Recitals enhance careers


by Sara Cowden

Hours upon hours of practicing culminated Sunday when senior Brooke Jackson performed her final vocal recital.

“In the months and weeks leading up to the recital, my sets are always in the back of my head,” said Jackson. “While I am walking to class or even in the shower, I am constantly rehearsing the words.”

The recital is a requirement for senior music education majors. Performance majors must give a full, hour long recital their junior and senior years. It is considered an honor for freshmen or sophomores to be asked to audition for such recitals.

“When my voice teacher said I should try it, I knew it would be a lot of work,” said freshman Thomas Gunther. “But I also knew what an honor it was that she thought I was ready to perform at that level.”

The process begins in December when students audition for the spring recitals. At that time each student must have at least half of their recital memorized. The jury of music faculty then decides if the student passes.

The spring semester is spent concentrating on different sets for the big event.

“Usually the students discuss with their own teacher what musical selections will be performed at the recitals,” said Dr. Robert Larsen, professor of music.

According to Gunther, his vocal teacher chose all of his music.

“A lot of people know music, but I just didn’t know what was good for my voice,” said Gunther. “Also, my voice teacher helped me in deciding which languages I would perform.”

Language is another challenge of the recitals that cause students extra practice time.

“We have books for translating, but it is important to really understand what you’re singing if you want to relate that meaning to an audience that probably doesn’t know the language,” said Jackson. “But, sometimes it is just about making beautiful sounds.”

The entire Simpson community is welcome to attend any recital. Many students get to perform for their families.

“My family came from three hours away to watch my recital,” said Gunther. “I really wanted to show them how I could come from a small town and be successful at Simpson.”

Junior Kara Lambert had nearly a dozen familiar faces in the audience for her performance.

“Having my family come all the way from Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago was really special,” said Lambert. “The pressure was really on. The difference is, if you make a mistake, it’s not like rehearsal, you have to keep going and pretend it didn’t happen.”

Students preparing for a recital dedicate anywhere from four to eight hours each week in practice. While recitals demand an enormous time commitment from the students, most say the opportunities that may arise from such experience are worth the time.