Campus Musicians Perform in Musicians Showcase


By HAYLEY HOFFMAN – SECTION EDITOR

Student musicians performed at the Musicians Showcase on Sat., April 12, in Newlin Hall. The biannual event features student performers who take private music lessons or are members of campus ensembles. Many perform stand-alone pieces by well-known composers; others premiere original songs.

At the Showcase, first-year Natalie Trammell executed an especially moving performance of “Still Hurting” from The Last Five Years.

She said that she tried to convey a sense of “concern, emotional distress and heartache” through her performance of the show’s melancholy opening number.

“[The song] illustrates the story of a girl whose husband has left her,” she said, “and she feels that the relationship had died, but she is still holding on, trying to make sense of things.”

First-year Emilie O’Connor performing in the Musician’s Showcase on Sat., April 12. Student musicians taking private music lessons perform in the showcase each semester.

First-year Emilie O’Connor performing in the Musician’s Showcase on Sat., April 12. Student musicians taking private music lessons perform in the showcase each semester.

The Last Five Years, written by Jason Robert Brown, follows the relationship of Cathy, an aspiring actress, and Jamie, a novelist, over a five-year period. Cathy and Jamie tell the story of the destruction of their marriage through alternating songs, with Cathy telling their story from the end to the beginning and Jamie from beginning to end.

“It’s something that all humans can relate to,” Trammell said, “because we all have been through similar emotional distress.”

Other first-year performers included string players Caitlin Johnson and Sara Bush, as well as vocalist Emilie O’Connor.

Junior Nicholas Teale performed a movement that combines elements of two seemingly polarized genres of music: heavy metal and classical. His first movement, the “Destruction Sonata,” premiered during the fall Musicians Showcase, begins the storyline of a hopeless humanity devoid of any sense of spirituality.

Teale, who has been writing his own music since high school, began taking music composition lessons with Professor of Music and fellow composer Dr. Larry Bitensky last spring.

“I’ve gotten a lot better in those lessons,” Teale said. “[Bitensky] really knows what works in a song and how it can be improved, even when my compositions get ridiculously atonal.”

Much of his work, including the spring Musicians Showcase’s performance of the song “Moths to a Flame,” is inspired by his “personal philosophical struggles and reflections on the world around [him].”

Teale was the only musician who performed an original piece, and plans to turn his compositions into a debut concept album.

“‘Moths to a Flame’ is the third track on that album,” he said. “The other songs [on the album] will be from past Musicians Showcases.”

Senior Sara Beth Freytag performed “Allegro Barbaro” by Béla Bartók, a piece she has been working on with instructor of piano Professor Elizabeth Wolfe.

“Professor Wolfe is the best piano teacher I have ever had,” Freytag said. “She pushes me to enhance my technique and emotionally dive into the intricacies of the music.”

Throughout her four years at Centre, Freytag has participated in every Musicians Showcase in a variety of roles, from turning pages to performing lengthy solo pieces. For every performance, she tried to pick songs that were challenging but would be enjoyable for the audience to hear.

“The best part of performing in Showcase is sharing your piece with others,” Freytag said. “Once you have worked on a piece for weeks, it is a great experience to perform it for an audience of friends and strangers and, in doing so, sharing with them a piece of yourself.”

Staff Writer Mason McClay contributed to this article.


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