Author Archives: Kelsey Tomlinson

How to audition

The auditions for the spring musical are in a few days! To warm us all up and to give the auditioners an idea of what to expect, Mount Union’s Department of Theatre hosted a master class on how to audition. It was a really cool event. We had a woman there, Lindsey, who Kevin Kern met … Read more

The auditions for the spring musical are in a few days! To warm us all up and to give the auditioners an idea of what to expect, Mount Union’s Department of Theatre hosted a master class on how to audition.

It was a really cool event. We had a woman there, Lindsey, who Kevin Kern met during a summer show. She demonstrated a song and a monologue and went through the motions of auditioning.

Here’s what we learned:

1. Treat your accompanist with respect. Accompanists, for whatever reason, get a certain amount of disrespect in some vocal settings. That’s not cool, ever.

2. Dress appropriately. You should look more like you’re ready for a job interview than having just come straight from the gym.

3. Walk in with confidence. If a director sees a confident person walk across the stage, he knows that’s someone he can trust with a part.

4. Introduce yourself. There is no need to introduce the piece you’ll perform. The director will likely figure it out.

5. Act the song you sing! A director isn’t only looking for vocal talent; he/she wants to know you can act!

6. Avoid character voices. The director wants to hear YOUR voice.

7. Try to avoid picking Sondheim and other difficult pieces. If the accompanist messes up, you look bad. Always.

8. Never say, “Oh I have a cold.” All it sounds like is excuses, excuses, excuses.  A director will be able to tell if you were sick recently.

9. Politely say thank you at the end of your audition and leave as confidently as you entered.

That’s how to audition!

Top ten moments of the semester

Okay, so it’s the end of the semester. I’ve been crazy busy with deadlines and studying, and boy am I pooped. Like, I’m a double focus triple minor. Lots of classes (which isn’t really bad for me because I’m pretty thrilled about academics in general, and I love to learn). So I just want to … Read more

Okay, so it’s the end of the semester. I’ve been crazy busy with deadlines and studying, and boy am I pooped.

Like, I’m a double focus triple minor. Lots of classes (which isn’t really bad for me because I’m pretty thrilled about academics in general, and I love to learn).

So I just want to take this moment and reflect on some of my favorite art moments from the semester:

10. Loading the shoe for Almost, Maine
We had a shoe that had to mysteriously drop from the sky, and it was always hilarious trying to get the shoe up into the booth. The shoe would keep falling off! Ty Frank and Alyssa Suffron were my partners in crime for that one.

9. Margo Miller’s sabbatical display
Her artwork is actually still in Crandall now. But I love love love the use of color, and she really created some really interesting characters in her paintings.

8. Walking by Deb Lotsof’s office
She is such a sweetheart, and I happen to walk by her office every day. If you’re ever in the Department of Theatre or in a production, you’ll become familiar with her. She is just so nice and we always have the funniest exchanges.

7. Willis cracking up
Mr. Willis, the band director, cracked up one day in band and it was the most hilarious thing ever. Someone made some tongue-in-cheek comment, the class turned to look and we all laughed a little. Then we all face Mr. Willis again to find him cracking up at his podium. Sooooo funny.

6. Halloween Dance
Kappa Kappa Psi is the band fraternity, and we host two dances throughout the year. Cope Formal in the spring and the Halloween Dance in the fall. It was really fun, and we had so many interesting costumes! Great way for the band to bond.

5. “Do not be afraid!”
In women’s chorus, Dr. Cook was trying to show us how NOT to say something, and he ended up sounding like Forrest Gump when he said “Do naught be ah-fray-ud.”  <That’s how it sounded.

4. Warm ups in choir
They were just really fun. If you ever get a chance to be in a choir, cherish the warm ups. It’s making beautiful music without having the strictness of paying attention to diction and lyrics. I found that, no matter how stressful the day, warming up in choir made the day better.

3. The Mu Phi Epsilon Fancy Party
The music fraternity is Mu Phi Epsilon, and as one of our recruitment events, we hosted a fancy party. Everyone had to dress up, we put the word fancy in front of everything: Fancy cups, fancy forks, etc. And,  I made this chocolate and raspberry dessert that was to die for…if I do say so myself.

2. Doing the band dance.
We did a band dance in one of our halftime shows. I was on Homecoming Court, so I was off the field….and I did the dance anyway!! It was seriously a riot. I love band dances.

1. Servant of Two Masters
Legitimately one of the best shows I’ve seen at Mount Union. I was crying laughing, enjoyed myself all the way through and I even went to see it again. Jacob Ward, holy crap is he a great actor. This was a great debut show for Kevin Kern. It was awesome.

Company’s coming!

Every other year, Mount Union’s Department of Theatre puts on a musical in the spring. The fall typically consists of two smaller-cast shows, and the spring features a huge show. They do plays and musicals every other year. My theory is so they can feature both actors and singers each spring. The musical in the spring … Read more

Every other year, Mount Union’s Department of Theatre puts on a musical in the spring.

The fall typically consists of two smaller-cast shows, and the spring features a huge show. They do plays and musicals every other year. My theory is so they can feature both actors and singers each spring.

The musical in the spring will be Company by Steven Sondheim.

First of all, holy crap Steven Sondheim. He is literally in his own category for musicals. If you look at musical theatre grad schools, they say to be prepared for modern musicals, 20s musicals, rock, Latin etc., …. and Sondheim.

The music is difficult and powerful. The rhythms are hard and the text is harder. A Sondheim show requires the best pool of talent a school can provide.

So this is going to be awesome.

Not to mention we have a new director, Kevin Kern. He, and the actors in the show, did a FANTASTIC job with Servant of Two Masters this fall, so I can’t wait to see what he does with Company.

We’re also having an audition master class when we come back from Christmas Break. We’re going to learn from people who audition all the time so we can put our best foot forward come audition time. Go Kevin!

We have such amazing actors and actresses here at Mount Union, and we have some phenomenal singers. This is going to be huge.

Keep the first two weekends in April clear on your calendar!

The flutes and the reeds!

The flutes and the reeds!

Yesterday was another wonderful concert in Presser Recital Hall! Have I mentioned that those are always free? Seriously. Free concerts. Go to them! Anyway, this was a dual concert — two times the music! The Woodwind Quartet and the Flute Choir played very well. I love quartet music, especially the woodwind quartet. It’s cool to hear … Read more

Yesterday was another wonderful concert in Presser Recital Hall! Have I mentioned that those are always free?

Seriously. Free concerts. Go to them!

Anyway, this was a dual concert — two times the music! The Woodwind Quartet and the Flute Choir played very well.

I love quartet music, especially the woodwind quartet. It’s cool to hear the bassoon, oboe, flute and clarinet all working together. My favorite piece they played was Danse Villageoise by Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894). They also did a really cool one called Quartet for Wood-Wind On Old Tunes by Herbert O. Sontag, and it was essentially a mash up of a lot of familiar folk tunes.

Woodwind Quartet: Heather Rice, Flute. Betty Shultz, Oboe. Ian Bell, Bassoon. Laryssa Byndas, Clarinet

L to R–Flute: Heather Rice, Oboe: Betty Shultz, Bassoon: Ian Bell, Clarinet: Laryssa Byndas

I love the sound of the oboe and bassoon. If you’ve never heard them played, they have a very unique sound that I find really pleasing. (One of our bassoonists, Ian Bell, will be doing a concerto tomorrow evening with Rep Strings, stop by Presser at 7:30 p.m.!)

The Flute Choir played as well. I love the sound a flute can make, and the songs they played really showed off all you can do with a flute. We even had a bass flute (played by Jessica Kostrab), an alto flute (Cresslyn DiRosa) and a piccolo (Heather Rice).

One song, Swing Along by Nancy W. Wood, made it seem like the sound was actually moving in waves across the line of flutes. Very cool effect.

Flutes

L to R– Cresslyn DiRosa, Rachel Beach, Sarah Hohenadel, Alex Garner, Amanda Manley,
Cayley Briggs, Brianna Searing, Drew Duncan, Jessica Kostrab

Like I always say, the free concerts at Mount Union are great. You get to see the effort our peers put into their music, and you get some classical music under your listening belt.

Word on the street…

Word on the street is that Mount Union’s Department of Music is looking into getting a men’s chorus. Yesterday, all the young men interested in being in such a group met to discuss the possibilities. It seems that next semester we’ll have one more choral group to show off! This is seriously such an exciting … Read more

Word on the street is that Mount Union’s Department of Music is looking into getting a men’s chorus.

Yesterday, all the young men interested in being in such a group met to discuss the possibilities.

It seems that next semester we’ll have one more choral group to show off!

This is seriously such an exciting thing for Mount Union. Getting boys to participate in choir has been like pulling teeth in the past—we never seemed to have quite enough.

This year, and for the first time in Dr. Cook’s career, we had enough men to have a 50/50 ratio between males and females. This makes for a wonderfully balanced choir, so our sound will be great this year!

With so many men interested in a men’s chorus, it looks like it got the go-ahead.

Typically, Dr. Cook keeps his rehearsals open to anyone who wants to sit in. However, all the men’s chorus rehearsals are going to be kept under wraps! During the actual performance will be the first time anyone has heard them!

This is seriously one of the most exciting musical happenings I’ve witnessed at Mount Union. It’s going to be awesome.

I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Let’s talk about Cantus Femina

Let’s talk about Cantus Femina

 Cantus Femina is Mount Union’s women’s chorus.  When I first came to Mount Union, Women’s Chorus was the choir that women could sing in if they didn’t make the Concert Choir. It wasn’t a bad choir to be in; it was just second place. Now though, the women’s chorus is arguably one of the most … Read more

 Cantus Femina is Mount Union’s women’s chorus.

 When I first came to Mount Union, Women’s Chorus was the choir that women could sing in if they didn’t make the Concert Choir. It wasn’t a bad choir to be in; it was just second place.

Now though, the women’s chorus is arguably one of the most awesome ensembles on campus.

Dr. Cook, the choir director at Mount Union, has taken the program and completely turned it around. I believe this year it experienced a 112% growth from last year, and the year before it had grown significantly as well.

There are about 40 women in this semester’s group, and we are one talented group.

Let me set the scene.

The St. Olaf Choir. Familiar with it? Arguably one of the best choirs in the country.

They too have a women’s chorus called Manitou Singers. The Manitou Singers are also a very renowned group of singers.

In December 2011, they sang a song for their Christmas Festival called Deepest Heart by David N. Childs. It’s a beautiful piece, and it’s so new that it hasn’t even been officially published yet.

Cantus Femina will be performing it at the Mount Union Christmas Festival! What an incredible opportunity! Dr. Cook asked for special permission to perform it and David Childs said yes!!

It is so beautiful, and I can only imagine how it will sound in the Dewald Chapel. It soars and dances and tests the range and skill of every single woman in the chorus. Normally we do alto, soprano I and soprano II, so three parts. This song has upwards of six parts at some points. And, not to mention, the lyrics are beautiful.

This is going to be an awesome Christmas Festival for Mount Union. I am so so excited to be a part of it.

It’s on December 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Dewald Chapel. Be there or be square!

Call the Office of Alumni Relations and University Activities at (330) 823-2030 for tickets.

Outer space and pirates, what?!

During our next home game, the Mount Union Marching Band will perform some music from some of America’s favorite movies – Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean! I always appreciate that Mr. Willis, the band director, throws some fun music into our shows. It always makes the music fun to learn, and when it … Read more

During our next home game, the Mount Union Marching Band will perform some music from some of America’s favorite movies – Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean!

I always appreciate that Mr. Willis, the band director, throws some fun music into our shows. It always makes the music fun to learn, and when it gets to the snowy season, it makes freezing rehearsals a little less miserable.

One year we did Disney, and a bunch of us just about died of joy.

It’s also really cool that Mr. Willis arranges a lot of our music. In fact, he arranged our Star Wars piece. Chances are, if you’re watching a Mount Union Marching Band halftime show, you’re hearing some original arrangements by our very own Mr. Willis. Not everyone can say that, so I appreciate it.

The drill to the Pirates piece is pretty fun. I won’t give too much away, but I will say that we’re going to try to make the football field a little bit like a pirate flag… Pretty neat stuff right there.

Marching band is one of the reasons I chose Mount Union. I wanted to play my trumpet here, but I didn’t want to have to be in one of those crazy-huge competition marching bands. I also didn’t want to risk not being in band because of not making it through an audition process. Mount Union’s Marching Band is great because there aren’t auditions and the size is just right. Plus, the people are just great. We’re a pretty close-knit group and we have a lot of fun. For example, we have an entire Facebook page called “Willisisms” because Mr. Willis has these fun sayings that make us laugh. “Command the ground!” or “Only the strong do band!”

We’re actually using our phones to learn drill. This is new. Mr. Willis has been sending us the PDFs, and whenever we learn new drill, we can use our smart phones instead of having to print out a bazillion pieces of paper. Mount Union band is going green and tech-savvy!

Learning awesome drill to fun music is one of the many perks of being in the Mount Union Marching Band.

So whenever you come see a Mount Union game, pay attention to the field at halftime. We’re actually doing some pretty niffy things down there.

Mahler, part 2

Exciting stuff! Mahler was amazing. Mahler Mahler Mahler. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the Mount Union Concert Choir had the opportunity to sing Mahler’s second symphony with the Canton Symphony Orchestra. First of all, the fact that we even had the opportunity to do that was freaking amazing. I can’t say enough good … Read more

Exciting stuff!

Mahler was amazing. Mahler Mahler Mahler.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, the Mount Union Concert Choir had the opportunity to sing Mahler’s second symphony with the Canton Symphony Orchestra.

First of all, the fact that we even had the opportunity to do that was freaking amazing. I can’t say enough good things about our choir program and the things that Dr. Cook has brought with him (this is only his second year as our director).

The Canton chorus really liked us. They could tell that Mount Union students brought a certain level of professionalism and preparedness, and they appreciated our hard work and effort. We were all mixed in with the Canton chorus as far as seating goes, and Dr. Cook heard a lot of comments after the performance about how awesome we were. Go us!

Then there was the performance.

It. Was. Beautiful. Like, I cried. On stage. I’m 99% singing, and 1% trying to figure out a good way to stop snotting up my face. The whole thing was so powerful because Mahler made beautiful music. And, there I was, singing one of the most coveted singing opportunities out there.

And, as if that isn’t awesome enough, Gerhardt Zimmermann blew us a kiss at the end. He’s the director of the Canton Symphony, and he is not an easy man to impress.

But wait, there’s more!

Our performance will be playing on the radio because they recorded it! Tune into 89.7 in January to hear our performance! More details to come on that later, or follow Canton Symphony on Facebook to find out!

This was an awesome opportunity, and it came to fantastic fruition.

Mahler!

Learn to love rehearsal

When I was a kid, I know I was always told, “Practice makes perfect.” It’s one of those sayings that gets drilled into your head and becomes some sort of fundamental learning block that no one can escape. But it’s wrong. Perfect practice makes perfect. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time studying … Read more

When I was a kid, I know I was always told, “Practice makes perfect.” It’s one of those sayings that gets drilled into your head and becomes some sort of fundamental learning block that no one can escape.

But it’s wrong.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time studying the arts at Mount Union, it’s that perfect practice makes perfect.

If you take lessons, you have to practice. And if you don’t practice correctly, you won’t succeed. It doesn’t do any good to practice something if you’re not going to do it right. If I slouched or strained my throat whenever I practiced, guess what I would probably do in a performance? Slouch and strain.

You have to treat practice and rehearsal just like a performance. My boyfriend recently said that if you practice poorly, you should leave the practice room feeling the same way you would leave a poor performance.

So true.

Treating rehearsals like a performance is something that I’ve really improved on since I got here. Dr. Cook, our choir director, always says you have to learn to love rehearsing. After all, only 10% of our music careers will ever be spent in a real performance. Everything else is practice and rehearsal.

 I’m studying voice, and I’ve improved immensely since starting to practice regularly. I sang last week at a student recital. It wasn’t my favorite performance, but I was happy because of things that came easier because of being better at practicing.

You learn rules for excellent musicianship and success in general in the Department of Music.

 Time to practice? Perfect.

Mahler

I’m just going to take a quick minute and tell you all about the upcoming Mahler performance. Last semester, the Mount Union Concert Choir got a chance to sing with the Canton Symphony Orchestra. We sang Haydn’s theresienmesse with the symphony during its February performance. It was awesome!! Six awesome movements, beautiful music … and … Read more

I’m just going to take a quick minute and tell you all about the upcoming Mahler performance.

Last semester, the Mount Union Concert Choir got a chance to sing with the Canton Symphony Orchestra. We sang Haydn’s theresienmesse with the symphony during its February performance. It was awesome!! Six awesome movements, beautiful music … and that was my first year ever on the first soprano part. Talk about improving my range!

We did a fantastic job and we got a lot of praise for how prepared we were. Not to mention, it was an incredible experience. Not many people can say they’ve sung with a symphony orchestra. And, Canton’s ranks third in Ohio.

Along those same lines, not many people can say they’ve sung with a symphony orchestra TWICE.

After last year’s performance, the Mount Union Concert Choir was invited back to sing with Canton Symphony Orchestra. Coming up on November 4, we’re going to be performing Mahler’s second symphony.

This is an amazing piece of work. Mahler, when he wrote this, was thinking a lot about life and death, and those themes are beautifully constructed into the music we’re singing. It’s such powerful music, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

It’s not too late to come see it if you have nothing to do at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 4. Ticket information can be found online at http://cantonsymphony.tix.com/ScheduleSubscriptions.asp?OrganizationNumber=1627.

The progress this choir has made in the last two years and the opportunities we’ve had have truly made the last couple of years at Mount Union pretty exceptional.