Photos by Kayla Michaud |CIGAR|  From left to right Christina Nero, Jacob Brunelle and Nicholas Schleyer answer questions following their performance 

Students gathered in the Fine Arts Concert Hall last Thursday, Feb. 15, to watch their classmates perform in that week’s music convocation.

Performances included Christina Nero, as a vocalist, Nicholas Schleyer, on the piano and Jacob Brunelle, on the alto saxophone. It is a requirement for all music majors to perform in at least one music convocation per semester once they’ve reached the 210 level class.

Performing in a music convocation gives students the opportunity “to try out pieces they’ll play in a recital,” Theodore Mook, one of the convocation organizers and cello teacher, said.

Nero performed a piece by W.A. Mozart called “Deh vieni non tardar” from “Le Nozze di Figaro,” and a piece by F. Schubert called “Nacht und Träume.” Throughout both of the pieces, Nero demonstrated strong control of her operatic voice. Her word pronunciations were also crisp as both lyrics of the songs weren’t in English. Gayane Darakyan, accompanied her on the piano for both pieces.

Schleyer performed a single piece on the piano by F. Kuhlau called “Sonatino Op. 55 No. 1 in C Major.” This piece was a light, charismatic piece that withheld the audience’s attention all the way through.

Brunelle concluded the performances with P. Creston’s “Sonata, Op. 19 II. With tranquility.” He was accompanied by Darakyan on the piano. Brunelle started off soft, and then crescendoed to a louder volume, ending the piece with a soft volume again. He maintained good quality sound during dynamic changes. The saxophone part was full of energy and well balanced with piano consistently throughout the piece.

This convocation went a little differently than normal, it included a question and answer section after all three students performed. The question and answer portion allowed audience members to ask performers any questions they had for them. Topics such as the performers’ preferences when it comes to what language tempo markings are in, how the performers formed a connection with the audience during the pieces and more.

Schleyer said that for him it doesn’t matter what language the tempo markings are in because no matter the language is he always translates the back to English. Nero didn’t have a strong opinion either. For her, she takes the language that they’re in and does her best to take the markings into account.

A goal of a performer is to form a connection between themselves with their audience. They want to grab hold of their attention and maintain it to the end of the piece. To do so it’s important to consider the techniques you use to bring the notes to life off the page.

“It’s not about the notes on the page, it’s about how you play them,” said Brunelle. “It’s all about dynamics, and bringing the audience to you.”

It was evident that all three performers were committed to their pieces from when the very first note was sung or played to the very last note. All their preparation seemed to have paid off.

Music convocations happen every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Concert Hall and are open for anyone to attend. Other upcoming events can be found online under the University of Rhode Island’s Music Department Events’ calendar.