Sunderman Spotlight: Olivia Benson
By Alex Pearson, Staff Writer
What is your major?
I’m a Music Education major!
What is your instrument?
I’m a vocalist, specifically a soprano.
What has been the most important part of your conservatory experience?
Working with the Gettysburg Children’s Choir in the spring of 2018 shaped me in more ways than I can describe. I was challenged emotionally and mentally, which allowed me to grow as a musician, educator, and conductor. I worked closely with my mentor, Dr. Brent Talbot, and the one-on-one attention I received from him allowed us to work closely on specific skills that needed improvement. I love those kids with every ounce of my being, and the choir will always hold a special place in my heart.
How will your time here have influence on your career in music?
I think one of the coolest things about the conservatory is how much music you are exposed to. I’ve attended so many performances that showcased repertoire I didn’t even know existed. I’ve found that creating spreadsheets or playlists of choral, orchestral, and instrumental music is the way to go for remembering the pieces that stand out to you. You can recreate the aspects of the piece that made you fall in love with it, or you can plan to make it your own!
What are your plans for after graduation?
I would love to teach elementary general music, or high school choir. My heart is fully invested in both.
Tell me about your recital.
I am so excited! My program features the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Vincenzo Righini, Ned Rorem, and even Sara Bareilles! I am collaborating with incredible musicians (and friends!), Elizabeth Buscher and Abigail Winston. I think the program is set up for the listener to experience a wide range of emotions. These pieces mean a lot to me and I can’t wait to share them with my friends and family.
What is your advice for future conservatory students?
Take time to remember why you love music! Sing and play your instrument for fun. Listen to a variety of repertoire, and attend as many performances as you can. Get to know your professors! The conservatory faculty are rooting for your success, and the relationships you form with them will extend beyond the classroom.
Olivia Benson’s senior recital is Saturday, November 17 at 8:30 p.m. in Paul Recital Hall.