Back in November, junior and senior music students took the Sauder stage one by one to compete with both voice and instrument. Three months later, a selected few have been invited to perform again – this time for a crowd.
Goshen College’s 54th annual Concerto-Aria concert will be held this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Sauder Hall. The seven student winners of the Concerto-Aria competition will perform individual concerto moments and both solo and duet arias, along with the Goshen College Symphony Orchestra, which is directed by Christopher Fashun, professor of music.
For the performers, including Micah Detweiler, marimba; Ben Ganger, baritone; Rachel Mast, mezzo soprano; Katie Miller, soprano; Brody Thomas, piano; Sam Smucker, violin; and Jorge Abreu Toyen, violin, this concert comes after months of work.
Mast and Miller, both seniors, will perform Deh! Conte Mira, o Norma by Vincenzo Bellini as a duet. Since Mast participated in last year’s performance with a solo, she could only audition again through a duet. The two looked for a piece that had a good story behind it.
“We prepared all semester, working on balancing our voices together and conveying the drama,” said Mast. “Our piece shows the relationship between Norma and Adalgisa and in the end is about friendship, so it was a great choice for the two of us.”
Miller, who will perform as in the Concert-Aria for the first time, listened to operas in preparation.
“Rachel and I had performed a number of duets last year,” said Miller. “We really enjoyed working together, so Rachel and I were on the hunt for opera duets for two women.”
The soloists went through a similar process. Ganger, a sophomore, chose “Ach, wir armen Leute” from Hansel und Gretel through a collaboration with his voice teacher, Scott Hochstetler, professor of music.
“We tried to pick a song that would both show the capabilities of my voice as well as be entertaining for the audience,” said Ganger.
The orchestra will accompany students throughout, as well as play a few suites of their own. Several of the performers consider working with the orchestra a highlight of the concert.
“The best thing about this performance for me is getting to solo with an orchestra as talented and responsive as this one,” said Ganger. “There hasn’t been a single time where I’ve felt like I’m fighting the orchestra.”
Mast is used to singing “with only piano accompaniment. A full orchestra is much more dynamic and there are so many more expressive possibilities,” she said.
Tryouts, which had to be memorized, were held mid-November in front of the music faculty and students. Hochstetler, professor of music, was one of the judges in the audience.
“This [concert] represents the best of the music department,” said Hochstetler. “It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work on the part of both students and their teachers. I think we have a great line-up.”
Said Miller, “Very few people at our stage in our professional lives get the chance to perform in a hall like Sauder with a full orchestra behind us. It is truly a gift. Oh, and we get to wear really pretty dresses.”
Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and free for GC faculty, staff and students. To purchase tickets, visit the Goshen College Welcome Center.