Studio Ensemble gives magnificent, melancholic performance

Daily Sundial

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The CSUN Studio Ensemble played for an intimate audience at the Recital Hall on Dec. 5 at 8 p.m.

Elizabeth Sellers welcomed the audience and guided them through the evening’s sets of jazz, funk, 1940s music, student pieces, and even the director’s own music. It was the first performance ever for the ensemble.

The ensemble had the opportunity to show audience members some of their many talents, by directing and playing more than one type of instrument.

The opening number started with Sellers stepping back and letting the drummer sound off and then letting everyone else join in the session.

The musicians were dressed casually and looked comfortable as they were tapping their feet to their own music.

During the opening number there were a few horn solos that were absolutely amazing and they received applause from the audience as they finished.

A piece from the 1980s followed with horn solos. It felt like the audience was inside a recording studio listening to a jam session that was taking place with the ensemble.

The night was lively because of the music selection and the ensemble’s performance. The audience and Sellers moved to the music.

The highlight of the evening was when the ensemble jumped back to the 1940s with Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.” The performance was amazing. It felt like the audience was listening to the song on the radio and that the ensemble was playing over Porter’s song, however, that was not the case. One of the members was singing the song.

He captivated the audience with his voice and presence. He felt the music as if he were speaking to someone.

He also sang the following song, “More Than You Know,” and again his performance was spectacular. The audience was reminiscent of lovesick girls of the 1940s swooning over his grand performance.

Sellers wrote a piece while she was traveling throughout Montana and the ensemble played it that night. It was very moving and full of life. It felt as if it were music that should be played after coming home from a long journey. It is a triumphant song, and it should be on a soundtrack.

The second portion consisted of works by Media Communication students and some ensemble members. It gave the members the opportunity to direct the ensemble.

The first piece that was directed by an ensemble member was breath taking. Love seemed to be the major theme for most of the selections. For someone who is a hopeless romantic this music can be compared to the very beating of one’s own heart. It is almost dreamlike. It is a melody that should be heard while one is both awake and asleep.

The songs that followed after this piece were different and darker. Some parts of the songs were soft, like a lullaby and could make someone sleepy, yet the music became more powerful.

The closing piece of the night was entitled “What I did Last Night” and again a member of the ensemble was the director for the piece. The piece was similar to music in the movie, “Edward Scissorhands.” This song is a combination of many things: darkness, melancholy, and yet at the same time was peaceful. It was a very interesting piece to end with, but also fitting because the night consisted of so many different types of music.

The overall performance of the Studio Ensemble was magnificent. The ensemble seemed to enjoy their performance.

CSUN should look forward to hearing more from them in the future because they are truly gifted.

Candice Mitchell can be reached at candice.mitchell.619@csun.edu.