The Irvine Valley College Department of Music hosted “It’s a Grand Night for Singing,” the second of Jenny Richards’ Memorial Voice Scholarship Benefit Recital on Feb. 6.
Jenny Richards who attended and completed her associate’s degree at IVC studying voice and singing was named the scholarship donor when she died of cancer in 2007.
The recital featured tenor Matthew Tresler and soprano’s Linda Leyrer, Ashley Johnson and Megan Peo.
Pianist Dean Erick accompanied the singers.
The night resounded with a variety of songs to raise funds for the student scholarship and in memory of Jenny Richards.
Matthew Tresler, a member of several professional choirs including the Grammy nominated Conspirare in Austin, Texas, executed his performance with plenty of laughter, especially during the song “And her Mother Came Too!” by Ivor Novello.
Leyrer, a music instructor at California State University Fullerton sang with glee and theatric attitude. She received chuckles, applause and an outspoken “Wow!” from the audience. She also dedicated three George Gershwin songs, calling him “a real treasure of an American Composer.”
Johnson, the first student to be awarded the Jenny Richards scholarship also made an appearance to sing along with her current instructor Leyrer and showed why she was awarded the first scholarship.
Her memorable, enthusiastic and delightful performance “Ah! Je Veux Vivre” (Juliette’s Waltz) from Romeo et Juliette summarized her work at IVC.
Peo a current music major at IVC, who sung with the Pacific Chorale at OCPAC, performed with grace and eloquence while building the momentum with the accomplished producer, music director/accompanist and vocal coach Erick who did a splendid job accompanying each singer with detailed musical notes.
The audience primarily composed of parents and students, expressed their satisfaction with showers of applause all throughout the recital.
“I loved it, they did a really good job. A lot comes with stylization,” said Meghan Fumphrey, 18, liberal studies, who is currently a student of Tresler, as she listed her favorite pieces of the night finally contemplating with “How Could I Ever”. “I love that song so much. I was almost crying.”
Edward Chang, 18, undecided, said that “each one has different elements and it depends on what you like,” when asked to pick his favorite performance.
“We’re very excited just to have the opportunity to offer scholarships to students and to have these sort of events to raise a little money to go towards those funds,” said Tesler.
Ashley Johnson, 22, music, was more than thankful for the scholarship she received last year. “It was a really big surprise. It wasn’t something talked about so I was very surprised, it’s really nice for the family to kind of keep it going and acknowledge voice as an actual instrument.”