BENNETT: Original works on stage at OCPermian Playhouse continues today

Friday night at the Jack Rodgers Fine Arts Auditorium on the Odessa College campus there was a piano recital. This in itself would not rate as anything unusual except that it consisted of new piano pieces written especially for the performers and was further enhanced by original art works created for each piece.
In other words it was the world premiere of each piece.
Last summer the head of the piano studies at the college came to me with the idea that I would write pieces for her student who had entered the program as freshmen, continued to study and needed some inspiring pieces for them at their level of pianistic ability and ones that would be appropriate for where they would be in their emotional development.
This was last June. To say the least it was a challenge especially to a composer who had been experiencing “writer’s block.”
It certainly unlocked the floodgates.
During the month of July I wrote three suites for her students and a three-movement sonata for Gayle herself.
The first suite, “Musings,” contained seven pieces: Friskiness, apprehension, exaltation, contemplation, busyness, satisfaction and vengeance.
The second suite, “Seven Attitudes for Piano,” contained euphoria, diligence, depression, agitation, solitude, accusation and elation.
These two suites were written for the second-year piano majors.
The third suite, “For the Piano,” contained feisty, a good day, reverie, gentle falling rain and implosion.
This suite was for those students whose major musical focus lay elsewhere than piano.
Also included was a single solo “Pentatonic Prelude.”
The format of the recital that Mrs. Bizzell envisioned was that each suite would be played without interruption. The pianist would enter while the accompanying art work would be projected on the stage. The name of the piece was on the picture so that there would be no need for programs. During the change of art work, the performers were changed so that the next pianist was ready when the lights came up.
At the end of each suite, those performers would come on stage for a collective bow.
The fluid, imaginative and appropriate original work was by Jacklyn Bracamontes, who used as models Art King and Jessica Parris for the art work of Musings. For the other suites, existing art was selected.
The lighting was designed by the resident designer, David Yates, the lights were run by Billy Baker, and the slide projectionist was Destinee Altier.
The movements of the suite were well received by the audience that filled the hall to capacity.
The students reflected the careful and exact training of their teacher as the following program was performed: “Musings” was played by:
Friskiness, Gayle Bizzell; Apprehension, Keaton Holley; Exaltation, Azalea Rivas; Contemplation, Jacklyn Bracamontes; Busyness, Gilbert Espinoza; Satisfaction, Art King; and Vengeance, Gayle Bizzell.
“Seven Attitudes” was performed as: Euphoria, Art King; Diligence, Gayle Bizzell; Depression, Rachel Holder; Agitation, Keaton Holley; Solitude, Azalea Rivas; Accusation, Art King; and Elation, Gayle Bizzell.
“For the Piano” was played by: Feisty, Danielle Rodriguez; A Good Day, Tiffany Thisted; Reverie, Jessica Parris; Gentle Falling Rain, Gilbert Expinoza; and Implosion by Art King.
Following the suites Keaton Holley played the “Pentatonic Prelude.”
Concluding the program was the Piano Sonata, Allegro Deciso, Adagietto and Allegremente played by Gayle Bizzell.
The sonata was enthusiastically received.
As a composer I was gratified that these talented and industrious students and teacher had given so much time and effort.
So, modestly, I must confess.
It was a GREAT recital.