Keene State College kicked off November this year with a special concert—the annual Freshmen and Sophomore Recital. Performed in the Redfern Arts Center on November 3, at 7:30, the recital featured both instruments and vocals from music and non-music majors alike. For students performing, this recital was not small undertaking according to Colette Rinker, a music major who currently takes applied voice lessons here at Keene. “I am a music major with my primary instrument being voice, so the lessons are required for my major,” she noted. “Each student is also required to perform a piece at a combined Freshman/Sophomore recital.”
Rinker, however, is far from just a singer. She also plays double bass, guitar and piano, and has dedicated much time to preparing for the concert. “I spend about forty minutes daily rehearsing all of my vocal repertoire. We are given up to four pieces for our lessons to learn and memorize by the end of the semester, and we get to choose one of the pieces for the recital. For the past month I’ve spent an additional twenty minutes during my usual rehearsal time dedicated to rehearsing my piece for the recital,” Rinker said.
However, not every participant in the concert was a music major. First-year Davis Allen, who plays trumpet, played in the concert simply as a musician. He noted that, because of this, his experience was quite different from those who were music majors. When asked about the recital process, he stated that it was about, “Going beyond memorizing the music and taking it to the next level of truly playing it.”
Topher Clark, another music major, got involved in the recital in a similar fashion to Rinker. “I’m a music education major with voice as my primary instrument,” he explained when asked about his participation in the recital. “So I will be singing one of the pieces that I have been working on in my voice lessons. All of the freshman and sophomore music voice majors are performing at this recital, which is how I got involved,” Clark said.
Clark went on to state that most of his recent voice lessons were spent working on his chosen piece for the concert, and “shaping it to be at performance level,” as well as rehearsing for half an hour out of class each week. While the rehearsal process varied between each participant, Clark confidently said that each student involved worked equally hard.
Hours upon hours of hard work and rehearsals were put into making the Freshmen and Sophomore Recital on November 1 the best it could be, by both music majors and non-music majors. For those pursuing a music major, the recital is a required event to mark progress on their instrument. A culmination of efforts from both the Keene State Music Department and the first-year and sophomore music talent at Keene State, the first-years and sophomores marked a special night for both audience members and performers alike.
Kathryn Spadafora can be contacted at