By Melissa Pileiro
For the past year and a half, the Cumberland Mall in Vineland has partnered with the CCC Music Department to bring shoppers live concerts and other events. The event, known as Music on the Mall, features several groups from the college each Friday evening, including the chorus, wind symphony, and jazz band. Chorus concerts feature renowned Philadelphia songwriter and guitarist Mick Choder, who has toured as a solo artist nationwide.
Music on the Mall grew from a series of events held for the New Jersey chapter of Elwyn, an organization that helps people with special needs live independent lives. Following one of the charity concerts last spring, a Cumberland Mall manager approached Wind Symphony director Joe Akinskas. He was interested in bringing community groups to the mall to perform, and asked Akinskas if his groups would be willing to contribute. With that, the collaboration began, with the assistance of Lauren Canna, CCC music teacher and choir director.. By April, Music on the Mall was ready to debut, and has been successful ever since.
Akinskas is glad to be in charge of three of the program’s four groups.
“I like the opportunity to perform for the community. It’s created an incredible visibility for the entire program,” said Akinskas.
Choral director Lauren Canna also had the community in mind when she chose to feature her group.
“It’s one thing to perform at CCC for [audiences],” she said. “But singing at the mall exposes people to music they would otherwise not be exposed to.”
During the fall and spring, the chorus performs pop and jazz standards that many shoppers know by heart. During the holidays, they switch to winter favorites.
The CCC Chorus rehearses on Tuesday nights at 7pm in room S1 in the Fine Arts building. The Jazz Band also meets in the Fine and Performing Arts building on Wednesdays at 6pm, followed immediately by the Wind Symphony at 7pm. All instruments are accepted in the Wind Symphony, however limited for the Jazz Band. For information about either group, contact their respective directors.
By Melissa Pileiro