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University Symphony Orchestra showcases students

March 1, 2011

USO features student soloists in March concert

This month’s University Symphony Orchestra concert on March 22 will feature four student soloists – three sopranos and a composer – that will showcase talent ranging from operatic to the singing of French chants from the 14th century.

“It’s rare to have all the soloists be singers,” said Jeffrey Bell-Hanson, the USO’s conductor and PLU’s director of orchestral activities. “It just so happened that’s the way it worked out this year.”

 All the soloists – Celeste Godin ‘12, mezzo-soprano; Amily Hill, ‘11, soprano; and Kristen Kamna, ’11, soprano- will have the rare chance to sing with a live orchestra during the performance. In addition, Philip Serino, ’11, will have the opportunity to have his piece “Holy Spirit” performed by the orchestra during the event.

 Serino first started mulling over the idea for the seven-minute piece last summer, and has been working on it ever since.

“I’ve been praying, going to church, building relationships with people, reading the Bible, just living life,” Serino laughed when asked about his inspiration for the piece. “I guess you could say I was researching the holy spirit.”

 Serino, a music and composition major, first started composing when he was in high school in Gresham, Ore. Serino describes his as a rather dramatic piece, with lulls and crescendos.

Celeste Godin will be singing a series of  songs from Joseph Conteloube’s Chantes d’Auvergne. She will be singing the songs in Occitan, the lost language of the time around the region. In answer to the obvious question – yes it was hard to learn the song, much less a song in a language that died out about 700 years ago.

 “You have to do your research,” she said.

 Amilyn Hill will be singing Mozart’s “Queen of the Night,” arias from the Magic Flute, complete with costume.

“I plan to make it as close to an opera performance as I can,” she said. “I’ll probably be wearing a black dress, maybe a crown.”

 Around the age of 12, Hill discovered that her voice to easily reached the  higher registers required of opera singers. Since then, she’s been hooked. She loves the collaboration between theater and music that occurs in opera and plans to continue on to graduate school, and  – she  hopes – to a major company later in her career.

Kirsten Kamna will be singing “Ophelia’s Mad Scene” from Hamlet.