SBCC Symphony entertains audience last weekend

The Channels Art Pages | STAFF REVIEW


The City College Symphony consists of very talented musicians, who, in addition to playing beautifully, provided the audience with a few chuckle-worthy moments throughout the performance last weekend.

The Symphony performed Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Symphony No. 2”  at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Garvin Theatre. The symphony was conducted by Director James Mooy, who is also a professor for the music department.

After all of the instruments were tuned and the lights dimmed, a man dressed to the nines emerged from behind the curtain and the audience erupted with applause.

He took about two confident steps, and then he awkwardly jogged the remaining three meters to center stage. However, his uncomfortable demeanor vanished as soon as he hit the conductor’s platform.

Mooy obtained a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in education from University of California, Los Angeles. While he has built up quite the musical resume over the years, such as touring Japan as a trumpet player and working as a Disneyland musician, Mooy still teaches music appreciation and music technology at City College.

It was difficult to fathom how Mooy was both sharp and fluid with his motions as he conducted the symphony. He looked so distinguished, nothing like the sheepish man who trotted across the stage before the start of every piece.

His entrance was so bothersome because he deserved the applause, yet seemed to think otherwise. He should’ve owned those 10 extra seconds or so that it would’ve taken to walk at a normal pace, and soaked in the applause that was most definitely warranted.

For the first half of the concert, the symphony played three pieces: “Roman Carnival Overture” by Hector Berlioz, “Fantasia on Greensleeves” by Ralph Vaughan Williams and “Waltz from Masquerade” by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

I hesitate to say that the symphony played effortlessly because one could tell by their tense, abrupt motions and concentrated facial expressions that it took every ounce of their being to play those pieces. Yet at the same time, they really did make it look effortless.

During “Fantasia on Greensleeves,” harpist Laurie Rasmussen and flautists Jane Hahn, Monica Bucher-Smith and Mary Maguire stole the show. The sounds they produced were so beautiful and relaxing, they could have made it as a quartet.

The second half of the performance consisted of their main piece, “Symphony No. 2” in E minor, Opus 27, by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

This was supposed to be their most prominent piece of the night, but I found that it droned on a bit. The young man next to me actually fell asleep and slumped over in his chair.

I wish they would’ve chosen a different piece, so that the concert would’ve ended on a better note. That being said, I applaud the City College Symphony for their talent and overall wonderful performance.