In the late morning of Schroeder Hall’s second day grand opening, various elegantly dressed guests waiting for the opening concert, performed by Sonoma Bach Choir, consumed the lobby of the Green Music Center on Saturday.
The Sonoma County sun was just beginning to reveal itself amidst the cloudy sky as more guests began to consume the intimate enclosure of Schroeder Hall. With the maximum occupancy of 250 seats, Schroeder Hall has presented a musical landscape for all sorts of performances and ensembles Sonoma State University will now begin to offer.
Upon entering the hall, the most noticeable presence stood itself magnificently before the crowd: the Brombaugh Opus 9 Tracker Pipe Organ. The honorable donation given by B.J. and Bebe Cassin, Donald and Maureen Green, Robert Worth and Margaret McCarthy complemented the small-scale venue. The sum of its parts encompasses many scarce types of wood, including red oak. This outstanding instrument was constructed approximately 40 years ago by an organ architect in which the instrument was named after, John Brombaugh.
Upon entering the stage, the Sonoma Bach Choir modestly assorted themselves in their arrangements surrounding music director Robert Worth, a Sonoma State University alumni and current professor at the university since the year 1985. Just as the concert was to begin, some technological complications were brought up involving the camera that guided organ player David Parsons to be in sync with Worth for the performance.
To lighten up the mood, Worth faced the crowd with a smile and said, “So a duck walks into a bar…”
The entire hall erupted into laughter as Worth continued on with his joke while the technological problems were fixed, leaving a refreshing aura among the crowd in time for the concert to officially begin.
As the applause began to falter and the lights began to dim before the first performance, the energy in the hall was notably impeccable. Many families and friends of the choir whispered to each other in anticipation for the choir ensemble to begin, in which Parsons set the atmosphere with an incredible opening on the organ.
For the next hour and a half, Schroeder Hall was the epicenter for the stunning series of performances by the Sonoma Bach Choir. It was clear on every performer’s faces how dedicated and moved they were by their own efforts in creating the astonishing acoustics that consumed the hall. The range of ages between the performers was evident; the choir included community members and students approximately between the ages of 25 and 65. Despite the difference of ages between the performers, their harmonies and solos were flawless. Hence the name of the choir, pieces by Bach dominated the event to emphasize the Baroque period and the emotion in his music. Other pieces such as the infamous Ode to Joy, by Ludwig van Beethoven, was a recognizable hit among other composers with pieces in German, Latin, and English.
By the end of the performances led by Worth and Parsons, the energy in the hall radiated with excitement and passion for the choir and their unforgettable performance; a performance that is one of many that will take place in the new venue next to Weill Hall and the Hospitality Center.