Applied Music benefit concert showcases shining talents

A violist was missing from the Broad Stage on Friday night.

When the ensemble that was set to perform "Tide Pools" by Louis Stephenson stepped on to the stage, violist Gracie McAleer was not among them.

McAleer, in dramatic fashion, walked onto the stage a few minutes later, receiving a warm welcome from her waiting audience. She drew a few chuckles when another student hurried after her to give her sheet music she forgot backstage.

McAleer was one of many Santa Monica College students who performed in the Applied Music Benefit Concert last Friday. Held each semester, the event showcases some of SMC's top student musicians.

The concert featured 23 student performers as well as four original compositions from students including the aforementioned "Tide Pools" and the closing number "Rhapsody for Violin, Cello, Clarinets and Piano" by pianist Taylor Bredberg.

"Bredberg, the composer, is amazing and that piece is a monster. Since I got my bass clarinet, I've been bugging him to write a piece for me, write a piece for me," clarinetist Julian Yapkowitz said.

Each of the Applied Music students received a scholarship which will help them pursue their academic careers at the schools of their choice.

Some of the performers knew where they are going with the money and had an idea of where in the music industry they would like to find themselves. Yapkowitz is transferring to California State University, Northridge and wants to find, "A steady job in an orchestra."

Others, like vocalist Nina Cremer, just want to be able to continue their craft.

"I don't have a specific school set out to transfer to. If I stay here then I'd like to consider USC and UCLA," Cremer said. "I just want to perform."

While the performers had mixed ideas about their futures in the music industry, drummer Cameron Erickson took a more existential view.

"With music it's not about following the built lines in life, but exploring your own way," Erickson said.

One of the highlights of the night was vocalist Hongling Yin's rendition of "I'm Old Fahsioned." The jazz vocalist did not force herself onto the song, but was not afraid to dance with the tune when necessary.

Also of note was the choral performance of "Bring Us, O Lord God." The chilling arrangement of poet John Donne's Elizibethian prayer by Louis Deruddere, relying heavily on rounds and staccato pacing, brought the hymn to life.

For SMC music department chair Dr. James Martin, the show was a showcase of the talent in the school.

"It shows that we've got a lot of young musicians who are growing up to be somebody," Martin said.