Tom Benoit / Arts and Entertainment Editor

Andrew Michaud
Equinox Staff

Keene State College’s music students performed in the first-ever NASM (National Association of Schools of Music) Student Showcase this Wednesday.

NASM, one of Keene State’s accrediting organizations, will be visiting this Wednesday to evaluate the school’s music program. As a once-per-decade occurrence, the music department has elected to show what its students can do and put their best to the test.

Pianist and Keene State professor Dr. Christina Wright-Ivanova is coordinating the event.

Each of eight featured students will be performing solo, showcasing their specific talents. The show will feature woodwind, brass, strings, guitar, piano and vocals, said Dr. Wright-Ivanova.

Diversity is not only present in the selection of instruments, but also in the variety of music being played. Pieces have been selected from German, French and Italian composers, spanning over three centuries of musical periods. Listeners will be treated to baroque, classical and romantic pieces, as well as a few modern pop selections, said Dr. Wright-Ivanova.

“It’s really a feature of eight separate students and what they bring to the table,” said Dr. Wright-Ivanova. “It’s very cool.”

The afternoon’s pieces were selected by both the professors and students to showcase the best of what they can do.

“Some students may feel that their strength lies in technique, and they may want to play a very virtuosic piece,” Dr. Wright-Ivanova said. “And some may feel that they’re really strong musically and they have something musical to say in a very meaningful way so they may choose to do something more soulful.”

Each student was hand-selected from the 100 students in the department. These eight were chosen for their ability to handle pressure and are seasoned performers. However, not all are performance majors. The showcase features students going into performance, composition and even unrelated degrees, said Dr. Wright-Ivanova.

One featured student is pursuing a degree in both biology and performance. Keene State senior Nicholas So will be playing a piece by romantic composer Brahms on the violin. The young musician plays not only violin, but the cello, piano and a bit of oboe as well.

This will be the first performance these musicians have had together in some time. The department is close, and So looks forward to hearing them play in person again.

“It’s been so long since I’ve seen some of these people perform on stage… I feel like it unleashes a different beast,” said So.

The music students of Keene State often help each other perfect their skills, collaborating long before taking the stage. “We’re always asking each other for something. Either ‘play this for me’, or ‘what’s your opinion on this, can you listen to this for me…’ we have a very good relationship,”said So.

These dedicated eight students are all bringing their best and their professors are quite proud.

“I think what is really energizing is that the faculty look at the students and are so happy to see that passion of youth and that drive and that energy,” said Dr. Wright-Ivanova.

The showcase is available to the public for free via livestream beginning Wednesday, March 10.


Andrew Michaud can be contacted at:

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