Choirs from FCC, Clovis and Reedley Join Forces, Thrill Audience


Photo by: Ramon Castanos

Julie R. Dana counsducts the FCC choir students on April 6 at the old administration building auditorium.

Story By: Ramon Castanos, Reporter

A previous version of this article misspelled Julie R. Dana’s name. It also stated that the movements played were from a mass dating to the early California mission time period, and misspelled the word “instrumentalists.” 

Choirs from the State Center Community College District’s three colleges performed uncommon songs during a concert in the Old Administration Building auditorium on April 6.

The singers, representing Fresno City College, Reedley College and Clovis Community College played five movements — Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei — from a Mass dating back to the early California missions, according to McKayla Perez, music student from Reedley College, who was part of the choir.

“It was hard work,” said Harmony Murphy, music instructor at Reedley. Murphy had translated the 200-year-old songs from Latin.  “You guys may hear this today, and you may never hear it again.”

Murphy said people in ancient civilization did not use notes for songs. Instead, they used colors to make specific notes. The songs have a slightly sad tone, mixed with marching songs.  

In the first half of the performance, each of the different community colleges performed separately, and in the second half, the choir from all colleges sang together.  

Julie R. Dana, music instructor and director of the FCC choir said it is mandatory for students in the choir to perform in this event.  She urged people to donate to, “Help to pay for the instrumentalists that helped us.”

McKayla Perez, who is in her second year of doing this choral event, said she has noticed that Latin is being used more, especially in Catholic masses.

Each choir has been training for the event since the beginning of the semester, Dana said.

Murphy said the biggest challenge for student performers is that the songs do not have notes like modern music does.

“In general, it isn’t really that hard because it is really slow and goes by syllables,” said Chris Hawkins, a member of the Clovis Community College choir and a music major.

Kevin Cooper, guitar instructor, played a solo — Fandango by Sandiego Demurciaz, an 18th Century Spanish composer.  

“His music was found in the new world,’ Cooper said. “Some copies have been found in Mexico City.” Cooper said the Sandiego Demurciaz song he played has not been performed in 200 or more years.

“I tried to accentuate the quality,” Copper said about adding his personal style to the song,  

He said he picked the song which he describes as lovely and fun because Murphy discovered Fandango while picking which song to sing.

“It really is fun and a really good set of music,” Hawkins said about his performance.   

Dana said the event was successful. The choirs received a thunderous ovation when she program ended.  

She said, “It was a wonderful blessing.”