Commercial Music Ensemble play at their own pace – Sac City Express
Everyone in the Commercial Music Ensemble does their part when setting up a performance event. On Halloween, City College CME got ready for a midday show on the quad. Guitarists tuned their guitars. The drummer assembled his drums with the help of the keyboardist. Loud drums driving beats echoed through the quad. The singers all get together to chat before the start of the event.
The Commercial Music Ensemble performed at Sacramento City College on Thursday, October 31. The concert took place on the City College quadrangle in front of the Performing Arts Center building. The music group performed a total of six songs. About fifty students attended the concert.
Two young men were continuously running back and forth, giving hand signals to the guitarists and keyboardist. One of the men continues to stare at a large black console that presses buttons.
“It’s complicated but fun,” Elijah DeAnde said. “At first it was difficult to learn the QU-32, but it got easier to use once you learned it.”
DeAnde is part of the sound team. It uses the QU-32 to control keyboard, guitar, and speaker sounds.
DeAnde has been attending City College for four years. He has been with CME for two years. He wants to specialize in game design and audio production.
The drummer tested his set by continuously beating on his drums. The loud noise blew up the surroundings.
Jordan Sanders is the drummer for CME. He specializes in commercial music and music business management. He was attending CRC but decided to move on to City College. This is his first semester on campus. As well as his first time in CME.
“When I started to achieve what I wanted to do, I found myself driven here because of the music program,” Sanders said.
He describes himself as playing drums since his youth.
“I played when I was very young,” Sanders said. “I stopped taking it seriously when I was younger because I wanted to play basketball. Then I found myself playing drums and have been taking it seriously for two years now.
According to Sanders, playing an instrument alone is different from playing with a band.
“It’s not difficult but it’s a skill,” Sanders said. “It’s something you have to work on because you can’t do all of the same things you do in the practice room in a setting with other people. You have to understand how to implement what you practice into the way you play with others.
Sanders enjoys working with the CME group. He loves that everyone wants to grow up and find ways to work together.
“Everyone has the exact same attitude,” Sanders said. “Everyone is positive and they are all talented musicians. That’s really nice.”
Sanders currently plays in a few bands outside of college. He’s in a band with the CME keyboardist and a few other friends.
Damond Barbee prefers to call himself a DJ. He is 19 and wants to specialize in music. This will be his second year working with the CME.
“I like to hang out with other musicians and singers,” said Barbee. “It’s a lot of fun and rewarding. I just like to play. When you get together with other people who love to do what they are doing; it creates this really cool creative musical environment.
The first song titled “Human Nature” was sung by Music Major Diamond Johnson.
This is her first semester on campus and her first time outside of CME.
“My mom will always sing with me and play music,” said Johnson, who has been singing since the age of three. “I’ll try to sing anything. She motivated me to keep pushing to sing.
According to Johnson, singing with everyone just got natural – they all rocked a lot together.
“I love everyone. Everyone is so diverse and different and dope,” Johnson said. “Everyone is so talented. The singers are just amazing. It’s different but I love it. C are all my family.
Johnson strongly recommends that all musicians and singers take the course. She even called it one of the best courses to take.
“Don’t be afraid, go for it,” Johnson said. “Show your talent and don’t give up. “
Johnson then sings “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse with Hannah Miller and Gillian Rains.
Miller, 20, is in his fifth semester on campus. She graduated in music and communication. She took CME last year and then took a semester off.
“I came back this semester, but people are changing,” Miller said. “The skill level changes. This whole group is different. You understand it and you adjust. It’s not difficult.”
Miller started singing at the age of five. She took private lessons when she was in second year. In high school, she joined wind bands, a jazz orchestra, and a choir.
Miller compliments the CME’s ability to pick up material quickly and their good ear for music.
“Everything clicks great,” Miller said. “It’s crazy. I’ve never been in a band that I instantly get along with.
After the song, “Valerie” ended the next song called “Witchy Woman” by the Eagles began. This song was sung by Tara Stice.
Stice, major in music business management and second semester at CME. She just started singing more professionally this year.
“I remember going in the shower when I was little and singing,” Stice said. “It was my place of inspiration. Every time I went in the shower I just wanted to sing and sing and sing.
Each semester, the group will change members because of the auditions. Stice really bonded with the last group. It all got a little different when new members arrived. However, she thinks this current group is incredibly talented. Having amazing musicians made the transition easier for him.
“It’s a pleasure to work with everyone,” said Stice. “I look forward to each training session. I love going to rehearsals, it’s so much fun. I think we all feel like family.
During Stice’s “Witchy Woman” performance, Sergio Zazueta had a guitar solo.
Zazueta, 21, has been attending City College for a year. He graduated in music and has been playing guitar for 10 years.
“In sixth grade, I had a music teacher and he wanted to start a small group,” Zazueta said. “He had an electric guitar and I thought it was a cool instrument. I thought it would be nice to learn how to play.
Even though the group changes every semester, Zazueta has no difficulty playing with a new group. He likes to play with the group.
“It’s fun and awesome,” Zazueta said. “It’s like a small group of friends. We hang out and play music. We are all connected. ”
The last song played was “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. Diamond sings and dances to the music. Miller and Rains sing along with her. The song ends and the crowd applauds.
CME instructor Kurt Shiflet is pleased with the performance. Shiflet taught at City College for about 20 years. He teaches commercial music, guitar, world music, and American popular music.
He explained that every semester he auditions for the Commercial Music Ensemble class. Students enter on day one and perform. The classroom is not a place where students learn to play an instrument. The people who come in are already accomplished players. Some singers will sing acapella, some will sing karaoke, and some will be accompanied by someone. Shiftlet gives maps of instrumentalists to learn.
“I give them something to work on separately and we put it together,” Shiflet said. “I’m looking for talent but I’m also looking for people who work well together. This group works very well together. They all get along very well. They are really good people.
Shiflet believes CME is the face of City College. He mentions that he is ethnically diverse and reflects the students on campus.
“Our youngest member is 18 and our oldest is Rick and he’s 76 I believe,” said Shiflet. “It really crosses all borders. Everyone comes from different places and everyone gets along and works well together. It’s really cool.”
He described himself as a director or a producer. He gives ideas to the class and points them in a certain direction. However, everyone has their say as well. Most of the time, they are free to do whatever they want.
“I just listen to everyone’s ideas and put stuff together,” Shiflet said. “They’ll bring me ideas like ‘Hey let’s try this’ and I’m going to listen to it and I’m looking for a song that is a good song for all musicians. An ensemble piece that the group will have fun playing and which has a good voice. It really is a collaboration.
Shiflet’s daughter, Lahre Shiflet, is a vocal coach. She did some of the vocal arrangements. Shiftlet would have her come over and work with the group for a while.
“She’s really talented and has amazing ears to hear parties,” Shiflet said. “She found all the harmonies and wrote a song for the singers.”
Shiflet praised the respect of the group and the fact that there is no ego with the group which makes working with them enjoyable.
“They are phenomenal,” said Shiflet. “All singers are good. All the instrumentalists are really good. I would say this is my favorite band right now.
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