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Monarch musicians showcase their skills

In the final Wednesday free concert of the semester, Applied Music Program graduates performed what they learned.

By Natalie Metcalf, Staff Writer

The strings of electric bass, a high soprano voice and the notes of a piano were heard from recital hall M106, as Valley College’s free concert series came to a close.

About 30 students and faculty members showed up, including past performers Richard Kahn and Santiago Vasquez. George Arabjyan switched between electric and stand-up bass while Frank Garvey accompanied him on piano. Patti Brattan showcased her nimble piano playing skills, as Glenn Carlos accompanied her with vocals. Sherry Dickerson’s mezzo-soprano filled the recital hall, while Garvey and Yih-Mei Hu accompanied her setlist. At the end of the performance, audience members asked the musicians questions. An inquiry about nerves led to a discussion about the performers’ passion and inspiration to play music.

“I can say from my experience, my nerves have never gone away,” said Music Department Chair Christian Nova. “They never will and I don’t expect them to, but I have just gotten better at managing them. It’s just part of the process.”

Arabjyan has played the electric and acoustic bass for several years. He participated in the applied program with plans to obtain his associate degree and transfer to a four-year university. Arabjyan displayed his skills, playing “All The Things You Are” by Jerome Kern, “In A Mellow Tone” by Duke Ellington and “The Elephant” from “Carnival of Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens. The bassist performed alongside Garvey through most of his set and played a couple of solo pieces.

Dickerson’s mezzo-soprano voice was her savior. Before her performance, she delivered a heartfelt and personal speech about why she joined the applied program. With accompaniment from Garvey and Hu, the vocalist sang “Canzonetta,” attributed to Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, “Hey Robin” by Eric Korngold, “Canción De Cuna Para Dormir Un Negrito” by Xavier Montsalvatge, “Der Tod Und Das Mädchen” by Franz Schubert and “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” an African American arrangement by Welsey Abbot. In the fall, Dickerson will be transferring to California State University Northridge as a music therapist.

“Music chose me,” explained Dickerson after the recital. “I actually ran away from music. I did not like it. I did not want to sing and I tried to avoid it at every cost.”

Brattan studied at Valley with Kahn despite having no prior experience in playing jazz music. She performed “Mazurka in A Minor, No. 4, Op. 17” by Frederic Chopin, Kei’s Song by David Benoit, “Here’s That Rainy Day” by Jimmy Van Heusen and “It Might Be You” from the musical “Tootsie” by Dave Grusin. Carlos sang the lyrics to “Here’s That Rainy Day” with his baritone voice. The pianist says she is lucky to have learned alongside Kahn in his Jazz Combo Workshop, before joining the applied program.

“There has been a lot of support from classmates and teachers. I’ve never been discouraged by anybody other than myself,” said Brattan in reference to the applied program. “My friends are here and they assured me that they would be here to support me –– it just feels really good.”

Over the semester, there have been ten concerts in recital hall M106. Each concert was led by Nova, as he incorporated students, faculty and guest musicians in each performance. The free weekly recital has brought in student and faculty engagement, as around 30 people were seen in attendance at each performance.

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