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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC Symphony brings classical works to life with acute precision

The Channels Art Pages | STAFF REVIEW
August Lawrence
The SBCC Symphony Orchestra takes the stage on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 in the Garvin Theatre at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

City College’s Symphony Orchestra dazzled the Garvin Theatre Sunday night, showing off its prowess an awe inspiring array of European classical pieces. 

The concert was an annual showcase the orchestra puts on at the end of every semester.

The Symphony Orchestra is made up of City College Applied Music students, alumni and local pros.

“There’s so much experience up on this stage,” said Orchestra director and conductor Jim Mooy. 

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Symphony Orchestra is able to perform “the same caliber music as the LA Phil,” he said. “We don’t play dummy music.”

As the 55-piece orchestra tuned a hush fell over the theater. 

One could see the flashes of excited and nervous smiles on the performers’ faces as they waited for their conductor join them on stage. With the joyous energy of a child, Mooy appeared and ran to center stage and took his place at the conductor’s stand, not wasting any time in counting his players into the first number.

The Symphony Orchestra’s first number of the night was “Polonaise” from the opera “Boris Godunov” by Modest Mussorgsky, a piece originally written as a gift to then-Tsar of Russia Godunov.

Its’ tempo was light and bounded from note to note, yet its melody seemed melancholy and heavy.

Don Faith, second trombone, said the performance and its pieces were “probably the most technically challenging” he had ever played.

Mooy finished the piece with an approving nod to the players.

The second number performed by Symphony Orchestra was “Tango, Por Un Cabeza” by the Spanish conductor Carlos Gardel, featured the stupendous Kristi Holstein on solo violin.

“It was really great,” said Holstein. “We followed each other really well.”

This piece showcased Symphony Orchestra’s amazing synchronicity all the players had with each other. Playing off and between her solos, its rendition was an amazing call and response between Holstein and the rest of the performers. 

The piece required musicians to periodically start and stop at exactly the same time, which they pulled off flawlessly.

“I don’t want to jinx us,” Mooy said to his orchestra between numbers. “But that was the best this group has ever sounded.”

Then, the orchestra went into its hauntingly powerful rendition of “The Kremlin” by Alexander Glazunov.

Its first movement, which was more of a brass heavy march, evoked images of Russian royalty and clergy marching past.

With its quieter tones, the second movement’s unusual melodic composition and use of unusual instruments seemed somewhat more subdued and almost gyspy like.

The third and final movement was the epic culmination of the piece. Taking advantage of the full orchestra, the musicians played relentlessly and flawlessly, ever focusing in on their conductor to come together and shine.

The last performance of the night was Dmitri Shastacovich’s piece “Waltz No.2.”

although he is known more for his classical pieces, this Shostakovich jazz number featured several Applied Music students in solo roles.

One soloist that particularly shined through was trumpeter Sergio Rodriguez.

“Everything went really well, we were all super focused,” said Rodriguez. 

Throughout the night, City College’s Symphony continually amazed its viewers and showed this past semester was not spent in vain.

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