The Magic of Music

Ashley Parent, Staff Writer

There is no doubt that the Music Department at Oneonta State is full of talented, well-rounded musicians who rise to all occasions. This past weekend provided four chances for students to showcase their musical abilities in a more formal, professional atmosphere in the form of student recitals. Each concert, held in Fine Arts M201, not only featured the talents of classically-trained singers, pianists, and ensemble groups, but were also staffed by Music Industry students of Dr. Robert Roman’s Concert Production class. The recitals are opportunities for several hardworking musicians on campus to perform pieces they have worked on all semester in a more traditional setting and the students will receive grades for them in their various music performance and ensemble classes.

The second recital was held on Saturday, December 5th at 1 p.m. The recital opened with three different percussion-based performances of both modern and classical works. The first group was a percussion ensemble of Samantha Jackson, Jordyn Knapp, and Christopher Oriani led by professor Julie Licata that featured guest soprano Johanna Arnold. “5 Songs in the Age of Stupidity” by John Max McFarland is a contemporary piece that featured not only traditional percussion instruments but also noise-makers and toys. Arnold’s singing style was operatic and emphatic as the setting was made for five complete quotes from McFarland’s The 365 Stupidest Things Ever Said Page-A-Day Calendar. This selection was unique and at times humorous, setting the mood for an enjoyable afternoon concert.

Following the percussion ensemble was George Fredric Handel’s Violin Sonata in F adapted for the marimba, played by Caitlin Coleman with Yuxing (Richard) Mao playing the piano. It was intriguing to hear a classical piece meant for violin and harpsichord played on more contemporary instruments than Handel had meant it for. After that, Raymond Wolcik Jr. graced the audience with the fourth movement, Gigue, from William Kraft’s “French Suite for Percussion Solo”. This piece was played with passion and offered another unexpected delight to the afternoon, as the piece is an example of 20th century music.

Trailing the percussive selections was the String Ensemble, which made Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” their own. It was interesting how a piece that is so brass-instrument heavy could still sound upbeat and peppy on classical string instruments. Impressively enough, Emilia Albarano, performed both the cello and bass parts. The String Ensemble then provided contrast with a piece in the Singapore tradition, “Lion City”. After the String Ensemble came four vocalists, each with their own distinct offering. Lucas Cole was the first with an Italian aria called “Caro, Mio Ben” followed by the Gershwin tune “Nice Work If You Can Get It”. The tenor really shined in both songs, the latter seeming more comfortable for Cole as it was a Broadway-esque selection, and it featured his voice well, which excels at soaring melodies.

Nikki Faraci came next, singing a passionate Italian song about being freed from the grasp of a lying man, “Vittoria, miu Core!”. She went on to perform a love song from the Broadway Show Jekyll and Hyde, “Someone Like You”. The contrasting themes did not test Faraci’s pure and palpable voice as she excelled at both pieces. Cole and Faraci were accompanied by Mr. Kim Paterson on both harpsichord for the Italian numbers and piano for the showtunes.

The last two performers both sang and played piano, covering tunes by popular artists. Yoo Sun Kwon played “Natural Woman” by Carole King, originally recorded by Aretha Franklin. Kwon made the piece her own by approaching notes in a softer, more sensual way than I have heard before. To close out the show, Sam Vandemark graced the audience with a festive tune, Chris Martin of Coldplay’s “Christmas Lights”. Vandemark put his heart and soul into tickling the ivories and sang with all he had, preparing the audience for the holiday season.

The Music Department’s student recitals certainly do not disappoint and provide talent that we do not hear everyday in Oneonta. There are recitals every semester worth attending to support fellow students in their art!

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