Every year, Castleton State College seniors in the music program have to go through a senior recital, a culmination of all four years of lessons and concerts. It’s a lot like American Idol, without the Simon Cowell, but with just as much pressure. “You’re working from freshman year toward your senior recital,” Castleton State College Music Director Glenn Giles said.
From the start of the program, the students work on lab recitals graded by their instructors based on the progress they made over the semester, Giles said.
After their freshmen year, the students have to face “juries” every semester, made up of members of the music department who grade on certain aspects of their performance. The bar gets raised little by little, Giles said.
About a month before their final recital, the students have to face a hearing by a committee of music department faculty and the department chair. They have to play their full recital to the committee, which determines if students pass muster or need improvement.
But even when given the green light for their senior recital, they have a lot of preparation to do.
Michelle Parbus, a senior at Castleton State with a recital on Nov. 7 said, “It’s like planning a small wedding. You have to prepare, find a venue, make posters, invite friends and family, plan a reception, and you have to arrange a good outfit too.”
When asked if she was nervous about her vocal recital she said, “Not yet.”
Although the pressure is on them to perform their final recital, students say it’s still considered their day to shine and their chance to bloom into professional musicians.
“It’s like a concert more so than a graded project. There are no judges. It’s just your day to shine and show off,” said Mary Kay Capone, a senior at Castleton State College. She performed her piano recital on Oct. 23.
Because of this ascension they go through to get to their big day, many seniors said they aren’t that nervous about their recitals – but there are some nerves.
“If you’re not nervous, you’re perfect,” Castleton State College senior Tommy Peppard said.
One senior, Amy Newton was a little more nervous than the others, asking, “Will you do mine?” when questioned about her upcoming recital.
As for advice to the next class and their recitals, Capone was quick with a reply.