Just because we officially cut the ribbon this week on the newly-renovated Simonsen Performing Arts Center, that doesn’t mean the facility was sitting idle for all those weeks leading up to the grand opening. Directed by BC’s tremendously talented Dr. Jennifer M. Garrett, “Finding Joy in the Journey” was a celebration of the many ways people find joy in their lives. It explored a variety of diverse themes, including childhood imagination, the beauty of nature, sacrifice & determination and the comfort of home. Featuring the Bakersfield College Choir, Chamber Singers, and Professor Robby Martinez on the flute, the concert also debuted a new composition by Dr. Ron Kean.
In keeping with the center’s commitment to showcasing many different types of events, the concert wasn’t just limited to showcasing the craft of song. Attendees were exposed to artwork created by BC students being exhibited adjacent to the lobby, while local dance studio Experience Dance (welcome returnees from last year’s Spring concert) accompanied the choir during the night’s opening piece “Wonder.”
Structured around those universal themes, the concert had a very fresh and unique feel. By giving the performance a finely-honed narrative, the experience truly felt like a journey! Each section was introduced with a quote coinciding with the specific theme. For example, the opening section “Imagination & Discovery” was preceded by a quote from Chee Vai Tang, “If we all could see the world through the eyes of a child, we would see the magic in everything.”
In total, 14 songs were performed, spanning the seven themes of Imagination & Discovery, Love, Faith & Prayer, Music, Determination & Sacrifice, Nature and Peace & Home. Each one was absolutely captivating and beautiful.
The highlight of the night, however, was the grand finale performance. Dr Garrett gave a brief introduction to the night’s final composition “Homeward Bound.” Building slowly, the piece crescendoed in a room-filling resonance of beautiful voices. Check it out:
Our choral program here at Bakersfield College is truly an amazing one, filled with talented performers and inspired faculty members. I can’t wait to see their performance in Rome this summer.