The Senior Recital is the ultimate culmination of the Bachelor of Music degree. This is an hour-long program, and the solo performer takes the stage for its entirety. I gave a Junior Recital last year, and this was a 30-minute performance in the Smith Memorial Room. I was very excited to present an hour-long program, as I knew this would give me space to tell many stories and present different musical styles.
I chose the repertoire for this recital in Spring 2020, during the onset of the pandemic, and I had been working on most of the repertoire for quite some time. However, a variety of other musical responsibilities populated my schedule for much of 2020 and early 2021. My venue for this recital was University Place Christian Church, where I am fortunate to have been employed as a choir member and soloist for most of my time at UIUC. This is an excellent acoustic space and I was so happy the staff agreed to host my recital there with a limited live audience! My collaborator for the recital was Dr. Casey Robards, a brilliant solo and collaborative pianist who is also my vocal coach. She generously agreed to play for several students’ recitals, and to rehearse in-person at another local church leading up to the performances. This made a huge difference in my presentation of my recital.
My recital consisted of a wide variety of music, including a Bach oratorio aria (on which I was joined by flutist Yingyin Chen), Brahms art songs, a Fauré song cycle, a lengthy song by Charles Ives, a set of three songs by Samuel Barber, and finally, a group of seven Spanish folksongs by Manuel de Falla! At the end of the recital, I sang the jazz standard “Mack the Knife,” which was based on a song from Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera and given english words. Bobby Darin recorded the very popular version of this song. I really enjoyed singing in all of these different styles, and I made an effort to commit emotionally to the content of each selection. I was overjoyed to perform for my instructors, my family (including extended family members), friends, and colleagues. I had a small in-person audience who were distanced and masked, and others watched on Facebook Live and Zoom! This was certainly a highlight of my UIUC music career, even with the pandemic restrictions, and I will look back on it fondly as I move forward into graduate school and professional life.