Choir Spring Concert Entertains with Classics

Jessica Bourse

Hundreds of people hummed with excitement as they filled the college auditorium on May 31 for the much-anticipated choir spring concert, directed by Dr. Jayne Campbell.

The groups performing included the Glendale College Choir, Pops Ensemble, and the newly formed Opera Vignettes.

The audience fell silent as the lights dimmed, then applauded when Campbell walked on stage and welcomed everyone.

“Keep Your Lamps,” arranged by Andre Thomas, was the first piece of the night. It started off with simple percussion, played by Emerson Galicia. As Galicia kept a steady beat, the choir emerged from both wings of the stage, and filled the empty risers.

The simple combination of voices and percussion proved to be a brilliant piece to kick off the night.

The choir then sang “Anvil Chorus,” from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.” Accompanist Brian Hanke played the piano while the choir’s voices rang in perfect harmony.

The third piece, Franz Shubert’s “Kyrie” from “Mass in G,” was an extremely melodic and magnificent piece. Soprano Alex Sanfilippo sang a gorgeous solo which made the piece even more enjoyable.

After “Ah, El Novio No Quire Dinero,” a 15th-century Sephardic wedding song, the Opera Vignettes took stage.

Baritone Ararat Gharzian sang Guillaume Louis Cottrau’s “Santa Lucia.” Gharzian’s strong voice resonated through the auditorium as his hands trembled at his sides.

Tenor Derik Dermegerdichian sang the famous aria, “E Lucevan Le Stelle,” from Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Tosca.” Written in the key of B minor, Dermegerdichian sang this heart-wrenching solo was beautifully, as he was flawlessly accompanied by Hanke.

The Pops Ensemble took the stage, along with musical director Charles Ion and accompanist Su Hyun Jue.

Their first piece was a Gershwin medley, arranged by John Higgens. Bits and pieces were sung from songs such as “Rhapsody in Blue” (1924), “The Man I Love” (1924), “Embraceable You” (1930), “I Got Rhythm” (1930), and “I’ve Got a Crush on You” (1930).

The Opera Vignettes continued with a pianissimo solo from soprano and math teacher Franáoise Grand-Clément, singing Marguerite Monnot’s “Les Amants d’un Jour,” followed by a pleasant solo from baritone Arman Manukyan, singing “On the Street Where You Live” from the musical “My Fair Lady.”

Dermegerdichian and Sanfilippo returned to the stage to sing famous duet, “Con te Partirï.” Although Sanfilippo’s voice was clean and beautiful, her dynamics didn’t seem to be quite as strong as

Dermegerdichian’s. Nonetheless, it was an exquisite piece of music, receiving a wild and enthusiastic applause from the audience.
The Pops Ensemble returned to stage, singing William Orbit’s “Ciudado Con Mi Corazon” and Frank Loesser’s “Big D,” from the 1956 musical “The Most Happy Fella.”

Scenes from Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” was performed by Joy Chen as the countess, Sanfilippo as Susannah, Anna Gharibyan as Barbarina, Emily Gardina as Marcellina, Ty Ivory as Figaro, and Stepan Daduryan as the count.

Gardina and Chen later returned and performed scenes from Otto Nicolai’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” The storyline from the scenes show the audience an upset Mistress Ford, performed by Gardina, who is reading an absurd love letter she has received. When Mistress Page, performed by Chen, enters the scene, they discover they both have identical letters from the same man.

Gardina’s wonderful performance could be described as an amazing voice with a spunky attitude. When Chen joins Gardina for a duet, the two create a delightful mood, flirting with the idea of revenge.

The Pops Ensemble returned, singing Antonio Jobim’s “Corcovado,” or “Quiet Nights,” which entwined with their second piece, “Summer Samba,” by Paolo Valle.

After a lovely performance of “The Moon is Distant from the Sea,” and a fun interpretation of “Ask the Watchman,” the concert felt like it just couldn’t get better, but it did.

The Pops Ensemble sang “Wade in the Water,” a gospel piece, that left me with chills running up my spine.

The last performance of the night was a series of scenes from “The Pirates of Penzance.” Dermegerdichian performed as Frederic, Sanfilippo as Mabel, and Markian Olesijuk as the Pirate King.

Olesijuk’s performance was the most entertaining to watch, with the entire choir dressed in pirates attire, singing the chorus in between a couple of “arrgh’s” and swordfights.

For more information, contact Jayne Campbell at (818) 240-1000, ext. 5660.

My rating: three out of four stars.