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Faculty recital explores humanity

Professor celebrates American theater with faculty recital

Angell combines classical and modern music in his recital (Photograph provided by Taylor University)

Angell combines classical and modern music in his recital (Photograph provided by Taylor University)

By Emily Pawlowski | Echo

Conor Angell, associate professor of music, theatre and dance, is kicking off the year with a faculty voice recital.

Joined by pianist Clifton Davis, Angell will be performing a repertoire celebrating musical theater. This recital focuses on pieces by composers Benjamin Britten, who wrote operas such as “War Requiem” and Stephen Sondheim, whose best known works include “Into the Woods” and “West Side Story.” The recital also features several songs from popular American musicals such as “Avenue Q” and “Kiss Me, Kate.”

Angell, though classically trained, chose a musical-themed recital in order to demonstrate to students the importance of a varied repertoire.

“I teach a lot of musical theater students and the musical theater degree, and I’m definitely interested in that style, so in the last few years I’ve started to do more of that and really have been enjoying it,” Angell said. “So I thought, while in a recital I think I’ll go ahead and do a large portion of it as musical theater.”

Angell hopes the mix of classic and modern music will appeal to a larger audience and give students a chance to enjoy styles of music they might not usually encounter.

Performing is a passion of Angell’s and something he does regularly. He often does recordings for studios, but he prefers singing in front of an audience. He sees it as a shared experience and enjoys seeing the realizations and reflections the audience goes through as he performs.

“That’s what I love about great performances, when I attend them: that they speak to me, that they illustrate something about humanity, give me insight to that, that can happen in a huge audience or a really small one,” Angell said.

Davis agrees this is a time for audience members to slow down and ponder humanity. The recital includes songs with themes of happiness, sadness, love and death. He hopes students will take the time to think about the themes and reflect on what it is to be human.

To prepare for this recital both Angell and Davis have spent the summer practicing and researching the composers’ intentions. They each practiced on their own to familiarize themselves with the music and memorize their parts, then met up to get used to each other’s styles and ways of performing.

“He is a very committed performer,” said senior Lauren Vock, one of Angell’s students. “He engages the audience with his whole body and face, and uses his instrument well to serve the text and the composer’s purpose.”

The faculty recital will be held in the Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday. Admission is free and all are invited to attend and enjoy an evening of music.

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