Goshen College’s 61st annual Concerto-Aria Concert took place this past weekend in Sauder Concert Hall. 

One of Goshen College’s long standing traditions, the annual Concerto-Aria competition is open to students enrolled in applied music study at Goshen College. Students audition in the fall semester within the categories of solo vocal, solo instrumental, solo piano, ensemble, or original composition. 

The winners are selected by a committee of Goshen College faculty members. 

Brian Mast, director of the Goshen College Symphony Orchestra, notes that the selection committee goes into the audition process “wide open.” 

“Really, it’s about the performance and who earns it,” he said. 

This year, nine students were honored as winners. Seven students performed in the Concerto-Aria Concert, while the remaining two winners will perform in the spring orchestra concert next month.  

Bek Zehr, a senior music major, performed the aria “Parto, Parto” from Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito.” 

“I chose ‘Parto, Parto’ because the sections and technical aspects make the piece feel like three arias in one,” they said.

Kailey Rice, a senior music and sign language major, and Lisa Rosado Rivera, a senior music and theater major, performed a vocal duet titled “Eifersuchtsduett” from Kurt Weill’s  “Three-Penny Opera.” Rosado Rivera enjoyed singing with Rice and experimenting with the comedic aspects of the piece. 

“We were very interested in doing a piece together,” she said. “Kailey discovered this soprano duet…We polished the words and added some fun moves!” 

Rice notes that it took some adjusting and “lots of practice” to sing with a mask, but she appreciated the presence of a live audience throughout the performance.

“It was so refreshing!” she said. “Looking out into the seats and seeing smiling faces was heartwarming… and the energy in the room [was] amazing.”

Petenei Tacu, a junior music major, performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major. He found that the small, socially distanced audience made his experience “easier.” 

“With COVID-19, performances don’t feel as real as they used to,” he said. “But I was still nervous because it was my first concerto.”

Caroline Greaser, a sophomore, performed a violin duet titled “Navarra” by Pablo de Sarasate alongside her sister Abigail Greaser, a senior. Caroline found that the post-concert environment was one of the highlights of the event.

“What really made it feel like old times…was also just being able to go out to the lobby after the performance and have people come up and say, ‘Oh, you did such a good job!’” Caroline said. “You don’t get that sort of feedback from just sending out a recording.”

Alena Miller, a sophomore, presented a violin piece titled, “Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso” by Camille Saint-Saëns. She echoes Caroline’s gratitude at having an audience present throughout her performance. 

“People appreciate going to live concerts and listening to live music more now than they did in the past,” she said. 

Zehr believes that this past year has caused many artists to become, “discouraged and … apathetic” when it comes to performing. 

“Pre-recorded recordings or live Zoom performances are just not the same,” they said. “I love the energy and the nerves that come with a live audience.”

Mast describes this past weekend’s concert as a “step forward… a step towards some sense of normalcy and being able to be together.”

If you missed the Concerto-Aria Concert, you still have a chance to see two of the competition winners perform at the upcoming Spring Orchestra Concert on April 17th. Josie Strader, a junior, will be playing the second movement of Vladmir Cosma’s Euphonium Concerto, while Grace Hitt, a sophomore, will be performing Alexander Arutunian’s Concerto for Trumpet.