Wooha! Gotcha

We're gonna get the water from your house


No water in the water fountain

No wood in the woodstock

If you say old Molly Hare

Whatcha doin' there?

Nothing much to do when you're going nowhere

Wooha! Wooha! Gotcha

We're gonna get the water from your house


Nothing feels like dying like the drying of my skin and lawn

Why do we just sit here while they watch us wither til we're gone?

I can't seem to feel it

I can't seem to feel it

I can't seem to feel I'll kneel

I'll kneel, the cold steel


You will ride the whip

You'll ride the crack

No use in fighting back

You'll sledge the hammer if there's no one else to take the flak

I can't seem to feel it

I can't seem to find it

Your fist clenched my neck

We're neck and neck


No water in the water fountain

No phone in the phone booth

If you say old Molly Hare

Whatcha doin' there

Jump back, jump back Daddy shot a bear

Wooha! Wooha! Gotcha

We're gonna get the water from your house


I saved up all my pennies and I gave them to this special guy

When he had enough of them he bought himself a cherry pie

He gave me a dollar

A blood-soaked dollar

I cannot get the spot out but

It's okay it still works in the store


Greasy man come and dig my well

Life without your water is a burning hell

Serve me up with your home-grown rice

Anything make me look nice

Se pou zanmi mwen, (It is for my friends)

And a two-pound chicken tastes better with friends

A two-pound chicken tastes better with two

And I know where to find you so


Listen to the words I said

Let it sink into your head

A vertigo round-and-round-and-round

Now I'm in your bed

How did I get ahead? Woo!

Thread your fingers through my hair, fingers through my hair

Give me a dress, give me a dress

A give a thing a caress

Would-ja, would-ja, would-ja


Listen to the words I say!

Sound like a floral bouquet

A lyrical round-and-round-and-round

Okay, take a picture it'll last all day, run

Your fingers through my hair

Do it 'til you disappear

Gimme your head, gimme your head, off with his head!


No water in the water fountain

Floral bouquet

A lyrical round-and-round-and-round

No side on the sidewalk

Take a picture it'll last all day, hey

Your fingers through my hair

Do it 'til you disappear

Wooha! Gotcha

We're gonna get the water from your house


Walden Pond - Henry David Thoreau

I. The Pond


Nothing so fair, so pure lies on the surface of the earth. It is a clear and deep green well, half a mile long, a perennial spring in the midst of pine and oak woods.

It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature; it is a mirror which no stone can crack, whose quicksilver will never wear off; a mirror which retains no breath that is breathed on it, but sends its own to float on clouds high above its surface, and be reflected on its bosom still.

There are few traces of man’s hand to be seen. The water laves the shore as it did a thousand years ago. This water is of such crystalline purity that the body of the bather appears of an alabaster whiteness, which as the limbs are magnified and distorted, produces a monstrous effect, making fit studies for a Michael Angelo.

So pure, so fair.


II. Angling


In warm evenings I frequently sat in the boat playing the flute, and saw the perch, which I seem to have charmed, hovering around me, and the moon travelling over the ribbed bottom, which was strewed with wrecks of the forest.

Sometimes, I spend the hours of midnight fishing from a boat anchored in forty feet of water and communicating by a long flaxen line with mysterious nocturnal fishes, serenaded by owls and foxes, and hearing from time to time, the creaking note of some unknown bird close at hand.

There was one older man, an excellent fisher; once in a while we sat together on the pond, he at one end of the boat, and I at the other; but not many words passed between us, for he had grown deaf in his later years, but he occasionally hummed a psalm, which harmonized well enough with my philosophy. Our intercourse was thus altogether one of unbroken harmony, far more pleasing to remember than if it had been carried on by speech.


III. Observing


It is a soothing employment to sit on a stump, on a height overlooking the pond, and studying the dimpling circles incessantly inscribed on its surface amid the reflected skies and trees. 

It may be that in the distance a fish describes an arc of three or four feet in the air, and there is one bright flash where it emerges, and another where it strikes the water. Or here and there, a pickerel or shiner picks an insect from this smooth surface; it is wonderful with what elaborateness this simple fact is advertised—this piscine murder will out—reported in circling dimples, in lines of beauty, the constant welling up of its fountain, the gentle pulsing of its life, the heaving of its breast. Then the trembling circles seek the shore and all is smooth again.

One November afternoon, the pond was remarkably smooth, so that it was difficult to distinguish its surface. I was surprised to find myself surrounded by myriads of small, bronze-colored perch. In such transparent water, reflecting the clouds, I seemed to be floating through the air as in a balloon, and their swimming impressed me as a kind of flight or hovering, as if they were birds passing just beneath my level, their fins, like sails, set all around them.


IV. Extolling


Sky water.


Lake of light.


Great crystal on the surface of the earth.


Successive nations perchance have drank at, admired, and fathomed it, and passed away, and still its water is green and pellucid as ever. Who knows in how many unremembered nations’ literatures this has been the Castalian Fountain? or what nymphs presided over it in the Golden Age?

Perhaps on that spring morning when Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden Walden Pond was already in existence, and even then breaking up in a gentle spring rain and covered with ducks and geese, which had not heard of the fall. Even then it had clarified its waters and colored them of the hue they now wear, and obtained a patent of Heaven to be the only Walden Pond in the world.


V. Walden Revisited


Since I left those shores, the woodchoppers have laid them waste, but I remember, I remember…

I remember when I first paddled a boat on Walden, it was completely surrounded by thick and lofty pine and oak woods, and in some of its coves grape-vines had run over the trees next the water and formed bowers under which a boat could pass. I have spent many an hour floating over its surface as the zephyr willed, in a summer fore-noon, lying on my back across the seats, dreaming awake.

And though the woodchoppers have laid bare first this shore and then that, it struck me again tonight,–Why, here is Walden, the same woodland lake that I discovered so many years ago; where a forest was cut down last winter another is springing up as lustily as ever; the same thought is welling up to its surface that was then; it is the same liquid joy and happiness to itself and its Maker. He rounded this water with his hand, deepened and clarified it in his thought. I see by its face that it is visited by the same reflection; and I can almost say,


Walden, is it 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 May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022.  Please let us know if any info is listed incorrectly.


Visionaries $10,000+

Betsy Manchester

Sandra New


Underwriters $5,000-9,999

Tori & Aaron Haberman

Peter Rutenberg

Sustainers $2,500-4,999

Karl & Leslie Bunker

Susan Childs

Larry & Susan Gerling

Linda Kewin

Glenda & Rob McKibben

Susan & Douglas McLeod

Benefactors $1,000-2,499


Juan & Andrea Acosta

Clifford & Carolyn Caldwell

Leslie Conner

Fusenot Foundation

Eric & Rexanna Swanson

Greta & Stephen Treadgold

Advocates $500-999

Walter Baumhoff

Holly & Warren Otto

Deborah Rimkus

Friends $250-499

Anneke Doty

Jan & Rick Farley

Alan & Pam Hay

William Slack & Mark Malean

Supporters $100-249

David Bardwick

Jay & Mary Hanson

Mary Koto

Stacey Love

Carol Manifold

Joani Nelson

Mary Ellen O’Malley

Mary Ray

Bill & Georgiana Simmons

Kent Swedell


Thank You!

Wendy Naylor, Volunteer Coordinator

Christ Lutheran Church

Clara Joy Welcome, Program Design


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. 


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