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Fine Arts Festival kicks off homecoming events

Contrary to popular belief, Homecoming doesn’t start Saturday morning on Kea-Guffin hill. The activities began Friday night at the Fine Arts Festival. Presented annually by the fine arts departments, this year’s Festival had performances both new and old to the show.

The night began with a trumpet and piano duet between Dr. Bryan Edgett, director of musical activities, and Dr. Ron Matthews, chair of the music department. Then, the stage was overrun with dancers in the return of In the Making, choreographed by dance professor Dr. Joselli Deans.

In the Making first premiered in last semester’s dance show, Spirit Dancing. According to Deans, the idea of the dance was to show the process of practicing a dance to its final performance.

Junior Heather Mahurin, who had the last solo of the piece, agrees with Deans’ description. “We get to show what actually takes place between rehearsal and performance,” she said.
“There’s more to prepping than performance and that’s the way it really is,” senior Kaylee Goodwin said.

What made the piece really unique was the addition of original music, composed by music professor David Bryant. Last semester, the music was played electronically due to time constraints; this time, it was played live with Bryant on piano, senior Ruth Chia on violin and Arne Running on clarinet.

Amazingly enough, Friday night’s performance was the first time the dancers and the musicians had ever played through the whole piece in its entirety. But Dr. Karen Clemente, head of the dance department, was more than happy with the performance.

“It was a dream come true to have the live music with the dancers on stage,” she said.
The first half of the festival wrapped up with junior Jason Collier’s piano rendition of “Be Thou My Vision,” followed by seniors Claire DiLullo and Hanna Ludwig who sang and played piano respectively.

The second half began with something most of the audience did not expect: A theremin solo by David Bryant with Matthews accompanying on piano.

The theremin is a deceptively simple instrument with two different oscillators that create relatively close sound frequencies. The horizontal pipe controls the volume of the note and the vertical pipe controls the pitch. Without touching anything, the musician waves his or her hands over the instrument, creating sound through an amp.

“Think of it as the granddaddy of synthesizers,” Bryant said.

The theremin is hard to play but easy to put together. Bryant built the one he played with a kit he bought online.

The night came to a close as ’08 alumnae Veronica Beach sang with Matthews on piano and the University Choir performed “Give Me Jesus.” Finally, the choir invited members of the audience to come on stage for their annual performance of “Hallelujah” from Handel’s Messiah.

In Matthews’ eyes, the night was a complete success. “I was really pleased with the high quality of all the performances. And what else can be said about the theremin?”

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