So as of late I’ve been struggling with my vocal health. This has been due to a lot of outside factors (stress from classes, work, etc.) and has been hindering my ability to sing as much as I want to. However, if I look at it in a positive light, I can really dissect why I love music so much. It gives me the opportunity to truly appreciate how beautiful and wonderful music is.
While I was thinking of this, I began to listen to a song that I’ve been working on – Knoxville: Summer of 1915 by Samuel Barber, performed by Dawn Upshaw. Below is a video of the recording that I have been listening to. When I listen to pieces like this, I feel the music inside of me – I can’t really describe it in any other way. It makes me want to get up and perform this with all of the passion that exists within me. It inspires me to work harder on my music and to be the best performer and musician I can be.
If you can, take the time to listen to this recording; it’s absolutely beautiful.
Now, after listening, can you feel what I’m trying to say? Can you feel how beautiful this music is, and can you feel it just go right through your core? I don’t know, I guess it’s different for me because I’m actually preparing to sing this for the Saint Rose Concerto Competition, where if selected, I would get the opportunity to sing with the Saint Rose Orchestra. When I hear the music, I feel something inside of myself, and I get a longing to actually sing the music itself. Do any other music majors feel that way, or am I just a weirdo? Regardless, I appreciate my craft so much more when I’m on vocal rest, because I remember how great it is to actually sing out and display this beautiful music. It keeps me motivated to get healthy and get back to doing what I love – singing!
So, while I’m on the subject of music, I thought I’d share some of the pieces some St. Rose ensembles are working on! First up is the Madrigal Singers, run by Dr. Michael Lister, a group that I’m lucky to be in! It’s a great group filled with about 15 singers that mainly performs music from the Renaissance period. Currently, in honor of Benjamin Britten‘s centennial, we’re learningHymn to St. Cecilia (click the link to listen to it!). It’s a beautiful ode to the patron saint of music (in the Catholic Church). Another group I’m currently in is the Saint Rose Orchestra, run by Dr. David Bebe, which I mentioned earlier! One of the pieces that we’re working on is Borodin’s Symphony #2 (click the link to listen!). It’s a very difficult piece to play, but when it’s performed correctly, it sounds great! Lastly is the Masterworks Chorale, which is also run by Dr. Lister. We’re working on Bach’s Magnificat, a true master work! Students got the opportunity to audition for solos, which is not only a great learning experience, but gives students the opportunity to gain experience with singing with an orchestra! I was lucky enough to get the understudy for the soprano I (Quia Respexit) solo!
This week is going to be a week of healing for me as I slowly regain my vocal health (and my sanity). I’m so happy to be surrounded by such a loving music faculty to support me as I go through these vocal issues. Saint Rose is the only college I know who has a faculty that actually cares about you, and I feel so blessed to be graced by such wonderful individuals. I especially am grateful for my voice teacher, Heidi Skok, who has helped me to grow into the singer I am.
Below is a video of me performing an excerpt of Knoxville: Summer of 1915. The frustrating part of this performance for me was the fact that I was sick. I really want to have the opportunity to perform this again so I can really portray the story of this piece. I feel such a calling to the song, and given the opportunity, I would love to perform it for the Saint Rose community again. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and determination, but hey, that comes with the territory of being a music major!
Stay healthy, everyone! Do what you love and love what you do!