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Global Arts Concert coming to Merced College


If you have been looking for an evening of world-class live entertainment in Merced, your search is finally over — and it’s free.

The Global Arts Studies department of UC Merced will be holding its fifth annual Global Arts Concert on Sunday, April 23, at the Merced College Theater (3600 M Street) at 3 p.m.

This year’s concert will feature UC Merced faculty musicians and performers, along with guest artists, showcasing works from composers here in Merced, as well as across the world, such as Pixinguinha, Chick Corea, Osvaldo Farrés, Roger Tallroth, Radiohead, and more. Additionally, the event will be opened with a student performance from the UC Merced Swing Dance Class.

The Global Arts Concert is one of the few chances that some of these performers get to share their talents due to a commitment to other disciplines. Additionally, it is one of the few chances that the public gets to finally experience the full range of skill and talent of many of their community members.

Although you may not immediately think of UC Merced as particularly musical due to its overall reputation in the engineering and biology communities, in reality it is quite a hub of talent and is working hard to foster the performing arts in Merced and the Valley as a whole.

The UC Merced faculty performers will include: Patricia Vergara (organizer, pianist), Jayson Beaster-Jones (co-organizer, saxophones), David Kaminsky (flutes), Jennifer Samuelson (voice), Paul Gibbons (guitar, songwriter), and Caleb Westby (saxophones).

Guest artists include: John Albano (guitar), John Ady (bass), Gary Newmark (drums), Elizabeth Wolfrey (flute), and Collin Lewis (clarinet)

“A number of the faculty at UC Merced are really fantastic musicians—and some of them are, in fact, world-class musicians. Which is something that people don’t really know about our institutions,” said Jayson Beaster-Jones, who is one of the event organizers and will be performing on the piano. “We started the faculty concert as way of broadcasting that aspect of what we do. There is sometimes a sense that UC Merced doesn’t take the arts seriously… and while we do not have a formal music program here at UC Merced, we have a lot of fabulous musicians.”

For those who are not familiar with The Global Arts Studies Program, it is a course program that studies a combination of visual arts, music, film, television, music, videogames, and other multimedia in their historical as well as cultural contexts. Simply put, they study the various forms of art across history and how we interact/engage with it.

“What’s exciting about the process is that we’re a bunch of experienced musicians with very different backgrounds, which means the creative sparks really fly when we get together and work to create music that really meshes,” said Professor David Kaminsky, who will be performing flute at the event. “We have different people with heavy backgrounds in jazz, classical, folk, rock, and various other styles and genres, so what you’re hearing is the product of a lot of creative differences coming together to produce something new.”

“A big reason we do this is we want to show our love to the Merced community. We’ve always done these concerts in town — either at the Multicultural Arts Center or Merced College, so they’re easy for people to get to, and they’re always free. We know that there’s sometimes an experience of a divide between the Merced community and the UC Merced community, and we’re always looking for ways to bridge and narrow that divide.”

Notably, because this is the fifth anniversary of the event, the performers wanted to take this milestone (and every other five-year milestone from now on) to look back at previous concerts and revisit some of their favorite songs. Additionally, some of the performers will look back on their own personal catalogs and choose a definitive piece to perform.

If you would like more information about the Global Arts Concert, contact Kim McMillon at [email protected] or Jayson Beaster-Jones at [email protected].

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