By Payton Clark, Arts Editor
With less than 50 days until graduation, many seniors are finishing strong with projects they’ve been preparing for their entire time at OBU.
For music majors, their final bow takes place in the form of senior voice recitals.
Thursday, March 23, senior vocal music majors Katie Best, De’Ericka Givings and Adam Holt were the first of many to perform their senior voice recitals.
Senior vocal music education major Eric Yoder held his recital with junior Andrea Larson last Thursday, March 28.
Using music and skills from their time at OBU, the seniors sang songs ranging from multiple genres and languages, such as classical, Broadway and worship.
Following her recital, Best is glad that it went well and relieved to be finished with the preparation and performance itself.
“The pieces sung during the recital were truly a culmination of everything I’ve studied throughout my time here at OBU,” Best said. “So much work, practice, frustration, and discovery went into that night, and I’m so thankful for how the Lord has used Dr. Lilite and my studies here to grow my voice.”
Yoder is also pleased to have completed an essential part of a senior music major’s academic year.
“It is incredibly relieving to have presented that work finally,” Yoder said. “It was difficult, but I am satisfied with all of the work that God and OBU’s faculty has produced in my performance in this past week’s recital.”
Due to the differences between classical and contemporary music, Best said that it takes a long time to truly learn classical repertoire well.
“Singing the high and low notes with good support and consistency in between is difficult, so you typically work on a piece for at least a semester before it can be performed well,” Best said.
“A lot of weekly practice goes into preparing for a recital (for voice students, approximately eight hours per week), but through that you learn to really love the music, as it becomes a part of you.”
Since their freshman year, Yoder estimated that he and his fellow music majors learn at least 12 songs an academic year in order to expand their repertoire and prepare them for future performances like recitals.
“We spend every semester learning six or more new songs from English, French, German and Italian vocal literature anywhere from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, to 20th century music periods,” Yoder said.
“These provide us with a variety of styles and difficulties that exist.”
According to Yoder, vocal music majors also gain an understanding of the body and the voice in Dr. Lilite’s Vocal Pedagogy course.
“We continuously examine the vocal mechanism and its component parts from the arytenoid, cricoid and thyroid cartilages (cartilages housed in the larynx that enable phonation) to the large intercostal muscles surrounding the rib cage,” Yoder said.
“We desire to come to as close to a complete understanding of the body and its skeletal and muscular structures because of the direct effect on the consistency of singing tone that such structures and processes have.”
In another step towards preparation for one’s senior recital, or final year of singing at OBU, Yoder said research is heavily involved.
“We have to research the context of history surrounding our pieces and the compositional devices that the composer has left us with to paint the clear (sometimes unclear) picture that they left for us to work with,” Yoder said.
“Without this step of our work, we’ll never transmit the true meaning the composer intended out to the audience. It’s as much an interaction for them as it is with us performers.”
Of all of the pieces sung by herself and Givings, Best enjoyed worshipping together with her friends at the end of the recital.
“I think my favorite part of the recital was when De’Ericka and I sang a duet of “At the Cross” with several of our friends,” Best said.
“I remember getting really emotional during that piece, as I reflected on what God has done throughout my time here and that music truly is all about glorifying Him. It was just a really special time of worship.”
Yoder’s favorite part of his voice recital was the aspect of sharing.
“It’s not every day that everyone hears “Voici que le printemps” by Claude Debussy, but at this time it was my blessed opportunity to share it with people who may just be hearing it for the first time,” Yoder said.
‘This is why it’s important to synthesize the areas of knowledge that we’re aforementioned.”
Yoder believes that it is important to be able to truly communicate music to an audience in order to bring glory to God.
“It’s doing everything to the glory of God so that others may be given the complete picture, through skill and beauty of tone coupled with an outward picture that derives from interpretation of text, composer information, history, and accompaniment elements,” Yoder said.
“For us, it is a battle not to go out and “sing”. With the finished product, we desire to communicate.”
As she approaches graduation and begins to finish her work, Best’s rehearsal time is now focused on learning and improving her voice for the future.
“Now that I’ve finished the recital, Dr. Lilite and I are working on two new pieces that we will use to work on difficult places in my voice,” Best said.
“I hope to learn as much as I can from him in these next few months and to continue to work on improving as I finish my studies.”