Talented, Diverse Musicians Perform at Pomonapalooza

Students and families gathered at the Mabel Shaw Bridges Hall of Music Feb. 13 for Pomonapalooza, a concert featuring performances from Pomona College music department faculty.

The concert showcased a potpourri of genres ranging from Baroque to jazz.

The Cornucopia Baroque Ensemble commenced the concert with “Sonata à” by Johann Philipp Krieger. The piece was transcribed by Benjamin Stein PO ’16 from a set of manuscript parts from the Düben Collection, managed by the Swedish Uppsala University.

The ensemble was comprised of six musicians: Alfred Cramer and Amy Wang on Baroque violin, Ellie Nishi on Baroque viola, Carolyn Beck on Baroque bassoon, Roger Lebow on viola da gamba, and Graydon Beeks on harpsichord.

Classical guitarist Jack Sanders followed the ensemble with three pieces by Francisco Tárrega, who is often referred to as the “father of the modern guitar,” according to Sanders.

The first, “Lágrima,” which means teardrop in Spanish, Tárrega wrote while homesick on tour in London, Sanders said. The second, “Adelita,” is often used as a companion piece for “Lágrima.”

Though both are short, there are “plenty of opportunities to use the different colors that guitar can produce—different moods,” Sanders said.

The third, “Recuerdos de la Alhambra,” which pays homage to the palace and fortress complex Alhambra in Granada, Spain, uses the tremolo technique throughout, creating a rich texture of sound.

Sanders, a longtime luthier of classical and historic guitars, played one of his own handmade guitars at Pomonapalooza, and will be playing one of his Baroque guitars Feb. 22 for the Plucked String Extravaganza at Little Bridges alongside Joti Rockwell and Jason Yoshida.

After Sanders, The Barb Catlin Trio took the stage to perform Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way,” which is “an iconic tune from the West Coast Jazz genre,” Catlin wrote in the convert’s program. The West Coast Jazz movement developed in Los Angeles and San Francisco during the 1950s.

“[Brubeck’s] melodic and relaxed style is typical of the West Coast sound, which seemed to capture the California sun,” Catlin wrote.

Catlin directs the Pomona Jazz Ensemble and was named a “Player to Catch” by Downbeat Magazine. Along with Catlin, the trio consists of the father-son duo of Jim de Julio and Jim di Julio.

De Julio, a Los Angeles legend, has performed with Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, Chet Baker, and Sonny Stitt among many other renowned artists. Di Julio is a local drummer and an animator for Disney.

Cellist Tom Flaherty followed the trio with “Semi-Suite,” which consists of two movements, “Lament” and “Trio.”

Flaherty wrote in the program, “[Lament] is fragmented and gradually reassembled, finally appearing well above the normal cello range, in harmonics … ‘Trilling” is a concert etude written in response both to my interest in rhythmic and metric interaction and to the frustrating boredom of practicing standard trill studies as a cello student.”

Following Flaherty, the Barb Catlin Trio came back on stage joined by Rockwell on the guitar and Gwendolyn Lytle singing.

The group paid tribute to the great ragtime and jazz pianist and composer James Hubert “Eubie” Blake., combining a pair of Blake’s best-known pieces, “Charleston Rag” and “Memories of You.”

Lytle remarked that Blake holds a special place in her memory because at a dinner party decades ago she sat next to him on his piano bench and sang as he played.

The concert was capped by a performance of Johann Strauss’s waltz “Roses from the South.” The piece was performed by Todor Pelev and Cramer on violin, Cynthia Fogg on viola, Eric Lindholm on cello, Gibb Schreffer on concertina, Genevieve Feiwen Lee on keyboard, and Karl Kohn on piano.

“A big finish with a lot of great performers,” Chris Harding PO ’18 said.