Brookhaven College music department faculty takes time off work to raise money for student scholarships by performing various genres of music.
By Marilyn Velazquez
The Brookhaven College music department hosted its 12th Music Faculty Showcase Concert in the Performance Hall Nov. 19.
During the faculty showcase, with a piano, violins and flutes.
Octavio Gutierrez, the head of the music department, performed a piano piece titled “Chaconne in D Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The faculty puts on this show every year to raise money for scholarships given to students who want to pursue music as their field of study, Gutierrez said.
The scholarship committee decides how much is awarded to each student depending on how much money they make from ticket sales for the concert.
Gutierrez said many of the faculty take time from their own gigs outside of school to perform.
Keith Umbach, director of Brookhaven Big Band, said he played the drums in the Jazz Combo. He has been playing the drums for about 45 years.
Umbach said seeing The Beatles on TV spurred his love for drums: “I’ve seen a de-emphasis on music in schools and performing – that it’s not a viable way to make a living.”
However, his love for the drums keeps him from quitting. “I did a desk job back in college. I hated it,” Umbach said.
He said students also have a stigma about music professors in college: “If you can’t play, teach.” He said it is obviously not true because the teachers at Brookhaven are good performers.
Mason Topper, the head of the string orchestra, said getting to be both teachers and performers is the great thing about Brookhaven.
Sungtak Kim, a former Brookhaven student, currently attends the University of Texas at Arlington and was featured in the Jazz Combo on the double bass.
He was invited by drum professor Umbach. Kim said he is occasionally invited back when faculty need a bass player.
Kim said he started on the electric bass for about 9 years but picked up the double bass about three years ago.
Kim said the Jazz Combo rehearsed together for 40 minutes before the start of the showcase.
“This is jazz. We just improvise,” he said.
The music department hosts coffee concerts, performances at the Manske Library in Farmers Branch and a Brookhaven School of the Arts Open House in the spring. Campus performances will be April 29, May 3 and May 6 in the Performance Hall.