No matter the size of your Thanksgiving gathering, you might be in need of some mood music. Enjoy the talents of Cal State Bakersfield’s Music and Theatre Department with an online fall concert featuring Chamber Music Duo and Opera Spotlight.

Dr. Soo-Yeon Park, a CSUB professor who directed both programs, said this semester has been challenging for educators and students.

She wrote in an email, "Thanks to James Dethlefson, our Music & Theatre technologist, I was able to work with students in the Music Building, each staying in a separate room. This semester I started with a small number of students exploring the new technology with limited devices that we can use."

Chamber musicians worked well in duos, Park said. The students' repertoires were assigned at the beginning of the semester, but they worked hard to put it together in a shorter time period than usual.

She wrote, "The recording session has been scheduled much earlier than our regular performance week to avoid any issues in the cold weather during this unusual time."

For the concert, Natalie Ruiz on viola and pianist Amanda Fese perform Zoltán Kodály's "Adagio." Violist Zachary Pierce and pianist William Irwin play from "Zwei Fantasiestücke Op. 27" by Richard H. Stein. And trumpet player Michelle Tomboc and trombonist Omar Barrios perform rhumba, Dorian blues and ballad from Arthur Frackenpohl's "10 Duets for Trumpet and Trombone."

For the Opera Spotlight, two students collaborated but did not perform together: Park's singers, performing an aria or musical theater solo piece from their wish list, were paired with student stage directors from theater professor Mandy Rees' class.

"To keep everyone safe, we spread out recording sessions throughout the semester (like one per week)," Park wrote. "During the recording session (less than 5 minutes), singers took off their masks. They were the only person in the theater, recording was done remotely, and I played the piano behind the curtain, not being able to see them and relying on muffled sound." 

Haley Smith performs "Ach, ich fühl’s" from Mozart's "The Magic Flute" with staging by Jacob Cota. Cota also designed the set for "Sunset Boulevard," for which George Gutierrez sings the title number from Andrew Lloyd Webber's opera. Laura Small sings "No One Knows Who I Am" from Jekyll & Hyde with staging by Amanda Duke. Directed by Natalie Love, Braden Unruh takes on "Giants in the Sky" from Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods." Hunter Selbach portrays Count Almaviva in a performance of "Ecco ridente in cielo" from Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" with direction by Alberto Pelayo. And Devin McGee performs "Bella siccome un angelo" from "Don Pasquale" as staged by Heather Sanders.

Park said she is happy to share these performances with the community. The concert recordings will be available to view Thursday through Saturday on the CSUB music website

"All of this process has not been possible without endless support from our Music and Theatre staff," Park wrote. "Most of all, I appreciate our students’ diligence and passion for music making!"

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.