Alumni return for a night of music

Christina Collins Burton
Arts Editor

The University of La Verne welcomed back its alumni for the third annual alumni recital hosted by the Department of Music at 7:30 p.m. last Saturday in Morgan Auditorium.

The concert offered a mix of classical and musical theater pieces to entertain an audience of nearly 50 people.

“The reason we are doing this recital is to celebrate the opening of the new auditorium,” said Michael Fausto, alumnus from the class of 2010.

“It is impressive that all of these people work in their own area and still came to participate.”

The evening opened with a piano performance by Cody Smith, who graduated in 2006 with his bachelors in music.

Smith played three parts to Etude-Tableaux by Sergei Rachmaninoff that started the evening with a cheerful feeling.

The evening continued with a mixture of traditional operatic pieces including “Die Nacht” sang by class of 2005 alumnae, Melissa Stahly and “It Was a Lover and His Lass” sang by Fausto.

The evening took a turn when Nicole Pond, alumni from 2009, came onstage with a guitar in hand and began to carefully pluck out “Somewhere over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen.

“I really liked the arrangement of the song, and it was my challenge piece for the recital,” Pond said.

She then followed with “Jolene,” a song by Dolly Parton.

Pond selected the song because of how entertaining the song is and because she is a Parton fan.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking being on stage in front of a full audience, but I am glad I was something a little different,” Pond said.

Following Pond the audience was entertained by the Broadway selections of Tanya Wilkins, who also graduated in 2009.

Her first piece was “The More You Ruv Someone” from “Avenue Q” which is currently touring.

The song, originally sang by Christmas Eve in the production, relies heavily on a Japanese accent.

Wilkins changed the piece slightly to include a Spanish accent to keep the piece light and entertaining.

“‘Avenue Q’ is one of my favorite musicals and I thought it would be fun and entertaining to sing this for the audience,” Wilkins said.

Intermission left the audience in a buzz of excitement and conversation.

Many audience members began talking about how talented the singers were and how proud they were to see their own on stage.

As the lights dimmed and the performance continued, husband and wife duo Amanda and Andy Hanson took the stage to sing the duet “All I Ask of You” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s play “Phantom of the Opera.”

As the recital came to a close with a harmonizing piece played between Eunyoung Sohng on the piano and Christopher Franco on the clarinet.

The two played off each other through each part of the Sonata for Clarinet in B-flat and Piano by Francis Poulene before finally coming together almost as one instrument.

The evening was entertaining and left the audience grouped around the auditorium congratulating each performer.

For more information on upcoming music performances, visit the music department’s site:

Christina Collins Burton can be reached at

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Campus arts events for the week of May 5, 2006.