Moorpark College instrumental musicians unite for “A Dynamic Evening of Music”


Moorpark College’s Jazz B Band performs their set at “A Dynamic Evening of Music” in the Performing Arts Center on Oct. 29, 2022. Photo credit: Sarah Graue

By Sarah Graue

The Moorpark College Music Department held their annual instrumental showcase, “A Dynamic Evening of Music” in the Performing Arts Center on Oct. 29.

The show featured four of Moorpark College’s award-winning instrumental ensembles, with over 40 student musicians participating in the production. Jazz and Orchestra groups performed a vast musical selection of classical and contemporary repertoire.

Director Brenden McMullin organized the concert and even played the trombone alongside students. In his speech to the audience, he spoke about the importance of instrumental music performances for college students.

“There’s a connection that comes with the collaboration, especially in an art form like this,” McMullin said. “You never see the same show twice in a row, which is why I have dedicated my life and career to this art form.”

The Orchestra opened the show with a lively set that included one of McMullin’s favorite instrumental pieces, “Mother Goose Suite.” The five-part composition based on fairy tales such as “Pavane of Sleeping Beauty” wowed the audience. The piece also featured harmonious violins from student musicians Noor Alnaji and Isabelle Ice.

The Jazz Combo continued the concert with two stellar performances accompanied by vocalist Elijah Hart. Compared to the larger bands of the music department, the jazz combo only consists of five band members.

Ethan Strubbe, a first-year music major and pianist with the Jazz Combo, spoke about the unique experience of playing with a smaller ensemble.

“It’s really fun being in a smaller group and experiencing the palpable feeling of energy between only a couple of people,” Strubbe explained. “Our first combo piece, ‘Night in Tunisia’ has a really nice suspense and mysteriousness to it, so it’s really fun to play and everyone who hears it loves it.”

Strubbe also described the relevance of performing classical jazz pieces for audiences.

“Covering jazz standards keeps the tradition of classic jazz alive, and it is hugely important to let people know where most of our modern music comes from,” Strubbe said. “It is important that we remember the classical music that made today’s music possible.”

Following the Jazz Combo, both Jazz A Band and Jazz B Band ensembles took the stage to perform their sets. Jazz B Band gave an upbeat rendition of “The Best of Earth, Wind, & Fire” by Ray Bryant, which earned a lot of praise from the audience.

Roman Perez, a second-year music major and drummer with the Jazz B Band discussed how these high-energy performances have positively benefited his skills as a musician.

“Performing live teaches you to remain calm under pressure because in reality you have one shot to play, and you don’t want to blow it,” Perez said. “After you have the experience of performing live, it is a little easier to record your work as a musician.”

The second instrumental show of the fall semester will be on Dec. 3 and will feature contemporary music selections. “Come Together,” a similar music technology showcase for student groups on campus, will be held on Nov. 4 and 5.

For more information on Moorpark College’s Music Department, click here. To get tickets for the upcoming show, “Come Together,” click here.