Honors Recital Underscores Big Year for Music

April 20, 2011 / by / 0 Comment

By Doug Carroll
Communications Staff

Five students representing some of the best musical talent in the College of Fine Arts and Production performed in an honors recital Tuesday night at Ethington Theatre, giving Assistant Dean Juan Hernandez an opportunity to reflect on the successes of the 2010-11 year.

The students — four vocalists and a pianist — were recommended for the recital by their instructors. They were sopranos Christina Cullers, Amanda Gardner and Angela Groman, tenor Adam Benavides and pianist Julianne Forté.

“This has been a great year of performances,” said Hernandez, whose Music Department has put on six major concerts and numerous student recitals and also hosted several special events.

After Tuesday’s program, Hernandez commented on each of the student performers and on the department’s progress in its first year back from a lengthy hiatus.

• Christina Cullers, a junior, sang “Alleluia” from Mozart’s “Exsultate Jubilate K. 165”: “She is young but shows tremendous promise. She’s one for whom we see a lot of potential. She’s very diligent and inquisitive.”

• Amanda Gardner, a junior, sang “The Monk and His Cat” and “Sea-Snatch” from Samuel Barber’s “Hermit Songs, Op. 29”: “She has made tremendous improvement and has basically rebuilt her voice from some physical problems, almost relearning how to sing. This year, she has really worked on technique.”

• Angela Groman, a first-semester junior transfer from Northern Arizona University, sang from Gaetano Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”: “She has an interest in opera, and the aria she sang (“So anch’io la virtὺ mágica”) was a challenging piece. She’s done successful work in a short time.”

• Adam Benavides, a freshman, sang “It Was a Lover and His Lass,” with lyrics by Shakespeare: “He’s a tremendous talent (in music), even though he is a theatre major. His voice has matured and his delivery is more polished. He’s an all-around performer.”

• Julianne Forté, a junior, played from Mozart’s “Sonata in A minor K. 310” and from Robert Schumann’s “Phantasiestuck Opus 12”: “She’s a very versatile performer, also playing jazz and pop, and she’s a serious piano student for us. She chose pieces that stretched her technique and musicianship. This semester, she has really matured.”

• On the role played by the return to campus of vocal coach Dr. Sheila Corley: “We could not have done what we’ve done without Sheila. She is respected nationally and the students adore working with her. People come here to study with her. She has been a tremendous partner in this.”

• On what’s ahead for 2011-12: “Our program will become a little more formal. We will tackle a more serious and traditional repertory. We will do a couple of concerts off campus, at Trinity Cathedral and Camelback Bible Church. I describe our program as a work in progress, definitely moving in the right direction. We still need to get the word out. When we do, people are pleasantly surprised by what we’re doing. We have a steady stream of inquiries from the community colleges and also from NAU and ASU students because there are significantly better scholarship opportunities with us. By integrating music and non-music majors, we can be a place to do great music as a vocation or as something a student simply likes to do.”

The year’s final concert will take place on May 5, the evening before Commencement, and will feature material from each of the previous major concerts. All of GCU’s choirs will participate, and awards for Musician of the Year (to a music major and a non-major) will be presented.

Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].

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