April Provides a Shower of Virtual Concerts

Dr. Michael Shasberger conducts outdoors

Dr. Michael Shasberger conducts outdoors

Westmont’s student musicians will spring into action this month, performing in seven different virtual concerts, available for free streaming beginning at 7 p.m. at westmont.edu/virtual-concert-series.

The Westmont Music Department combines the choir and orchestra for an inspiring performance of “Requiem” by Gabriel Faure in its annual Masterworks Concert. The pre-recorded performance will be available for streaming beginning Friday, April 2.

“This long established tradition was definitely challenged this year,” says Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship, “but with the cooperation of athletics colleagues, fair weather, and the new late sunset time, we were able to safely join forces near the Westmont track to perform in the great outdoors.”

The widely spaced singers perform high above the orchestra on the concrete and grass bleachers, while the orchestra encompasses the full width and length of the track. The conductor and soloists are stationed on the grassy Thorrington Field. “Choosing the acoustical backdrop of the concrete bleachers gave us some cohesion and allowed the musicians to hear each other,” Shasberger says.

The sublime music of the “Requiem” focuses on God’s grace and a reunion of the faithfully departed with the heavenly hosts. “This is a message of hope to all who have lost loved ones in this past year,” Shasberger says. “While intended for performance in a great cathedral with a majestic pipe organ as part of the orchestra, we offer a backdrop of the majestic vistas of the Westmont campus and our new portative pipe organ filling the vast spaces surrounding us.”

The Composer’s Concert, premiering several original compositions and pieces by Westmont students, is Friday, April 9, Steve Butler, Westmont professor of music, instructs and coaches all the students.

The Westmont Jazz Ensemble will perform a variety of songs spanning history, including pieces by George Gershwin, Antônio Carlos Jobim, John L. (Wes) Montgomery and Jon Batiste on Friday, April 16. The ensemble features freshman Colby Young (drums), freshman Dylan Russell (bassist), freshman Keegan Perez (guitarist), freshman Samila Holt (clarinet), junior Soren Warren (trumpet), senior Julianne Jimenez (vocals), junior Heather Roell (vocals) and freshman Lillian Robinson (vocals).

The Westmont Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Winds will host their spring concert on Sunday, April 18. The Bassoon and Harp Duo, featuring Tasha Loh (bassoon) and Julianne Jimenez (harp), perform a Debussy favorite, “Rêverie. The Chamber Brass Ensemble premieres two new arrangements of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Studies of English Folksongs.” They will also perform “Just a Closer Walk,” a traditional spiritual in Dixie style arranged by Jack Gale, and two classical pieces for brass, “Minuet” from George Frideric Handel’s Water Music and “Adagio and Presto” by Italian composer Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli. The Chamber Orchestra performs Johann Pachebel’s beloved “Canon in D” and his lesser known “Gigue” that was originally paired with the Canon. They will also offer an arrangement of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Music of the Night” from his “Phantom of the Opera.” The Wind Chamber, under the direction of Andrea Di Maggio and featuring Katie Turner (flute), Sofia Alvarado (flute), Samila Aquino Holt (clarinet), Sophia Bartolo (bassoon) and Carly Field (French horn), will perform “Early Hungarian Dances from the 17th Century for Wind Quintet” by Farkas Ferenc (1905-2000) and “Little Fugue in G Minor” by JS Bach (1685-1750) arranged for Wind Quartet by Kate Agiortis.

The Spring Choral Concert, which combines the College Choir, Chamber Singers and Choral Union, co-directed by Karen Janzen and Matthew Roy, is on April 23.

The Vocal Chamber Concert features Westmont’s top student musicians on Sunday, April 25. The String Chamber Concert is Friday, April 30.