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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

City College Symphony Orchestra presents pair of original pieces

The Channels Art Pages | CRITICAL REVIEW
August Lawrence
Conductor Jim Mooy introduces the orchestra and welcomes the viewers to the virtual performance on Wednesday, April 25. The orchestra premiered two original pieces that where both recorded and edited by Mooy.

City College’s Symphony Orchestra virtually united to premiere two original pieces during a livestreamed performance on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

“For spring we wanted to try something a little bit different. A one-movement piece that went through many different moods,” said Assistant Professor and Conductor James Mooy. Mooy dressed in a full tux and bow tie, and welcomed viewers as they were logging on. 

This was the second virtual performance the orchestra has done.

Each week during this past semester, 60+ orchestra players recorded individual pieces then sent them in for Mooy to edit together.

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The two numbers were each written and recorded in smaller parts that dove-tailed smoothly into each other, making two bigger, more complete pieces. Because of COVID-19, musicians virtually participated from as far away as Hawaii and Maryland.

“It’s so neat to see people’s comments in the chat and we can interact with them in real-time,” Mooy said. “This is something we could never do when we were live.”

The first number of the night, “Universe In A Glass Of Wine,” was composed by trumpeter Scott Lillard after seeing Richard Feynman give a talk on how, philosophically, we can explore all the wonders and compositions of the physical universe in a single glass of wine.

“We are made of star stuff,”  Lillard said, introducing the piece. “If I did my job right, you’ll recognize the sound of the glass and wine being poured into it, expanding into the starry sky the pieces being pulled apart and studied.”

The song was broken into five movements: ‘The Glass,’ ‘Physics, Biology, Geology, Astronomy, Psychology And All,’ ‘Fermentation To Space Exploration,’ ‘Hydrogen’ and ‘One More Final Pleasure.’

Starting slow, the piece seems to ebb and flow throughout the band. The melody skipped from section to section, highlighting the amazing synchronicity players have even over a virtual platform.

“You have no idea how much you rely on the musicians around you to keep you in pitch and time,” said Violinist Terence Geoghegan between numbers, jokingly describing recording in isolation.

Kevin Kishiyama shone through with his smooth intense violin solo, reminiscent of Russian Orthodox melodies. The piece overall was modern yet blends itself with classical eastern European practices and teachings.

Following “Universe In A Glass Of Wine” came Cody Anderson’s composition “To The Sky!”

Anderson says he hopes to lead listeners on a relaxing journey, starting in a deep valley covered in mist, up into a “beautiful landscape” of mountains and clouds, before finally arriving at the mountain’s peak to look over the vast glory of nature.

This piece was also made up of five sections: ‘Ascending Through The Mist,’ ‘Floating Above the Clouds,’ ‘Bounding Across In-Flight,’ ‘Dancing With The Clouds,’ and ‘Arrival And Celebration.’

The melody started with bass instruments, low and purposeful, then slowly slithered its way up the registers to the highest notes. The number then flourishes into a wondrous exploration of sounds and timing with many interesting percussive techniques and textures utilized to make cool, modern sounds.

“Cody and Scott, thank you for your music,” Mooy said at the end of the virtual show. “We couldn’t have made this semester happen without you.”

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