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Spring Music Showcase


RWC tutor Paula Rawlings gives an overview of the recent spring music showcase.


In their last concert held in the cafeteria, the Reedley College music program placed some of their best performances of the evening at the beginning of the show. As a musician, my sympathetic salivation and perspiration kicked in, and I was not disappointed with the production. The saxophone quartet was hard to top, with Isabella Battad playing the Soprano, Erick Tapia the Alto, Laveren Gomez the Tenor, and Noah Gurrola the Baritone. The four blended well without anyone overpowering the others. The eyebrow lifts, the shoulder shifts, and body bounces provided pleasant visuals, unintentionally letting the audience know the performers were enjoying themselves. I was pleasantly surprised when these four showcased their talents later when took part in the band performance.


Following the saxophone quartet was the choir, which managed to wow the audience several times. The choir’s performance of “Pure Imagination,” written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley and arranged by Jay Althouse, was sweeter than Gene Wilder’s in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. I was not creeped out in the slightest. The only way they could have made it better was if the performers threw candy at the audience, but that may have been asking too much. The soprano and alto sections impressed me with their voice projection in “Anvil Chorus” by Giuseppe Verdi. I actually leaned back, sporting a double-rippled chin, and goose bumps made the generous hairs on my arms stand up. Lastly, the pleasantly different “Mission Impossible” by Lalo Schifrin (arrangement by Roger Emerson) was filled with onomatopoeias only a word nerd like myself could appreciate. In the end, the bravery of the soloists and the collective energy of the choir resulted in a lengthy ovation from the audience.


After the intermission, the choir joined the audience to enjoy the concert band. If you’re not familiar with the composition, check out Erika Svanoe’s “Mary Shelley Meets Frankenstein.” If you like a good tango, you’ll love this piece and its back story. The song is based on the scenario of when Mary Shelley and Frankenstein’s monster meet. The audience was told, “They meet, circling each other in a dance reflective of a tango. Mary is initially curious and sympathetic, while the creature pleads for compassion. In the moment when the two come together, Mary’s sympathy is overwhelmed by horror and she begins to panic, while the creature becomes furious with her rejection.” Oh! The agony, but at least it wasn’t agony to listen to. Interestingly, the composer’s instrument of choice is the clarinet, which is prominent in this piece. Its mellow sound makes the tango that much more alluring.


To end the show, the choir joined the band for “Over the Rainbow” and “Don’t Stop Believing.’” The audience was invited to sing the last song, but we failed. My apologies to the conductor. My mouth opened, and I hummed a little; I saw some other mouths moving and fumbling over the words, but thank you, choir, for covering our part. It was a great performance, and I look forward to next year’s concerts in your new location.

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