It’s always a good sign of a community’s cultural health when there are multiple events occurring on the same night. Friday is a good night for music lovers.

Just perfect for families is the Bakersfield Master Chorale’s season opening concert at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. The program is called “Themes of Childhood” and, as the title promises, includes not only music written with children in mind, but includes children performing with the adult choir.

Opening the concert is an arrangement of “The Teddy Bears Picnic,” the adorable children’s song that was written in 1907. The well-known arrangement by Andrew Carter, still retains the turn-of-the-century music hall flavor of that era.

After that charming entry, the choir will get down to business with famed composer John Rutter’s “Mass of the Children.” Following the form of the Missa Brevis — the Latin Mass without the Credo, (“I believe” the beginning of the Creed), Rutter’s piece adds a hymn setting of the text “Awake, my soul, and with the sun,” and a setting of William Blake’s poem “The Lamb” inserted into the “Agnus Dei” (“Lamb of God”), both of which are sung by a children’s choir — specifically, the students from Ridgeview High School Treble Choir. Soloists include soprano Kristen Falls Smith and tenor Eric Dyer.

The concert continues with a solo performance of “Over the Rainbow,” sung by Suzanne Wagner, and then, just to make sure the children in the audience feel at home, the choir will sing selections from the Disney film “Moana.”

Directed by Robert Provencio, this concert marks the beginning of the chorus’s 87th season. Admission is free but donations are accepted.

If you prefer piano music, head to the music building at CSUB for a recital by Spanish duo-pianists Elena Martín and Jose Melitón, who will perform original compositions in the spirit of Mediterranean Spain.

The pianists have been lighting the classical world on fire with their skill, as well as their music, and have become musical and cultural ambassadors for the native country, performing two-piano compositions and arrangements of established classical masterpieces, as well as original music, all of which is composed by Martín.

The recital starts at 7:30 p.m. in Room 127 in the music building, which is next to the Doré Theatre.

Tickets are $12, $7 for seniors and students, free for CSUB students with ID.

Susan Scaffidi is a freelance music journalist. She can be reached at

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