Northwest Vista College, one of the Alamo Colleges, has a surprisingly robust music program for a two-year community college. There are over a dozen either full-time or adjunct faculty members on staff that teach everything from music appreciation and theory to jazz, guitar, and other instruments. Dr. Minkyung Lee heads up the vocal program, and was the featured soloist on one night of their recent Fall Music Fest, held at the campus’ Palmetto Center for the Arts.
Lee said she deliberately chose to open the program with the fiery music of Manuel de Falla, to fulfill a personal goal.
“As a vocalist, you challenge yourself with learning all different languages [with] perfect diction. I really hesitated to say ‘I can do it,’” Lee explained.
“I had done so many beautiful pieces by Rachmaninoff, but Spanish was very challenging, because Spanish is like a second language in Texas! But I was brave enough to try.”
(Hear Minkyung Lee sing Manuel de Falla’s “Nana” in the Soundcloud link below.)
The Fall Into Music events also included popular song, jazz, and a special choral performance by the Northwest Vista Concert Choir, under the direction of Lee, who sang an eight-song suite of music Lee called “Seasons of Love.”
Noting that community college is a great place to find your way before applying to a university, Lee said that at Northwest Vista, “about 50 percent of my students transfer to a university level [music program], and about 50 percent are like, ‘let me try out music because I love it.’”
“[Perhaps] they've been singing in a choir but never stood out as a solo performer,” Lee explained. “And then by taking private lessons they become aware how much they like it and then they just find that’s their path. Even [the] music business majors have to know an instrument. So they have to at least take private lessons.”
You can hear the Northwest Vista Concert Choir, and more music from the Fall Music Fest, this Saturday, December 9, 2017, at 7 p.m. on KPAC 88.3 FM.