The 31st gala raised money for student scholarships and had an attendance boost

Students got to see their teachers perform in another setting besides the classroom on Sunday.

The Faculty Gala had live music and entertainment to raise money for student scholarships at the Burnight Center.

It was the 31st semi-annual event of its kind, with Cerritos College faculty playing the respective instruments it teaches in the classroom in front of the audience at the theater.

Instruments from the guitar to the cello to the piano and even a vocal performance were presented at the gala.

David Betancourt enjoys the exposure the gala provides for the teachers on campus.

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase them, ” the Director of Bands and Orchestra said. “It’s like a win-win. A lot of people don’t realize just how talented our faculty [is] … It shows what [the faculty] is capable of and it’s pretty amazing to watch.”

Conrad Immel, a part-time vocal instructor at Cerritos College, sung along to Charles Ives poems while piano instructor Christine Lopez provided the melody in the background.

Immel always enjoys a chance to perform, he noted.

“I’ve sung at practically every Faculty Gala. I’ve sung lots and lots of different songs,” he said.

Immel is at his 17th year at Cerritos College. He first performed in Germany in 1966 and has been in love with it ever since.

He is coming off his “blues” performance from last semester’s Faculty Gala.

Diana Parmeter was a guest cello player at the gala and noted slight nerves crept up on her in the beginning, but her seven-minute performance alongside Paul DaSilva on the piano quickly eliminated that.

“I get a little nervous, but I’ve played my pieces with a pianist a quite a few times, so I feel pretty comfortable,” she said.

A comical moment was when Parmeter had the wrong bow to accompany the cello and the piece she was playing for, so she had to run off the stage and get the correct one.

The audience laughed it off.

With the laughter, vocal performances and instruments sounding off, the audience was there to embrace all of it, as Miguel Arrazola, a music major, was there for that very reason.

He has a passion for music, “I expect the best, man. It’s my first time coming here and I was really excited. I heard the event from all the teachers and I just love the passion I get from music. It’s just good vibes and really peaceful.”

Some students attended the gala to see some of their own music teachers perform.

Johnny Rodriguez, a commercial music major, was in attendance at the Faculty Gala for his third time and was there in order to see his teacher Andrew Maz play the guitar.

“He had been talking about it for a long time and it’s good just to finally see him do it.”

Vanessa Vidal, an anthropology major, was also there to see her piano teacher Greg Schreiner perform.

It’s money well spent for some students to see their instructors perform, but some will find it’s money spent going full circle.

All proceeds went toward raising money for music students; $15 were charged per ticket via general admission at the door.

“It’s a great way for us to give to them,” Betancourt said.

He said there was a slight bump in the amount of people that attended the event from last semester, with the number jumping from “about 70 to 100 plus.”

There was slight trouble getting people to attend the gala in the past, he noted.

“I noticed that in recent years there’s been a little bit of a decrease in attendance, so we made an effort this time around and wondered what else we can do,” he said.

Betancourt said that the Music Department utilized media outlets to gain exposure for the Faculty Gala, in addition to teachers promoting the event during classes.

This attributes to the bigger attendance for this semester, he said, and it’s also a great experience for both performers and attendees.

“Everybody wins. More people get to experience the live music and the performers really enjoy playing in front of a full house. It’s a very different feeling.”

Teachers who performed were:

  • Andrew Maz — Guitar

  • Christine Lopez and Greg Schreiner — Piano

  • Michael Higgins — Guitar

  • Adam Schroeder — Baritone Saxophone

  • Conrad Immel — Baritone and Christine Lopez — Piano

  • Paul DaSilva — Piano and Diana Parmeter — Cello

  • Sung Ae Lee and Christine Lopez — Piano