Los Medanos College’s music department will be featuring a number of performances from both the vocal and the instrumental group this spring 2017 semester.
Luis Zuniga, the resident concert band instructor at LMC, has shown great enthusiasm in exposing his students to more performances.
“When I started here last semester, I didn’t know who I was going to get; I didn’t know who was going to show up for band and I didn’t know what the level was,” confessed Zuniga, “But very quickly, I learned that the level was very high and that we could do more than one performance this semester.”
Zuniga has already began scheduling four different performances for his concert band. The earliest one is Feb. 10 at 9:45 a.m. in the LMC’s Recital Hall for the Visual and Performing Arts Festival.
“VAPA is like a career focus day activity, the focus being visual and performing arts, so dramatic arts, graphics, communication, journalism, music, recording arts and studio art are the majors that are going to be highlighted that day,” said Zuniga, “The only group performing however, is the concert band. We are going to showcase to the high school students in the area so they know we have a performing arts program.”
The VAPA day event will be free and open to any students from nearby high schools including Deer Valley, Heritage, Liberty, Freedom and Pittsburg to attend.
Following that, the LMC band has also been planning to host another two performances March 30 and April 1. Both concerts will start at 7:30 p.m. and will be located in the Recital Hall.
Zuniga said has been waiting to hear back from Concord High School, as he was interested in having the concord band join the LMC band for the March 30 concert. The April 1 concert will feature high school bands from the East Bay as well.
Zuniga stated that one of his goals is to have the music program at LMC grow and hopes by exposing Bay Area high schools to the Band would help him in doing so.
“I think that we’re starting to make way in the sense that the program is starting to grow,” he continued “I’m hoping someday soon, we can have a 50 piece band and a 60 piece orchestra.”
Zuniga has also made plans on having the LMC band play at the San Francisco State University on May 11.
“I know the band director there in San Francisco,” said Zuniga, “He actually came and worked with our band for a day last semester. He enjoyed working with us, and he invited us to go and do a concert with them out there since he liked the level of our group and how well we were playing.”
Zuniga continued, “I think it will give the students a different perspective on how you’re going to do in the ‘real world’ when you leave LMC and become a professional musician because that’s as close to a professional level as you can be … I’m hoping that the students can get a different experience and play with a well-known concert band — with San Francisco state. It will be an opportunity for individual growth as musicians as well,”
Jazz Studio band instructor Steve Ernest has expressed his desire to have his band perform outside of LMC as well.
“As long as the band is good with it we’re going to the Cal State East Bay jazz festival on April 8 and we’re going to perform there, get comments and meets some the other bands,” Said Ernest, “I’ve got almost a full band this semester and I’m excited,” said Ernest, “I thought last semester turned out pretty well, I want to build on that and get the band to be event tighter, expressive and have these guys feel really good about what they’re doing.”
Ernest had further expressed his interest in future collaborative performances with other bands.
“I’d also liked to do a couple joint shared concerts with the band director here at LMC so I’m going to ask him about that,” said Ernest, “I’d also like contact any of the local groups here, either middle school or high school, about having a shared concert.”
There will also be three major events sponsored by the choral department that will occur at LMC.
Vocal instructor Silvester Henderson shared that there will be a “Post Civil Rights & African American Music” event featuring Dr. James Lance Taylor from the University of San Francisco March 28 at 7:30 p.m. Following that, the 23rd Annual Gospel Community Celebration Concert will also be taking place May 6 at 7 p.m.
Henderson also added that there will be a speaker for the Academic Scholarship: “Music, the gateway into Higher Education” May 16 at 7 p.m.
“We sponsor events with local artist, high schools, faith based organization, symphonic orchestras and bands, universities, noted celebrities, and local festivals,” continued Henderson, “Although we serve East County, our goal is to continue to validate our area as one of the finest music programs in the United States. One of our goals is create a Community Performing Art Performance Series.”