Artist spotlight: Marin Diddams ’22

A senior recital that gives classical voice a modern twist

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Photo courtesy of Marin Diddams '22

At the end of their last year, graduating music majors are given the opportunity to host a senior recital in the Baker Center for the Arts Recital Hall. This event is often a showcase of the student’s work and progress after four years of vocal and/or instrumental training, and features music which is chosen by the performer.

On Nov. 5 at 7 p.m., Marin Diddams ‘22 plans to hold her senior recital, and she has several surprises planned for the audience. 

“The first half has been just a big cultivation of the work that I’ve done with Lauren [Madigan] over the last couple of years,” stated Diddams. “I had two voice teachers at Muhlenberg, and I ended up sticking with her for a lot of it. My very first aria came from when I first started studying opera. My first voice teacher presented that to me and I love it. I wanted it to appeal to people who don’t really like that world, though. I wanted them to come and not say, ‘This is so boring.’”

“That’s the best thing that I can say, which is just to feed myself, have a place to live and try to sing professionally and try to act professionally.”

-Marin Diddams ’22

Often, classical vocalists will be asked to perform pieces in multiple European languages, and Diddams explained that the first half of her program features music in German, Italian and French. Specifically, she mentioned that she would feature excerpts from “Italienisches Liederbuch,” a song cycle by Hugo Wolf that features 46 songs, containing lyrics from one of poet Paul Heyse’s anthologies. Diddams described these and other art selections in this half as “cutesy art songs,” and that she didn’t want any part of her program to feel drawn-out or boring. Her emphasis on comedy was strong, and she explained that there is even a song where the performer sings about having “a one-inch-tall boyfriend.”

Having a long-standing passion for musical theatre dating back to her childhood, Diddams explained that the best representation of her career up to this point should also include upbeat selections from Broadway musicals. However, she felt it was important to continue the theme of crafting audience connection to different musical styles, and decided to accompany the music of the second half of the program with various styles of dance.

Diddams explained, “I’m doing a tap number and a hip hop jazz number, which will be hilarious. I’m very excited. The real question is, will I actually be able to maintain my breath for the hip hop number?” 

Sammy Reyes, adjunct professor of dance, has been choreographing the dance portions of the performance, and Diddams spoke very highly of his handiwork and expertise, stating that he “really took the material and ran with it.”

If given the opportunity to feature additional repertoire at this point, Diddams said that she would choose songs that represent some of her most foundational performances at Muhlenberg or to include music with her family, who are all singers as well.

“My very first aria came from when I first started studying opera. My first voice teacher presented that to me and I love it. I wanted it to appeal to people who don’t really like that world…”

-Marin Diddams ’22

“It’s fun because my family is pretty much like a living scrapbook,” stated Diddams. “Anytime they see me they’ll say, ‘Remember when you were four and you did this exact thing?’ So if I were to do something like reprisals, I wanted to see if I could figure out a way to duet with my mom.”

When asked what her post-collegiate plans were, Diddams replied, “I really love comedy, and I actually was recently presented with this opportunity to potentially audition for a comedy group in Amsterdam. I have a ton of family in Holland, so I might go do that. I think honestly, though,  my plan is just to move to New York and try. That’s the best thing that I can say, which is just to feed myself, have a place to live and try to sing professionally and try to act professionally.”

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