VISALIA, Calif. (March 30, 2017) – The College of the Sequoias (COS) first installed a Yamaha Clavinova lab in 2001 following construction of its new $4.1 million music department building. Over the years, the college has advanced on a steady path of instrumental and technological upgrades to offer its music students a state-of-the-art learning experience.
A new Yamaha N1 AvantGrand piano was delivered last year, joining an existing fleet of pianos that includes two Yamaha 6’ C3 grand pianos placed in the choral and instrumental classrooms. Recently, with support from the COS Foundation and its executive director, Tim Foster, the music department installed a new Clavinova LC4 Music Lab system and upgraded each of its 22 Clavinova CVP103 student piano stations with LC2 CM400 microphone/headsets. Along with the CVP609B teacher’s instrument (purchased in 2015), the lab’s new wireless capabilities allow music instructors to provide customized, “hands-free” music instruction while moving around the classroom.
Chaumonde Porterfield-Pyatt, professor of music at COS, has led the way for the two-year community college to achieve recognition for musical excellence in performances at collegiate music festivals throughout California and the western United States. The music department offers both Associate (AA) and Associate-for-Transfer (AA-T) degrees in Music and Certificate in Commercial Music, with emphasis placed on traditional subjects such as keyboard instruction, theory, composition, vocals and instrumental proficiency.
“What a journey it has been to get us from one acoustic piano into the 21st Century with the latest Yamaha high tech piano lab. I’m blown away by the difference the lab has made in our teaching,” says Porterfield-Pyatt. “I have always believed that patience is a virtue and with our team – Yamaha, the dealer, our educational institution and the COS Foundation – we are making the differences our well-deserving students need to be successful. Our students are ecstatic, as am I.”
Expandable to accommodate classes as large as 48 students, the LC4 Wireless Kit uses the network of headphones and microphones to make it seem as though each student is isolated in their own practice room and, with the touch of a button, teacher-only broadcasts, group study or full ensemble performances can occur. Instructors can use the LC4 Controller App and connect to their iPad® for administrative functions – such as taking attendance and making notes – and even broadcast their own library of music to the class. These customized one-on-one, full group and selected small group learning experiences benefit more than 40 COS music majors as well as non-majors who are enrolled in classes at the digital lab.
The new Yamaha N1 piano was immediately put into service at the COS Theater, which seats 400 people, and at the L.J. Williams Theater, which is the only performance auditorium in Tulare county with seating capacity of 1,200 people. COS attracts a loyal audience base for its Broadway shows such as White Christmas, Animal Farm, The King and I, The Addams Family and, premiering this semester, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights. These shows use professional sets and costumes from Hollywood, a full orchestra in the pit and a rehearsal pianist. Auditioned chorus members and dance class students use the N1 piano on a weekly basis for rehearsals and productions. Community events at the COS theaters also feature the Tulare County Symphony; the COS Youth Orchestra; California Music Educators Association (CMEA) festivals; Tulare/Kings Music Educator Association; visiting guest artists; and choral and instrumental groups from institutions such as CSU-Fresno and CSU-San Jose.
“Chaumonde’s been with COS for more than 35 years and her biggest mission has been to bring the music department up to a top-notch program,” says Jim Fishback, president/CEO, Fresno Piano Gallery Inc., who personally installed the new LC4 Music Lab system. “Future plans include replacement of several deteriorated practice pianos with Yamaha NU1 Hybrid upright pianos, the addition of 24 new Clavinova CVP701s to the music lab and replacement of an older acoustic piano with a Yamaha 7’ CFX grand piano.”
The vast rural one-college district has 10,000 students enrolled in classes at its home campus in Visalia and additional campuses in Tulare and Hanford. Student ensembles perform at the Reno Jazz Festival, and with USC and other university choral ensembles. Following completion of a two-year music program at COS, graduates are prepared for a variety of careers, and many continue their studies at four-year universities and established conservatories of music.
For further information, visit http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/entertainment/music_laboratory_system/lc4_music_lab/.
About College of the Sequoias
College of the Sequoias (COS) is a two-year California community college offering educational and enrichment programs for the residents of its district in Tulare and Kings counties. The college was established in 1926 and moved to its current 62-acre main campus in Visalia in 1940. The COS music department has a long tradition of excellence, evidenced in superior musical performances at collegiate music festivals throughout California and the western United States. Its music major course of study includes applied music lessons, music theory and musicianship, and performance opportunities, and AA and AAT degrees are offered, as well as a certificate program in commercial music. COS is accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC). For further information, visit www.cos.edu.