Concert at Pierce brings students from the seats to the stage

Student performers captivated a crowded audience in the Music Room 3400 for the Concert at Pierce event Thursday, May 15, with more than 20 students participating in an amazing display of jazz ensembles, original songs and even a theatrical number.

The second to last of the Pierce Student Concerts, hosted by Music Adjunct James Bergman and Instructor Wayne Skip Perkins, offered several never-before-seen musical acts in the usual Concert at Pierce environment.

“We have all different levels of players as you can see,” Bergman said. “There’s a lot of chaos, traffic and talent here today.”

True to his word, the room bustled with activity from audience members and the performers themselves, with a program with 13 routines that each brought their own personal flavor and style.

Ani Khajadourian, 21-year-old music major, played her original song with vocals and guitar titled “Man Named Trouble,” a tale of fiery, forbidden romance and the deleterious attraction that comes with it.

Khajadourian’s style of music can be compared to that of a mixture of Nancy Sinatra and guitarist Kim Deal, with moving vocals and powerful emotion. When drawing inspiration for her songs, she sinks deep from her musical pallet.

“I tried to emphasize some key words when writing this song,” Khajadourian said. “It was a mixture of a lot of blues and rock and folk songs.”

Pulling inspiration from different areas of life, 27-year-old undecided major Thais Alberto decided to perform Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child,” a soulful melody about finding strength in life even when you’re on your last limb.

“I grew up in the church,” Alberto said. “I’ve been broke lately, so I wanted to sing something uplifting.”

Perkins allowed his students to perform in a band formation and was astounded at the progression that his pupils made during the semester.

“I thought it went excellent,” Perkins said. “So much so that it was better than rehearsal. I wanted to give them the experience of playing in front of an audience.”

Members of the jazz ensemble included performers Seyed Ali Moham Mirfakhraei, Bradley Dahl, Christopher Viesca, Isaac Gomez, Bruce Salyer, Jorge Alcala, Jay Lawton, Justice Jacobs, Shannon Kearns, Kevin Thomas, Arash Rahbary, Zack Mendola, Jordan Stokes, Priscilla Schneider, Linda Saberi, Jacob Billings, Keihla Rivera and Rita Davis.

Bringing authentic swing to the concert, the jazz ensemble performed well, given their circumstance of mostly being students and not having much prior experience in live music. Some musicians even had the opportunity to play their own solos, in which most of the audience gave ovation.

The next Concert at Pierce event will be the last of the semester, with classical music performed by the Los Angeles Horn Trio on May 22.