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Students Perform for a Packed Hall

by Sheridan Cyr

The CCSU Department of Music held their first of four student recitals Thursday afternoon in the nearly-packed Founders Hall. The event presented ten talented students from the department, each eager to perform the passions that they had spent hours perfecting.

The recital featured a number of instruments as well as specialized vocalists, each taking the spotlight for two to three songs. Hired accompanist Kathleen Bartkowski played the piano alongside most of the performers.

First up, pianist Myles Ross, was the only solo performance. He first demonstrated his ability to quickly cover the full range of the piano’s keys with Claude Debussy’s “Arabesque No. 1.” His second piece, John Adams’ “China Gates,” showed off his keen memory as he performed the lengthy song without sheet music.

Next up was baritone vocalist Benjamin Kaminski accompanied by Bartkowski. The expression on his face seemed thoughtful and at ease while he sang a traditional English song, “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes” and Francesco Durante’s “Vergin, Tutto Amor.” Kaminski’s voice was soft, crisp and calming.

Soprano vocalist Corinne Prudente followed, also accompanied by Bartkowski. She smiled slightly throughout each song and looked as if she was narrating a story. She exhibited an amazing ability to reach a vast range of notes. Prudente hit every note with a voice strong enough to cut through stone.

Tenor vocalist Alexander O’Neil immediately caught the attention of the crowd with the very first note. His impressive capability to reach extremely high notes is very unique for male vocalists. Nevertheless, he sang effortlessly and when the crowd applauded, an evident sense of pride and appreciation came over him.

Charise Turner gripped her viola tightly as she took the stage alongside pianist Michael Korman. The two played a beautiful duet piece, “Märchenbilder, Op. 113” by Robert Schumann. The song went back and forth between the two, one petering out while the other rose, allowing both musicians to show their talent.

Soprano Sierra Manning’s performance was enticing and angelic. As she sang alongside Bartkowski, she seemed to embody the emotions that the original artists felt. Her second song resonated long after it was through, practically clinging to the walls. She sang, “Why do they shut me out of heaven? Do I sing too loud?” The question fit perfectly with the impeccable strength of her voice.

Tenor Kevin Schneider sang with nothing but passion. Everything – from his secured stance to his calmly clasped hands to his charming smile – showed that there is nothing he would rather do than sing. His songs featured feelings of triumphant excitement and thrill.

Andrea Shabazian demonstrated the soft, soothing sound of the flute. Her hands swiftly grazed the keys through many difficult bars and impressively fast fluctuations between notes. Both pieces were dynamic and skillful.

Last but certainly not least, soprano vocalist Kaitlyn Passons enchanted the audience with her first song, the familiar tune, “Lullaby.” Her expression was sympathetic and endearing as she performed. Her second song, “Johnny,” allowed Passons to show off her ability to perfectly keep up with numerous changes of rhythm as well as exhibit a large range of notes. The piano also gave way for Passons to sing a few lines “a cappella,” or without instrumental sound.

Students of the music department are required to sign up for one recital per semester in order to experience a real, professional performance but they finish with much more than “experience.” Every performer left the stage beaming with well-earned pride, confidence and satisfaction.

Three more student recitals are scheduled to be held in Founders Hall in Davidson at 3:05pm on Nov. 18, Nov. 25 and Dec. 4. The recitals are open to the public.