By Karin Patiño
CSU Bakersfield’s Chamber Orchestra and Symphonic Band performed at the Doré Theatre on Nov. 13.
Opening up the night was the Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Leo Sakomoto. The orchestra performed pieces by Jeff Manookian, Edward MacDowell, Johan Svendsen and Gustav Holst.
Although it was a petite orchestra with only 10 players, the combination of the violins, cellos, basses and viola filled the theater with their soft and superb sound. The arrangements of the evening varied from mellow, grandeur songs to later performing a downright jig. Holst’s “Themes from St. Paul’s Suite” part one is literally titled “Jig.” Quite catchy, if you ask me.
The orchestra’s members showcased skill and precision whilst working among such a bevy of strings with no frets on the instrument necks to add any guidance. Level of impressed: through the roof.
After four songs, though, the tune of the evening changed. While the orchestra exited stage right, the Symphonic Band entered to round off the evening. Grander in size and instrument variety, the symphonic band filled the stage from front to back. While the chamber orchestra blessed the audience’s eardrums with peaceful and serene melodies, the band absolutely shattered it with mega hard pizazz, in an incredible way.
Performing works by Caesar Giovannini, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Clare Grundman and Gordon Jacob, the Symphonic Band kept a continuous raucous boom throughout the room. The flutes, the clarinets, the trumpets and everything beyond showered the room with big, boisterous sounds that absolutely filled my heart with joy. But maybe, most likely, I’m just being a biased band geek.
Halfway through the set, guest conductor Carlos Vasquez stepped out to guide the band during Grundman’s “American Folk Rhapsody No. 2.” Switching back with Sakomoto, Jacob’s “An Original Suite” was the closing number on the repertoire.
Sakomoto was all gusto and zest when conducting the musicians, but none of this would be possible without the hard work of the players. Hours of practice was evident in their show.
“I can go on and on about how proud of them I am. It is an absolute pleasure to work with these students and the community,” said Sakomoto.