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Arian Khaefi makes his conducting debut at the Fall 2017 Choral Concert

Arian Khaefi conducted his first FC concert during The 2017 Fall Choral Concert at the Wilshire Auditorium on Nov. 3.

With long time former conductor John Tebay as the new dean of fine arts, this is Tebay’s first semester being at a concert where he sat as part of the audience. Khaefi now partakes in the choral department as a professor, mentor and conductor.

As Khaefi introduced himself, he took a moment to thank Tebay for the tireless work and effort that he has put into the program that Fullerton College has today and said he is “lucky and blessed” to be here.

“We ran a national search and a ton of people came in but he surprised us, the way he worked with the choirs we knew he was the one,” said Nicola Bertoni, concert choir conductor. “We’re just so happy that he picked up everything from the East Coast and moved over here with us.”

The night went through moments of strong winded notes and soft, yet powerful pieces. The Marina High School Chamber Singers were invited to perform as the first act.

Fall concert
Chamber singers singing with power and assurance to the piece of "Shenandoah" at the Fall 2017 Choral Concert on Nov. 3. Photo credit: Stephanie Lozano

As the 70-person concert choir took the stage, they started the night with a baroque piece “Coronation Anthem No. 1, ‘Zadok the Priest’” that was accompanied by trumpets and a timpani which added volume to each note and each verse that was sung.

It wouldn’t have been a choral concert without a capella pieces being sung.

Concert choir executed “Crucfixus a 8” with notes of suspensions, where two notes were sang together that sounded like they didn’t fit, but gradually resolved. It was a short piece, but what struck most was the energy that the choir exuded.

As the night progressed so did the era of the songs. They went from classical and romantic to more modernized pieces like “Shenandoah” and “Somewhere” from West Side Story, both songs involving melodic and harmonious sounds and notes that were beautifully blended.

To wrap up their set, they finished off with “Obey the Spirit”, a gospel-style piece. Goosebumps were felt and mouths hung mid-open by the audience. Each note bounced off the walls, vibrating the room. It was a fantastic finish with intensity and confidence from the choir.

Fall concert
Concert choir conductor, Nicola Bertoni, conducting "Obey of the Spirit" at the Fall 2017 Choral Concert at the Wilshire on Nov. 3. Photo credit: Stephanie Lozano

Making his first appearance in front of parents and students, Khaefi and Chamber singers came on stage and performed a grand rendition of “Ave Maris Stella.”

Of the five melodies chamber singers sang, “Peace Like a River” by composer Ronald Staheli had a more personal and emotional feeling to it. The song was composed after Staheli’s son died from a car accident.

“We sing this to you, for anyone who may be going through a hardship, but know at the other end of that hardship there is light,” Khaefi said.

Ending on a more vibrant note, the choir changed gears with “Balleilakka” which has its deep roots of Indian Culture. The piece was accompanied by percussion such as a tambourine and a shaker that reflected the culture. It was a playful melody that brought a very lively atmosphere.

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70 person concert choir taking in the fullness and admiration of the audience before beginning their set of melodies at the Fall 2017 Choral Concert. Photo credit: Stephanie Lozano

The performances were filled with emotions that changed from minor to major key changes, classical and romantic melodies, and use of falsettos. It was truly a night to celebrate the young educated students of FC and the passion they have for music.

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    Arian KhaefiNov 19, 2017 at 1:58 am

    Hello, Stephanie.

    Thank you for this wonderful article and thank you for coming to the performance! I hope to see you at the next one as well.


    Dr. Arian Khaefi