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Sunday, February 5, 2012


A Magical Night for Guter, PST
Ten Year Reunion Concert is a testament to CSULB vocal group and its teacher

Alumni join current PST for finale

Christine Guter said that she was an emotional wreck in the days leading up to last week’s Pacific Standard Time reunion concert featuring her former vocal jazz students from the last ten years. 
She had good reason to be emotional.  More reason to be proud.
Before an appreciative and enthusiastic audience at the Link Theater, student by student, act by act, paid tribute to both Guter and PST, the group that she founded when she came to Cal State Long Beach as a young teacher in 2002.
The performances were superb.  The emotion was palatable.  
One would have thought that the music for this special evening would have been strictly jazz.  But the performances were eclectic.  To begin with, the house band – or Alumni Band - was hot, with Steve Blum on piano, Anthony Shadduck on bass, Sean Fitzpatrick on drums and Dan Kaneyuki on saxophone.  They provided solid backing for a wide array of music.
As for the performances, all were of an extremely high level.  It showed just how much talent Guter had cultivated over the past ten years and how much she meant to the lives of so many.  Nearly all said small but heartfelt “thank you’s” in tribute to the woman who guided them through a pivotal time in their musical journey through Cal State Long Beach.
With all of this talent, the bar was set extremely high.  And with each singer, the bar was cleared.  The night got off to a rousing start as Franchesca Preponis opened with a hot rendition of Chick Corea’s You’re Everything.  Next was the duet by Christina Wilson and Michael Funk who sang a playful version of Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.  Abby Carlson, Andrea Calderwood, Courtney Gasque and Ann Palmer followed with a bluesy rendition of You Don’t Know Nothing, showing off flawless four-part harmony.  Palmer and Campbell returned to sing the melodic and gorgeous Winter Song.
Calderwood blew the crowd away with her solo on Such Great Heights.  Backed by Sean Fitzpatrick’s vocal percussion, Andrea’s vocals went up and down the musical scale and her scat technique was brilliant.  And the hits just kept coming.  Alexandra Domingo, Christina Wilson, Maria Dowell, Rachel St. Marselle, Abby Carlson and Genevieve Artadi sang the toe-tapping Aquarela de Brasil with Domingo performing the lead.
The show continued with Renee Motteler, who flew in from Albuquerque, New Mexico sweetly sang Rosana Eckert’s At the End of the Day.  Sean Fitzpatrick and Steve Blum followed with September in the Rain, with Fitzpatrick doing the vocals and Blum showing off his dexterity on the keyboards.  Then the audience had some real fun.  Steve Boyett, Carnell Harrell and Michael Funk performed The Sugar Hill Gang’s rap classic Rapper’s Delight word for word and note for note.  To close out the first half of the show, Genevieve Artadi and collaborator Louis Cole brought the crowd to its feet with the techno Things About You.
And that was only the first half.  The audience needed it just to catch its breath.
The second half of the evening opened with Christina Wilson and Sean Fitzpatrick’s swinging, swaying arrangement of Almost Like Being In Love.  The ensemble featured Wilson, Fitzpatrick, Alexandra Domingo, Virgil Rosales and Luc Kleiner and a jumpin’ sax solo by Dan Kaneyuki. 
Carrie Mock and Cathy Terrones performed an absolutely gorgeous rendition of the Terrones original composition Slow Like Honey with Terrones on guitar accompanied by Mock’s soaring violin.  Tim Buchholz displayed his fine vocal talent as he joined Steve Blum on Farmer’s Market.  Carnell Harrell had the audience hooked with his latin-influenced arrangement of Stevie Wonder’s You & I.  The alumni portion of the show closed with a roof-raising vocal by Virgil Rosales of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.
It was now time for the current Pacific Standard Time to perform and they rocked the house, sounding better than ever.  The group opened with the rollicking Down South Camp Meeting Time, then moving to the soulful Tight and closing with Ian Brekke’s  beautiful arrangement of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower (assisted by members of Jazz & Tonic).
The magical evening closed with the current Pacific Standard Time joining the alumni for stunning ballad Maybe brought the crowd to its feet, brought hugs from the singers, and brought tears to the eyes of Christine Guter, whose voice cracked as she thanked everyone involved in making this evening a runaway success.

Carnell Harrell, Christine Guter and Steve Boyett

The evening was a wonderful testament to Guter, the program and the school.  Guter has nurtured a family environment that all feel a part of.  Everyone was happy to come back home to say thank you.  And the best of Guter and the award-winning PST may be yet to come…