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Cortez Concert Interrupted

By Christian Pridemore
On March 9, 2016

This leap year, Kipp Cortez, the new Assistant Professor of Music at Concord, decided to commemorate the extra day in the year by filling it with music. On February 29, Cortez performed several pieces on the Fine Arts building’s organ ranging from early 18th century to as modern as 1992.

    The pieces performed ranged in style. “The reason why I picked the pieces that I’m doing is I want to pick pieces that demonstrate a little bit of everything in terms of the organ literature that’s out there,” said Cortez. The pieces performed were composed by artists as early as Johann Sebastian Bach and as recent as William Mathias. Cortez performed 13 pieces demonstrating the complexity of the artistry that went into their composition and achieving his goal of accurately portraying how music for the organ has evolved over time. However, the performance experienced a slight hiccup when, near the end of the show, the fire alarm went off.

    When the alarm went off, Cortez was still performing, and an air of confusion swept over the audience, not knowing whether to file out of the building or finish listening to the piece. Luckily the piece was nearing its completion. Once Cortez had finished, he led his audience outside to wait out the alarm. During this time, Cortez got to interact directly with his audience and ask how they were enjoying the performance, and the general response was positive. The alarm had sounded at approximately 8:30 in the evening, and after roughly 20 minutes had passed, Cortez was remorsefully telling the audience that if the alarm had not been dealt with by 9:05, he was ending the concert early. It wasn’t until about 9:00 that maintenance finally came and turned off the alarm, to the relief of everyone, including Cortez.

    After the incident with the alarm, Cortez returned to the stage to perform his final two pieces, which took about 20 minutes. In all, it was an interesting display of the different sounds the organ could perform as well as an excellent demonstration of Cortez’s talent with the organ, where at any given time Cortez could go from quiet sounds to very loud and boisterous sounds. “Basically the things to listen for are the different sounds, the different colors that you hear coming out of the organ,” Cortez said, “Things both loud and soft, deep and high…between all the pieces, you’ll get a little bit of everything.” 

    It was a night to remember, and students are encouraged to attend future musical events to both get a feel for the emotions that the instrument can elicit and vicariously experience the visible enjoyment that performers such as Cortez experience when playing.

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