Opera echoes in the Snow Recital Hall

Anna McCombie (left) and Rachel Keppner (right) performing "Moments in the Woods" from Into the Woods Photo credit: Amanda Groberg

The night of Oct. 14 was chilly with patches of iced-over snow, and those who listened could hear faint songs through the wind. Vocal performance emphases gathered in the Snow Recital Hall at the Eliza R. Snow Center to showcase their talent through opera.

The performance started with an upbeat tune titled “Mein Herr Marquis.” Sophie Cortez, one of the performers, overcome with the comedy of the song, broke out into laughter at the end of the chorus. This genuine display of emotion had the audience laughing with her.

Sophie Cortez singing "Mein Herr Marquis" from Die Fledermaus
Anna McCombie (left) and Sophie Cortez (right) performing “Mein Herr Marquis” from Die Fledermaus Photo credit: Amanda Groberg

“Her laugh was so genuine; it made me laugh,” said Shannon Flexhaug, a junior studying horticulture who was in attendance. “I really like seeing the difference between a scripted musical laugh and a truly genuine one. It was a good fit for her, and because it fit her so well, the audience stayed engaged.”

Naomi Ewing singing "Solitary Hotel" from Despite and Still
Naomi Ewing singing “Solitary Hotel” from Despite and Still Photo credit: Amanda Groberg

A jazzy tune flittered through the air where Naomi Ewing, another performer, seemed to watch the unfolding of a sad love story from a cafe window safely out of the rain. Then, Conner Fristoe sang a song reminiscent of an old 20s movie where the protagonist sings about his love under the glowing street lamps in June.

Conner Fristoe singing "Lydia"
Conner Fristoe singing “Lydia” Photo credit: Amanda Groberg

Madison Barton left the crowd chuckling as she pretended to be a windup doll who occasionally died and needed to be rewound by her pianist. Her song, titled “Les Oiseaux Dans la Charmille” (The Doll Song, from “Les Contes d’Hoffmann“), gave her plenty of time to show off her voice control and range.

Madison Barton-Holloway singing "Les oiseaux dans la charmille" The Doll song, from Les Contes d&squot;Hoffmann
Madison Barton-Holloway singing “Les oiseaux dans la charmille” The Doll song, from Les Contes d’Hoffmann Photo credit: Amanda Groberg

Then came Rachel Keppner, a senior studying music. She sang “Moments in the Woods” (from “Into the Woods”) and made the audience laugh at her fabulous performance.

Anna McCombie (left) and Rachel Keppner (right) performing "Moments in the Woods" from Into the Woods
Anna McCombie (left) and Rachel Keppner (right) performing “Moments in the Woods” from Into the Woods Photo credit: Amanda Groberg

“I’ve been singing for most of my life,” Keppner said. “But I left BYU-I to have a family. When my husband had a stroke — he did end up recovering I had the prompting to come back and continue my education. I thought I would finish my degree in the theater arts, but I had the strong impression to do music instead.”

Keppner plans on continuing this love of music and singing by pursuing a master’s degree after she graduates from BYU-I.

Following Keppner was a sad Russian tune titled “How Long, My Friend.” The emotion from the piano and lyrics was so strong that it brought Spencer Bean, the performer, to tears. The audience applauded him, loud and thankful.

Spencer Bean singing "How long, my friend"
Spencer Bean singing “How long, my friend” Photo credit: Amanda Groberg

Then, Lindsey Bingham, a senior studying music, took the stage. The emotion in her piece, “Ach, ich Fuhl’s” (from “Der Zauberflote), pulled on the heartstrings of the audience’s emotions.

Lindsay /bingham singing "Ach, ich fuhl&squot;s" from Der Zauberflote.
Lindsay Bingham singing “Ach, ich fuhl’s” from Der Zauberflote Photo credit: Amanda Groberg

“When language fails, music communicates,” Bingham said when asked why she chose to pursue singing.

The night ended with Savannah McNeil, a junior studying music. The dynamics and bouncy vibe of her song, “Il Bacio,” closed the performance on a happy note.

Savannah McNeil singing "Il Bacio"
Savannah McNeil singing “Il Bacio” Photo credit: Amanda Groberg

“I think music is the purest form of expression,” McNeil said. “I love being able to share emotions with the audience. It’s really a healing experience.”

To attend the next uplifting concert from BYU-I’s very own music majors, visit the Music Department’s events and performances page.