On March 21st, The Bakersfield College Performing Arts Department presented “A Concert of Nonsense”, a joint effort between the BC Choir, Jazz Combo, and local performers. It was held at the Canyon Hills Assembly of God church in Northeast Bakersfield at 7:30 PM.
Walking into the beautiful building graciously provided by the Canyon Hills Assembly, you immediately heard the spirited sounds of the Bakersfield Jazz Combo playing away at their instruments. After a short while, Choir Director Dr. Jennifer Garrett came out to greet the audience, and introduce Randy Messick, to narrate the rest of the show.
The Bakersfield College choir enters the stage while “William Tell Overture”, a song many may recognize as the bombastic horn-filled theme to The Lone Ranger, booms throughout the chamber. You felt as if you were embarking on a wild journey, galloping away to adventure.
The choir then bursts into a Brazilian Folk song, called “O Sapo”, which means “Oh, Toad” in Portuguese. Now, the theme of the concert begins to become clear. While it certainly would make sense to those who know the language, to most of the audience the lyrics are nonsensical– allowing for a different appreciating towards the sound. The men of the choir then go silent, as the Women’s Chorus performs “Three Ways To Vacuum Your House II”, a piece composed of gibberish hums and “noises” of tribal World Music.
The Men’s Chorus were up next, and Jose Flores starts strong with a spirited beatboxing composition called “A Whole Lot of Nonsense”. Here Dr Garrett’s fantastic and daring direction is truly evident with the inclusion of such a non-traditional “vocal instrument”. The execution was excellent, with the audience exploding in excitement. Following Jose’s animated performance, the Men’s Chorus performed a West African Dance Song titled “Kpanlongo” and finished with another humming piece called “Tjak!”.
After a brief intermission Dr. Garrett introduced local painter and artist Art Sherwyn, who would be producing a painting live onstage to the accompaniment of the remaining musical pieces. The BC Chamber Singers then took the stage, and delved into “Animal Crackers Vol I”, a fanciful song about a panther, cow and firefly. Watching Mr Sherwyn splash and swirl paint across his canvas to the music was wonderful.
As words can only do so much justice to music, the following pieces are included in video form: “Mouth Music”, “El Hambo” and “Jabberwocky”. You can see here for yourself the awesome display of multiple live art forms on one stage.
The show concluded with Phil Collin’s “Trashin the Camp” from the Disney film Tarzan, with various members of the Men’s Choir performing solos. Nick Ono, a BC alumnus and dance instructor for Experience Dance, performed a rousing piece of tap dancing to the song. Then, doors to the room then burst open, and the rest of the BC Choir walked down the aisles towards the stage, finishing the song as a group. The audience burst into a standing ovation.
However, the night did not end there. Jennifer welcomed Michael O’Doherty to the stage to auction off Mr. Sherwyn’s vibrant painting. O’Doherty invited Jose Flores to join him as a number of audience members made offers on the painting. It was successfully sold, with all proceeds going to the Bakersfield College Performing Arts Department courtesy of Mr. Sherwyn.
“A Concert of Nonsense” was definitely a fantastic and fun experience, filled with surprises and excitement. Jen Garrett is the best. The Bakersfield College Choirs’ next concert “Oh the Places You’ll Go” will be held on May 9th at 7:30 PM in the same location, courtesy of Canyon Hills Assembly of God. If it is anything like this concert was, you definitely won’t want to miss it!