Orchestra returns, gets a renovated home


The orchestra has had to practice nearly three years in odd locations. Now, their home is, once again in the refurbished indoor theater.

Darlene Mangrum, Reporter

The first instrumental concert featuring the Bakersfield College Orchestra and Band was held Oct. 29 in the BC’s indoor theater.

BC professor Tim Heasley conducted the show and was glad to get a chance to hold a performance in the refurbished building. For nearly three years, the band has had to practice and play in many different places all over the campus.

“Each space had its own set of challenges, and it was logistically tough to not be situated next door when it came to moving equipment, chairs, stands, large percussion instruments, etc,” he said.

He said playing in the other areas did provide some positive results.

“Bringing the band to new locations created some positive side effects, attracted people who may not have attended in the past, and created new collaborations between different ensembles (and even different departments) on campus,” Heasley said.

He also said he had always been happy with the facilities offered at BC and personally enjoyed older spaces even if they are out of date, but for the department and the college as a whole, the renovation has created limitless possibilities.

When asked what it was liked to perform one of the first concerts in the new theater, Heasley replied, “It was humbling. The theater is a state of the art space, and to have the opportunity to conduct the first band to perform on that stage was a once in a lifetime experience.”

Heasley went on to say, “I traveled the world as a musician in a Broadway show, and I would put the SPArC up with almost any of the venues I performed in.” SPArC is the new acronym for the renovated building, the Simonsen Performing Arts Center.

Heasley invited everyone to the holiday show on Dec. 10 where once again the BC Orchestra and the BC Band will collaborate and perform in the new theater.

The conductor of the Bakersfield College Orchestra, Lisa Beringrud, said, “The symphony has been asleep for such a long time and I’m so excited to be able to get the orchestra gathered again. I have been teaching music for over 20 years, and I feel privileged and honored to be able to reassemble the college orchestra and perform in this beautiful, modern, state of the art theater.”

Bakersfield College alumnus Alex Navarro, 34, was the featured solo violinist of the evening. He was a graduate of Bakersfield College before he moved on to further his education at Long Beach State.

Navarro has been playing the viola and violin for 28 years and teaches music out of his home. Navarro has also been involved with the Bakersfield Youth Symphony for almost two years.

“I was honored to be asked to be the featured soloist in tonight’s show, especially in this wonderful new theater,” Navarro said.

Some of the music performed by the BC orchestra was “Symphony No. 41 in C (“Jupiter),” written by Mozart; and “Autumn from The Four Seasons Op.8, No. 3,” written by Antonio Vivaldi.

Some of the music performed by the BC band was “Linden Lea,” written by Ralph Vaughan Williams and arranged by John W. Stout, and “Hymn to the Fallen,” written by John Williams and arranged by Michael Sweeney.

Jeanette Wilson, 21, and a music major, said, “I enjoyed the show so much, it was amazing and so is this theater. I actually performed with the choir here last Friday (Oct. 24) and had a great time.” She plans on bringing some friends and family to the holiday show in December.

Maria Bran, 20-year old biology major, said she was so glad that the orchestra is back and plans on supporting them every chance she gets. Bran also mentioned that the theater was amazing with its beautiful details and comfortable styling. “I’m already excited about bringing my mom to see the holiday show on Dec. 10,” Bran said.