Spring is in the air, and on April 21 music was in the air too. A half an hour before the Choral Concert, the Yuba College Choir began arriving.
The men were dressed in white button up shirts and slacks, only leaving their ties undone and shirts untucked until the last possible second. The women had a makeup party before coming to campus, only to go straight into the dressing room to do their hair. They all wanted to look their best for the audience.
Rehearsal started. The choir and their director, Professor Lamont Pinckney, worked out little remaining problems and fine-tuned their performance. The choir memorized their places on stage. The pianist, Milena Hmeleva, was told when to start. The crew practiced the lighting. Everyone began feeling a little more comfortable with the coming performance.
At 7:30 pm the crowd began arriving, took their seats and most of them waited patiently for the music to begin. Backstage, nervous choral students warmed up their voices and put the final touches on their outfits. As the lights dimmed in the theater, the choir and Mr. Pinckney took their places on stage, and the music began.Beautiful sounds of classical German composures, opera and American spirituals, filled the air throughout the night. Those who attended the show were not disappointed. The family of the performers, who were in the audience, could not have been more proud of their students.
The performance included some very difficult pieces, written in Latin and German. “I find it intriguing to sing in a new language,” said Seth Ball, a choir student at Yuba College. “It helps me sometimes to not know what I’m singing about.” Ballexplained that singing a song that is translated from the original language makes it hard to get a feel for the emotion in the piece of music, but not having to worry about what the words themselves mean makes it easier to concentrate on the singing itself.
The choir started by singing seven songs, classical pieces ranging from year 1157 to 1934. After intermission four pieces were sung as solos or duets. Stephanie Lawson sang “If Ever I Would Leave You” by Frederick Loewe. Next, Rochelle Capps enticed the crowd with “The Trees on the Mountain” by Carylye Floyd. “The Impossible Dream” by Mitch Leigh was sung by Cameron Shorts. Then, Cameron Shorts and Rochelle Capps sang “All I Ask of You” by Andrew Lloyd Webber together.After the duets, the choir sang some
American Spirituals together including Amazing Grace, featuring Ada Schmidt, Deep River, and Nobody Knows. They closed with “Ave Verum Corpus” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
After at least an hour of vocal arrangements, the performers were relieved to know that it was finally over and that they had done a good job.
The Choral Concert was Pinckney’s first local performance since he was hired as a music professor and the musical director for the Yuba College Chamber Choir. Damian Oliver, a choir student, said, “This is the first year we’ve had a choir here (since Joaquina Johnson retired).” Ball said, “Our music program has definitely been growing. (Our choir) has become one of the best choirs I’ve ever heard.” Some students say that they did not understand Pinckney’s teaching techniques at first but they say they have come to respect his ideas and his style.
“I like him. I think he is very good at what he does,” said Oliver of Pinckney. “He’s picked the right music for this choir.”