With 53 attendees in the audience, the University of La Verne’s music department gathered to demonstrate musical talents, which ranged from singing to instrumentals, in its first recital of the spring semester April 9 over Zoom.
With the La Verne campus closed, the department’s professors and students have been forced to conduct rehearsals and performances online.
“Even though it’s not the same as performing, I’m glad we have [virtual recitals],” Kate Correnti, junior music major and voice student, said. “It’s good practice for when we go back to live performing.”
Correnti sang Mozart’s “Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln” from the opera “Die Entführung aus dem Serail.” Her soprano voice and operatic sound allowed her to deliver a stunning performance that had each attendee applauding through their screens.
“It’s nice to share with our peers and the La Verne community,” Correnti said.
Courtney Taylor, the applied voice instructor in the music department who hosted the event, said technology can get in the way of performances.
Azru Faruki, a voice student and sophomore kinesiology major, delivered a moving take of Christina Perri’s song “Jar of Hearts.”
“It’s a little bit nerve wracking. I’ve participated in choirs and solos. I felt like I was in such a comfortable space, but now coming back, it’s scary,” Faruki said. “It doesn’t feel the same, but it’s an outlet. I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
Not all of the performers had much experience performing live before the pandemic.
“I’ve performed more times virtual than in person. It’s made me more comfortable,” Janelle Perez, senior kinesiology major, said.
Perez sang the song “Mr. Snow” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel.” It appeared that performing came natural to her in the way she embodied the song, from her facial expressions to the way she used body movements to add emotion throughout her performance. Her operatic sound and voice control impressed the virtual audience based on the smiles on the audience’s faces.
To prepare for her performance, Perez said that she made sure everything is set up properly and runs through her song at least once.
“I have to remove myself and get into character in order to fully feel like I’m performing and not just singing in my room for my computer,” Perez said.
For Preston Gurrola, senior economics major and piano student, this was his first time performing on the piano in front of an audience. While he’s done crowd performances before with other instruments, he said he was nervous for this recital.
“I tried to pretend no one was watching during the moment,” Gurrola said. “I didn’t even check to see how many people were watching.”
His nerves didn’t show when he played “A Whole New World” from the 1992 film “Aladdin.” He displayed humility in his introduction and confidence on the piano.
“You’re showing off your art,” Gurrola said. “You display the best that you have.”
Taylor said the students prepared for this recital in their weekly studio class, where they were able to get feedback on their performances. While it’s not the same as performing for a live audience, she said that there’s a certain element in being able to tune out how many people are there in the audience since it’s over Zoom.
Taylor said that she was proud of the performers and enjoyed seeing the collaboration within the music department in order to make the recital possible.
“I can’t wait to do this back in person,” Taylor said.
Taylor Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.