Student Recital Hour to showcase technique, diversity


Senior voice performance major Lydia Jackson rehearses with her accompanist for Student Recital Hour. Photo: Ethan Rogers

Twelve musically talented students will come together for Student Recital Hour Monday, Oct. 20, at 5 p.m. in War Memorial Chapel to present an evening brimming with musical technique and instrumental diversity.

Student Recital Hour is an opportunity for gifted students to gain performance experience and to showcase their God-given abilities. Dr. Seth Custer, head of the department of music theory and coordinator of the recital, explains that Student Recital Hour is an honors recital that serves as a “department showcase.” The recital began four years ago as a result of students’ desire for more performing opportunities. The recital is 50 minutes long, which typically allows for six to eight performances.

Each semester, auditions are held a few weeks before the performance and are open to all students. Performers can choose to play a solo or form a group. The music faculty seeks to choose the most qualified students in a variety of musical instrumentation.

Custer said the programs are always musically colorful. “The allure for people coming is that you hear such a wide variety of instruments and music,” Custer said. “It’s a huge stylistic contrast.” Those who attend this semester will enjoy hearing selections on the piano and saxophone, as well as a vocal solo and a cello ensemble.

Students have found great value in Student Recital Hour. Looking back, Abigail Chetta, a graduate assistant, said, “I loved being in Student Recital Hour because, as a senior violin performance major, I wanted to learn and perform as many pieces as possible. It was such a great experience.”

Catherine Collins, a junior voice performance major, found her performance in last semester’s recital equally beneficial. “One thing I remember that I learned during this performance in Student Recital Hour was that it opened up another level of acting for me,” Collins said. “I had performed the piece many times, but I feel in that particular performance I really found spontaneity in the character.”

Nicholas Robertson, a junior keyboard performance major, is looking forward to his first performance in this semester’s Student Recital Hour. He will be playing Claude Debussy’s “L’isle joyeuse,” which is French for “The Joyful Island.” “It is a somewhat programmatic work based on Jean-Antoine Watteau’s painting “The Embarkation for Cythera,” Robertson said. “It features a group of travelers voyaging to the island and returning. There are water sounds throughout, and it ends with the triumphant return voyage.”

Robertson said he is most excited about the diversity of the recital. “As I look at the list of participants, I realize how much variety there is in the music selected. I think it will prove to be an exciting program!”

This event is free and open to the public.