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ULV voice instructor reconnects memories through music

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Anabel Martinez
Arts Editor

University of La Verne voice instructor Todd Strange performed his concert “Guilty Pleasures,” consisting of seven of his favorite classical songs, in Morgan Auditorium Nov. 12.

Roughly 30 community members attended Strange’s concert of classical songs about love by French and German composers including Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Strauss and Edvard Grieg.

“These are songs I have sung in the past or have loved singing or wanted to sing publicly,” Strange said. “And that’s why I chose all these pieces … these are… guilty pleasure songs that I’ve loved singing mostly because of the musical concept and harmonic content. It’s very lush, very romantic, very beautiful.”

Beyond the University, Strange has performed with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Los Angeles Opera, as well as with regional opera companies and symphonies across the U.S. and abroad. 

Strange began with Beethoven’s “Adelaide,” accompanied by pianist Zachary DeChance.

The audience laughed when Strange joked that he could not find a song to perform with the name Courtney in the title in reference to his wife, who sat in the audience.

Between every song, he explained why each one was special to him and read each last stanza, all of which revolved around love in all aspects including grief and admiration.

“I felt like (the songs he performed) had a good variety of different ways that you show love to people that aren’t here anymore, how you miss them, love them, stuff like that,” Amber Napoli, junior music major, said.

Napoli said she thought he beautifully performed “Allerseelen” by Strauss, which explored the topic of losing someone you love.

The audience gave Strange a standing ovation after he sang “En Drom” by Grieg, the last song of the performance.

“I thought it was really well rounded,” Napoli said. “Those composers are all really great. The variety and the stories that he was trying to tell was really good.”

Vincent Briseno, sophomore theater arts major, said he thought the set list was perfectly thought out.

“Personally, it’s not my favorite genre, but I find it very beautiful and very challenging so it is something that I would like to learn more,” Brianna Cristin-Sanchez, freshman psychology major, said.

She said hearing Strange perform the classical pieces was beautiful and she enjoyed it.

“I think it was really nice to see a professor actually get up and perform in front of us,” Napoli said. “It’s one thing to show us what we should be doing as a critique, but going up and performing and showing us how it should be done (is) really inspiring and it shows us what we should be doing in the professional world.”

Anabel Martinez can be reached at anabel.martinez2@laverne.edu.

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