13 faculty members show off skills in gala

Victor Diaz

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if a number of music teachers got together and performed on stage? On March 14, it happened.

The Cerritos College Music department presented the 27th semi-annual faculty gala, which featured 13 faculty members of the department.

The list of performers included Dr. David Betancourt, Music department Chair, choir teacher Dr. Anna DeMichele and Dr. Christine Sotomayor Lopez, Director of Cerritos’ Applied Music Program.

The night began with the original arrangement, “Gala Blues,” which featured Betancourt on trumpet and Mr. Martin Torres on bass. Before the performance, Betancourt informed the audience that he and Torres had not rehearsed the piece at all, which the audience found humorous.

Torres said later, “It was an impromptu kind of thing. We just started playing off each other and nothing was really written down or rehearsed.”

The six pieces that followed all featured Dr. Lopez as a piano accompanist, as well as part of a duet with fellow pianist Sung Ae Lee. During the span of these pieces, Lopez accompanied violinst Tammy Tsai, cellist Manon Robertshaw and vocalist Rhonda Dillon.

Dillon described the first song she sang as being about the idea of love being described by someone who “has her head screwed on properly,” whereas the person describing love in the second song was quite the opposite.

Next was a performance by Chanson du Soir, a husband-wife duo featuring Mr. David Isaacs on guitar and Chelsea Camille as a soprano vocalist. Chanson du Soir performed a piece entitled, “Music, When Soft Voices Die,” a piece that was originally composed for the duo, according to Isaacs.

Following Chanson du Soir’s performance, pianist Fang-Fang Shi performed two pieces, one by Claude Debussy and the other by Franz Liszt.

Dr. Lopez returned to play “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, Op. 129,” alongside David Lopez on clarinet and Dr. DeMichele as a vocalist.

The night concluded with an interpretation of Sting’s “Fragile” by a group consisting of guitarist Charles Gutierrez, the returning Torres on bass, Jim Simmons on piano and Mike Richardson on drums.

The group also performed “Room 335,” a song that the crowd really seemed to enjoy. The song featured individual solos by all four members of the group.

When describing the night’s performances, student audience member Josh Borup said, “It was great. There were a lot of good variations in music and a lot of musical genius as well.”

Fellow audience member Jennifer Ornelas said, “I thought it was really cool. I didn’t know (the performers) had this much talent before this.”

All proceeds of the concert go towards the music program’s scholarship fund.