Singers Shine at Annual Spring Concert

daniel-antolin
el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">DANIEL ANTOLIN
El Vaquero Staff Writer

On May 23, the GCC college
choir erupted on stage at
their final concert of the
semester.

The impact site: the Main
Auditorium. Their collective
vocal talents blew audience
members away at the annual
Spring Choral Concert.

An emotional member of the
audience clapped with delight at
the end of a Spanish piece,
“Amor que Une con el Amor
Grandisimo” (Love that Unites
Me with the Greatest Love),
accompanied by the melancholy
tone of a French horn, brilliantly
played by Kelly Leyva, who
graduated from USC with a
bachelor’s of music degree. She
volunteered to play her horn for
the song.

It was the culmination of a
semester’s worth of practice for
40 student singers who regularly
meet three times a week to hone
their singing skills. A “ya-ha-haha-
ha” (a warm-up exercise)
helped release some of the
tension at their final rehearsal.

“Get your eyes out of the
music so I can see the fire in
your eyes,” said choir director
Dr. Peter Green, giving his
students some last-minute words
of advice.

The group features GCC
students with various singing
backgrounds, said Green at last
month’s concert, GCC
ChoirFest.

The sound of angels filled the
Main Auditorium once again at
the Spring Concert with music
instructor Dr. Anita Hanawalt on
piano. The men’s voices (bases
and tenors) were very soothing
for “If Music be the Food of
Love” and the choral group in
unison was like a single voice,
comparing love to the sound of
good music.

Yet, there is more to the art
than just singing. Knowing how
to stand, how to breathe, and
learning to sing from the
diaphragm are also involved.
Further, there is learning to sing
in a different language; for the
spring concert, there were three
songs in Latin and one in
Spanish.

“It’s hard to pronounce words
in a different language because
many of us don’t speak that
language,” said choir singer
Alexis Amezcua. “We have to
take deep breaths and learn how
to pronounce them right.”
Heather Glenn, administrative
assistant to Jean Perry and leader
of the alto section, said that other
choir members have been
instrumental in learning the
lyrics. “We have a lot of native
Spanish speakers and they have
helped a lot with the pronunciation,”
she said. “Dr. Green
helps out with the Latin.”
The evening started off with
“Gloria,” a rhythmical Latin
song accompanied by the
beating of conga drums,
clapping hands and choir
members moving to the beat.
Even though the song was
written in a dead language, the
spirited flow of the music made
the lyrics come alive.

Soloist Laurel Haran
triumphantly sang the “amazing
grace” portion of “He Will Make
a Way,” placing her hand over
her upper abdomen to let out the
high-pitched melody. How sweet
the sound was indeed.

The Early Music Ensemble, a
new group comprised of eight
vocalists from the initial choral
group, sang, “April is in my
Mistress’ Face” and other pieces.
It required them to sing in a
voice low enough to still be
heard, which must have been
difficult to do. However, they
were up to the challenge and
pulled it off magnificently.
The new Women’s
Barbershop ensemble faired well
for their debut concert. Elvis
Presley’s “Love Me Tender” was
highlighted by the passionate
performance of soloist Adina
DiFede, who sang like a lovestruck
heroine from an animated
Disney musical. Her cheerful
and energetic demeanor made
“Mr. Sandman” a treat.

Decked out in white
Dixieland-style hats and black
bow ties, the Men’s Barbershop
ensemble sang “Take me out to
the Ballgame,” which was a big
hit with audience members.
They started off by flawlessly
singing the song in its entirety,
but jokingly remained
unsatisfied with their
performances. After a second try,
which was sung at a faster rate,
they decided to try again and
again and go faster and faster.
The perfectionists were
eventually pleased with a final
attempt and ended what had to
be one of the best performances
of the night.

Hannah Florek’s strong and
invigorating solo performance in
“Come Fly With Me” kicked off
the jazz portion of the concert.

“The Masquerade,” written by
Leon Russell, had Michelle
Alonso engulfed in the lyrics, or
rather the beat of the jazzy music
she was sounding out.

Said Glenn: “We have a
wonderful choir program and it’s
all because of him (Green).”
Apparently, all of their hard
work paid off.