One of the great milestones of any undergraduate music student’s career is their senior recital, which truly serves as a culmination of the previous four years. I am just over a month from giving my senior recital and finishing off my musical requirements here at the University of Illinois.
This semester was full of preparations for both my graduate school auditions and a concert performance of Samuel Barber’s Vanessa, but I have reached the point where all of my energy must be funneled into this recital! Last year, I was the only undergraduate singer to perform a junior recital in-person, weeks before the COVID-19 lockdown began. Because I completed this requirement over a year ago, I set the repertoire for my senior recital with my teacher, Jerold Siena, by the end of my junior year. I have been letting this music soak in for a long time, which helps the memorization process, but it is now time to drill this music so that I feel very comfortable with it and can focus squarely on interpretation.
I am going to give this recital at University Place Church, where I have held a church job since sophomore year. I am so connected to this church’s community, and I am so thrilled that they are allowing me to use their wonderful space! I also have the great privilege of collaborating with pianist and vocal coach Dr. Casey Robards on this recital. I have worked with Dr. Robards since my sophomore year, and having her at the piano for my senior recital is absolutely ideal. We have been coaching my repertoire on an online application this semester, and soon, we are going to begin safe, distanced in-person rehearsals! I am so excited for this crucial step which will certainly catapult my program into performance-ready territory. I am working on memorizing all of the music; going in chunks by each language. I have a Spotify playlist of all of my music which I listen to whenever I get the chance, and this helps me exercise memorization. I also bring my music everywhere so that I can visually go over the music. These two methods engrain the music into my brain. I am so excited to move into the interpretative and collaborative stage of recital preparation, and I cannot wait to share the recital for a virtual (and limited in-person) audience!