‘It’s a Matter of Life and Death’ awes the crowd


Veronica Morely

Joshua Fisher, Reporter

Bakersfield College choir director Jennifer M. Garrett has outdone herself with a pivotal and breathtaking performance during the “It’s a Matter of Life & Death” BC College Choir and Chamber Singers concert Oct. 21 at the Indoor Theater.

The concert, separated into two pieces, first covered notable aspects of life with uplifting songs with content that stirs awakening, worship, humor, chaos, love, family and legacy. The second half of the concert dived deeply into the aspects of death after the intermission where the subject matter was on sacrifice, peace, pain and perseverance.

After the intermission was over, the students enjoyed two special performances from Linda Snoddy, who played a powerful piece with her bagpipes while a screen behind her played through a slideshow of angst-ridden pictures.

The other was special guest Naomi Rivera from Experience Dance Studio, who danced a standard-setting dance routine, in which she revolved gracefully around a chair that she used as a prop for her performance.

The concert-goers were handed programs with the lyrics and titles of the songs. The program also had quotes that helped define the mood of the song, such as the quote for the last song before the intermission “We Rise Again” from the famous Southern Baptist evangelist Billy Graham: “The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s lie, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”

During the intermission, the audience was asked to participate in the concert by writing the name of someone who has made a difference in their life on a place card. White placecards were used to honor people who are still living and black place cards were used to honor people who are no longer with us, but still live on inside the heart.

While the audience was encouraged to do this, they also were able to engage in the lives of the members of the Bakersfield College choir and chamber singers by reading the place cards of the people that have influenced their own lives. About half of the choir students used white place cards, the other half of the choir students used black place cards. The cards were set on display at the entrance of the indoor theatre.

Garrett said each of the students dedicated the concert to that person on that card. At the end of the program there was a section called director’s notes. Explaining the idea behind, “It’s a Matter of Life & Death.” Just over a year ago, Garrett’s mother finished her battle with cancer that lasted for seven years. Just two hours after she had left her mother’s side, she received the call from her dad that she had passed. Garrett got the idea for the concert that day as she stood in front of the College Choir for rehearsal. She knew the only way to honor her mother properly was through music.

Garrett said her dad, who is from Washington state and has seen most of her performances, would agree with the concert-goers that this has been there favorite concert performance so far.

Speaking with some of the students each of them definitely had their own outlook on what the performance meant to them. Humberto Rodriguez who is on his first semester of Choir at BC says that compared to his high school experience with choir, he was way more in tune with the BC college choir. Angela Caffee, who is also on her first semester with the college choir, said, “I thought that there would be moments where we are singing and we impact the audience, but after the show I really think that the whole entire show impacted the audience from beginning to end.”

Markelle Taylor, a third semester student with the College Chamber, said that after the show that he was on “cloud nine” because of the emotional output of the show, and that he was extremely happy interacting with the audience after the show. Taylor also said he’s excited for the Chamber Singers’ trip to Australia coming up next summer.

Each of the students of the choir had something emotionally unique to give concerning their concert performance for It’s a Matter of Life & Death and that is what made the experience so taxing for some of the students during rehearsals. All of the students met with their sections and practiced extra hours, said Garrett, and working with them has been a learning experience in which she has grown each year.