Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Faculty Artist Series" Performance Wows Attendees

"Faculty Artist Series" Performance Wows Attendees
By Mariah "Skyler" O'Marrah

It started out with Per questa bello mano by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a famous concert aria.Professor Soebbing and Dr. Jay DeWire then proceeded with a series of songs written around the time that World War II was going on, borrowing themes from different times and intermixing them. "Just wanted to let you know a little Shakespeare is going to be coming your way tonight," Professor Soebbing said. Then they proceeded with selections from "Let Us Garlands Bring", which is a series of Shakespeare songs. There was quite a contrast between the peppier "Who is Silvia?" and the slow and sad "Come away, come away, death". There was use of the foot pedal at the end of the song, making for a long and shimmery note.

After the Intermission, Professor Soebbing and Mr. DeWire proceeded with a series of songs written by French composer and pianist Poulenc, "when he was nineteen, actually," said Professor Soebbing. This included one particularly fast-paced song and a transition to a rather slow one. Afterwards, introducing "When my cue comes, call me" from "A Midsummer's Night's Dream" (a play by William Shakespeare), Professor Soebbing tells the story of Nick Bottom and how the king of the fairies thinks Nick Bottom is a "pompous ass", and thus turns him into one. "This is Nick Bottom waking up," Professor Soebbing says.

The song included some particularly expressive facial expressions and a donkey noise. "I told you that one was going to be a little bit out there," Professor Soebbing said, before going on to talk about studying for his doctorate in Austria, and how men singing women's songs and women singing men's songs was once thought of as not at all peculiar. He talks about how he met the composer of the next song, and how this composer once wrote a song for Professor Soebbing meant just for his voice. "My song shall be of mercy" from "O Pioneers!", a play about a loveless marriage in Nebraska, had a dark and angry tone, with lyrics such as "sin and death for the young ones", and "she has walked among us like a dead woman".

Professor Soebbing afterwards talked about studying abroad in Spain and how, while he was there, he got a CD at a gas station/"tabacaria" and listened to it in the rain. He continued to say that he continues to search for some of the sheet music for songs from this musical compilation he once purchased. He talked about how he thinks "Princesita" is a "fun song", and how the song "Amapola" has an English version. And in reference to the lively "La Manola de Madrid", Professor Soebbing said "I think you'll agree it's a little over the top."

Frostburg student Ayauna Andrews called the first half of the performance "nice". She attends these kinds of events regularly. Music Performance major Sean Scriber described the performance as "wonderful" and said "but I'm a little biased" because it is his professor featured. He goes on to say, "he's drawing from different eras... he puts them together so that they complement each other, even when they're sometimes centuries apart." Troy Bennett, also a Music major, described the performance by saying "I think its phenomenal," and "I'm enjoying myself and the songs." He says he goes to these types of performances very often and that he is "very familiar with the PAC (Performing Arts Center) Center".

Note: All those questioned about their satisfaction with the performance were questioned during the Intermission time. The recital took place on Friday, February 21st, 2014 at the Pealer Recital Hall in the Performing Arts Center. Professor Steven Soebbing is a bass-baritone and Dr. Jay DeWire played the piano throughout the performance.

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