Performances in Brandi Recital Hall are always exciting because of the atmosphere. The venue is small, but the bottled energy of the audience always feels explosive — and the Angela Waite Student Recital on Friday was no different. The small hall quickly filled up as the first of the performers walked onto the stage.
The Angela Waite Student Recital is a tradition at Kenyon created to showcase students who show special music talent, even if they were not music majors. The Department of Music sponsors these students’ public recitals. The performers at the recital are picked for outstanding performances in their music jury, which is a check on progress for students taking private music lessons at Kenyon. “It is an honor and an opportunity for them to show what they’ve accomplished to the whole community,” Professor of Music Ben Locke said.
The first and perhaps most unique performance was from Kyle Kelley ’25 on the marimba. The silent recital hall was filled by the entrancing sound of the marimba. Kelley showcased impressive dexterity in his playing of Etude in C major, Op. 6, No. 1 composed by Clair Omar Musser (1901-1998). Kelley’s nimble fingers balanced the four marimba mallets as he created a dulcet sound.
The violin performance showcased the skill of Colin Bowling ’23 and the instrument’s capacity for communicating intense emotion. The notes glided from one to the next like there was no time passing between them, as if time paused to listen in as well.
The guitar piece highlighted Brandi Recital Hall’s distinctive intimacy. Shijie Xu ’23 performed relatively quietly, but the notes danced through to the back row, almost as if on tiptoe. Just when the audience was lulled into a tranquil trance, the intensity of the performance picked up as the story moved forward. The journey this piece represented was emotionally stirring.
The voice solos were all stellar. Elena Volchok ’23, Theodore Schwamm ’24, Alana Goldstein ’25 and Carlin Steere ’25 performances were not only technically sound but also emotionally intense. “You do end up just trusting your technique and your dynamics and musical expression,” Schwamm said about vocal performances.
I found myself marveling at the speed that Eli Hiton ’23 played at. There were quick and sudden changes of tone and spacing in his piano performance. The piece, Theme and Variations 1-5, composed by Frederic Rzewski (1938-2021), was peculiar but enjoyable to listen to.
Every single performance at the recital was masterful and put the incredible musical talent of Kenyon on full display. The adjunct instructors who teach music lessons should also be credited for their dedication to improving the skill level of Kenyon students. “Everyone at the department really tries to make you feel at home,” Steere said. She especially appreciates the amazing mentorship she’d received from every one she’s met in the Department of Music despite not being a music major. The department really is deserving of admiration and praise for its commitment to this recital year after year.