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Columbia College Orchestra Concert

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Date(s) - 12/10/2023
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Columbia College Dogwood Building,


Columbia College Orchestra Concerts set for Dec. 8th and 10th

The Columbia College Orchestra performs works by Beethoven, Villa-Lobos, and Gershwin as well as premiering an original composition by a Columbia College student in two upcoming concerts.

The performances titled Connections/Inspirations will be held in the Dogwood Forum on the Columbia College campus on Friday, December 8 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 10th at 2 p.m. There is no charge for admission.

Connections/Inspirations showcases jazz and classical, Brazilian folk music and Baroque, new compositions and old, music written for the concert hall and music written for film. All ages are welcome.

Dr. Daniel Godsil, instructor of music at Columbia College, conducts the orchestra.

“Now emerging from the Covid pandemic, we are back to a full complement of musicians and are able perform pieces scored for traditional sized orchestras, like Ludwig van Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue,” Godsil said.

Columbia College student Brian Yu will guest solo on piano for the Rhapsody in Blue. The rhapsody is one of Gershwin’s most popular compositions and is widely recognized as bringing a new era in American music blending classical music with jazz influences.

Yu is a graduate of Tioga High School who is currently a math major at Columbia College. He has performed at the Sonora Bach Festival Youth Concerts.

He began playing piano at age three with the encouragement of his parents, but piano soon became a personal hobby.

“I was familiar with the Rhapsody in Blue and liked it. Especially the way it encompasses a variety of styles. I love jazz,” Yu said. “When we were looking over music to select, it was a natural choice.”

This is Yu’s first opportunity to perform with a full orchestra.

“I hope the audience has as much fun hearing it as we do playing it,” Yu said.

Daybreak, inspired by the rising sun, is a new composition written by Kiah Suddath, a student at Columbia College.

“I expanded on a piece originally written in high school as a duet for woodwinds, and now it is arranged for full orchestra,” Suddath said.

This is the first public performance of Daybreak.

Bachianas Brasileras No. 4 was written by Heitor Villa-Lobos.

“Villa-Lobos found the connections between Brazilian folk music and the Baroque Era of classical music,” Godsil said. “His compositions elevate the folk tradition to a world stage.”

Godsil joined the faculty of Columbia College in the summer of 2021. He remembers driving on family trips from Davis to Yosemite, and thinking, “I wish there was a teaching post somewhere around here.” When completing his Doctorate degree, the job at Columbia College was announced.

Godsil enjoys the blend of college aged students and retirees playing together in the orchestra.

“It’s a great musical tradition,” he said. “Everyone is learning and everyone is teaching.”

Godsil began his musical journey as a self-taught rock guitarist who then taught himself piano and began composing music. His interest in classical music began with movies.

“I heard the orchestras on film scores and thought – How do you play that?” Godsil said.

He found he couldn’t teach himself how to write for an orchestra, and that led him to be a music major in college, to a Doctorate in Music, and to international music competitions.

In 2022, Godsil was honored as a featured composer in the New Conductors, New Composer Concert in New York City. This year a chamber orchestra work of his was performed in South Africa as the American submission for the International Society of Contemporary Music’s World New Music Day festival.

An arrangement by Godsil of Danny Elfman’s film score for Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure will be performed by the Columbia College Orchestra at the December concerts.

“It’s fun. It’s the way that children first hear music and respond to music,” Godsil said.

More film music will be included in the concert with Suite from Dances with Wolves, and Cavatina, which was featured in The Deer Hunter.

“Film scores are the way most people hear orchestral music,” Godsil said. “It’s more accessible.”