First masterclass in Roche series develops student performers

Ashley Barletta, News Editor

The Roche Guest Artist Series is a collection of numerous events that celebrate music. The organization is celebrating it’s 32nd sea-son this year. Since the Roche series was founded in 1988, it continues to be made possible by the Terry and Margaret M. Roche family.

There are many exciting events within the Roche series this year, including a voice masterclass that happened on Sept. 21.This event was free as well as open to the public.

Those who participated in the masterclass performed a song to compliment their vocal abilities for Ms. Xiu-ru Liu, who provided them with feedback.

According to Abby Eyler, a senior Music and English double major, “The general idea of the class is to perform a piece of music and to gain a sense of what was done well and constructive criticism of what can be done better. It allows guest artists to notice different things the performer needs to work on or reiterate what was already said by the performer’s private lesson teacher.”

Students who attended the masterclass were able to learn what they did well in their performance and what can be improved upon. Eyler said, “Overall, from a performer’s perspective, I sang the aria “Kiss Me Not Goodbye” from The Mighty Casey by William Schuman, and I got constructive criticism on performing with more than just the voice (acting the song through gestures), not looking down so I can focus on the audience and learning stage presence such as how to bow.”

Constructive criticism was given to those who participated in the masterclass so that they will know what to work on in future performances.

“Another thing that the masterclass helped me recognize was that my diction could be better, especially since consonants are needed to understand the English language. It felt good to hear that I could increase the storytelling through basic fixes that all singers can achieve,” Eyler said.

Other events within the Roche series included the Guest Artist Series, which happened on Sept. 20 in the Walker Recital Hall.

This was the first performance in over a year for the Roche series due to the COVID pandemic. Guest artists included Xiu-ru Liu, a mezzo-soprano, Guenko Guechev, a bass-baritone, and David Allen Wehr, who played the piano.

There will also be a performance by George Burton, who will play the piano, on Oct. 11 in the Walker Recital Hall.

He will hold a masterclass for the piano on Oct. 12, which will not be live streamed like other events, so be sure to attend in person if you are interested in the piano masterclass. Performances offered by the D’Angelo Department of Music take place in the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, Taylor Little Theater and Walker Recital Hall.

The Roche Guest Artist events all take place in Walker Recital Hall in Hirt.

Due to COVID, capacity is at fifty percent for all of these venues. For this reason, free events are live streamed.

However, events that are ticketed will not be live streamed, so be sure to get your tickets while you still can.

The Roche Guest Artist series gives those in the Erie community access to performances by many different artists for free. The opportunity to see these artists won’t be around forever, so be sure to check out the Roche series if you can.

The events are always open to the public and always free for everyone due to the continuous generosity of the Terry and Margaret M. Roche family.