CSUN students and faculty waited to see whether Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez and cellist Nathaniel Ayers would attend an exhibit inspired by their story made popular by Lopez’s book, “The Soloist.”
Lopez and Ayers did not make it to the event, Soloists in Concert, which was held in the Music and Media room in the Oviatt Library on Sept. 30.
“We understand why they are not here,” said Cheryl Spector, director of Academic First Year Experience. “Mr. Ayers doesn’t operate on a schedule. Like Steve Lopez said, ‘You may have a date with Nathaniel but he will not show up.”’
The week-long concert series and the exhibit that showcases the famous cellist and has displays of Lopez’s book, the history of the evolution of Pershing Square and the anatomy of a cello is an extension of the exhibit “The Soloist: Celebrating the Healing Power of Music,” located in the lobby of the library.
CSUN cellists and guests were invited to perform live, Spector said. She added that the concerts where aimed at giving students an opportunity to experience the music.
“Not all students have the opportunity to hear a cello,” she said. “This is a wonderful opportunity.”
Although Lopez and Ayers’ appearance was tentative, students and faculty filled the second floor’s East Wing for a chance to see Ayers perform. The crowd waited more than two hours in hopes of their arrival.
Meanwhile, students listened to David Aks, CSUN opera coordinator and conductor, perform. Aks was not scheduled to perform on this day but stepped in for Ayers, Spector said.
Spector said that during Freshman Convocation she told Lopez that an exhibit was in the works and he showed interest in bringing Ayers to see it. She did not hear from him until last Monday when she received an e-mail from Lopez saying he was hoping to make it to the exhibit.
“There will probably be a nice e-mail later on today explaining why they couldn’t make it,” said Spector to the crowd that sat around waiting.
In the crowd, freshman Melissa Nava said she was reading Lopez’s book and found it interesting. She added that she was not disappointed that Ayers had not made it to the event.
“I understand what he (Ayers) goes through,” said Nava, 18. “It is challenging to deal with his mind.”
Nava, along with her friend Nancy Perez, waited for some time before leaving. Perez, a 25-year-old graduate student in Chicano studies shared in Nava’s sentiment.
“He’s not here,” she said. “It’s cool – but I did want to hear him play.”
Urban planning major Cristina Delgado said she too wanted to see Ayers perform and wanted to meet Lopez because she is an avid reader of his column. Delgado, a 23-year-old junior, was taken aback by the decoration of the exhibit because it made her feel like she was at Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles.
“It looks like the 90s threw up,” she said, referring to the purple, orange and yellow stage décor that resembles that of Pershing Square. “It looks just like it – they even have the pigeons.”
Rueyling Tsay, university video network coordinator, was in charge of decorating the Music and Media room. She said the decoration took about two months to complete because the librarians wanted to make it look just like Pershing Square to add to the ambience.
“I wanted it to be an interactive exhibit,” Tsay said. “That’s why I put the photos of the cellist at eye-level.”
She added that she not only wanted to showcase the artists and their musical accomplishments, but she also wanted students to learn about their stories.
The exhibit will be on display until the end of the semester.
“I wanted the exhibit to enrich the freshman common reading,” said Tsay, who wants students to take advantage of the exhibit by reading “The Soloist” in the area.