Breanna Herring

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Highlighting history through theater

Can you believe it has been less than one hundred years since the Civil Rights Movement? The hardships African Americans had to endure to gain equal rights in America is gut-wrenching. Imagine not being able to be who you want to be in life simply because of the color of your skin. As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and his accomplishments this month, we should remember him as a hero who was determined to fight against racism and for social justice.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Department of Theatre presented the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson’s “How I Learned What I Learned.” It was performed by one actor, Wali Jamal, who portrays August Wilson sharing stories of his life in Pittsburgh. The performance took place on Jan. 17 and Jan. 18 at Robinson Hall.

August Wilson was born on Apr. 27, 1945 and died on Oct. 2, 2005. He was raised in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but eventually settled in Seattle, Washington. He is an American playwright and known for his series of ten plays, “The Pittsburgh Cycle.” Each play in the series is set in a different decade and depicts the hardships African Americans faced in the 20th century. His work has received prestigious awards such as Pulitzer Prizes and a Tony award for “Fences” (1987), an Emmy nomination for “The Piano Lesson” (1990), a 1999 National Humanities Medal and many more.

Wali Jamal is a Pittsburgh-based performer and playwright. He happens to be the only actor to have performed in all ten of August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Jamal has also been awarded a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and named the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2018 Performer of the Year. A mentee of Wilson, Jamal participates in productions that represent Pittsburgh’s African American history and culture.

When asked what he wanted the audience to learn from August Wilson, his response was simply, “Family, justice and literacy.” These were reoccurring themes that I saw throughout the play. August Wilson expressed the importance of family, especially in the African American community. Family became the safe haven for many African Americans living in segregated America. Justice represented the agonizing desire for equal rights by African Americans. There were scenes from the play that depicted the unfair treatment August Wilson went through growing up in Pittsburgh. One that stood out to me was August Wilson struggling to find a decent job. He had to travel far from where he actually lived and was still underpaid. Literacy was also a common theme that I saw. It was normal that most of the African American community did not have the ability to read or write.

As I reflect, I will say that I am proud to be an African American. I am proud of my ancestors and acknowledge their hardships in order to give me a better life. One line from the script stood out to me, “[…] we are not black by the accidents of our births.” August Wilson made it clear that we are what we are. He brought up the economic conflict that African Americans faced during his time, the idea that they have to be white in order to be successful in life, and even though today is much different from the 1960s, there is still work to be done. Issues such as racism, sexism and the injustice system still exist today. Let Martin Luther King Jr. Day be a reminder for us to come together as one and become the change we want to see.

Best Songs of 2018 as Selected by A&E Writers

Album art courtesy of Tessa Violet.

Elissa Miller

4. “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” by the “Mary Poppins Returns” Cast: If there was a machine that you could throw your interests in to create a new product, the entirety of the movie “Mary Poppins Returns” would be my result. A sequel to one of my favorite movies? Check. Lin-Manuel Miranda as a character reminiscent of Bert the Chimney Sweep, my first childhood crush? Check. London as a backdrop for musical theater? You got it. While the movie is not a perfect film, “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is a practically-perfect song and dance number. Clearly mirroring “Step In Time” from the first film, this is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s (and the movie’s) biggest number. It absolutely screams classic musical theater in both sound and design. Honestly, this felt extremely cathartic, because while I’ve loved the recent resurgence of musical films, they’ve generally failed to truly recapture that signature style. The dancing is absolutely breathtaking. The song is catchy and upbeat. Lin-Manuel Miranda looks like he is literally made of sunshine. I cried.

3. “Burn the House Down” by AJR: AJR crafted a perfect album with “The Click” in 2017. It was hard to imagine that adding anything could improve it, yet “The Click (Delux Edition)” somehow managed to do so when it included four new songs. While I’m a fan of generally every new addition, this the absolute best of them. It is a loud, angry anthem that reflects on Twitter and modern-day protest culture, while still being able to function as a dance track. The band allowed it to be used in conjunction with the March for Our Lives movement earlier this year. Everything about it, from the musical style (the horns in this are GREAT) to the lyrics, is compelling. More songs like this in 2019, please.

2. “Bad Ideas” by Tessa Violet: While Tessa Violet made waves with her other release, “Crush,” this year, I’m quite partial to this second song. One of many musicians to first find their audience on YouTube, Violet has continuously grown as an artist to create a signature style. This is incredibly clear with “Bad Ideas,” which stands out among indie-pop releases for its unique sound. Lyrically, it explores the concept of falling for someone you really don’t want to, while sounding upbeat and light as a musical piece. The music video for this is also a great time and uses color in one of the best ways I’ve ever seen. Violet will continue releasing her new album as singles in 2019; I’m incredibly excited to see how it evolves.

1. “Everybody’s Lonely” by Jukebox the Ghost: I definitely link songs to specific times and places in my life. “Everybody’s Lonely,” off Jukebox the Ghost’s fifth album, “Off To The Races,” was the distinct soundtrack of my study abroad trip in the spring. I listened to it during bus commutes, while stuck in airports and when typing papers at the very last minute. It is extremely fun to listen and sing along to, yet it is also complex musically. It uses a number of instruments and vocal layering; soundwise it is largely reminiscent of the band Queen. I cannot recommend it enough.

Photo courtesy of Sony Classical Records.

Noah Howell

4. “Spidey-Bells (A Hero’s Lament) by Chris Pine: “Into the Spider-Verse” was one of my favorite films of the year, and is easily the best animated feature of 2018. The whole ride is a spidey-bonanza, and waiting into the credits was worth the wait for this song alone. Chris Pine is hilarious here and he gives me the Spider-Man Christmas song I never knew I actually needed. This song, along with the album I discovered on Spotify after the movie, will be a staple in my Christmas playlist for years to come.

3. “Shockwave” by Elena Siegman: Easter egg songs are a staple within every zombies map in the “Call of Duty: Black Ops” series, and many of these, like “Shockwave,” are written by Kevin Sherwood and performed by Elena Siegman. There is a reason for this: simply because the duo is fantastic. Siegman’s vocal performance is always stellar, and while the lyrics take a bit to wrap your head around, her job on the song here is no different. I don’t usually find myself listening to much heavy rock/metal like this song, but perhaps it’s just a great backdrop to the actual gameplay of killing zombies that makes it work so well.

2. “That’s The Way it is” by Daniel Lanois: The score within “Red Dead Redemption 2” is already phenomenal, but the best moments of the game are the long, reflective horse rides which come after key story beats and feature songs from a variety of different artists. This song comes towards the game’s climax and is the perfect beat to go alongside the penultimate moment of the player’s journey. I can’t give away too much without risk of spoiling the game, but the song is right at home at this particular moment and is one that will stick with me for a while. 

1. “Kitster’s Song” by Trevor Moore: When a friend first suggested this song to me, I was on board right from hearing the title. A song about Anakin Skywalker’s somewhat obscure friend in “The Phantom Menace” who had only a handful of lines? Count me in. The song straddles the line of being outright hilarious and emotional all at once, with Moore singing from the point of view of Kitster years after his appearance on-screen, reminiscing on what his childhood friend — now Darth Vader — is doing these years later. I had never listened to Moore before this, but one thing is for certain, he knows his “Star Wars.” Parodies of “Star Wars” songs usually rely on simply changing up the lyrics of an already popular song, but Moore creates an entirely new song on his own for Kitster and it is a great one.

Album art for “EVERYTHING IS LOVE” courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment.

Breanna Herring

4. “Sauce All On Me” by CoCa Vango: Another song to contribute to my high self-esteem! This song raps about containing the sauce. “Sauce” is used to describe someone who has a style, confidence and attraction about them.

3. “Nice” by The Carters: Let’s be honest, The Carters are black royalty. This song serves as a confidence boost for me and motivates me to be successful. Some of the lyrics highlight how African Americans are told that they can do anything in America, but racism and inequality challenge the belief.

2. “Wasted Love Freestyle” by Jhené AikoThis song hit close to home for me. The song describes how sometimes our energy and love are not reciprocated back to us in a relationship. We find ourselves realizing that we wasted our time and energy on someone who was incapable of loving us the way we wanted to be loved.

1. “CPR” by Summer Walker: I adore Summer Walker and can completely relate to her and her music. The song “CPR” is a metaphor describing the artist’s lover. She characterizes his love as air bringing her back to life because she’s been misunderstood and alone for so long.

Album art for “Let’s Go Sunshine” courtesy of Lonely Cat Records.

Tyler Trudeau

4. “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA: As Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ erupted onto the screen as one of 2018’s biggest movies, the soundtrack, curated by hip-hop icon Kendrick Lamar, also made waves as it brought some of the top names in hip-hop together to showcase the massive influence of the superhero hit. Featuring the likes of The Weeknd, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz and Future, the song that comes to my mind first lies in the Lamar and SZA team-up “All the Stars.” With it kicking off the end credits for the blockbuster film, the rhythmic ballad of SZA mixed with Lamar’s rap inklings remains one of the top tracks from the soundtrack.

3. ”Holy” by King Princess: One of the most enigmatic new artists I uncovered this year was Brooklyn native Mikaela Strauss, or as her fans know her, King Princess. A multi-instrumentalist with soulful vocals to match the atmospheric synth melodies that run behind her, Strauss has already made a name for herself as the next bold revolutionary in the queer-pop genre. As a proud member of the LGBTQ community, the artist has expertly carved her way to the top as one of the most promising new artists out there. While her early hit “1950” might have won the hearts of fellow artists Harry Styles, Halsey and Mark Ronson, her somewhat haunting track “Holy” off her debut EP echoes with sonic nuance and cinematic flair.

2. “No Pressure” by The Kooks: After grappling onto other alternative rock groups like Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes, the unique sound of English band The Kooks quickly drew me into a similar fascination into their more recent releases. While their hit 2006 track “Naive” made for a worthy song to lodge itself eternally within my brain, I didn’t initially pick up their later records until this year’s “Let’s Go Sunshine.” With the rest of the record offering a foot-tapping catalog of drunken nights and unrequited affections, the closing number of “No Pressure” perfectly captures the ease and joys of a new relationship.

1. “Superposition” by Young the Giant: Easily one of my most anticipated albums of the year, the latest record from indie rock outfit Young the Giant kicked off with a trio of sensational, cinematic and undeniably catchy tracks. Escorting us effortlessly into their newest collection of soul-searching tunes of lost love, adrift ambitions and super-sonic melodies, the best of the trio in ‘Superposition’ shows off the band’s talented and atmospheric instrumentals, as well as the dreamy vocal nuances of frontman Sameer Gadhia.   

Album art for “Joy As An Act Of Resistance” courtesy of Partisan Records.

Aaron Febre

4. “One Point Perspective” by Arctic Monkeys: It was pretty difficult to pick one track off the new Arctic Monkeys album as I was thoroughly impressed with the overall product. This song takes the cake due to the wonderful layering of instrumentation, Alex Turner’s witty and observable lyricism as well as one of his best vocal performances. Plus, this reminds me of the 1970s for inexplicable reasons.

3. “Baby I’m Bleeding” by JPEGMAFIA: Released in January, JPEGMAFIA’s “Veteran” is one of the most exciting and intense albums of the year. “Baby I’m Bleeding” shows JPEGMAFIA’s fierce flow that is backed-up with an abrasive production that will leave your jaws dropped. Go ahead and play this, you won’t find another hip-hop track (or album) of this year that as fierce as this one.

2. “Dilemma” by Death Grips: As if all of their music wasn’t crazy enough, Death Grips returned with an even crazier album that made their previous work look more accessible. Out of my favorites from “Year of the Snitch,” “Dilemma” is my favorite for various reasons. Spoken word by Andrew Adamson (the director of “Shrek”), MC Ride screaming “DILEMMA!”, the video-game synthesizer and too many things that are incomprehensible to digest even for a fan of Death Grips.

1. “I’m Scum” by Idles: English Punk band Idles returned with a new album (“Joy As An Act of Resistance”) that is catchier and angrier than their 2017 album, “Brutalism.” This track encompasses the overall sound of the new album: Joe Talbot’s gruff voice, the steady and danceable rhythm, dirty guitars, a chorus that drunk soccer (or football) fans can sing along to, and the theme of “say what you want, I don’t care” in the lyrics make this song a favorite.

Artwork for “TINTS” courtesy of Aftermath/12 Tone Music LLC.

Cecilia Whalen

4. “Bring Me Love” by John Legend: Yeah, it’s a Christmas song. I get it; Christmas is over. But I love John Legend, so I take what I can get. He definitely has one of the most beautiful voices of this generation, and this song is upbeat, well-arranged, and of course, well-sung.

3.“TINTS (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” by Anderson .Paak: I don’t think there’s anything smart I can say about this song, but it’s just fun to sing along and dance to, OK? Plus Kendrick Lamar is featured on it, so you know it’s gotta be a win.

2. “1985” by J. Cole: I love J. Cole’s voice and basically every song he’s done. This song is kind of a diss track to all those who have come out dissing him, but Cole doesn’t just cuss them out and be done with it. Cole warns them about the harm their attitudes and their lifestyles are causing themselves and others — and he doesn’t sound like a bully or a punk defending his own pride. Really, he sounds like a big brother looking out for the hip-hop community, while peppered with the occasional big brother boast.

1. “Brackets” by J. Cole: J. Cole knows how to use rhythm. While a lot of rappers tend to repeat a similar rhythmic pattern, triplet and sixteenth after triplet and sixteenth, Cole masters syncopation. This matched with his poetry creates a whole album of reflection and creativity, and “Brackets” is the climax of both of these musical attributes.

Album art for “Love” courtesy of Reprise Records.

Mayra Trujilo-Camacho

4. “Taki Taki” by Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B and DJ Snake: It’s a song I can dance to that has a mix of Spanish and English.

3. “Money” by Cardi B: I just think it’s a very catchy song and even a good workout song. It’s very hype.

2. “Scripted” by ZAYN: This song comes from his second album “Icarus Falls,” after leaving One Direction in 2015.  It is a love song with a creative melody and nice chill R&B background.

1. “Love You Anymore” by Michael Bublé: From his new album “Love,” which was released two years after his son was diagnosed with liver cancer. “Love You Anymore” is a very beautiful song. It’s more of a song to forget your ex, but it just has a very nice melody and aesthetic.

Album art for “CARE FOR ME” courtesy of Saba Pivot, LLC.

Arik Miguel

4. Shoota (feat. Lil Uzi Vert)” by Playboi Carti: When I listen to this song, I know that half of what I’m singing is my incorrect decipherings of Uzi and Carti’s mumble rapping. The other half of the lyrics have about as much depth as the line “money on the floor just like some shoes,” but maybe that’s not a bad thing. “Shoota” is fun just for the sake of being fun, and that’s really all we could have asked of these two besties in 2018.

3. “Hunnybee” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra: This is one the most gleefully infectious songs I have heard in a long time. “Hunnybeehas the power to evoke the childhood joy that comes from somersaulting down a grassy hill.

2. “PROM / KING” by Saba: “CARE FOR ME” is Saba’s greatest album yet, and “PROM / KING” is its emotional peak. The seven and a half minute song builds up slowly until Saba is rapping at breakneck speed, describing his cousin’s untimely death. Saba has always had an incredible gift for storytelling, but he’s never told his story as breathtakingly as this.

1. “Noid” by Yves Tumor: Yves Tumor intertwines beauty and violence in an incredibly jarring and exciting way. “Noid” is unlike any song I have heard in my life. Almost as if you asked an alien to compose a song about police brutality.

 

Listen to the music featured in this article via the Spotify playlist below!

McColl Artist-in-Residence Liz Miller and students create “Obsolescence”

Have you ever wanted to time travel? Maybe go kick it with the cavemen, retake that 8 a.m. exam or get a glimpse of your future? Although this is all fabrication, I did experience something close to it.

On Oct. 31, I went to an art exhibition on campus in the Rowe Galleries. McColl Artist-In-Residence Liz Miller worked with the students in the mixed-media/print media class to create a project called “OBSOLESCENCE.”

The class was divided into three groups and given a prompt to create a mixed-media installation for the Rowe Gallery. The vision and focus was placed on the past, present and future. The instructors, Maja Godlewska and Erik Waterkotte, gave each group a task to portray a different period of time. The focused concepts consisted of biogeography, the disturbance of ecology, global warming and the destructive behavior of mankind. The purpose of the installation is to hopefully open the viewers’ eyes to the biosphere and the rest of the environment.

In regards to the objective of the assignment, Waterkotte stated: “We developed some themes around different ideas of past, present and future. In the gallery, part of the challenge of the students is to create artwork that also engages and directs the viewers.”

In addition, Godlewska said: “This semester, we had the opportunity to work with a visiting artist from the McColl Center For Art + Innovation, Liz Miller. We thought that this would be perfect for our mixed-media/print media class. The students will create something that will be three-dimensional, but it will involve a little bit of painting, print-media and immersive installation.”

Photos by Leysha Caraballo.

The students that worked on the exhibit were Meredith Brown, Christina Carsley, Chauncey Carter, Melissa Curry, Ashley Dennis, Abe Ekren, Justin Hicks, Nicole Miller, Luke Russell, Julius Shumpert and Lily Xiong.

Walking into the exhibit, I was completely impressed. There were all types of cloths coming down from the ceiling. To my left was a sculpted cave coming out of the wall with attached cave hands. It was obvious to me that it was meant to signify one of the event’s themes: the past.

As I moved around, I couldn’t help but notice vibrant colors. The cloths hanging from the ceiling in that area were green and earthy. The wall was entirely covered with different colored paper. My intuition gave me the notion of the present. I felt that this section’s purpose was to show the beautiful aspects of our biosphere, such as vibrant-colored flowers, green vegetation and earthy soil. I got Poison Ivy vibes — pun intended for my “Batman” fans.

Turning my head, there was a shift in the art. There was no sign of vibrant colors and vegetation. The walls became gray and white with fading urban cities. The cloths consisted of tiny photographs and lights. In the middle of the floor was a pile of broken gadgets. I immediately picked up retro vibes and saw into the future. The message was loud and clear: our obsession with technology may be the destruction of our biosphere.

When talking about her vision, Miller stated: “I hope that the viewer walks away from my work seeing something in a new way. I think that not every viewer will get the same thing from the experience. Someone might walk in and might think it’s beautiful. Another might walk in and [it] might cause them to think about changes in the natural environment. But I hope that they have some response.”

The art exhibition was a great experience. I thought displaying concepts from the past, present and future was genius. It really opens your eyes to how society has shifted. The important components that stood out to me were the cavemen hands, the beautiful scene of Mother Nature and a glimpse of the destruction of our biosphere. I definitely love viewing art that makes you think. To keep it real with you, I had to ponder about the message behind the art, but I think that is the beauty of it all. Everyone has the freedom to form their own perspective and connect with art in a different way. I praise all who were involved in this project. Make sure to go and support the arts.

The Jazz Arts Initiative presents ‘The Jazz Room Series: Trick or Treat Edition II’

Featured photo courtesy of Blumenthal Performing Arts and the Jazz Arts Initiative.

It is officially spooky season! So what exactly does that look like? Scarecrows, monsters, witches, scary movies, pumpkins and college students’ grades dropping? If you think about it, does jazz come across your mind?

The Jazz Arts Initiative is a non-profit organization that consists of musicians, educators and individuals who want to contribute to Charlotte’s growing art culture. It is vital to develop an audience for jazz through music education, performance opportunities and musician support. “The Jazz Room” is a series created by the organization designed to showcase talented musicians from across the world. They have shows all throughout the year with different themes. For the fall season, the themed concert was called “Trick or Trick Edition II.”

The President and CEO of Jazz Arts Initiative is Mrs. Lonnie Davis. Davis has a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Music. She also attended the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, where she studied music. Davis has also been involved in various leadership activities within the community, such as Leadership Charlotte and Class XXXII. On top of this, she is also a skilled jazz flutist.

When asked about “The Jazz Room” series, she stated, “My favorite aspect of this program is to bring musicians together. Often times, they meet for the first time and come from different cities. It is really about forming a stronger bond between both regional and local artists. And outside of that, I love seeing the audiences’ faces when they hear these great musicians and educating them on jazz.”

I went to see the Halloween-themed concert on Friday, Oct. 19 at 8:15 p.m. It was held in the Booth Playhouse at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The building itself was incredibly beautiful. The room was mainly dark. The stage was lit with different colors, such as orange, red, green and purple. The decorations consisted of mini jack-o-lanterns, a screen with halloween pictures and candles. There were tables out in the lobby with black cloths and candy on top. To my surprise, there was a small bar right beside the stage. The adults would casually purchase an alcoholic beverage during the performances.

The concert was fun and I enjoyed myself. The band consisted of a drum player, bass player, pianist, trumpet player and saxophone player. There were also three vocalists that were featured throughout the concert. They all performed Halloween-themed jazz classics, such as songs from “West Side Story,” “Halloween Theme” by John Carpenter, and songs by Frank Sinatra, Herbie Hancock, etc. It gave me goosebumps. My favorite part was the recital of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The vocalist recited the poem as the band gave chilly background noise to enhance the thrill. The audience loved every moment of it. They clapped, snapped and hollered. Some people got up to dance a little. Everyone would usually turn to have a light conversation with their neighbor. The whole atmosphere that night was relaxing and “jazzy.” The performers did an encore performance since the audience wanted to hear more music.

The only thing that I did not like about the concert was the absence of programs. I wish I had received a hard-copy program that had a layout of all of the selections that were performed; it would have been nice if I had known the names of the songs. Granted, someone did announce the name of the song about to be performed, but let’s be honest here…who actually pays attention to people talking during a jazz concert? We are here for the jazz and tune out everything else. I also wanted to know more information about the musicians. I wish there was a list of their names with a brief biography and social media account. They were all just incredible musicians. I genuinely wanted to research about them but I did not have a program in my hand.

Overall, I would most definitely recommend the Jazz Room series. It is a great way to experience live music performances and be introduced into the jazz world. Music is when we all can come together and enjoy life, and I must say, they must have put a spell on me because I am going to their next concert!

Dr. Eric Millard: A Music Phenomenon

Photo courtesy of Dr. Eric Millard

The lights of the recital hall slowly dim. The stage then lights up and draws attention to the unoccupied trumpet and piano. The vacant room quickly fills with excited music lovers, and the clock strikes 7:32 p.m. Eric Millard and his accompanist walk onto the stage. Silence falls upon the crowd. Both musicians give each other a reassuring head nod as they turn to their first musical selection. The piano starts, the trumpet follows and the magic soon began.

Dr. Eric Millard is the Visiting Instructor of Trumpet at UNC Charlotte. He received his Doctorate and Master’s Degree in Trumpet Performance from Florida State University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Millard has performed with various groups, such as the Charlotte Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Ballet Idaho, Pensacola Symphony, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Northwest Florida Symphony and Albany Symphony. During his solo career, he has been awarded prizes at eminent competitions. For instance, the International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition, NTC, Music Teachers National Association Solo Competition and the U.S. Army Band National Collegiate Solo Competition. His students are known to be selected for honors and have won prestigious awards.

Millard has been playing the trumpet since the fourth grade. He was inspired to play a musical instrument by his older sister, a clarinet player. He described his journey to becoming a successful musician as almost an “obsession.” He stated that he puts 100% commitment into everything and remains driven to accomplish his goals to be the best. To become a triumphant teacher and soloist, it took hours practicing everyday. The weekends and holidays were no exception to this cardinal rule. Despite all of that, Millard views the process as doing what he is passionate about, which is music.

“To me, being a musician is about conveying an idea or connecting with the audience. A medicine for the soul. Music is our ability to connect with other human beings,” he said.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte was blessed with a performance by Eric Millard, alongside pianist Amy Nungesser, on Sept. 25. It was a part of the Faculty and Friends Concert Series hosted by the Department of Music. The program consisted of four musical selections from varying time periods. The dynamic duo both gave breathtaking performances, leaving the audience speechless and astonished.

The concert started with Jean Hubeau’s “Sonate pour Trompette chromatique at Piano,” a three movement sonata with a Sarabande, an Intermède and a Spiritual. During the Sarabande, Millard demonstrated a tremendous control of sound. In the Intermède, he effortlessly showcased his ability to play in both the low ranges and high ranges. Each note had the perfect pitch and fullness to appease even the heavens above. The techniques displayed in the first two movements were combined together in the last movement. The Spiritual was hymn-like and a beautiful unison between the trumpet and piano.

The second selection was “Concerto in D Major (After Vivaldi), BWV 972,” by J.S. Bach (with arrangements by Alan Chen). It consisted of three movements: Allegro, Andante and Allegro assai. The Allegro was vibrant and played with liveliness. Dr. Millard easily played the 16th-note runs like a flash of lightning. The Andante displayed a relatively moderate, slow pace. Millard had an impeccable tone quality, ending with a perfect whispered note. The Allegro assai picked up the speed again and ended with a dynamic fortissimo note.

Astor Piazzolla’s “Adios Nonino” had a sad melodic essence with a taste of Argentinian Tango. The translation of the title means “Farewell,” a tribute to Piazzolla’s late father. Dr. Millard played with such passion and melancholy that you could almost feel it. He did an excellent job of conveying Piazzolla’s grief and nostalgia through his notes.

The last selection, and Millard’s personal favorite, was “Centennial Horizon” by Kevin McKee. Millard gave the following statement, “I think what is really effective about his music and what makes it fun for performers and audience is that he is trying to portray something that we can all relate to.” The piece itself was extremely lyrical and had a graceful tone that filled the room. The purpose was to convey a Colorado scenery through the music. McKee wanted the audience to experience the beauty of the nature: the mountains, the white water rivers and the aspen trees. It was through Millard that his mission was successful.

Dr. Eric Millard put on a remarkable performance. He was able to captivate each of the composers’ visions through his trumpet and played each selection exquisitely. The recital hall seemed to ring with beautiful sounds from the gates of the heavens. The audience gave a standing ovation as Millard walked off the stage. It was a great evening of good-quality music.