Morgan showcases Best of La Verne

Freshman music major and cellist Jessica Lewis rehearses “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)” by Cole Porter before the Best of La Verne concert Sunday in Morgan Auditorium. The showcase is an end-of-the-year tradition in which students and faculty from the music department perform together. / photo by Breanna Ulsh

Tyler Evains
Staff Writer

The stage was set with a grand piano and three chairs with amplifier cords draped over them, waiting to be plugged in by guitarists.

Soft jazz set the atmosphere Sunday as people trickled into Morgan Auditorium for the Best of La Verne concert.

The performance was the conclusion of this year’s Lyceum series, which featured a variety of the University’s most talented singers and musicians.

The first ensemble to perform was Optional Ending, an all-male barbershop quartet.

“Three of us are seniors and one of us is going to study abroad in Ecuador for a year, so this might be one of the last times we sing together,” senior music major Garrison Holder said.

Holder said that was the reason the quartet chose to perform “From the First Hello to the Last Goodbye” by Roger Whitaker.

Junior business administration major Jonathan Rios also performed, playing violin.

He was accompanied by pianist and assistant marketing professor Astrid Keel.

Rios said that he met Keel while studying abroad in Cuba where Keel was his marketing professor.

“Obviously I’m not a music major and she’s a marketing professor; I thought it was significant to point out that business people make music too,” Rios said.

Barbershop coordinator Carol Stephenson illuminated the stage wearing a shimmery, gun-metal dress.

She was accompanied by senior soprano Annie Johnson who also sparkled on stage.

Together they sang “How Can I Keep From Singing,” by Robert Wadsworth Lowry.

Some students showcased multiple talents. Junior music major Andrew Medina, of Optional Ending, played trumpet in a wind trio with two flutists.

Holder and senior music major Terry Dopson, also of the quartet, returned to the stage for solos accompanied by pianist Grace Xia Zhao.

Senior music major Julian Johnson, another member of Optional Ending, also performed a solo piece in the middle of the show.

Johnson sang “No Man’s Land,” a song about World War I, and played acoustic guitar without a microphone or amplifier.

“As a bass player, I’m always supporting other musicians in an ensemble,” Johnson said. “I think it’s important for musicians to come out and perform by themselves.”

The La Verne Guitar Trio quickened the tempo for the night as they poured passion into their Latin sounds.

Stephenson took the stage again with the quartet Mixed Nuts and later with guest mezzo-soprano Heather Normandie.

After Normandie left the stage Stephenson closed out the concert with a solo.

The sparkles on her dress twinkled with the resonance of her voice.

A reception in the Hanawalt House West Courtyard was held immediately after the concert.

Tyler Evains can be reached at

Breanna Ulsh

Related articles

Michael Ryan and Friends embody ‘Spirit’ of Irish music

Upbeat Irish pub songs, graceful dancers and laughter lit up the Morgan Auditorium at the “Michael Ryan and Friends: The Spirit of Ireland” show on Sunday evening.

Print vs. online magazines studied

Astrid Keel, associate professor of marketing, considered “An Empirical Examination of Digital and Print Magazine Pricing,” Tuesday in the Executive Dining Room. 


Senior anthropology major Lorali Mossaver-Rahmani performs an original song called “Moonshine” at an open mic night Tuesday in the Jane Dibbell Cabaret Theatre.

Senior recital showcases piano virtuosity

After 18 years of playing the piano, Gregory Ramirez, senior music major, performed his senior piano recital Saturday in Morgan Auditorium.
Exit mobile version