Fresno City College’s City Singers and Guitar Students Come Together for a Concert


“I Shall be Beautiful” concert flyer. Image courtesy of FCC Theatre Box Office Eventbrite webpage

Fresno City College’s City Singers and student guitarists are collaborating for their first in-person concert since the pandemic started. 

The concert, “I Shall be Beautiful: Music for Choir and Guitar” is organized by choir professor Julie Dana and guitar professor Kevin Cooper.

Some pieces consist of the works of English Renaissance songs by John Dowland and the masterpiece of “Romancero Gitano” by Castelnuovo Tedesco.

However, the main piece for the concert is “The Dawn’s Early Light” by Kile Smith. 

The piece highlights the life of a Native American woman, Sarah Winnemucca, and how she remembers her life during the 1800s. Also in the piece, Winnemucca incorporated things that are different from what we learned in our lives.

According to Dana, one of the things that was different to Winnemucca was “The Star-Spangled Banner” as it had a different tune than today’s version.

For the concert, students will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” from Winnemucca’s perspective. 

Dana, whose advanced chamber class consists of 14 singers, said the only challenge besides the difficult music, was the possibility of someone getting exposed to COVID-19, not getting to attend the rehearsal, and being unable to hear all of the parts together.

Samantha Arellano, a City Singer, also said coming back to perform during the ongoing pandemic was a challenge as she worried about herself, fellow musicians and the audience.

Despite this, Arellano is excited for the concert, because they will be in-person again.

“The moment that we found out that we were going to be performing in person, I think that was probably the best news that we’ve gotten in a while,” she said.

All of Cooper’s students, no matter their level, will participate in the concert.

He said his reasoning behind this is that students, “Often cannot believe that they are capable of contributing to such a successful production.” 

However, he is worried students might not feel as accomplished about the concert as past students since some did not have in-person classes or rehearsals.

Both Dana and Cooper hope there will be an audience in-person and streaming, not just for them, but for their students.

“It’s an insurmountable joy to be able to be standing in front of an audience and I think our students deserve to have that,” Dana said.

The special guests for the concert are Brandon Mendez and Carlos Vasquez, former FCC students, Robert Myers another guitar instructor at FCC and Dieter Wulfhorst who is a professional cellist.

The concert will be held Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the old administration building auditorium. Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for general admission. 

Tickets are only available online.

According to FCC’s Fine and Performing Arts Event Protocols, attendees are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test upon entering and must wear a mask during the event.