A&E and Web Editor
The audience settled down as the lights dimmed. They cheered as Performing Arts Coordinator Cindy Browne Rosefield emerged from stage right and greeted everyone with a smile.
It was Feb. 6, the night of LPC’s Faculty Showcase, a talent show for the school’s performing arts staff that is held once a semester in the main stage theater.
“It is a chance for faculty to show you what they can do instead of just talk, talk, talk,” Browne Rosefield said during the show’s introduction.
The showcase featured eight performances for the night.
Piano talents were performed by Diana Cefalo, Fred Zimmerman and Michelle Lin. Vocals and other instrumentals were performed by Sally Mote-Yaffe (soprano), Browne Rosefield (bass), Tim Devine (tenor saxophone) and guest performer Kelly Fasman (drums).
Zimmerman took a spin with his own original piece, “In Appreciation of Water,” which was inspired by the drought going on in California. It is a part of his ongoing series “Concepts and Techniques for Improvisation.”
“I’m inventing the music in real time as (the audience is) hearing it. I’ve given myself some images to focus and organize my musical ideas, such as ‘prayer,’ ‘raindrops,’ ‘flurries,’” Zimmerman said. “But that’s it: Everything I play on stage is made up in the moment.”
Zimmerman has original music available on iTunes and CDbaby.com and plans to record his improvisations in the future.
Lin, without the aid of any sheet music, took on legendary composer Frederic Chopin and performed two of his classical numbers, “Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2” and “Ballade Op. 38, no. 2.”
“It was both exciting and nervous to perform in front of my students, colleagues and members of our community,” she said.
Lin has been performing in the showcase since its induction five years ago. She started preparing for her showcase performance one semester in advance and practiced three times a day on top of her already busy schedule.
“I’d like to set a high standard for my students that we faculty members are working hard too,” Lin said.
On the flip side, faculty members Tim Heisler and Jim Dobson provided the speech portion for the showcase. Both Heisler and Dobson performed their own skits as well as one collaborative skit in between the musical performances.
Heisler made the audience laugh with his original poem “Morning Glory,” which gave the audience a look at the inside of the mind of his twenty-year-old self when he realized that his life wasn’t exactly how his six-year-old self would have envisioned.
“It took me actually writing the poem and reading that creation before I made the choices and the decisions to turn my life into something that I knew it should and could be,” Heisler said. “I take a degree of joy being able to share something like that and hope maybe that that message might be able to be embraced by somebody who might find themselves in the exact same situation.”
Heisler’s comedic speech was contrasted by Dobson’s performance of “Telephone Man” by Chris Crutcher, which tackles a more serious issue of racism through the eyes of a naive youth.
The audience gasped when they first heard the word “N—–” spew from Dobson’s lips as the character he portrayed talked about his father’s ignorance toward African Americans.
One man had left the theater during Dobson’s performance before the conclusion and message from his monologue was met.
“I think (racism) is an important topic,” Dobson said. “I wanted to do something that is meaningful and had an important message to it.”
Because of its content, Dobson originally did have some reserves about performing “Telephone Man.” But the importance of racism awareness and the fact that the story was written for young adults relinquished his doubts and let him go on with his decision to perform it.
The tension from “Telephone Man” was diffused once Browne Rosefield, Devine, Zimmerman and Fasman closed the night with “King of Pain” by Sting and “Friday Night at the Cadillac Club” by Bob Berg.
The audience cheered as each faculty member and Fasman had their own featured solos during the last number with their respective instruments.
“I thought it was a fantastic show. Everybody on the campus should have been here,” said Dr. Barry Russell, president of Las Positas College. “It’s a great opportunity for the campus to spotlight its faculty and have the students connect what happens in the classroom with what the faculty actually do.”
While the showcase has only featured the talents of the performing arts department thus far, Dobson hopes that the invitation will be extended to faculty from other departments in the near future.