Scripps faculty showcase timeless talent at spring concert

Michael Roccia
Staff Writer

The Scripps and Pomona College departments of music jointly sponsored one of their Friday Noon Concert shows on March 22 in Scripps College’s Balch Auditorium.

The concert was part of the schools’ 2024 Spring Concert Series, in which on some Fridays, faculty members of the schools are invited to perform and showcase their talents to students, colleagues and other intrigued guests.

About 50 people attended the program and experienced impressive renditions of timeless songs and poetry. The concert had two performers, Michaela Kelly, a soprano singer, and Amelia Hammond, who accompanied her on piano. They played songs such as Franz Schubert’s “Die Junge Nonne,”  Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry “To a Young Poet,” “Thursday” from Beauty Intolerable and many others. The two worked together in order to breathe new life into the music and give their own interpretation of the enduring songs.

Michaela Kelly is also a music instructor at Scripps College. She has been interested in music all her life and always knew she had a passion for it. 

Kelly is finishing up her doctorate degree at USC right now, but in the meantime has enjoyed her opportunity to teach and perform at Scripps College.

“My mom always said I sang before I talked, so I’ve always been a singer,” Kelly said. “I’ve been teaching at Scripps for three years, and teaching this art song is what I’m most passionate about. I also love that they give the faculty space to put on programming of whatever we want.”

Kelly put on an impressive performance where she demonstrated her talents while singing some difficult pieces. She sang works from Franz Schubert, Richard Pearson Thomas, Sheila Silver and Margaret Bonds.

Her performance cultivated a remarkable showing of art song. This unique form of musical expression really spoke to Kelly, and she enjoys it because of how it is different from musical theater or opera.

“With art songs, I have to make my own context,” Kelly said. “It’s not given to me in a story, so I can be specific to myself and hopefully that connects me with my audience. I think the whole purpose of singing and making music is to connect with other people and create a shared experience, especially in live music.”

Kelly had some help in making this artistic vision come to life for the crowd. Accompanying her on piano for every song was pianist Amelia Hammond. Hammond also got her start in music from a young age and played in jazz bands early on. That is where she learned she loved the collaborative experience when it came to music. 

“My favorite part of performing is being with somebody else,” Hammond said. “I think the collaborative effort and the energy that brings is really hard to describe Unless you’re experiencing it. You’re in this intimate setting with somebody and to be a vessel for a story is really important to me.”

Hammond does not just love the performing aspect of music, but also loves being able to pick songs for her programs that are a little different and being able to expose audience members to something that they have not necessarily experienced before.

“The more you can pull out music that’s different and not in the common trope, I think that is the best thing that we can do as artists,” Hammond said. “To expose people to different things that they might not expect, is amazing.”

The song choices and performance itself was inspiring to some concert goers. One of the guests in attendance was Sam Clark, a senior psychology major with a minor in music at Scripps College. For her, seeing her professor up on the stage and implementing all the techniques she teaches in class was remarkable. 

“I felt like there were a lot of songs where I could see the things that she talked to me about in her lessons,” Clark said. “Her face was emoting super well and so it just made me really happy to watch it.”

The Friday Noon Concert series will be back in action on April 12th with more incredible performances from staff members of the college. The concerts are aimed at the next generation of musicians, and Hammond hopes that her students and other artists alike will feel inspired when attending these events.

“I want my students to feel empowered to be individual artists and have decisions,” Hammond said. “I want them to feel like they can also be vessels for story and inspiration.”

Michael Roccia can be reached at michael.roccia@laverne.edu.

Michael Roccia is a junior communications major with a concentration is public relations. This is his first semester as a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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