Play It Again, Gaucho

August 21, 2017

Ortega Dining Commons Celebrates National Music Week

The Arts & Culture Committee is always looking for ideas to enhance our communities. Typically, the suggestions we receive are for artwork to beautify a wall. Murals, paintings, the assorted sculpture, decorating a room that has been recently remodeled… it’s a long list. But when Pam Rodgers, former Ortega Dining Commons General Manager, mentioned that they have ‘this killer piano’ in the lobby that doesn’t get used that often we were intrigued. This was in early Spring 2017. Once we discovered that ‘National Music Week’ is in May, we were in business!

An email campaign ensued with Jon Nathan of the Music Department, and piano players were summoned from all corners of campus. There were also a few in-house players (Ortega regulars) who were already utilizing the C. Bechstein piano that was donated in 2000 by Maria Gans Norbury (as stated on the nameplate). One regular, Mikaela Guerrero, plays everything from Japanese TV Show jingles to Queen songs. When asked how she would like her style listed, she wrote “Meatloaf Surprise.”

In the end, four pianists were recruited and a mystery jazz combo (who never made it), and Ortega diners were treated to a week of beautiful music.
Turns out, National Music Week is traditionally the second week in May and we had scheduled it for the first week. But music knows no boundaries and no complaints were registered, or paid attention to. Hope to see you next year!

By Eric Zobel