The music program at Keene State College contains many different instrument specialties, but only one French horn player.
Micayla Mahoney is a music education major in her last year at KSC. She has been playing the French horn since fifth grade, but only became serious about it in her junior year of high school.
At first, when Mahoney developed an interest in music she wanted to play the clarinet. She said that when she chose the clarinet her music teacher said there were too many clarinet players in the band.
Mahoney said, “He [said] ‘here play the French horn’, and I said ‘what is this. I don’t know that I want to play this.’”
As Mahoney has progressed through her schooling as a music education major, she found out to her surprise that young music students are not normally taught instruments as challenging as the french horn.
Mahoney said, “When you’re playing it, the intervals on the french horn… are a lot closer together.” Mahoney said compared to a trumpet, the French horn challenges the player more.
In her junior year of high school Mahoney chose to continue her education with a french horn although she had begun to develop an interest in the bass. “My high school band director [said] ‘you know there’s a lot of bass players out there.’ Which is true, you know, there are a lot of bass players out there and not a lot of horn players.”
Mahoney said that her drive for music is pushed by her belief that music impacts everyone in different ways. She wants to share the impact music has had on her life with other people.
When Mahoney came to KSC she had to start thinking about her senior project the minute she declared her major. Many seniors experience the same thing when they begin the music education track.
Mahoney and KSC senior music education major Holly Webster played in the Student Recital Series together.
Mahoney and Webster performed their recital on Saturday, Nov. 4.
Webster said, “I’ve know about it since my freshman year. It’s kind of something we’ve looked forward to.”
Webster said she started working on her music for the recital during the spring semester of 2017. She said, “It’s been roughly a year that I’ve been working on these pieces.”
Webster played the viola during the recital. She has played the viola for 14 years. Webster said, “I stuck with it. I knew back when I was in elementary school. When I heard it I just decided to stick with it.”
Webster said she was inspired to continue with the viola because her teachers and professors took her to many shows.
“I guess it comes down to my love of playing,” Webster said.
During the Student Recital Series, Webster played many classical pieces including “Marchenbilder for Viola and Piano, OP. 113” by Robert Schumann and “Suite No.3 in C Major, BVW 1009” by J.S. Bach.
Webster said, “Sometimes the nerves kick in but sometimes…instead of thinking note to note you have to think, ‘what is the message I’m trying to communicate to the audience.’”
Mahoney said that for her to prepare for the recital she had an easier time with it than others because there are only so many pieces a French horn can play solo. Mahoney played pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “Rondo from the Horn Quintet in Eb Major, K. 407,” and “Concerto No.1 in Eb Major, Opes II” by Richard Strauss.
After the show both Mahoney and Webster expressed their relief to be done with their senior recital. They both felt that it went well.
Audience member and KSC student Adam Jeffrey said, “I felt that the pieces were diverse… And I felt that their performance went perfect.”
Jeffrey said he had seen both performers working on their pieces very hard over the last few semesters and he said they executed them well.
Sebastien Mehegan can be contacted at email@example.com