On Friday, November 12, 2021, Guerry Auditorium was filled with bright lights and happy laughter as 23 students prepared to demonstrate their musical talents in Sewanee’s annual Fall Showcase.
The night was divided into two acts. The first act had 11 students, the second had 12, and they each were divided with a ten minute intermission. The students sat in black chairs in a half circle on the stage. With a piano in the center, one by one the students got up to perform their song of choice.
“My favorite part was getting to see my friends perform too,” Pauline Buisson (C’22) said. “We all sing for each other on Fridays, we showcase something we’ve been working on. Seeing everyone perform and knowing all the hard work they put in, it makes my heart really happy.”
The songs varied from modern classics, to musical numbers, to classical gems. As each student took their place on the stage, the light up background shifted color to match the mood of their song. As one student sang a bright, happy, song the background shifted to a light green. As another student sang a soulful song of heartache and loss, the background changed to a deep blue.
Each student’s song was a beautiful piece, cultivated and practiced through months of hard work from the music students.
“We all worked with Dr. Ginger on our songs throughout the semester, and most of it was individual work with our coaches, our professors,” Allie Dent (C’23) said. “We do studio performances every week, so we get used to getting feedback from peers as well as performing in front of other people. It was a big group effort putting this on.”
Each performer is enrolled in voice classes, with them coming from a variety of majors and pre-majors. They worked with Kerry Ginger, Associate Professor of Voice, and Erik Gustafson, Visiting Instructor of Voice, as well as the whole Sewanee Voice Studio. Throughout the entire fall semester, these students have been hard at work taking lessons and practicing their art. Now, they were finally able to show off their amazing talents with friends and family.
“I love that this concert gives the students a chance to share not only their work from this semester with the community, but also their passion,” Ginger said. “These students were so excited for this performance. And nervous to finally, after COVID, get to present what they’re doing, share their voices, to a live audience. I just love getting to provide a platform for that passionate performance, that hard work.”
For other students looking to get into music at Sewanee, there are so many options. Many students first use the many wonderful ensembles on campus to give their singing a try, like the University choir and the Gospel choir.
“I did theater throughout high school and I was looking for another outlet in college for that,” Dent said. “I am an English major, so I’m not involved in the music department, but I sing in the University choir and when I saw that they had voice lessons, I auditioned because I wanted to continue on with my singing. That’s how I found this studio class and I’ve been coming to it ever since I’ve been at Sewanee.”
For those students excited to try their hand at focusing on improving their vocal skills and are interested in taking classes, Dr. Kelly Ginger is a wonderful resource.
“If they are interested in becoming a part of the voice program, they can contact me directly,” Dr. Ginger said. “We have a class called Class Voice and it’s a really supportive class for students to learn some of the basics of studying music.”