A celebration of black history that includes music, dance, spoken word and theater performances takes center stage when the annual Spring Concert Series gets underway Friday, Feb. 24, at Cuyamaca College.
Some of the performances are timed so students in Cuyamaca College music courses can hear live presentations of what they’re learning in class. An April 30 concert is presented by the Early San Diego Music Society. A May 6 event, the Coyote Music Festival, is presented by students in the Music Industry Studies program and includes a several local bands.
“The Spring Concert Series is a tradition at Cuyamaca College that continues to provide larger East County community an opportunity to experience an enriching array of cultural experiences,” said Taylor Smith, who serves as chair of the Performing Arts program.
All but the Coyote Music Festival take place at the Cuyamaca College Performing Arts Theatre. Following is a list of scheduled performances. Admission to all concerts is $8, or $5 for students and seniors, unless otherwise noted.
- Friday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m. As part of Black History Month at Cuyamaca College is “Moments,” a production showcasing the accomplishments of such notables as Michelle Obama, Etta James, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, the Tuskegee Airmen, and others. Directed by the brother-and-sister team of Robert J. Chambers and Sakeenah Gallardo -- both educators and college district alumni -- the two-hour program will include hip-hop, scenes from plays by African-Americans, poetry readings, film clips, stage scenes and musical performances. The program includes adult themes and language. General admission tickets are $8, $6 for students with ID.
- Monday, Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m. The Matt Smith Neu Jazz Trio – with Matthew Elton
- Monday, March 6, 7:30 p.m. Kembang Sunda, led by Cuyamaca College music instructor Amy Hacker, performs traditional Sundanese music from West Java. Gamelan ensembles developed in the ancient courts of Java and Bali, and primarily consist of tuned bronze percussive instruments
- Thursday, March 16, 7:30 p.m. The Cuyamaca College Choir, directed by Paul Infantino, is set for the first of two spring concerts. The Cuyamaca College choir performs contemporary and standard choral works both on campus and in the larger East County community.
- Wednesday, March 22, 7:30 p.m. Violinist Alexandra Keegan and pianist Justin Gray perform sonatas for violin and piano. Keegan is a Cuyamaca College instructor and conductor of the East County Youth Symphony. Gray is the music director of the Welk Resorts - San Diego Theatre, as well as the chairman and founder of the San Diego Interfaith Choir and Orchestra.
- Thursday, April 6, 7:30 p.m. The Martin Martirena Quintet brings a lively rendition of contemporary jazz fusion to its debut appearance at Cuyamaca College’s Performing Arts Theatre.
- Thursday, April 13, 7:30 p.m. The incomparable Mariachi Real de San Diego is back. Founded in 1978, this band has established itself as a mariachi leader and has performed in movies, television and commercials, in addition to the Super Bowl, World Series and Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.
- Sunday, April 30, 3 p.m. Presented by the San Diego Early Music Society, Grammy Award nominees Paul O’Dette & Ronn McFarlane will perform virtuoso lute duets from Italy and England, where the lute duet achieved its greatest heights. Tickets range from $18 to $30, and can be purchased at the door or through the San Diego Early Music Society at sdems.tix.com. Students, faculty and staff are being offered $10 “rush” tickets at the door.
- Saturday, May 6, noon to 4 p.m. The annual Coyote Music Festival returns to
- Tuesday, May 9, 7:30 p.m. The Cuyamaca College Concert Band, directed by James Sepulvado, performs its high quality classical music for wind instruments. The ensemble consists of college students, high school students and community members who share a passion for music and a philosophy of expressive wind band playing.
- Friday, May 12, 7:30 p.m. The Cuyamaca College Rock, Pop & Soul Ensemble, under the direction of Cuyamaca College Performing Arts Department Chair Taylor Smith, performs Synchronicity, the fifth and final studio album of English rock band The Police. The band’s most successful release, the album includes the hit singles Every Breath You Take and Wrapped Around Your Finger.
- Thursday, May 18, 7:30 p.m. The Cuyamaca College Choir, directed by Paul
- Monday, May 22, 7:30 p.m. Zimbeat, a San Diego-based ensemble, will perform the dynamic village music of Zimbabwe that is based on the Shona people’s traditional instrument, the mbira Dzavadzimu. Zimbeat is a two-time nominee for the San Diego Music Awards.
- Tuesday, May 23, 7:30 p.m. The Cuyamaca College and Grossmont College Concert Band combine for the final event in this year’s Spring Concert Series. The bands, each comprising about 40 musicians, will showcase several concert band masterpieces.
Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego, 92019. For further information, call (619) 660-4627, or visit www.cuyamaca.edu/performingarts