Musicians get comedic through song

by Angelica Mercado | Staff Writer
Published: Last Updated on
Soprano sophomore vocal performance major Tessa Gibbons performs “Vanilla Ice Cream” as Amalia from the Broadway musical “She Loves Me.” Photo by Angelica Mercado

Soprano sophomore vocal performance major Tessa Gibbons performs “Vanilla Ice Cream” as Amalia from the Broadway musical “She Loves Me.” Photo by Angelica Mercado

The University of Indianapolis music students came together for an “Evening of Song” featuring musical theatre pieces in the forms of solos, duets and trios on Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall. Like most performances in the hall, this performance was free and open to the public. The music students, both majors and non-majors, were accompanied by Director of Pre-College Music Program and accompanist Haruka Ostojić.

Assistant Professor of music Mitzi Westra directed “Evening of Song.”

“This concert will be easy. Nothing will tweak your ears. This is all accessible, fun and upbeat music,” Westra said. “The songs are tunes that people will remember and will be familiar with.”

According to Westra, when she asked the students what the theme of the event should be, they agreed that humorous songs would be the way to go. Freshman music education major and mezzo-soprano Rachel Harden performed in “Evening of Song” for her second time since the 2016 spring semester. Harden said that  seeing everyone have fun without the pressure of being graded and feeling at ease were what made the performance most enjoyable.

Harden performed “Route to the Sky,” the fourth piece in Jake Heggie’s “Paper Wings” set with two contrasting characters of a daughter and a mother.

“This song [‘Route to the Sky’] is the most fun piece I get to do this semester. I have a lot of foreign language pieces where the audience may not get the humor,” Harden said.

Harden said she wanted her audience to understand the nature of her character through the emphasis that she put forth in each physical and vocal change.

“Evening of Song” included performances featuring different age groups and areas of study,  including music majors and non-music majors.

“We really want to involve the freshmen who really want to perform. I usually try to make it English or something that they would have been working on in lessons, so they could participate,” Westra said.

Westra said that this was some students’ first time to perform at Ruth Lilly, so she wanted to make them feel comfortable and confident enough in themselves to do well.

The concert included performances by roommates sophomore music education major and tenor Brenden Everett and senior general music major and bass-baritone Ron Dukes, who performed a comedic piece titled “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” from the Broadway musical “Kiss Me, Kate!” composed by Cole Porter. Their performance was described by senior music education major and mezzo-soprano Natalie Covert as “great and abnormal friendship on stage.”

Junior general music major Ivy Bott performed pieces from two Broadway musicals including “Diva’s Lament,” from “Spamalot,” composed by Eric Idle, and “Always True to You (In My Fashion),” from “Kiss Me, Kate!” composed by Cole Porter. Freshman jazz studies major and tenor Gabriel Castro performed “I Need to Know,” from the Broadway musical “Jekyll and Hyde” composed by Frank Wildhorn, and “I Really, Really Love You,” by composing team Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel performed by communication major and soprano Morgan Ellis.

“Evening of Song” concluded with a performance of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” composed by Don Raye and Hugh Prince and made popular by The Andrews Sisters, performed by female trio Harden, Covert and freshman music education major and mezzo-soprano Anna Miller.

“I always want them [audience] to experience a genuine musical performance,” Covert said.

UIndy’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble Crimson Express will perform its first semester concert on Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.

Recommended for You