School Choral Fest Unites Voices in Song

Erica White

Walking down from the San Rafael Plaza Tuesday night, one might have thought they’d been transported back to–shudder–high school.

A sea of cackling teens dressed in formal black gowns and suits huddled in groups around the stairs of the GCC auditorium May 3 for the 2011 GCC Choral Fest.

In the traditional style of most choral events, fashion was not the focus. Women always get the short end of the proverbial stick when it comes to dressing as a group, and this time was no different. The women of both GCC and Glendale High School wore drab ankle length black gowns that made even the prettiest look like puritanical Quaker women.

But talent was the saving grace to the fashion faux pas of the night.

GCC’s College Choir, conducted by Jayne Campbell, launched into Franz Schubert’s “Agnus Dei from Mass in Eb,” his closest attempt at opera. This was followed by a rendition of the poems by E.E. cummings “I carry your heart with me,” and “Soon-Ah Will be Done” arranged by David C. Dickau and William L. Dawson.

Bruce Mayhall was the adjudicator for the evening. Mayhall gave the various factions of the choir feedback and pointers to make their singing pop for upcoming performances.

There aren’t adequate adjectives to describe the artistry of the human voice in perfect pitch, tone and harmony especially when it’s combined with equally talented voices.

Glendale High School student Sofia Rezvani conducted the A Cappella Choir for its first number, Amor Vittoriso, written by Giovanni Gastoldi.

Rezvani bounced up and down on the balls of her feet as she sent the choir through dips in crescendo and diminuendo. She captivated the audience with her boundless energy. At the end of the A Cappella’s set Mayhall said, “Wasn’t Sofia great?” to which the audience replied with a resounding round of applause.

Rezvani graduates this year and will be attending UC Davis in the fall.

Grace Sheldon-Williams, choir director, said Rezvani will be missed, while Mayhall commented that UC Davis conductors will be very happy to see her.

The standout performances were the Glendale High School Concert Glee, an all girl ensemble, and the GCC Concert Singers who courageously belted selections from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.

The Concert Glee girls did a soft, soulful rendition of “Spiritual Medley” by Dan Jackson, completed with rounds and rhythmic motion.

“OK that’s perfect,” Mayhall said. “You make it too easy.”

GCC student Kim Lim, 25, thought the music was wonderful.

“I really enjoyed the religious songs, those were the songs I loved the most because they brought my mind back to God,” Lim said.

GCC Community Orchestra with GCC Concert Singers featuring Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”
Beth Pflueger, conductor
Sunday, 3 p.m. Auditorium Stage
General admission $10,
students & seniors $7

GCC College Choir, Chamber Singers and Opera Vignettes
Jayne Campbell, director
May 21 7:30 p.m. Auditorium Stage
General admission $10, students & seniors $7

Choral works and opera excerpts.
GCC Concert Singers with GCC Community Orchestra featuring Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”
Peter Green, director