Theater, musical theater and music majors all have a chance to showcase their talents before graduation. What some students do not realize is that it takes years and hours upon hours of practice to perfect their junior and senior shows.
Kali Berry, a piano pedagogy major, and Suzanna Polley, a piano performance major, are two juniors awaiting their performance date, March 30. The students met freshman year and have been in the same music studios ever since.
“Susanna and I are the only two juniors in Dr. Jordan-Miller’s studio this year who have to perform a recital to meet requirements for graduation,” said Berry. “Therefore, deciding to do our recitals together was an easy decision. But, we’re good friends too, so that’s just an added bonus.”
Berry says Dr. Jordan-Miller has been a huge influence in their lives.
“She’s a wonderful, helpful, encouraging teacher who is faithful to work with us until we ‘get’ our pieces. She’s really a blessing.”
However, Polley and Berry are still completely responsible for figuring out all the details that go into a recital and started putting pieces together the end of sophomore year. They had to choose the music, practice three to four hours a day, memorize the repertoire, decide on the order in which to play and even meticulously find the appropriate dress.
According to Berry, dress is a crucial decision.
“I know that for us, as pianists, the main concern for our dresses is whether or not we’ll be able to play in them. Length, arm length and whether or not we can move well are all considered,” said Berry. “Shoes are also a big deal and are usually practiced in for at least a couple of weeks before the recital.”
For the performance itself, the girls feel the pressure to perform “accurately.”
Polley said, “Everyone remembers things like mistakes and memory slips. I have to be careful to keep my focus on making music instead of pleasing the audience or I will become overwhelmed when trying to prepare for this.”
Berry is most excited about performing for her family and friends—conversely, that is also what makes her the most nervous.
“Although I’m excited to share my hard work with everyone, I’m also really nervous. But, with lots of prayers and practicing, it should be OK.”
Polley and Berry work extremely hard to play their music once or twice. It is a huge project that consumes their time and dedication. However, it is also a chance to showcase their talent to teachers, family and friends. They are both confident in their choices and preparation and have an overall theme for the performance.
“A junior recital should not be a stuffy environment. My goal is for it to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for the audience and myself,” said Polley. “I want to turn music into artwork.”
Everyone is welcome to Polley and Berry’s junior show on March 30 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Brookes Chapel.