Recitals compile 4 years of hard work in one performance


by Emma Schlenker, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Simpson College music majors are notoriously some of the busiest on campus.

Senior year however, these students take busy to the extreme.

Most of these students spend months, even years preparing for one hour, one night and the performance of their lives. Senior music majors must complete a 48-minute recital in order to pass their capstone and graduate.

One semester ago, Nathanael Smale and Felicity Eward auditioned for the right to perform their senior recital this spring.

Each had half their official program memorized, practiced and ready to perform. These programs include multiple languages, genres, generations and emotions.

These pieces are each cultivated carefully to tell a story.

Smale said he feels his performance is a reflection of himself, while Eward said she is presenting her growth “as a person and as a woman while in college.”

Smale is three weeks out from his recital and spends an hour a day in a practice room performing his full recital.

Smale is a student in associate professor of music, Kim Roberts’ voice studio and receives guidance and coaching on how to prepare for a performance as big as this.

Eward receives her coaching from Matthew Lau, assistant professor of music. Eward is a little further out, so while she is practicing an hour each day, she is still in the process of working with her vocal coach to perfect each piece.

Both Smale and Eward spend time each week with Jin Young Park, music staff accompanist and music teaching artist, to practice their pieces. They work on technicalities, experiment with the music and immerse themselves fully in their characters and the effect of their performance.

Senior recitals compile everything a student has learned at Simpson College to show the person they became in their four years. As it is a special event, most students will have a reception, invite everyone they know and wear their best attire in order to best show who they are.

Smale is buying a new tie, purple to honor his grandmother and the passion she taught him for music.

Eward bought her gown a full year ago specifically for this performance. But beyond the glamour and the pomp, Eward said this performance is about “becoming vulnerable as musicians and presenting to people for the love and joy of music.”

With his countdown to the big recital finally begun, Smale returns to the practice room to rehearse. His family will come to town for the performance, which falls on homecoming weekend; Smale is also performing the national anthem at the homecoming football game.

Smale will perform at 2 p.m. on Oct. 15in Great Hall. Eward will perform at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10 in Great Hall.