Senior musicians prepare for a final bow
Jesse Goldman ’12 is one of many seniors preparing for his final recital, a showcase of talent and dedication to music
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As this academic year nears its end, the graduating members of the many music ensembles on campus are getting ready to play their last notes, sing their last verses and take a final bow. For many, these last performances mark the end of four years of fantastic music at the College and promise a bright future for those interested in pursuing music off the Hill.
Just as art majors choose to have a final show and those in the creative writing concentration can write a collection of short stories, students within the Music Department have the opportunity to showcase their education to their peers and professors. Some eager seniors have taken the initiative to plan and perform their own solo recitals as a way of concluding their music experience at Colby. Among these students are Jesse Goldman ’12 and Allie Stitham ’12.
Music major and chemistry minor Goldman has been playing the violin since age six. “It took many years for me to really get into [playing the violin],” “I started with the Suzuki method, [which] encourages parents to be involved in the learning process, so my family had to suffer through a lot of playing.”
Looking back to the time before entering Colby, Goldman remembered how he was looking for a college that would allow him to hone his violin-playing skills through performance opportunities and private lessons. That is why, upon enrollment, he immediately auditioned to be part of the Colby College Orchestra. Since then, he has been involved in many performances, even outside the group.
This spring, he was one of two students selected to perform a solo alongside the Colby Symphony Orchestra in a concert that marked Music Department Chair Jonathan Hallstrom’s last time conducting with the group.
For Stitham, an anthropology and religious studies double major, her love for her instrument, her voice, has always been there. “I have always liked singing. Here at Colby, I sing 12 to 13 hours a week,” she claims: a fact which is not difficult to believe, as she is a member of both the Colby College Chorale and the all-female a capella group, EVE.
Parental support has always been important for her, as it was for Goldman. “My dad encouraged me to take voice lessons during my sophomore year at Colby,” Stitham recalled. “Now he says that when I moved away to college, he missed hearing throughout the house.” Goldman’s recital, to be held on Wednesday, April 25, at 7 p.m. in Lorimer Chapel, will feature two faculty accompanists, Assistant Professor of Music Yuri Lily Funahashi and Vocal Instructor Anna Beth Rynders, as well as fellow senior Jenna Gundersen, whose own recital was held almost two weeks ago.
Among the pieces Goldman will play is Bach’s “Partita for Violin No. 2”, which includes five movements, the last of which is 15 minutes long. “The last movement, called the ‘Chaconne’ is one of Bach’s most compelling pieces,” he said. “It has been theorized that Bach wrote this movement after the death of one of his wives, so there’s a lot of anguish in the music.”
Another lengthy piece he will play is “Chausson’s Poème,” which Goldman first heard performed when he was in middle school. “It mesmerized me,” he said. “It is one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever heard. It’s a slow, virtuosic piece.”
Stitham’s recital, to be held on Friday, May 4, at 7 p.m. in Lorimer Chapel, will feature Rynders, student pianist Allie Emery, and even Goldman himself. “My set list is very eclectic…from a traditional Hawaiian chant to a Bach piece, to modern a capella….It’s so me,” she gushed.
Among the 13 vocal pieces that Stitham will perform is a traditional Hawaiian chant, which she will sing with her sister. “I started learning hula when I was six years old,” the Hawaii native said. “The chant is traditionally sung by hula performers asking permission to enter the performance space.”
The recital will also feature a Rossini piece, entitled “Duetto Buffo Di Due Gatti.” It is a humorous song, the lyrics of which entirely comprises of “Meow.” Stitham will be performing the piece with fellow Chorale member Kendall Hatch ’13.
“With this recital, I mainly wanted to give myself the challenge of learning and polishing so many songs,” Stitham said. As one of the few non-music majors conducting a recital, she recognized this as her only real opportunity to have one of her own and jumped at the chance to do so.
Now, as they anticipate their imminent graduation, both Goldman and Stitham admit that they will miss performing music at Colby. “I may join a chorus group, once I graduate,” Stitham said. “But it will not be as rigorous as Chorale, not as intimate as EVE, and not as beneficial to my voice as lessons. I may have opportunities to perform, but they won’t be the same.”
“I will miss the chamber music opportunities and the willingness of faculty to coach chamber music pieces,” Goldman said. “It might have to work a little harder to get [opportunities like that] together…but I feel prepared to continue my studies on my own.”