The Renegade Rip

Choir collaborates for an evening of nonsense

Bertin Rodriguez

Sharida Rejn,, Features Editor

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The Bakersfield College Performing Arts Department presented its first choral concert of the semester, featuring the BC choir and chamber singers, on March 21.

“A Concert of Nonsense” included several pieces of music from around the world that, according to BC director of choral activities Jennifer Garrett, focus on the actual vocal sounds, as opposed to the text, which is often what is emphasized in choral music.

“The idea was to do nonsense pieces from all around the world, it was not so much about the text, but about the effect that each song had,” Garrett said. “We were trying to get the style and flavor of each different nationality and each country with each piece. It was a lot about the rhythms, the style and the sound.”

The concert also featured several guest artists, including the Bakersfield College jazz combo, BC theater professor Randy Messick, who narrated the show, and previous BC director of choral activities Ron Kean.

“Having Dr. Kean on stage was really fun,” said Garrett. “A lot of the students worked with him last year, so they know him, so it was fun to have him come and spend some time with the students, and work with the men’s choir on their piece.

“It was an honor to get to be on stage with him and make music with him, and a lot of the students enjoyed it too.”

Nick Ono, a local tap dancer and BC alumnus, was also among the guest performers in the concert.

“I have danced at many different events, but this is the first time I have ever dance with a choir,” said Ono. “It was wonderful to dance with a full choir and BC’s jazz band. Dancing to live full music always has an extra edge and energy to it that is amazing to dance with.”

Another guest artist featured on the show was Art Sherwyn.

“That was probably the most unique thing about the show,” said Garrett. “An artist came and painted in reaction to what he heard. He was listening to the music and reacting to it on a canvas, and then it was auctioned off at the end.”

Garrett explained that the concept of the theme of the concert came after she wanted the audience to experience something fun and different.

“The concert was a lot about finding the nonsense side of life,” she said. “I thought, ‘how fun would it be to have a stress-free night where people come and they just get to enjoy fun music?’ Often, choir concerts can be very serious, or the repertoire can be classical in nature, and some people don’t really relate to it or don’t understand it, so I wanted to do something that was fun for everyone.”

Colleen Wright, a veteran BC chamber singer, talked about the uniqueness of the concert.

“I think Dr. Garrett wanted to show the choirs that they could have fun and enjoy music while still making it amazing,” Wright said. “This is the first concert that I have been in that has incorporated so many different features.”

Garrett said that the preparations for this concert were a bit challenging at times, but was pleased with the performance.

“It was a totally new and a little bit kind of crazy idea to try to do,” Garrett said. “We were combining choir with instrumental music, art, and with dance. It was a collaboration of the arts.

Because we collaborated so much, the most challenging part about this concert was to try to pull everything together.”

The Bakersfield College choirs will have their next concert on May 9 at Mill Creek Christian Church at 7:30 p.m.

The concert, titled “Oh The Places You’ll Go,” is based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name and will focus on life and its different aspects. The Chamber Singers will also be performing during BC’s 100th graduation ceremony on May 16.

In addition, select students from the choirs will be going to Rome in the summer of 2015, where they will be singing with an international choir and orchestra. Fundraisers are currently taking place for the trip.

“Every Wednesday at the new Yogurt Zone on Oswell Street, if you take in a flier, 20 percent of your purchase goes toward the choirs,” said Garrett.

Flyers are available online at or from any member of the Bakersfield College choirs.

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Choir collaborates for an evening of nonsense