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Music department concert honors university alumna

Posted on 11.06.2013

An “Evening of Song,” which was comprised of songs performed by music students, was held in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall on Oct. 22.
The songs’ themes varied from the fragility of love, loneliness and suicide. There also was a variety of vocal tones, with one singer a baritone and the next  a mezzo-soprano.

(l-r) Natalie Covert sings “Orpheus with his Lute” with Amy Eggleston on the piano, while Ron Duke, Emily Townsley and Kyliegh Randolph watch on.

(l-r) Natalie Covert sings “Orpheus with his Lute” with Amy Eggleston on the piano, while Ron Duke, Emily Townsley and Kyliegh Randolph watch on.

Music instructor Mitzi Westra, who served as director of “Evening of Song,” was  impressed with the concert,  especially the boldness of the freshmen.“I’m always proud of our singers whenever they get up to sing, but I’m particularly fond of our freshmen to have the courage to get up there and do their first public performance at the University of Indianapolis,” she said.
Preparing for the performance required rehearsal. Students were given eight to 12 pieces to memorize and were required to practice their songs for two hours a day,  as well as practicing the piano for one hour daily. However, in Westra’s opinion, this helped the students overcome stage fright when they performed on stage.
“We tell them the best way to combat stage nerves is prepare, prepare, prepare,” she said.
On the night of the concert, students performed songs that they had picked themselves. According to Westra, students chose songs that they were particularly good at or that they liked.
The last song of the night was a piece from a musical that UIndy alumna Mindy Owens wrote before she passed away the first week of this semester following a long battle with skin cancer.
The musical,  entitled “Optimistic,” is about Owens’ life and the obstacles she faced while being diagnosed with cancer. The theme of the piece, “Why,” changes tone from worry and disappointment to an optimistic outlook. In Westra’s opinion, “Why” perfectly represents who Owens was as a person.
“All the way through her process, she always kept a positive attitude,” Westra said. “She always had a bright face on.”
When Owens was first diagnosed two years ago, she had the support of the whole music department.
“The theme for the semester [last year] was ‘Power of Positive,’ and that was for Mindy. They did several different performances and events to raise awareness for melanoma,” Westra said.
Freshman exercise science major Tatum Johnson was very impressed with the concert.
“Overall, it was just a beautiful performance from all the performers,” Johnson said. “They did an awesome job.”


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