June 19, 2019
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Antonio Flowers and Cindy Sepulveda
Staff Writers

Two major California State University, Dominguez Hills dance, music and singing concerts featuring compositions either written or performed by artists ranging from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim to Queen and Aretha Franklin take place over the next few days. But neither will be on campus.

Come Into The Light,  a collaboration between the dance and music departments, will be held at Cal State Long Beach beginning tomorrow night and ending Saturday, while the off-campus winter choral concert will be held Monday, Dec. 10 in Redondo Beach.

Of the two, the former is the more ambitious, as dance and music majors, along with faculty and professional artists, will combine to create a concert that showcases prominent American and European composers who were, or are,  part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Doris Ressl, a CSUDH dance professor, said the collaboration is the idea of co-music directors Dawn Brooks and Rik Noyce, who wanted to help create a concert featuring dancing, singing and music devoted to the compositions of composers who worked during a less open, tolerant time.

The orchestral, choral and vocal compositions were created by Leonard Bernstein, Bernard Britten, Aaron Copland, Francis Poulenc and Stephen Sondheim. Bernstein and Copland rank among the greatest American ballet and classical music composers, Sondheim is a premier composer of American musical theater, Britten was a pivotal figure in 20th Century British classical music, and Poulenc was an equally influential French composer.

Ressl said the hope is that the concert will help provide more knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of all those in the LGBTQIA+ community.

“For this particular concert we are focusing on gay composers,” she said. “We are bringing to light and acknowledging that people like Leonard Bernstein [were gay], so it’s about bringing awareness to the community about the contributions of gay composers.”

Members of the CSDUH faculty all contributed to the choreography of the seven pieces, and professional musicians and the CSUDH chamber singers will also join in the celebration. The concert features a wide range of dance and music and the dancers and musicians reflect the rich diversity of CSUDH, Ressl said.

“Our student body here is definitely all demographics all people, and we all work together to create art,” she said.

There will be seven dances in the performance, including modern dance, ballet and even one with a Joan of Arc as the theme.

“There’s big variety,” Ressl said. “It’s going to be seven difference dances and they each have a different breath and feel. Some are more serious, some are more happy, some are more fun and entertaining.”

Along with dance and non-dance majors performing, CSUDH chamber singers will sing, a jazz trio and two professional flutists will perform, and all of the dance faculty will have a hand in choreographing.

The winter choral campus will feature the CSUDH chamber singers and university chorus, directed by Dr. Dawn Brooks. It’s also a diverse program, as it celebrates the music of Freddy Mercury and Queen, Aretha Frankin, Ben E. King, and holiday favorites.

Come into the Light: Cal State Long Beach’s Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theatre, Richard Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200. E Atherton St., Long Beach. Fri., 8 p.m. Sat., 2 & 8 p.m. $13-$18.  

Off-Campus Winter Choral Concert: Riviera United Methodist Church, 375 Palos Verdes Blvd., Redondo Beach. 7:30 p.m. free.

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