Music department crescendos

Shane Louis, Copy editor

Diablo Valley College’s flourishing music department continues to grow under the direction and vision of faculty interested in the inspiration and development of student musicians.

From the jazz bands to the orchestra and chamber choir, all three groups delivered excellent performances near the end of the semester.


The Diablo Valley College jazz program continues to expand vision and inspiration for 2015.

Professor Matt Zebley brings professional musicians from all around the country to help inspire his students. While he has only been a part of the DVC faculty for a year and a half, he is driven to give the students the best they can get.

“We just want more people playing jazz on this campus,” Zebley says. Off campus, Zebley plans to take the band to the April jazz festival at CSU East Bay.

The Jazz Showcase concert on Thursday Dec. 3 became evidence for many aspects of growth in this area of the music department.

The DVC Jazz Band produced a diverse set ranging from Latin to funk to straight-ahead jazz, and presented each one with skill showing the well-rounded ability of the group.

After the Jazz Band finished their set, the DVC Night Band took the stage. They displayed expert handling of dynamics and technique that showed the skill of both the individual and the group.

San Francisco-based jazz quartet Times 4 brought a lively set to DVC in addition to their clinic earlier in the day.

The group has been together for 13 years and they all agreed that they wanted to do the clinic and perform at DVC because it was fun.

“We love playing together whenever we get the chance,” drummer Maurice Miles says.

Bassist Kevin Lofton says he enjoyed the clinic and getting to be an influence on the student musicians

“The students ask really good questions,” Lofton says.

Lincoln Adler, who plays saxophones for Times 4, explained the importance of live music.

“I think communicating with the audience is the most important thing,” he says. “It all boils down to speaking to the audience at a level that they can somehow absorb.”

DVC Jazz Band tenor saxophonist Matthew Bridges finds it important to interact with the professional musicians because it allows him to see where he could be in the future.

“We’re looking at role models,” he says.


The Diablo Valley College Philharmonic Orchestra and Chamber Singers brought Bach and Tchaikovsky to life at the first of three performances at 8 p.m. on Nov. 22 in Concord.

Directors Brett Peppo, Owen Lee and Monte Barios rotated though directing the group, and all were able to evoke emotion and style in the orchestra and choir.

Peppo, who is music department chair and director of choral/vocal music, explained that this was the Sunday that the Bach cantata would have traditionally been composed for and performed on, adding an additional element of authenticity to the concert.

Music majors Seth Coulman, 19, and Luis Cardoza, 18, both sing bass in the chamber choir.

“I think it’s cool to sing in a different language because after a while, singing English can get boring,” Cardoza says. “So it’s cool to branch off into different cultures.”

Translation of the German lyrics were included in the program which helped the audience understand the meaning of the song.

Students affirm the importance of understanding what the song is actually saying, even when it is in a foreign language.

“He’ll tell us what the words mean so that we can get into it,” Coulman said.

Cardoza and Coulman agreed that singing is important to both of their lives and musical expression and Cardoza says, “It’s never too late to start.”

“The only thing that’s stopping you is yourself,” he says.

For any students interested in joining choir Cardoza suggests “Talk to Brett (Peppo), and you can always just join concert choir.”

The chamber orchestra artfully maneuvered the intricacies of both pieces, with a few errors. They made plenty of room dynamically for the vocalists to shine through.

“I just like being in the music,” says psychology major Kathy Gusenkov. “I to like be in the ensemble and work together to produce the sound.”