An hour before the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, the auditorium of Goleta Valley Junior High nearly burst with the energy of hundreds of students awaiting a long weekend of freedom-but, good kids that they are, they all stayed in their seats to hear the Westmont String Trio play Baroque and Romantic works. CAMA’s outreach program had done its job well, and not only did the GVJHS students manage to sit, they also clapped, cheered, and whistled enthusiastically for this fine ensemble, because the students had been prepared by monthly visits from CAMA’s docents. The docents’ hard work resulted in an appreciative audience for a fine concert. The Westmont trio-Philip Ficsor, violin; Valerie Malvinni, viola; and Claudia Kiser, cello-gave a lively tour of many great works to an even livelier audience.
Dr. David Malvinni introduced each piece with a brief, accurate account of its place in music history, and he kept the program moving. The trio took on a number of works written for full orchestra with style and grace, including the gigue from J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, an allegro from a work by Poulenc, and “Spring” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The trio even managed to present a pair of works for voice: an aria from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, “When I am Laid to Rest”; and a cantata, Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze.”
After the Baroque half of the program, the musicians introduced themselves and their instruments, and then quickly got back to playing again. This time, the Romantics took over. Schumann’s Traumerei entranced everyone, as did the andante expresivo from Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The trio finished with Brahms’s lively Hungarian Dances, and the audience roared its approval. What school budget cuts have taken away, CAMA’s docent program has given back. Later, there may be a time for a discussion of the reason that a prosperous community has decided to deprive its students of instruction in the arts. For now, we can be grateful for what CAMA has provided.