By Kayla Steinman, Contributor
From songs about autumn to songs that say goodbye, last Thursday’s Arts at One performance, courtesy of several Douglas alumni, did not disappoint. The show brought together people from three generations of Douglas College, including graduate Christian Bideau and professor Barrie Barrington both on piano, to show us that passion and hard work can get you anywhere.
We started off with Linda Szentes, a mezzo-soprano who sang about the joys of autumn. With her song, Maurice Ravel’s “Vocalise-étude en forme de Habanera,” we heard leaves falling from their trees. As the piano accompanied her in the background, Szentes was able to use her voice to make it sound as if the birds were singing the last song of summer, showing us both with her voice and with her body motions the passion that she was putting into the song; the passion that the birds have for this season, before flying away.
Next was Melissa Bideau, née Purnell, singing a more modern set of songs for us. For her cover of the song “Le papillon et la fleur,” she interpreted the piano as a butterfly and herself as a flower; the butterfly floating around, teasing the flower with its beautiful colors and the flower seeming to call to the butterfly, calling it to come and land. Bideau was able to do notes that I haven’t heard since I listened to my old Queen CD; she may have been the youngest performer and most recent Douglas graduate, but she is going far with her voice if she so chooses.
The last performer, Young Yi, sent us off with a fair adieu as he performed Schubert’s “Ganymed;” a song about a man who is looking for someone he worships, and the journey he takes to get to the place where his god resides. Yi was burning with passion; his voice filled the room with beautiful notes that spilt out from him.
All three of these singers began as Douglas students, and once finished with their studies here, went mostly separate ways. Of particular mention is Szentes, who started at Douglas studying piano, then went to UBC to focus on her vocal abilities and used her piano skills to accompany other singers. Melissa Bideau came to Douglas and had a love story made in heaven, meeting her pianist husband Christian during their time here.
But of course, none of these fantastic performances would have been possible without the amazing music professor Barrie Barrington, who accompanied many of these amazing performers. It was an excellent show had by all, and be sure to check out this week’s performance by the Robin Shier Jazz Quintet, this Thursday at 1 p.m. in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre—free to all who can make it!