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La Verne’s Finest offers diversity

Sophomore music major and soprano Brianna Nemback performs “Vissi D’arte” by Tosca in Morgan Auditorium Sunday for the La Verne’s Finest concert with pianist and adjunct professor of piano Jennifer Cruz. It was the last Sundays at the Morgan performance for the semester. The show ranged in variety from contemporary classical, jazz, barbershop quartet and classical. / photo by Austen Beck

Sophomore music major and soprano Brianna Nemback performs “Vissi D’arte” by Tosca in Morgan Auditorium Sunday for the La Verne’s Finest concert with pianist and adjunct professor of piano Jennifer Cruz. It was the last Sundays at the Morgan performance for the semester. The show ranged in variety from contemporary classical, jazz, barbershop quartet and classical. / photo by Austen Beck

Hayley Hulin
Staff Writer

La Verne’s Finest featured musicians and singers for the last concert of the Sundays at the Morgan series Sunday evening.

Both faculty and students took the stage for the La Verne’s Finest concert to present their talent in musical styles, ranging from classical to jazz to an audience of family, friends and supporters.

“I liked the variety of different piano pieces and the drumming and singing,” Jamie Sato, sophomore liberal studies major, said.

The program began with a welcome by the West African Drum Ensemble, directed by music department manager Steve Biondo.

Following the drums, music students and faculty performed several classical pieces.

“I liked the different aspects of them all,” Sato said. “I liked the drumming because they are upbeat, and I really like the piano because of the beauty of the instrument. Some pieces were upbeat; some you could listen and really feel the music.”

“My favorite was ‘Prelude in C# Minor’ by Patrick Sanchez,” Christopher Gonzalez, sophomore business administration major, said. “I’ve seen him perform it before, and it is impressive to see how far they’ve come.”

Sanchez, senior music major, played ‘Prelude in C# Minor Op. 3 no. 2’ by Sergei Rachmaninov on the piano with quick and intricate fingers.

Based on his playing, few would guess that Sanchez began playing the piano as a sophomore in college.

“’Spanish Dance’ was my favorite because when they were about to go into a more intense part of the song, they got in sync,” Adam Cusic, sophomore physics major, said. “They had more chemistry than others.”

The duet, ‘Four Hands: Spanish Dance no. 4’ by Moritz Moszkowski, was played by adjunct piano instructor Hedy Lee and Artist-in-Residence Grace Xia Zhao.

During their performance, both Lee and Zhao played with passion and movement. As one moved, the other followed in reaction to continue the piece.

The Lordsburg Brothers barbershop quartet also made an appearance.

The quartet consists of Timothy May, tenor and sophomore music and theater major; Ernie Reyes, baritone and junior music major; David Vorobyov, bass and junior pre-med major; and Zachary Green, lead and 2013 alumnus with a degree in theater.

“The four of us didn’t really know anything about barbershop,” Reyes said. “We’ve done a couple competitions and performances at this point.”

The Lordsburg Brothers have been the University resident barbershop quartet for 10 months and have performed at community and school events as well as several competitions including the Southeast Division contest for the Barbershop Harmony Society.

“There are a few performances we’ve done at women’s clubs, for President Lieberman, and of course at competitions,” Reyes said.

“We usually get our butts kicked at competition, but it’s nice to see where we stand.”

Many students take a music class to fulfill a general education requirement, but end up falling in love with the art of playing an instrument.

“It is a growing department so we are always looking for new members,” Emmanuel Lagumbay, senior music major, said. “I never thought I would join choir, but then I ended up leading it.”

Hayley Hulin can be reached at hayley.hulin@laverne.edu.

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