UCSC and Cabrillo music faculty collaborate for ‘Women Over the Edge’

Michael McGushin, Patrice Maginnis, Sheila Willey, Michele Rivard
(pictured l-r): Michael McGushin, Patrice Maginnis, Sheila Willey, Michele Rivard. (Photo: Steve DiBartolomeo)

The UCSC Arts Division’s first concert of the academic year kicks off on October 19 with "Women Over the Edge," an evening of song that deliberately blurs the boundaries between classical and popular music.

Featuring longtime UCSC music faculty member Patrice Maginnis, with Cabrillo College music chair Michele Rivard, UCSC alumna Sheila Willey, and Cabrillo music instructor and UCSC accompanist Michael McGushin, the show begins at 7:30 p.m. at UCSC’s Music Recital Hall.

With songs ranging from Debussy to the McGuire Sisters to Suzanne Vega, the evening will include both solo and three-part arrangements of music running from the 18th century to the present.

“It all started when I went to a Patti Lupone concert in Las Vegas,” said Maginnis.  “She was singing everything from BeeGee songs to Victorian ditties back to back, creating this collision of genres. Since Michele, Sheila, Mickey and I have such a wide interest in vocal styles and repertoire, it was a natural fit.”

“This will be our fourth concert,” she added.  “We will be singing half trios and half solos from Monteverdi to Joni Mitchell. And Mickey will be singing lead on an arrangement of a Suzanne Vega  song which he composed for this concert.”

Maginnis has been on the faculty of UC Santa Cruz since fall of 1986, where she has taught voice, opera production, repertoire, and recital preparation. She has sung leading roles with Opera San Jose, Ensemble Parallele, the Santa Cruz County Symphony, New Music Works, the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, and the Santa Cruz Chamber Players, and has performed and given master classes in Germany and Montreal.

Maginnis is also a featured artist on many recordings, including the opera Rapunzel by Lou Harrison, in which she sang the title role. Other recordings include the music of Darius Milhaud, Eric Satie, Henry Cowell, and Germaine Tailleferre.

Michele Rivard is chair of the Music Department at Cabrillo College, where she teaches classical and popular voice. Her vocal jazz quartet, Mainswing, has appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Santa Cruz Jazz Festival, and Kuumbwa Jazz Center, and for 20 years she performed with, and was vocal coach, for Cabrillo Stage Summer Musical Theatre. She has also appeared with the Santa Cruz Symphony, Cabrillo Music Festival, New Music Works, and Trinity Chamber Orchestra.
Soprano Sheila Willey holds degrees from UC Santa Cruz and the Peabody Conservatory. Willey sang the role of Cunegonde in Candide with Cinnabar Opera Theatre and has appeared with the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival. She performed the role of the Contessa in UCSC’s production of The Marriage of Figaro, and has performed with the New Music Works ensemble, the Worn Chamber Ensemble and Ensemble Paralléle.

Michael McGushin is a music instructor at Cabrillo College and the coach/accompanist for the UCSC Music Department. He is the conductor of the chamber choir Ariose and of Cabrillo’s Westside Choir, and has served as music director for a number of theater and opera productions in the Santa Cruz area. As a pianist, he is a longtime member of the New Music Works Ensemble for which he also serves as an artistic advisor, and he has appeared with many performing groups in the Santa Cruz and Monterey County areas.

Tickets are $12 general, $10 seniors, $8 students w/ ID, available at: santacruztickets.com, the UCSC Ticket Office (459-2159), and Santa Cruz Civic box office (420-5260).  Doors open at 7 p.m.