Last Saturday, three senior music majors presented the culmination of their studies with recitals that showed off their talent. From French choir music to a song from Woodstock, Rosse and Storer Halls were filled with music throughout the day.
Katherine Connolly began her conducting recital with a brief lecture about “Danzόn No. 2,” composed by Arturo Márquez.
“As you might imagine,” she said, “it is the second danzόn.”
Her lecture spoke both to musically inclined audience members and to those who were not, explaining the confusing musical terms without weighing her speech down with definitions.
By the time Connolly turned away from the audience, ready to conduct her 25-person wind and percussion ensemble in Rosse Hall Auditorium, she had set the bar very high for herself.
The ensemble performed three songs, each more impressive than the last. Her band of Kenyon students and community members played fiercely and the powerful melodies received a standing ovation at the end of the concert.
“There are definitely parts that I messed up,” Connolly said, “but I think that even when those hiccups happened, we managed to get through them and I managed to be like ‘Okay, that happened, let’s get back on track.’”
More than 50 audience members gathered in Brandi Recital Hall to watch Andrew Perricone conduct 12 Kenyon students in a choir performance. As the performers’ voices echoed through the intimate recital space, it was easy to forget that these were not professionals, but Kenyon students with busy lives outside of the performance.
The group, dressed elegantly in black and white, sang four songs, two of which were in German and French. Each was met with roaring applause from the audience.
“I tried to pick things that were of sufficient difficulty,” Perricone said, “and I might have ended up picking some things that were beyond sufficient difficulty.”
Despite the complex construction of the pieces, Perricone said his singers worked extremely hard during rehearsals to make sure they gave the best performance possible.
One of the most difficult pieces was “The Six Chansons,” composed by Paul Hindemith and based on different poems written in French by the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Each section varied in rhythm and emotion, but Perricone kept his singers on tempo and created a cohesive concert piece with seamless transitions.
Thomas Cox stepped onto the Rosse stage, said nothing and began to play a snare drum. Throughout his performance, Cox remained focused on the music, only smiling at the audience to signal the end of each song. He showed how dynamic drums could be.
The first three songs were solo percussion pieces — just Cox and a different drum set for each song. After a brief intermission, other Kenyon students joined him to perform five jazz pieces, three of which Cox arranged himself.
Each of these songs incorporated a range of instruments but allowed the drums to shine through and remain the center of the performance. Cox’s performance made it clear that he was
comfortable playing the drums and really knew what he was doing.
“I really think that regardless of your performance medium — if you are acting or playing music — I feel like you really have to make the space your own and be comfortable,” Cox said. “I think we were able to do that on Saturday.”