The second student recital couldn’t have done it without the fish

The Recital Hall welcomed audience members for the lively performance

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Madeline Olexy '24 performing "Nothing in Common" from the musical "Aucassin and Nicolette." // Photo courtesy of Madeline Olexy '24

The second student recital took place on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the Recital Hall in the Baker Center for the Arts. Doors opened about 10 minutes before the show began at 6:30 p.m. and members of the audience were greeted at the door with programs detailing the five students set to perform for the evening. In contrast to the first student recital, which only highlighted two performances, there was an increased number of four performances this time and five student performers in total. 

The recital began with soprano Madeline Olexy ‘24 delivering an enchanting rendition of “Nothing in Common” from the musical “Aucassin and Nicolette.” The performance was captivating and beautiful, demanding full attention from the audience, which would be a common theme throughout the night. Following the beautiful delivery of Olexy’s piece, Kiana Holmes ‘22, mezzo soprano, gave an animated performance of “Stars and the Moon” from the musical “Sages for A New World.” While the mask mandate could have made it difficult for emotion to be conveyed through the music, this was not the case in Holmes’ performance. Holmes accompanied her wonderful vocal performance with a series of animated and charming hand gestures that set the scene for the performance and engaged the audience. When asked about if COVID-19 affected the rehearsals or performances at all, Holmes stated, “It’s not too bad to sing in a mask, and likewise, with our voice lessons, they’ve all been masked. And for the past year, all of our voice lessons have been online on Zoom, which has its own challenges.” The restrictions brought forth by COVID-19 and Muhlenberg’s current mask mandate have definitely been a challenge felt by the performers, but many are excited to be back in person with live shows to showcase their talents. 

“I’m not used to performing in a mask in a solo recital like this, that was a new challenge, but it really wasn’t that much of a hindrance.”

– Hope Austin ’25

The third performance contrasted the—at times—whimsical “Stars and the Moon” rendition, with Hope Austin ‘25, soprano, delivering a showstopping performance of “Abendlied,” composed by Robert Shumann. Austin dazzled the crowd with a stunning delivery of the German song. Austin, did not express much nervousness over her performance at Muhlenberg. When asked how she felt leading up to the performance, Austin answered, “A little nervous, but mostly excited! It’s just really good to be performing live!” Austin spoke enthusiastically about the choice of music, gushing, “Schumann is a great composer, but I could geek out about that forever!” Austin echoed Holmes’ sentiments about masking saying, “I’m not used to performing in a mask in a solo recital like this, that was a new challenge, but it really wasn’t that much of a hindrance.”

“I don’t know. Of all the things, if I get to perform, I’ll sing in a mask,” said Austin.

The recital concluded with a laugh-inducing performance of “Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti,” delivered by Isabella van der Weide ‘23, soprano, and Yael Beer ‘24, soprano. The song is about two cats fighting over a fish. This performance consisted of a single word, and yet evoked many laughs and chuckles from a very engaged audience. The single word is heard as “Miau,” and through the performance, the word was repeated in different tones, and later, a paper prop fish was brought in to fully capture the audience. The fish served as a pivotal point of the performance, conveying the comedic argument the performers were delivering, as one kept snatching the fish away from the other. This concluding performance consisted of beautiful voices, which delivered an extremely engaging performance considering it was only one word, and a very important fish that drew out laughs from everyone in the audience. 

“Each of the performances were so unique but still so interesting to watch.”

– Ashely Kim ’25

After the performances were finished, many performers were able to converse and connect with their friends who came to support them. The second student recital was a display of how important and dear the performing arts are to not only the performers, but to the audience as well. Much of the audience was engaged and delighted all throughout the recital, as performers were finally able to showcase themselves and their talent in person. For many performers, COVID-19 has been, and will continue to be a challenge they are continuously learning to navigate, however, as long as they are able to perform, they are content.

“Each of the performances were so unique but still so interesting to watch,” continued Ashley Kim ‘25, an audience member of the recital. “The gestures and props in the last performance made the show for me.”

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