The power of music: Double star recital

By Angel Cleveland, Staff Writer

Soprano singer Chelsey Allison Drinkard and pianist Justin Almanza presented the power of musical art at their dual recital in the Fine Arts Auditorium on Oct. 24.

In this dual show, each recital was special in its own way, but was combined into an event that not only pleased the ears, but dipped into the minds and touched the souls of all who participated.

The show opened with Drinkard performing first. She was accompanied by pianist Charles Archetta, who played the instrument with great concentration. Together, he and Drinkard performed 8 beautiful pieces selected by her and her instructor, Dr. Emily Grundstad-Hall.

Along with the printed programs were the lyrics to all of the songs, three with English translation next to the original foreign lyrics, so the audience could follow along and understand.

Drinkard sung with the grace of an opera singer, which meshed well with her navy blue satin gown attire.

Unlike other singers who usually sing with their eyes closed, she addressed the audience wide-eyed, as if speaking the songs to them, complete with defining facial expressions. Her expressions matched each song’s atmosphere, whether it was upbeat and enthusiastic, or sad and dramatic. The full vocal range of the soprano sound was used, from almost whistle-like highs to lower deep hoots.

After Drinkard finished her dream-like performance, the piano was set center stage for Justin Almanza’s performance. Almanza played with upright proficiency.

From complete memory, as required of a student pianist, Justin performed six classical pieces selected by himself and his instructor, Dr. Benjamin Warsaw.

Almanza held great attentiveness to the way he played notes, and added acute precision to sounds with the tickling and pounding of keys for emphasis. He let some notes resonate throughout the room by holding certain keys down. Justin looked professional in his black vest and blue bowtie, and gave an adequate smile and sideways bow at the end of each piece.

Both students performed to fulfill the requirements of the Fine Arts program. Drinkard’s fulfillment will fit the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree. She has sung for eight years while taking lessons at school. She hopes to go to graduate school and continue performing.

“I want to perform professionally after graduate school. Eventually, I would like to become a teacher,” she said.

Almanza taught himself how to play piano and loves what is learned by it. His performance will meet the requirements for the Bachelor of Music Education degree. He wants to become a band director.

“You can do so much with the piano because it has so many notes you can play at once, as opposed to other instruments where you have to play one note at a time,” he commented.

Each student successfully stood on their own and gave a unique performance. Beauty and professionalism conquered each recital. Still, they united at the end for a handheld bow to the audience.