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Bach is Back at Bridges: Pomona College Offers Amazing Fall Line-Up of FREE Musical Performances

Bridges Auditorium on the Pomona College campus will host many free musical events and performances this fall.

Bridges Auditorium on the Pomona College campus will host many free musical events and performances this fall.

In this economy, there is one four-letter word – FREE – that resonates like no other.

Helping music lovers get through the recession in style, Pomona College is once again offering its phenomenal fall series of free concerts, symphonies, recitals, bands, choirs, ensembles and other eclectic performances that will appeal to a diverse range of musical tastes.

986 Pharmacy [1]

The fall season began with “Celliola & Friends,” on Sept. 20 and will conclude Dec. 8 and 9 with Pomona College student recitals. Performance venues include Garrison Theater, Balch Hall, Thatcher Music Building and Bridges Hall of Music.

“What an opportunity this is,” said Elizabeth Champion, Pomona College Department of Music’s public relations director. “This enclave of excellent music is so close to us, and they’re all open and free to the public.”

The musical events are offered over not only different days, but also different times to ensure everyone has an opportunity to listen to these extraordinary performances. There are noon concerts, prime-time night performances and Sunday matinees.

The series of musical performances also is an excellent way to introduce and expose children to a wonderful world of classical and contemporary music from regions around the world.

“Bring your children, introduce them to something new and different like this,” Champion said. “You don’t have to pay a penny. Listen to half of it; that may be all your child can sit through comfortably. It wouldn’t be the end of the world. What a neat way to come over and have ice cream.”

Indeed there will be many tempting treats and musical flavors for children and adult listeners to enjoy. On Oct. 23, Pomona College will showcase master throat singers from Tuva, a Mongolian area in Russia. On Nov. 1, musicians will perform on period instruments from the Baroque period. On Nov. 14, the Millennium Consort Singers will perform pieces across five centuries of musical entertainment.

The range of talent is just as diverse as the musical selections. Performers include world-class faculty, touring professionals from around the globe, and Pomona College’s own students.

Amazingly, not all of the student performers are music majors. Just as often, they are political science, pre-med or math majors – sort of Condoleezza Rices in training. A freshman violinist, for example, studied under the principal violinist of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra.

Genevieve Feiwen Lee performs Oct. 3 at Bridges Hall of Music.

Genevieve Feiwen Lee performs Oct. 3 at Bridges Hall of Music.

“It’s so wonderful that these students still want to maintain such diversity in their lives,” Champion said. “They’re not just singularly focused. They’re dedicated. Everything they do, they want to do well.”

Champion admits that the dimension and quality of the performances never cease to amaze her. Last year, she attended a performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”

“I was expecting a college choir sound, kind of a little rough around the edges,” she recalled. “I was blown away. There were two standing ovations.”

Champion guarantees that audiences will be pleased with what they hear. “The music will be spectacular,” she said.

Music has always struck a chord with Champion. 

“For me, it wouldn’t be life without music,” said Champion who grew up going to the symphony, singing in choirs, playing piano and listening to The Beach Boys and Pink Floyd. Her husband is professional cellist Kyle Champion. “My life is still that way today. Music is the rhythm of the world. It’s native to who we are and what makes us human beings.

“It’s a way for us to be able to express ourselves in a different fashion,” she added. “Sometimes music is harsh and cutting (rap: poetry with rhythm), and sometimes it’s lush and full like Rachmaninoff. Sometimes, it’s a clean and pure sound like a Gregorian chant.

On Oct. 3, Pomona Music Department Chair Genevieve Feiwen Lee, playing both the piano and harpsichord, will perform selections from Bach, Rachmaninoff and two world premiere pieces. As for rap fans, audiences will enjoy “Giri Kusuma” on Monday, Dec. 7, Balinese music incorporating percussions, chimes, gongs and a potpourri of rhythmic Island beats.

To view the full fall line-up of musical offerings, go online at www.music.pomona.edu/calendar.shtml [2]. For further information, call the Pomona College Department of Music at (909) 607-2771.