Sunday, December 15, 2019 — From the soulful writing of Carole King to the dignified landscape orchestrations of Carrie Lane Gruselle, LAMusArt’s Winter Concert featured female trailblazers in music in honor of LAMusArt founder Pearle Irene Odell on its 75th Anniversary year. The Tuition-Free Music Ensembles of Jazz, Strings, Choir, Mariachi and Youth Orchestra showcased songwriters and performers of the 20th and 21st Century who helped set the stage for female artists.
Opening the show in a display of skill and rhythm, the Jazz Ensemble performed the most iconic salsa tune of our time, blessed by the talents of the Queen of Salsa with “La Vida es un Carnaval” and the all-time hit “Tu Y Las Nubes” featuring Alejandra and Azucena Ortega. The intricate rhythms and coordination of the Ensemble moved the audience as concertgoers moved in their seats and applauded the strengths of soloists Matthew de La Torre, Kevin Hernandez, and brothers Leonardo and Alejandro Miranda.
Following the Jazz Ensemble, the Strings I and II Ensembles entered the stage with confidence and poise to perform traditional and folk tunes that showcased their newly acquired skills in bowing and technique. Strings III took the audience to a new nation with the Bosnian Folk Song “Na Prijestolju Sjedu Sultan”. Then, led by Strings Teaching Artist Timothy Maloof to perform the Third Movement of Vivaldi’s “Concerto in A Minor”, the Advanced Violin class took the stage and performed the challenging piece in unison.
LAMusArt Choir members showcased Sara Bareilles’ composition talents by opening with a medley of her musical “Waitress” followed by “The Color Purple” and Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. The choir, under the new direction of Lori Pasqualino, closed out their set with a powerhouse rendition of King’s “Where You Lead” and a medley of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”. Vocalists Zoe Garcia, Cadiz Salazar, and Natalie Osorio displayed a sense of earnest compassion and finesse with their sentimental solos.
LAMusArt’s Strings Program is one of five Tuition-Free Ensembles, formed originally as an in-school program which grew to host four levels of musicians. Several students returned to the stage to perform with the LAMusArt Mariachi Ensemble. Filling the theatre with 25 young musicians, Claudia Garcia conducted “Amarga Navidad” by Amalia Mendoza, “Aires del Mayab” by Estela Nunez, and the emotional “Amor Eterno” as performed by Rocio Durcal. Soloists Genesis, Daisy, Alejandra and Ariana received roaring applause as their strong voices filled the Proscenium Theatre.
As the ELAC stage crew pulled the main curtain out to reveal the LAMusArt Youth Orchestra, Carrie Lane Gruselle’s “Three Riders Overture” exhibited the strings section’s dynamics in an Americana-classical melody. Orchestra-favorite “Callirhoé”, written by early 20th Century French Composer and Pianist Cecil Chaminade, moved the audience with beautiful cascading melodies. As the Orchestra finale, “The Sound of Music” medley recalled the incomparable voice of Julie Andrews in the title song then closing with “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” as a reminder to continue blazing a trail for creatives who will follow.
The LAMusArt Tuition-Free Music Ensembles offers weekly instruction in instrumental music and singing to provide a thorough music education for young musicians, teaching musicianship, technique and teamwork. To join an ensemble, visit LAMusArt.org or attend a rehearsal in January.
LAMusArt’s mission is to provide access to affordable, tuition-free and sequential arts education programs for the community of East Los Angeles to inspire creativity, foster artistic expression and create communal engagement in the arts. Since 1945, LAMusArt has been a place for youth in the community to engage in music learning irrespective of race, color, aptitude or ability to pay.
Photos by CBGRAPHY