Grammy winner comes to RCC

By Stephanie Holland / Editor in Chief

Grammy worthy workshop- Two time grammy award winning singer/songwriter Jon Secada shares his memories with students during a workshop at Riverside City College on March 10. (Ryan Lynch / Asst. Photo Editor)

By Stephanie Holland / Editor in Chief

Grammy award winning singer Jon Secada brought his expertise to Riverside City College on March 10 when he conducted a master class in vocals for some of RCC’s vocal performers.

Secada worked with Chancellor Gray at Miami-Dade College and offered his services when Gray came to RCC. Secada regularly conducts seminars and workshops to help the next generation of singers.

“I love singing in ensembles,” he said. “It takes me back to everything that’s important to me.”

The class began with the vocal jazz ensemble performing Stevie Wonder’s classic “Higher Ground.” It was a jazzy, old school version of the song with a solo by Steven Amie.

There was early nervousness apparent in the performance but, as the song went on the ensemble loosened up.

Secada advised the group to create more performance energy and exaggerate more. Once they incorporated Secada’s notes there was an immediate improvement in the piece.

Following a few more run throughs, Secada joined the ensemble to offer Amie some pointers on his solo.

The singer expressed the importance of supporting arts program during the current financial crisis.

“The more you can remind people, starting with the kids, the importance of the arts so that everybody knows and understands that it matters and makes difference, hopefully it stays on the minds of legislators,” Secada said.

The vocal jazz ensemble was followed by the chamber singers who performed two classical pieces. Their stunning vocals moved Secada, who became emotional after they were done singing.

“What a gift, you all sound amazing,” he said. “One of the best choirs I’ve heard in a while.”

The students were understandably overjoyed by this news. Secada told the singers that the work they’re doing now will follow them as musicians and singers wherever they go.

As a judge on “Latin American Idol” Secada said that his advice to young singers is to make sure they are in music for the passion. His work with the next generation of performers reminds him why he is in the business.

“It takes me back to the reason I’m here to begin with,” he said. “I started the same way that most of these kids did and their experiences are my experiences.”

Based on their excitement at performing for Secada, the vocal ensembles are using their talent to harness that passion.