By Julia Duggan
The TCNJ Music Department held their first Virtual Tuesday Recital on Nov. 10. Normally Tuesday Recitals are performed live in Mayo Concert Hall, but due to the pandemic they have been moved to virtual performances. There were six performances which featured a variety of instruments. Five were solo performances, while one featured a quartet. Even though there was not a live audience, the virtual audience members were able to show their enthusiasm for each performer by using the chat feature.
The performance was hosted by Dr. Colleen Sears, the Chairperson of the music department.
“As for the virtual recital, we were able to introduce ourselves and the piece we were playing before our video was showcased,” said Keith So, a junior music education major and one of the performers in the recital.
He went on to explain the differences between performing online instead of live — in a live recital, the audience members have a program which lists the performer’s name and the piece or pieces that will be performed. In the online Tuesday recital, the performers gave a live introduction to their piece and then played a recorded video they submitted ahead of time.
“Virtual recitals are always intimidating because I can record an infinite number of times until I get every single phrase perfect, whereas in a live performance, I would be happy even if I made mistakes,” So said.
He performed the “Cyberbird Concerto” by Takashi Yoshimatsu on alto saxophone, and also performed in the Alias Quartet.
“I think virtual musicians make me a better musician, but without in-person performances, I cannot be a whole musician,” So said.
So was the first performer of this new format. The order of the performers was decided by Dr. Eric Laprade, Director of Bands at TCNJ. Laprade is part of The Performance Affairs Committee, which is a group of professors that oversee all the major performances in the music department. Each semester they elect a different spokesperson for the Committee. Laprade was in charge of running the Zoom call, while Dr. Colleen Sears, the Music Department Chairperson, hosted the event.
“We wanted to be certain that the performances that we share were representative of the talent of our students,” said Laprade. “So that’s why we decided to go with using pre-recorded performances. A great example was when Keith’s Internet went down right before he was supposed to speak. We wanted to avoid situations where Keith is four minutes into the Cyberbird Concerto, this incredibly demanding saxophone work, and his Internet gives up. So, we just figured that this would give us a little bit more control over the quality of the experience we wanted to be certain that the focus is on the performers.”
Meaghanne McBride, a senior music and Japanese double major, performed “Still Time IV—In Memory of Toru Takemitsu—For Flute” by Toshi Ichiyangi. Her piece featured several unique flute techniques such as playing overtones as well as whistle tones. Both of these techniques forced the sound of the flute to resemble the wind and sound faint and quieter. Several audience members complimented McBride on her performance of the piece in the chat.
“The chat was sort of indicative of the TCNJ community — there is so much peer support and positive feedback from the students attending for the performers,” said Laprade. “I’m not surprised because it is TCNJ, but at the same point it was a different way of seeing the community that we have at the college.”
Josh Laude, a freshman music education major, performed the marimba piece “Yellow After the Rain” by Mitchell Peters. In addition, audience members heard a solo performance by Elyse Jo, a junior music education major who performed “Nocturne” by Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka on the harp. Giovanni Delgado, a junior elementary education major, also gave a solo performance of “Suite for Tuba” by Rodger Vaughan.
“When I play music, I always try my best to impact the audience or connect to them in some way, so performing without them was a tiny bit sad,” said Laude.
Both the performers and the audience members commented on the new format. Even though the recital was an online format, the audience members could still hear the talent of the various performers.
“I was rather impressed by Josh’s performance as I performed this piece in a Tuesday recital my freshman year as well,” said Antonio Morra, a junior music education major. “It was great seeing and hearing it from a different angle.”
The last performance of the recital featured the Alias Quartet whose members include So, Nick Napier, a junior music education major, Terrance Odonkor, a junior music major, and Maxwell Mellies, a senior music education major. The group performed the second movement of “Drastic Measures,” by Russell Peck.
“The event was very different from the typical Mayo Concert Hall recitals,” said Morra. “It is very weird not seeing everyone gathered together in a sense of community in one space.”
Normally students are required to perform in a Tuesday recital if they are a music major. However, due to the pandemic participating in a Tuesday recital became optional.
“The students are volunteering, and so the fact that we have three robust recitals shows that the students are going above and beyond,” said Laprade. “Just because of the love of what they do, I have much respect for them for that. It seems overwhelming, from my perspective, to have to record and submit a piece, and the fact that so many students are willing to do so doesn’t surprise me, but makes me really grateful to work with them.”