By Zakary Griego:
The “War and Peace” Music Recital performed by the staff and students of Amarillo College’s music program was truly enjoyable to attend. The recital took place early in the evening inside the Concert Hall Theater Feb. 10. With a decent sized audience in attendance, the performers did not disappoint.
As I found my seat pre-show, my attention was pulled toward the huge white background that contrasted with a massive black piano at center stage. Also, as the stage crew was setting up the instruments and chairs for the first act to begin, I noticed they too were wearing all black. I thought this was a nice little touch that complimented the theme of the recital well. The recital itself was made up of nine individual songs.
The show began with a short dialogue from Mary Jane Johnson, a music professor. “We want you to feel what composers feel during times of war,” Johnson said.
The first real song of the recital, written for piano and flute by a German-Jewish composer in 1927, drew the audience in and really set the tone. The piano specifically stood out in this song (as it did throughout the recital) and you could almost feel the emotion coming off the tips of music professor and pianist Diego Caetano’s fingers.
The next notable song was written inside a World War II concentration camp. It was described by the composer as “Tangle of rainbows, for the angel who announces the end of time.” The emotion of the song was captured well by all four quartet members, however one stood out. Russell Steadman on the cello was captivating and I couldn’t take my eyes off his passionate performance. The ominous tones of the cello accompanied by the bright notes of the piano made this song one of the best of the night.
Another memorable piece featured a quartet of guitars. The name of the piece, “Spanish Dance,” captured the mood with smooth, high pitched notes from the guitars that made me feel relaxed. I couldn’t stop myself from nodding my head and tapping my foot.
They say save the best for last, and that’s exactly what happened. The final song, “Wise One,” was my favorite of the night. “A song of cultural celebration, a song of peace,” Jim Laughlin, a music professor, said. Judging by the many times the audience broke into applause during the performance, I think it was an overall favorite.
AC’s annual Music Faculty Recital was a success. The whole performance was well thought out. From the list of songs to the outfits of the performers, the music faculty got it right.