Filling The Void

Filling The Void

Geoffrey Ng

The Chapel chandelier hung ablaze above a solemn black grand piano. Despite the dark skies behind the windows, the space where Colgate student musicians and their supporters gathered was warm and encouraging. On November 13, the Music department continued its traditional Luncheon Musicale series, where Colgate student artists are given the opportunity to perform. Lunch is always provided.

What many students appreciate most about the Luncheon Musicale series is that they get the rare chance to hear music that is sheltered by sound-dampening practice rooms everyday. They are invited to sit and listen to musicians who have toiled away for hours, preparing for such times of vulnerability and criticism. It is unclear what exactly drives them to their work, but the results on November 13 were representative of hard labor – the kind where one pats himself on the back.

Sophomore Mellissa Cross was first to break the silence with the piano, playing “Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte.” Three minutes into her recital came an unwanted fire alarm, causing everyone to grab their coats and leave their food behind. Outside, students and faculty were generally in good spirits, but I could see how musicians like Cross were anxious to get back inside.

Cross’ performance resumed seamlessly. The melody was laid over discords, solemn and angry at times, and graceful and light at others. Junior Tanya Sevy, a soprano singer, followed Cross, singing “Sure on this Shining Night” and “Non so piu cosa son,” from Le Nozze di Figaro. This time, clear and articulate vocals were matched to University Organist Glenn Kime’s piano accompaniment. Junior Elise DeRose, Soprano, sang “Automne” and “When I Have Sung My Songs to You” with a dejected tone. This sadness conveyed by DeRose made me wonder what else goes into one’s music besides practice. Emotion.

Sophomore Lauren Okada and her clarinet filled the sanctuary yet again with soft melodic runs and trills. Her nimble fingers countered Kime’s progressive piano playing, succeeding in remaining gracefully defiant throughout “Sonata Op. 167.” Sophomore Emily Shaw, Soprano, divided her impressive voice between the lively “Bel Piacere” and the slow “O Sleep, Why Dost Thou Leave Me?” Senior Jaleith Gary, Mezzo-Soprano, sang “Nana” and then added her own contemporary touches to “Margaret’s Lullaby.” Fellow senior Meredith O’Leary, Soprano, used her very expressive voice to hit upper register notes, singing loftily in “Come Unto Him” and tragically “in Ach, ich Fuhl’s.”

The Musicale came to a close with the playing of “Polchinelle” by junior Michael Petersen. Under Petersen’s expertise, the piano sang and jumped from the lower octaves to the higher ones. The piece seemed to frantically decide whether to be dark or humorous, assuming a playful attitude.

At Colgate, student musicians are pushed on the wayside for acapella groups to steal our ears’ attention. Both groups work extremely hard to perfect their craft, so it is a pity that only a few pews were filled for this event compared to the throngs who attend Acapella fest. Despite this disappointment of mine, the music and applause occupied the empty spaces. Let this not be the case for the second Luncheon Musicale on Tuesday, December 9 at 11:30 a.m. Hard work deserves applause.