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You are the voice. We are the echo.
The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Thursday, May 30, 2024
The Echo
recital photos echo-14.jpg

Four senior recitals showcase hours of hard work

Seniors reflect on inspirations and struggles

As the last music note resounded, a lifetime of memories flashed through their heads.

Five seniors gave the final bow to an audience of supporters, and a sigh of relief escaped their lips as the year 2024 marked the end of a sweet song.

Specialized music majors at Taylor University fulfilled a one-hour time requirement for their recital, while music education and generalized music majors completed a 30-minute recital. 

Seniors Darin Jordan, a music major, and Alivia Henn, a music education major, combined their two half-hour performances for a joint recital. 

Jordan included Italian, German, French and English songs in his performance, in accordance with the requirements for his major. While he said he has not been obsessed with strong opera and oratorios, Jordan included one aria from a French opera, describing it as beautiful and emotional. 

His favorite part of the night was performing an arrangement of “I Stand Amazed.” It was put together by junior Ethan Watts, a music composition major, who accompanied Jordan on the piano, while Henn added her vocals to the mix.

“He's one of my best friends here, so getting him to be able to do that collaboration with us and sing with Alivia as well—she has a beautiful voice and has been with me through the past,” he said.

During her part of the recital, Henn said she sang with a large vocal range, from songs with lower alto tones to ones with higher soprano notes. She added that it was a fun mix of both worlds.

When Henn first came to Taylor, she said that her voice could be described as a breathy and childlike-sounding alto. After joining her first music theory class, she realized that studying music would be a challenge. Henn attributed her growth to slow and steady improvements made over time. 

For Hayley Mordecai, a senior majoring in music for vocal performance, the process of preparing for her sacred-themed recital began in the summer of 2023.

It was then that she and her friend, sophomore Brenna Moan, a music composition major, wrote the song “Trust in the Lord,” based on verses from the book of Proverbs.

Mordecai said they were sitting at the piano when her friend asked for help with chords. After writing the first few lines of music, she told Moan to switch up the chords whichever way worked best. She watched as her friend shooed her hands off the piano keys and wrote the entire chorus in front of them.

“It's kind of like our song,” Mordecai said. “And I really love that I got to do it at my senior recital.”

The bond of friendship was a common theme throughout recitals, with performers enlisting the help of their friends and even family.

Senior Benjamin Cook, a piano performance major, planned a two-piano piece with his sister, Eliana Cook, a junior double majoring in music and computer engineering. At the end of his recital, she joined the stage as they performed “Symphonic Dances” by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Cook prepared for his recital throughout the last summer and practiced during Christmas and the J-term as well. Some days would look like three-hour practice sessions, trying to find the rhythm and keys, while other times he would only have a short 45 minutes between classes.

“There's often a lot of practice sessions that also feel like that, where it's kind of re-grounding just being in the moment instead of always thinking ahead,” he said. “It's like you can just enjoy the moment of making beautiful music.”

Senior Taylor Dailey, a music major with a minor in psychology, said she has witnessed how music makes people feel a different way. When Dailey decided to choose music as her career, she didn’t know how it would fit her personally, as she didn’t feel an affinity for teaching or performing.

Now, she is preparing to go to graduate school for music therapy.

“I think music is very, like a very fundamental thing for all people,” she said. “Because it can help with brain development, it can help with motor skills, it can help with memory, it can help with your emotional states—it just holistically is very helpful and healing for all people, especially kids.”

One piece that Dailey chose for her recital was Córdoba by Isaac Albeniz, a song that she had learned early on in her time at Taylor. This was one of the first pieces that she felt she could truly express herself with, on the piano, and coming back to it helped her to see how much growth had happened.

As the five music majors graduate and move on to the next chapter, Dailey said that they will miss each other but always will remain supportive.

“It can be chaotic sometimes, and I think sometimes we need a little chaos,” Dailey said. “But we're all in it together, and we're all going through the same things, and we're just able to help each other out—cheer each other on.”