Celebrating the Choral Concert

The Bakersfield College Combined Choir ends the concert in an epic finale performance of “This is Halloween,” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Aubrianna Martinez, News Editor

Bakersfield College hosted the institute’s choir, chamber singers, and chorus with numerous special guests for an unforgettable Fall Choral Concert on Oct. 27 and 28. 

The concert contained a mix of music familiar for this time of year, as well as some that were not as easily recognizable, but all were wonderfully performed and well worth it. 

Conductor Dr. Jennifer M. Garrett and the performers held the audience in the palm of their hands, changing the tone of the concert from slow and inviting to hauntingly operatic before switching beautifully to lively and popular songs of the season, including a performance from one of the special guests: dance group DAT Krew Academy.

The audience members on the first night of the performance were greeted by an eerie announcer’s voice belonging to Mike Worthing, who is a member of both the Renegade Chorus as well as one of the chamber singers. Garrett also credited Worthing as the musical arranger for “Wanting Memories” and “This is Halloween.”

Worthing truly set the stage in terms of mood as the audience quickly grew accustomed to his thematic-yet-timely warnings and announcements about sitting next to strangers and wearing ‘festive’ masks. 

The performance highlighted how certain things do seem to be on the path of normalcy once again, yet the concert was clear in its intention not to make the pandemic any less real to the audience, but to lighten the hearts of those in attendance.

Between songs when performers changed the stage and costumes, Garrett spoke to the audience directly on the subject of how things have changed by referencing the two virtual concerts they have had since the start of the pandemic. 

“I highly encourage you to watch what they were able to do despite incredibly challenging times—sometimes it was 104 degrees when we made one of our videos, another time it was 41 degrees as we were on the outdoor theater stage rehearsing.”

“These students you see here before you have been so dedicated, and I couldn’t say enough about them,” Garrett continued before introducing the finale song of the concert, an all-cast member spectacular performance of “This is Halloween.” 

“I asked the students coming back, what they wanted this concert to be and they said they wanted it to be a celebration. They wanted it to be joy,” Garrett explained. 

Quickly after this, the cast took to the stage in what can only be described as an act of extreme excitement. With boisterous singing, the audience was encouraged to sing along, what many would call a classic for the season.

While the concert rings with joy, it would be remiss to not remark upon the songs that spoke to the yearning emotionality that often is a part of depictions of this season, and the other holidays besides Halloween that are celebrated.

After Garrett recounted the Mexican practice of celebrating El Dia de Los Muertos and the importance of honoring deceased relatives, BC student, chamber singer, and member of the Renegade Chorus Mauro Laris stepped onto the stage in an incredibly moving solo performance as he sang “Remember Me” from Disney’s “Coco” (2017). As he sang, the other singers uniformly took to the stage to add to a magnificent piece of art created by one of the chamber singers, Chrissy Foth.

The two virtual concerts can be found on BC Choirs YouTube page, Bakersfield College Choirs, titled “Becoming Us,” and “I Lived.”