By Claire Titcomb – Cougar News Contributor
The Wild Beast Concert Hall at CalArts went European last Monday when The Herb Alpert School of Music hosted an evening of French poetry and song for the public.
The event was also considered a final test for the 15 performers, a majority of whom are voice majors at CalArts and were required to learn French before the end of their semester.
Their instructor, Pierre Etienne is a native of France and with diction coach Maria Fortuna Dean, he helped the students with their translations and pronunciations. He was also the one who decided to have the students perform their pieces on stage.
“Music is a way of baring your soul and expressing yourself,” CalArts voice performer Jackie Owens said. “Pierre understood that and realized that having this concert was a better way to have our final. He was the one behind the whole idea.”
The event began with all the students singing the poem “Le Poulpe” with Pierre jokingly encouraging them to translate the lines to English and to improve pronunciations. This was followed by 14 more performances by the students, which ranged from Josephine Baker influenced piano pieces to ukulele songs all accompanied by French singing. The pièce de résistance was the final song performed by everyone, titled “La Complainte de la Butte” with the lyrics handed out on flyers so the audience could sing along if they chose to.
An informal reception was held inside afterwards so the audience could have a chance to mingle with all the performers.