Music is reaching beyond the Keene State College campus this fall semester.
Keene State’s music department held the Junior/Senior Vocal Recital on Saturday, November 7, via livestream. Instead of holding the recital in the Alumni Recital Hall this year, the concert was open to the public and could only be viewed by watching the livestream on the Redfern Arts Center’s website.
The program included Lucas Mendelsohn singing “Lake Isle of Innisfree” by Ben Moore and “Preludios” by Manuel de Falla, Breahna Jenkins singing “Beau Soir” by Claude Debussy and “Quando ti rivedtrò” by Stefano Donaudy, Hattie Skvorak singing the traditional Irish song “Siúil Rún” and “The Blessing” by David Downes, Rowan Hebert singing “Ma rendi pur contento” by Vincenzo Bellini and “River” by Joni Mitchell, Alyssa Becker singing “Silent Noon” by Ralph Vaughan Williams and “Fiocca la neve” by Pietro Cimara, Christopher Clark singing “Gaston” by Alan Menken, Paulryan Chipman singing “El Trobador” arranged by Edward Klenyi and “Weep you no more sad fountains” by Roger Quilter and Samantha Ducharme singing “Il padre adorato” by Mozart and “Another hundred people” by Stephen Sondheim.
The pandemic has brought a number of changes to how the music department runs and their concert series is no exception to this. However, Music Department Chair Sandra Howard says that there are some positives in running a recital season that is mostly livestreamed.
“The silver lining in all of this is that, with the livestreaming option, we are able to share our performances with a wider audience beyond the confines of KSC’s campus,” said Howard.
Music students are also seeing the benefits of livestreamed concerts and how this opportunity can positively impact their education in performing. Junior Hattie Skvorak explained that while there are things she misses about performing live, she understands why the department has decided to do more livestreamed concerts this semester.
“The format of this concert, though different than in past years, has provided many opportunities for individual growth as musicians, which I am very grateful for. There are certainly many aspects of in-person performance that we are missing in these times. The thrill of walking on stage, the privilege of seeing your peers perform live, and the humbling feedback after a concert are all aspects of live performance that cannot be replicated and are certainly missed,” said Skvorak. “There are also benefits though to this format that are not seen with in-person performance. For many of us who have family out of state, we have been able to share our music.”
One of the decisions the department had to make was deciding whether students should perform with masks on for in-person performances, or if it would be a better opportunity to try livestreamed concerts. Howard explained that the decision to hold the Junior/Senior Recital via livestream came down to the comfort and personal expression of the students.
“With singing and the current mask ordinance, we could technically have them on stage with the performer. However, if students are able to pre-record their solo vocal performances in their own living space, they can communicate the piece with the mask off, providing a more expressive performance, which complies with health and safety protocols,” said Howard.
KSC senior Lucas Mendelsohn said that because this is his last semester, it is kind of bittersweet, but he’s grateful that the music department takes safety into account.
“It is sad that my last semester of music at KSC will be apart from my friends and vastly different from the semesters I have loved beforehand, but I am thankful that the music department is taking the pandemic seriously and putting health and safety first,” said Mendelsohn.
Skvorak agreed that performing without a mask and in the safety of her own living space was more beneficial because she felt that she was still able to perform the piece as if it were live. Even if music students aren’t able to connect with their friends this semester, they are still able to express themselves using music and performance.
“Performance is such a deeply personal form of expression, and we are very fortunate that this individual connection still comes through over video,” said Skvorak.
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