Renaissance concert transports audience back in time

Roberto Catalano, Michael Ryan, Dylan Oberbeck and Ken Söderlund perform an evening of Renaissance music on Sunday in Morgan Auditorium. This concert was a fundraiser to help the University of La Verne Chamber Singers prepare for their upcoming tour of Germany. / photo by Chris Rogers
Roberto Catalano, Michael Ryan, Dylan Oberbeck and Ken Söderlund perform an evening of Renaissance music on Sunday in Morgan Auditorium. This concert was a fundraiser to help the University of La Verne Chamber Singers prepare for their upcoming tour of Germany. / photo by Chris Rogers

Michael Roccia
Staff Writer

The University’s Chamber Singers took its audience back in time Sunday with an evening of Renaissance music in the Morgan Auditorium.

Around 60 people attended the event, which was also a fundraiser to support sending the singing group to Germany this summer, where they plan to perform some of the traditional music in the land where they originated.

Audience members were transported as they listened to songs from the 1400s all the way through to the 1600’s. The Chamber Singers were joined by the Renaissance Music Troupe. 

The Renaissance Music Troupe performed first to get the crowd warmed up for the rest of the playful and whimsical night that was ahead of them. The troupe performed using a variety of instruments, including guitars, flutes, lutes and recorders. They not only impressed audiences with their skills, but also got them in on the fun as well. 

They chanted the old drinking song “We Drink to Remember.” 

They also sang the “Rain Song” for which they had the audience sing along to the chorus to further integrate them into the world of renaissance music. 

One of the members of the Renaissance Music Troupe, Michael Ryan, who is also professor of music at La Verne.

Ryan, who has been playing Renaissance music for years, said he thinks it is something the audience will always enjoy as it transports them to different time periods in a way that not many other things could.

“It’s like a time machine,” Ryan said. “It’s like you are looking back to the past and getting the feeling for how these people wrote music and how they felt. It’s hard to get that reading a book or even watching a movie. But when you’re actually hearing the music and you’re around all these people dressed like the time period, you really feel like you’re there.”

Ryan said he loved performing with his small renaissance troupe, and he enjoyed when the Chamber Singers joined them on stage and sang “La Marmotte.”

Flute player Hai Muradian, singer Kitty Sycz and guitarist Danny Oberbeck, members of Michael Ryan’s Renaissance Band, perform an evening of Renaissance music Sunday in Morgan Auditorium. The concert featured traditional European music from the 1400s to the 1600s. / photo by Chris Rogers

“When we sang La Marmotte with them, that was such a highlight,” Ryan said. “It was fun to have the whole group up there. It’s one thing to have just our small group, but then to have all these voices supporting it, it’s like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s nice.’” 

After the Renaissance Music Troupe performed with the Chamber Singers, there was a quick intermission before the concert began again with even more performances. This time, the Chamber Singers performed solo and captivated the crowd with their talent.

One of the Chamber Singers, Zachary Grech, a junior communications major, said he believes this year’s group is one of the best ever.

“The new group is amazing,” Grech said. “You’re gonna hear this new sound that the Chamber Singers have. We have a lot more guys than we did last year, so you’re going to hear more of the basses and tenors present. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Another one of the Chamber Singers,  freshman music major Mario Aguayo, said he knows how important fundraising is, especially when it comes to clubs and programs in the arts. He wants everyone to be able to attend the trip and hopes donations allow for that to happen.

“Raising money is so important because our goal is to get all the students here to go without paying anything out of pocket.” Aguayo said. “We fundraise like this so people from lower income families can go on this trip and enjoy this wonderful experience for nothing. I really hope that people come here to enjoy the music and to support us as well.”

After seeing the performances, Mira Kleier, a friend of one of the performers and a guest at the event thought the admission price was more than fair and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of talent she got to enjoy.

“I think that the setlist was well made and I really liked the harmonies, ” Kleier said. “I was also just stoked that the people were wearing Renaissance outfits, and that brought me a lot of joy. I also like that it was educational too. It taught me about the history of renaissance music.”

Tickets for the event were $20, and free for students. 

The event raised close to $2,000 for the Chamber singers.

Michael Roccia can be reached at michael.roccia@laverne.edu.

Adjunct Professor of Music Michael Ryan’s Renaissance Music Troupe – Hai Muradian, Kitty Sycz Danny Oberbeck, Roberto Catalano, Ryan, Dylan Oberbeck and Ken Söderlund – perform traditional European music Sunday in Morgan Auditorium. The concert was sponsored by the University of La Verne music department. / photo by Chris Rogers

Michael Roccia is a junior communications major with a concentration is public relations. This is his first semester as a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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Chris Rogers is a junior photography major with a minor in art history. He is a staff photographer for the Campus Times and chief photographer of La Verne Magazine. He is also a freelance photographer and movie stills photographer. He discovered his love for photography at a young age as he and his family traveled the world in their goal to reach all seven continents. They were fortunate to reach their seventh continent in the winter of 2019. He have a deep love for photography and loves being able to tell an entire story through one still image at a time. His work can be found at ChrisRogersPhotography.com.

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