Junior Spotlight: Vivian Davenport, Soprano

By Jonathan Wenger, Staff Writer

On Friday, music performance major Vivian Davenport ’25 hosted her junior recital located in Paul Recital Hall at 3 p.m. Davenport was accompanied by Erin Petrella on piano. 

The selections for the recital had a theme of nature and featured songs in Italian, German, French and English. Reflecting on the preparation process, Davenport mentioned how the inclusion of several languages was an important factor.

“When I originally planned my recital, I knew I wanted to do multiple languages and I particularly really enjoy singing in German,” Davenport said. She added that she does not know French, which made the French selections a fun challenge for her.

The first piece was by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi and had two movements entitled “Nebbie” and “Pioggia,” which translate to “fog” and “rain” respectively. Davenport chose to open with this piece as the song is “simplistic but powerful,” and Italian is the first language she learned at Gettysburg.

Music Performance Major Vivian Davenport ’25 (Photo Courtesy of Vivian Davenport)

Music Performance Major Vivian Davenport ’25 (Photo Courtesy of Vivian Davenport)

Davenport’s performance continued with “Das Veilchen” by Clara Schumann and selections from Francis Poulencs’ “Fiançailles pour rire.” These selections showcase the performer’s mastery of control, diction, dynamics and expression. By utilizing facial expressions and captivating vocal techniques, Davenport successfully portrayed the varied emotions of the songs.

Next was “Sweet Suffolk Owl” by Richard Hundley, which is a lively song that employs rhythms and text painting to build the character and charm of the piece. In the recital’s program, Davenport wrote on this piece: “The owl stalks its surroundings, likely resembling a clock counting down the days of a lifespan.” The piece was then followed by Aaron Copland’s “Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson” movement 8, “When they come back.” 

For the final song in the recital, Davenport was joined by Greer Garver ’25 on piano and Christa Calderwood ’24 on clarinet. The trio performed “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen” by Franz Schubert. The song holds significance to Davenport as she looks ahead to her future plans.

“The last piece ‘Der Hirt auf dem Felsen’ was chosen as a representation of my next journey to Austria next semester. Also, I really wanted to do a chamber piece with my roommate Greer Garver,” Davenport said.

 The song was a masterful display of musical ability as the voice and clarinet part frequently traded off the melody, working in tandem at times to deliver a powerful performance. Greer added rich depth and texture to the performance on piano. This final piece resulted in a standing ovation for Davenport and the other performers.

Reflecting on the recital, Davenport said, “I am proud that I accomplished my recital because this past summer I struggled with anxiety to the point that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be returning this semester. I am happy to be here and performing!” 

Davenport spoke fondly of her time spent studying at the Sunderman Conservatory thus far, saying, “My favorite part of studying at the Conservatory is being able to collaborate with tons of other musicians and grow close relations to many, something I don’t think would have happened if I went to a large university.”

Davenport also mentioned her enjoyment of the Vocal Pedagogy course at the College due to her hope to teach voice lessons following graduation.

Looking ahead, Davenport will be studying abroad next semester in Austria and is looking forward to including many more collaborations in her upcoming senior recital. Speaking to fellow students, Davenport advises, “Say yes to opportunities because you never know when you’re going to get another one! Also, just have fun and stay in the present because time goes by way too fast.”

Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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