Tag Archives: choir

Life at Bakersfield College Part 2

Quiet Saturday morning, 39 degrees.  Relaxing with coffee and Noah’s bagel and reflecting on the past week.  Crazy, yet hugely satisfying.  Lesley Bond’s tweet says it all.

Lesley Bonds Tweet Dec 4 2015

Check out my previous Life at BC post at


Last evening was the Culinary Christmas Carol event at BC. True to her November 29th email, Jen Garrett and her students transformed the Fireside Room into a winter wonderland.  table decor culinarychristmas carol dec 4 2015

The table decor had carefully hand written the names of those attending carefully hand written.  Here is an example of the beautiful work. The food was yummy with wonderful salads. Chef Eric Sabella and his Food Services team did an outstanding job.

It was a treat seeing Joe Huszti at the event. Jen Garrett at the end of the evening mentioned that she had been really nervous to perform because Huszti was going to be in the audience 🙂

One of my favorite Herb Benham pieces was on the BC 1965 choir.  You will really enjoy it; I promise.

They broke all the rules, they broke some of the rules, they broke enough of the rules to prove they were 18, human and in the midst of a grand adventure.

“They” were the 1965 Bakersfield College choir that spent six weeks, 50 years ago, in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Holland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France and shocked the choral world by winning first prize at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in North Wales.

For more check out….


or my July 22, 2015 blog on the 1965 choir at


or my October 23, 2015 Community Voices.  For some reason the Californian does not seem to have it online.  Thank you Amber for uploading the pdf of the newspaper version on the website under the tab “Outreach and Advocacy”


The music at the Culinary Christmas Carol event was magnificent.  The students and Jen got a standing ovation.

I loved all the pieces in this music-packed evening, non-stop from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. I really wished we captured it all on video.  There were so many that were so beautiful. One of my favorites was Mary Did You Know, a solo sung and played on the ukulele by Kelsey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another that was completely different was Peter Schickele’s P.D.Q Bach piece Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John.   It was a fun song and really well performed; my ear especially picked out the bass.  I so loved it.  Since I do not have the video to share, here is one that I found on Youtube by the UC Berkeley Choir.  I must say however, BC’s choir was much much better.

Then there was the one and only Patt Davis who did a captivating rendition of Santa Baby and threw in “needing a raise” to Dean Mourtzanos.

And there was so many more.  My heart was so full at the end of the evening and that sense has stayed with me through this morning as I listen to several of the songs as I blog.
Georgia on my mind
Lily’s Eyes (Ken and Brady)
He’s Got the Whole World (Regina)
– You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch (Mike)

Towards the end there was a sing-along with lyrics provided at each table.  What a magnificent way for Dr. Garrett to wrap up her fall semester.  One that has been fraught with difficulties; yet, she has stayed engaged giving of herself generously to the students she loves.

Our Choir has been invited by the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, thank you Bryan Burrow, to perform with them on December 19th.  I plan to be there.  How about you?

College Council and Co-chairs: Earlier in the day we had the last College Council meeting with the co-chairs of the 12 campus-wide committees and councils on campus.  The presentations and discussions had rigor and depth.  All of our committees are doing real serious work and it looks like they have a great deal of fun moving large quantities of work with quality. We also had our student panel on chapter 5 of Redesigning America’s Community Colleges put together by Nicky Damania.  Epifania Mendoza, Wesley Lyons, and Clayton Fowler (SGA President) had keen insights and engaged in an interactive discussion with faculty and staff.


And these were only the events I attended.  So much happens in a day – we are BC after all – from the seriously fun to the serious. For example, we had the Active Shooter training with BC’s Public Safety Officers partnering with the Bakersfield Police department.

On Thursday, December 3rd was the Bakersfield College Holiday Party.  Great fellowship after a long hard and productive semester.  Thank you to the team that made this happen– Susan Pinza, Anna Agenjo, Leah Carter, Alice Desilagua, Kristin Rabe and Pat Smith.  Chef Eric Sabella and team again did an outstanding job with hor d’oeuvres and sweet treats.  My favorite was the Cauliflower preparation. Chef, can we have it back again next year? And Vienna Battistoni thank you for your dedication to BC for over 30 years.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nov 2015 with Emily Pam Boyles' granddaughter

Sonya Christian with Emily

I don’t think I mentioned that our Men’s Basketball team is having a great season.  Went to their games over the Thanksgiving break.  Just phenomenal. Here I am at the Basketball game with Pam Boyles’ granddaughter, Emily takes after her grandma.  Smart, engaged, and with tons of energy.  Seriously, it is always wonderful see Pam and Robert out there, supporting our BC programs.

Oh, btw, before I wrap up and head out to my exercise class this morning, i must mention the wonderful work that our Outreach Office continues to do.  I walked in Monday morning and saw this banner in the the lobby area of the administration building.  It had the final exam schedule for next week.  The banner, done remarkably well, in BC colors, so helpful to have front and center for students.  We are BC!

Final Exam Schedule Dec 2015




A Concert of Nonsense

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!