Colleges team up to deliver Jazz Choir performance

Daniel Valencia/Courier Lancer Jazz Choir performed alonged with Santa Monica City College Jazz Choir, directed by Andreas Preponis at the Westerbeck Recital Hall on Saturday, November 22, 2015.

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For the first time, students from Santa Monica College and Pasadena City College got together at the Westerbeck Recital Hall to perform several musical pieces.

According to choir director Andreas Preponis, last year PCC had plans to host SMC at their college to collaborate but were unable to due to different schedules.

“[The collaboration] never happened,” said Preponis. “This semester, since I was at both schools, I figured let’s join forces.”

Daniel Valencia/Courier Lancer Jazz Choir performed alonged with Santa Monica City College Jazz Choir, directed by Andreas Preponis at the Westerbeck Recital Hall on Saturday, November 22, 2015.

Daniel Valencia/Courier
Lancer Jazz Choir performed alonged with Santa Monica City College Jazz Choir, directed by Andreas Preponis at the Westerbeck Recital Hall on Saturday, November 22, 2015.

Although the logistics of planning the event were difficult to figure out due to the large size of the SMC ensemble, the concert managed to start off without a hitch.

Accented with orange flowers and ties, the women and men of PCC’s Jazz Choir program started off the hour long concert with “Sway.”

Accompanied by an ensemble consisting of a pianist, drummer and bass player, the Lancers included the original Mexican lyrics in the slow but upbeat song.

The PCC Jazz Choir group included a few soloists in their four-piece performance. Bobby Novoa began the second piece, “Over the Hill is Home,” with a smooth, bass voice. Novoa also had a solo act in the fourth piece, “For Your Love.” Accompanied by soprano Selena Gilbert, the two finished the first half of the concert with a song about how nothing compares to love.

The SMC Jazz Vocal Ensemble small group commenced the second half of the concert. As their name suggests, the small group was composed of only 12 members.

The SMC small group performed only two songs, but they did so admirably. Starting off with “Nature Boy,” the group started off at a slow pace that gradually developed into a fast paced tune. The second song, “Smack Dab in the Middle,” had two soloists, but it was the surprise near the end of the song that really cemented the harmony. During the chorus, the SMC large group joined in. Situated on the stairs to the right of the audience, the large group harmonized with their peers on stage.

As soon as the song was finished, the SMC large group joined the others on stage. Standing on risers, the SMC ensemble began the third part of the concert.

While the PCC and SMC small group had individual mics, the large group had to make do with two microphones, which made it harder to hear the voices over the sounds of the instruments. However, SMC prevailed and as the concert went on they gradually adjusted. By the end of their third piece, “Street Life,” their voices were stronger than ever.

PCC’s choir group joined SMC on stage to finish the concert with a combined ensemble. Singing “Make Someone Happy,” both groups delighted the audience with an acapella performance.

“I loved the last one because it’s acapella and because it’s very soothing to the ears,” said SMC tenor Adriano Llosa. “It’s a great ode and a great way to finish the night.”

Preponis, inspired by the how well the concert did, plans to return the favor and have the Lancer Jazz Choir perform with SMC on the Broad Stage in the future.

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