Musician awarded for dramatic composition


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Ninoangelo Lastimosa collaborated with drama professor Carlos-Manuel Chavarria on the music composition for the play “Frida Kahlo: The Artist; The Woman.”

By Stacie Guevara, Associate Editor

Music major Ninoangelo Lastimosa has been awarded third place for Sound Design — Meritorious Achievement for original sound/music composition and realized sound design for his work on drama department Chairperson Carlos-Manuel Chavarria’s “Frida Kahlo: The Artist; The Woman.”

From Feb. 16-22, Lastimosa, Chavarria, drama professor Angelina LaBarre and six other Contra Costa College drama students visited the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region 7 (KCACTF7) in Fort Collins, Colorado.

LaBarre said it was her third time going to the festival and CCC’s fourth.

It was actually Lastimosa’s second time because he had gone last year for his work with music majors Tyler Nguyen and Erin Foreman on Chavarria’s “Vengeance: A Ghost Story.”

Lastimosa said he started his work with Chavarria early in the fall 2018 semester, after Chavarria reached out to music department Chairperson Stephanie Austin.

He wanted to know if she knew any violin players in the music program who were interested in playing the instrument for his production.

Dr. Austin referred him to Lastimosa, who then got Nguyen and Foreman in on the project.

The three students helped compose music for “Vengeance: A Ghost Story”, and they all played live music during the showings of the spooky play.

Lastimosa played violin, Nguyen played bass guitar and Foreman played piano.

“Violin, bass guitar and piano — that’s what created the soundtrack to ‘Vengeance,’” Lastimosa said.

As compared to his work on “Vengeance: A Ghost Story”, Lastimosa focused more on collaborating with the actors in “Frida Kahlo: The Artist; The Woman.”

Lastimosa said in “Vengeance: A Ghost Story,” he collaborated a lot more with the tech crew — working on sound effects.

The drama behind that was at the forefront of his mind.

Lastimosa said for “Vengeance: A Ghost Story,” there was more sound design, while this year it was more about composition.

Spring 2019 was when Lastimosa went to KCACTF7 for the first time for his work on “Vengeance: A Ghost Story” and that’s when Chavarria asked him if he would collaborate with him again, but this time on “Frida Kahlo: The Artist; The Woman.”

Lastimosa agreed and Chavarria gave him a copy of the script.

Lastimosa studied the script, but didn’t really start composing until summer 2019, when he visited France with CCC commercial jazz vocal ensemble JAZZ-ology.

JAZZ-ology performed at many jazz clubs in France and when their tour was over, Lastimosa got to work.

Chavarria said he and Lastimosa were in constant communication and they met one-on-one a few times throughout the summer to discuss the music.

Chavarria told Lastimosa what he wanted him to do and what he wanted the music in the play to sound like.

Lastimosa did some research on his own and said he was looking for a way to represent Mexico and Oaxaca.

He composed pieces for specific parts of the play and sent Chavarria sound bites, then Chavarria would reply and offer his critique of the pieces.

Lastimosa said he was glad Chavarria was accessible and they could communicate frequently.

During fall 2019 rehearsals, Lastimosa said he asked the actors who played Frida Kahlo (Vanessa Crisostomo Garcia) and La Pelona (Cinthya Zuniga) about what they thought the mood was and what the music would sound like in certain scenes.

This influenced his composing process.

LaBarre said, “It’s really cool to have Nino (Lastimosa) come in and work with student actors and respond to what they’re doing.”

Lastimosa said he was proud of his work especially because of the reception it got.

He said a prestigious drama professor at the festival told him he has “a soul for music” and that really spoke to him.

LaBarre has not yet worked with Lastimosa, but she is excited to work with him in the future.

Chavarria said, “It’s a really great thing he got third place because he’s a music major — not even a theater student — and the judges were judging from theater points of view.”

Chavarria hopes Lastimosa continues in theater and continues to compose for more productions.