Under the Music program umbrella, there are six different specialties that students can choose from and each one of those specialties has their own courses, requirements and senior project requirements. Specifically, the senior recitals for music majors vary between the concentrations, some giving more freedom of choice and others with more direction, but all preparing students for the challenges ahead as music performers.
Students who are aiming to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Music can decide between six concentrations; General Music Performance, Vocal Performance, Piano Performance, Instrumental Performance, Music Education and Music Therapy.
All of the performance concentrations are required to plan, produce and participate in a senior recital for the end of their senior year, but the requirements are different for each of the concentration.
For senior Brett Peldyak, he must complete two senior projects because he is double majoring as a Vocal Performer and in Music Education.
“For senior recitals for Voice Majors we have to do an hour program that is just us, we have a piano accompanist and then if we are so willing to pay for other things, because I really want a cello at mine, we sing an hour program in at least four different languages,” said Peldyak. “Mine has six.”
Peldyak explained his wide variety of languages was due to his vocal teacher, Instructor in Voice, Konstantin Kvach, who is Russian. Peldyak will be singing in English, Latin, Italian, German, French and Russian, which comes to a total of 17 songs which is roughly 52 minutes of music.
His other project for his Music Education major is another performance, but one where he isn’t the only one on the stage.
“I am doing a 45 minute lecture/performance where my group is Ars Nova [the male A Capella group],” said Peldyak. “I have to lead the rehearsals, I am going to conduct the concert and then I’m going to tell you the history behind it all and that is another 45 minute project.”
Although one hour of performance may not seem like a lot, for vocal performers, singing at their level for that long can be exhausting. In order to catch a little bit of a rest as well as to make the performance more fun, performers are allowed to have a select few songs with accompanists either pianists, cellists, violinists or other vocal performers.
“I have noticed that a lot of other people like to have other people come in on their recitals,” said senior General Music major Megal Moll. “I think it makes it more fun and it takes a little bit of the pressure off because I have four songs with other people in them and that is maybe five minutes of the recital where I get to rest, which isn’t a lot. But it’s fun too because you get to be up there with your friends and not everyone is staring at you.”
Moll’s General Music recital will have 13 songs and all of her material will be theater based.
“I have always been tied to theater,” said Moll. “Ever since I was little I have always been tied to theater, and my mom was really good about taking me to musicals and that has always been a part of who I am. And so when I found out that I could do whatever I wanted, that was what I went to first because that is the kind of music that I love to sing.”
Both Peldyak and Moll said that having the freedom to choose their own recitals has made the year-long project more enjoyable.
“One of my favorite parts has definitely been being close to all of the music because I picked it and so it is really close to my heart,” said Moll. “So that has been really great, just to know that every week I get to go and work on something that I love.”
Once the recitals have finished, the music students will have been working on their recitals for an entire school year. Giving them the preparation and skill set to work in the vocal field after college.
“It definitely prepares you for the kind of stuff you are going to have to do,” said Peldyak. “And also recitals in a way because all of your repertoire can be so different, it really helps if you happen to be versatile in what you are doing … it’s really going to get you there. This is the best thing you can probably do to actually get you prepared for at least voice careers.”
Peldyak will be closing the recital with a seven-minute piece from Hiden Duet from the Oratorio Hiden’s creation which the setting is Adam and Eve talking “about blissfulness and then not so happiness,” according to Peldyak.
Two pieces that Moll is excited to perform are a piece from “Wicked,” called “No Good Deed,” and a piece from “Newsies” called “Watch What Happens.”
This year has had it’s ups and downs and many challenges for the music students to overcome.
“You will always get better, and I have gotten significantly better every year, specifically with stamina and being able to do what I can do for longer, that’s probably the biggest challenge,” said Peldyak. “The enjoyableness is the same thing, is when you realize that you can do it and when you get better little by little and you are coming to the next lesson and you’re like ‘oh I totally nailed it.’”
Recitals and performances will occur throughout April and May. They will take place in the Taylor-Meade Performance Hall and are free to the public.