Students leave Trinity on a high note by participating in their senior recital


MATTHEW REYNOLDS, center, sings a powerful song during the second performance of “Cavalleria rusticana” from its original production last April.

Matthew Reynolds and Mariana Là³pez Levi will be singing as music majors for the last time this Friday

After four years of singing their hearts out and shifting through countless stacks of sheet music, seniors studying vocal performance at Trinity have finally approached their concluding concert: the senior recital. Seniors Mariana Là³pez Levi, a music education major, and Matthew Reynolds, a music and urban studies double major, will be singing at their recital to celebrate their years at Trinity on Saturday, Mar. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ruth Taylor Recital Hall. To learn more about this recital and their thoughts on graduating, Levi and Reynolds participated in a Q&A.

Q: Which professors contributed the most to your vocal growth?

A: (Reynolds) Dr. Chia-Wei Lee and Dr. Gary Seighman, no question about it. Chia-Wei has been my voice teacher for my entire time at Trinity and I’ve sung in the Chamber Singers, which Dr. Seighman directs, for four years as well. I can’t give them enough credit for the impact they’ve had on my growth as a vocalist and musician.

A: (Là³pez)  Obviously, I am very grateful to my amazing voice teacher, Dr. Chia-Wei Lee. I have been his student for two years and he has helped my voice grow so much more than I ever expected. I also owe a lot to Dr. Seth Nelson, who will be accompanying us on the piano for the recital. His amazing abilities as a collaborative pianist have helped me grow so much as a musician.

Q: What will you miss about the music department?

A: (R) Aside from the faculty as a whole (because they’re incredible and I look up to them so much), I’ll miss Chamber Singers the most. That group has been my home base for the past four years, and few things bring me as much joy as performing in a choir like that.

A: (L) I will miss the tight-knit community of the music department. Being a small school, there are not very many music students so I have gotten to interact a lot with my classmates and watch them grow alongside me. We are a supportive community and everyone wants their friends to succeed.

Q: How do you plan on incorporating your education in music into your career?

A: (R) Eventually, I want to go to grad school to study voice because my long-term goal is to become a voice teacher and professor at a university like Trinity.

A: (L) I plan to continue with music education in the future. I hope to continue at Trinity with the Master of Arts in Teaching and start working with students soon.

Q: Matthew, could you tell me about your experience in performing dream songs and arie?

A: I actually got to sing my dream aria last semester. “Largo al factotum”, from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, is an incredibly famous, not to mention difficult, aria; it’s the one that goes, “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro”. I hope to perform it in the future when my voice has developed a bit more. As far as other songs, I’m a huge musical theatre fan and I would love to sing anything from “The Last Five Years” by Jason Robert Brown. Jamie, the male role of that show, fits my range pretty well.

Q: Mariana, considering your focus in music education, why do you think it’s important for kids to learn about music?

A: I think music provides many essential skills and habits that everyone uses regardless of whether or not they choose to pursue a music career. Music teaches listening skills, hard work, teamwork and sensitivity, and these are all skills that are essential to personal growth.

Q: Looking back, what has been your favorite memory regarding performing or studying music while at Trinity?

A: (R) Last school year, I got to direct and perform in the Opera Workshop production of “Cavalleria rusticana”, a tragic one-act opera. I had done research on the show the summer before in preparation and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Not only was I performing a really fun role in a beautiful show alongside a few of my best friends, but I was also in charge of the entire creative process. The show was an incredible success. I’m still so proud of how it turned out. And I’m beyond thankful to have had that opportunity.

A: (L) My favorite memory has to be performing with the Chamber Singers. We had a very memorable concert two years ago at the Texas Music Educators Association 2015 Convention, and went on a tour of the West Coast later that semester.

Q: Which part of your senior recital are you most excited about?

A: (R) Even though I’m incredibly excited for the whole recital, I think I’m looking forward to the duets the most; they’re both a ton of fun and Mariana and I have had a blast working on them.

A: (L) I am most excited about getting to perform two of the hardest pieces I have been working on. I have been working on some of these songs for months and I’m excited to perform the final product.