Section: Arts

Quam’s genre-spanning senior thesis delights crowd

Quam’s genre-spanning senior thesis delights crowd

by Victoria Unvgarsky

Although last weekend’s snow threatened to dampen many students’ moods, the seats of Brandi Recital Hall were filled with those who found a world of warmth and excitement. On Sunday, senior Will Quam, a drama major and music minor, presented his vocal recital — a culminating final performance that all music majors and minors must complete.
Alongside accompanist Patricia Pelfrey, Quam entertained his audience, showcasing himself as both a talented singer and a charismatic performer.

Quam began the show with a set of classical pieces, allowing him to display his range as a singer. As a baritone, his low notes had a deep, powerful resonance throughout the hall. But his voice is strong, capable of ascending to high notes before diving deep into his lower range. His first piece was “Is Not His Word Like a Fire?” from Elijah, an oratorio by Felix Mendelssohn. His smooth voice deftly conveyed the intensity of this piece. In addition, he featured several songs in other languages, including “Botschaft” (The Message) by Johannes Brahms and “Ich Grolle Nicht” (I Bear No Grudge) by Robert Schumann.

Where Quam truly shined, however, was his musical theatre-based second act. As a drama major, it is not surprising that combining his acting talents with his vocal abilities would be a winning combination. At the top of the second half, Pelfrey began to play before Quam had returned to the stage. Quam sang from backstage before throwing open the door, marking his grand entrance with “C’est Moi,” King Arthur’s first song from Alan Jay Lerner’s musical Camelot. His performance was playful and hilarious as Quam assumed the role of the legendary king — portrayed in the musical as slightly egotistical and playful. He finished the set from Camelot with a romantic ballad, “If Ever I Would Leave You.”

The playfulness intensified with the introduction of Rachel Cunningham ’14, a fellow drama major and an opera student. The two burst onto the stage in a whirl of energy with “O False One” from The Pirates of Penzance. In the song, Quam’s character had been travelling on a ship all his life and had not met a woman until he laid eyes on Cunningham. Despite being in her forties, she tells him she is beautiful. However, he begins to suspect otherwise. The duo’s undeniable chemistry made the scene incredibly enjoyable. Cunningham’s voice has power and a beautiful, sweet tone in her higher notes. Quam’s voice seemed perfectly suited for the piece, showcasing his range and allowing him to play with tone.

The show ended with two numbers from Annie Get Your Gun. Quam’s last solo, “My Defenses Are Down,” was a more serious departure from the light-hearted tone of his earlier performances. The number allowed him to play with tone and melody.

The powerhouse finale reunited Cunningham and Quam to sing the famous “Anything You Can Do,” in which the two characters constantly try to one-up each other through a series of challenges. The most astounding of which was Cunningham betting that she could “hold any note longer than you.” Quam’s voice overwhelmed the room with a booming note, while Cunningham burst out with a high belt, brilliantly surpassing Quam’s by several seconds. The competition elicited numerous cheers and lively applause from the audience.

On the whole, the show was the perfect kind of entertainment. It was charismatic and hilarious, drawing the audience in, while showcasing the sheer talent of Kenyon’s performers.

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