Music Professors Showcase Their Skills

John Maniace, Staff Writer

Music is an art form that takes the listener on a journey through different landscapes painted by melodies and rhythm, giving insight into the minds of the performers. If seeing it performed live is a favorite of yours, look no further than Brookdale’s own music department staff.
On Sunday Nov. 7, professors in the music program showcased their skills, a tradition that takes place every winter and spring semester, presenting a variety of genres from classical to jazz through the ages.
The department’s classical repertoire shined in the first half of the concert. To start the show, Professor Keith Heimann, accompanied by John Balme, performed Henry Purcell’s “Music for a While” along with Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze.” Both professors beautifully set the stage for the rest of the recital, with Heiman’s voice delivering deep tones over the soft piano accompaniment by Balme. Heimann followed up his vocal performances with a solo piano piece, the popular “Prelude in C Minor” by Bach.
After that, Cynthia Balme joined John Balme to perform two more voice-over piano songs that clashed the first vocal performance of Heimann’s deep voice to Cynthia’s sweet and high voice, which offered the crowd a taste of varying methods of singing. Concluding the classical portion of the concert, the audience was just getting introduced to the world-class department.
From this point on, things took a jazzier turn when Professor Andrea Reimen sang and former professor Joe Acurso played piano while Gary Mazzaroppi played the stand-up bass on Cole Porter’s “In the Still of the Night.” The concert transitioned nicely into jazz music that started to break away from the structured classical ballads into grooves that featured improvisations by various members of the staff.
The instrumental jazz portion featured many professors,which included Jim Josselyn on the guitar, Gary Mazzaroppi playing the bass, Ryan Thomski on piano, and Joe Devico on drums. Devico, although not a professor, came out and assisted the staff in playing these. Devico played excellently alongside his band members as they performed Arthur Schwartz’s “Alone Together” and Wes Montgomery’s “Road Song.” Every instrument had the opportunity to shine in these songs as solos were performed during various parts of the song.
Preceding the end of the concert, a drum bass piano trio composed of Devico, Mazzaroppi, and Thomski played David Mann’s “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” Once again, all three instruments shined, with blistering piano and bass solos being a highlight. Rounding out the show, Acurso came back out to accompany Mazzaroppi and Devico to play two pieces that included Charles Strouse’s “Put on a Happy Face” and Joseph Kosma’s “Autumn Leaves,” which featured Acurso taking a solo to the end of the concert.
It was a performance that featured many professors at once on stage and was able to portray the level of sophistication they each possess on their instruments. The music department at Brookdale is an important part of the community due to the communication as an art form that it gives to the students. Keep your head up for the spring recital taking place next semester if you want to witness the mastery of Brookdale’s music professors.