Music is their forte

Julie Spierer, Special Features Editor

The University offers a professional music program with internationally-recognized faculty members, including performers, conductors, composers, and lecturers. A number of the faculty members have received recognition in their teaching from reputable sources, including Rolling Stone Magazine, so it is no surprise that the University’s music students are accomplished musicians by the end of their college careers.

Perhaps the most concrete verification of this claim is the solo recitals in their specified musical fields. Music Education students may choose to either perform a Junior or Senior recital, or both of them, and Voice Performance and Instrumental Music majors are required to perform both a Junior and Senior recital. The Junior recitals are usually comprised of 30 minutes of music, and the Senior recitals are usually 45 to 60 minutes long. The recitals require extensive amounts of preparation from the student-musicians and dedication to share their art with others.

This year, there are three students who dedicate themselves to preparing and performing their Senior Music Recital: Natalie Anibal ’19, Allen Taylor ’19 and Troy Schwab ’19.

Natalie Anibal, Music Education


This past Saturday, I performed my senior voice recital for my friends, family, students, and professors. Technically, music education majors are only required to do one recital. As I progressed in my voice studies with Professor Susan Beckley, I began to realize that performing is an important part of who I am as a teacher. This is why I decided to also perform a senior recital.

My senior recital included 15 pieces. Four in French, four in German, five in Italian, and two Broadway pieces. This is an extremely ambitious program for a senior in college, but I was determined to complete this challenge. I began working on this recital as soon as I finished my junior recital in November of 2017. I even took time off of work over the summer to continue to memorize and work on the music. At the beginning of my senior fall semester, I realized that I wanted to apply to graduate school. This was after hearing about a program in Ireland that works with community music programs.

Since my freshman year at the University, I have had the pleasure of working with special-needs students. By my junior year, I started my own special-needs music program at Mifflinburg High School. The Masters program in Ireland focuses on teaching and creating programs for individuals with disabilities. In order to complete my application for this masters program, I needed a recording of myself singing. This is when I realized how important my senior recital was really going to be. Not only did this recital showcase everything I have been working on here at the University, but it will also be my way into graduate school.

My time here at the University has been full of music. I have been in the University’s Choir, Opera Company, Symphonic Band, and on the Music Education Department’s research team. I now have the skills to be a performer and a teacher in the future. With the help of my musical career, I have been able to travel around the United States, Europe, and even Australia. I have been able to work with people from many cultures, backgrounds, and religions through the personal act of singing. This is something that other fields of work may not get to experience. Now that I have this recital under my belt, I can start to begin my future in shaping the lives of all different types of people through music.

Allen Taylor, Mechanical Engineering & Music


My senior recital is truthfully not something I’m too concerned about. As an instrumentalist, there’s very little pressure involved. I obviously need to know my music well enough to play it properly, but I don’t need to memorize, or even really “perform,” each piece. I’m allowed music on stage, and I can make whatever and however many notes I might want to for my performance. I also have the option of making my recital less formal, an option I will definitely be exploiting. I don’t want my recital to be this enormous production. I want it to be “cozy,” so to speak. Ideally, people come and grab a bite to eat and chat beforehand, sit and listen to me play some cool music for 45 minutes or so, and then continue to eat and chat afterwards.

While I’m not involved in the vocal side of the department, I am very aware that my senior recital requirements are much more lenient than theirs. I’m looking forward to having a relatively casual demonstration of the work I’ve done over the past five years (I’m a five-year student).

My recital will be on April 6 at 2 p.m. I’ll play a handful of pieces on my own, as well as a few pieces with other instrumentalists. Location is still to be determined, but I’m hoping to have it in Bucknell Hall. I don’t remember the exact names of the pieces off-hand, but I’ll be playing a mixture of baroque, contemporary, and jazz pieces. It shouldn’t be much longer than 45 minutes.

After college, I hope to get a job as a mechanical engineer in the aerospace or renewable energy industry. Music is a passion of mine, but I don’t see it as a full-time career. I’d love to continue playing in community orchestras or for churches during holiday seasons, but I anticipate being financially dependent on my engineering degree.


Troy Schwab, Computer Science and Music


My senior composition recital is more or less a demonstration of what I’ve been working on for the past three years of being a music major. I think it’s exciting because with a lot of majors, you don’t have many projects that you can show your friends or put out there, but with music composition, generally all the work I do is towards some larger goal. By now, I’ve composed, recorded, and produced about six albums worth of music, with hopes to complete four more projects by the end of this year. The experience of sharing all of that with the people that I’ve developed close relationships with throughout college is an absolute pleasure and certainly what I’m most looking forward to.

My recital is still in the process of being developed; it’s going to be in the Rooke Recital Hall in the Sigfried Weis Music Building on April 8. There are any number of different approaches a music major can take to how they want their recital to go, but I think mine is generally going to be a sampler of everything I’ve worked on. Currently, part of it will be a lecture on my thesis concerning symmetry in music and the tonal implications, with another part being a premier of some multi-media work I’ve been planning with poetry, film, and music, as well as a concert of some pieces I’ve written, from piano compositions, to performance pieces, and even an electronic piece with custom technology I’ve made for IR/UV light wave synthesis into music pitches.

From here, I hope to continue into music, not only writing and producing, but also work concerning more theoretical analyses, potentially publishing them and continuing on into academia. I hope I can continue into the world of custom digital synthesizers and customizable hardware solutions to provide a product to producers who, like me, enjoy the line between computer science and music. Ideally, after a few gap years in industry, I’ll go back into academia fully for a graduate school program, potentially working in music theory or electro-acoustic engineering.

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