Conservatory convocation recitals celebrate successful students, continue tradition

“Convocation has indeed been a long-standing and beautiful tradition in the Conservatory of Music,” Conservatory Dean Susan Van Vorst said.

Select Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music students have received the opportunity to perform solo pieces at this year’s Conservatory Convocation recitals.    

Convocation gives students of all instruments and musical disciplines the chance to share their talent with a large audience of their peers on select Thursdays at 3:05 p.m. inside Gamble Auditorium in Kulas Musical Arts Building. Students were chosen by their professors based on their performance at graded solo performances, called juries, from the previous semester.   

“Convocation recitals provide an outstanding opportunity for students, faculty and staff to celebrate the academic and artistic progress that fellow students demonstrate from year to year,” Conservatory Dean Susan Van Vorst said.    

According to Van Vorst, the Conservatory has held convocation since its founding in 1898. “Convocation has indeed been a long-standing and beautiful tradition in the Conservatory of Music,” Van Vorst said. “It has followed largely the same format for many years.”   

For some participating students, Convocation can mark their first significant recital performance. Sophomore music education major Declan Messner, who performed at an October convocation, has been playing the bassoon for only three years, but he told The Exponent before his performance that he was looking forward to the event despite his nervousness.    

“I’m definitely more nervous than I am excited at the moment,” Messner said. The nerves motivated him to practice at least an hour every day over the weeks leading up to the event, he said.  

Participating in such an event gives students valuable experience for their lives and careers after graduation.    

“I think my biggest takeaway will be a sense of holding myself accountable,” Messner said. “As a music education major, playing my instrument often becomes second most important.”  

Students can choose their own piece to perform. Senior music education major Evan Collins, who also performed in October, chose a piece that best represents his skills on the pipe organ. After graduation, Collins plans to teach general music at a K-12 public school in addition to working as a church music coordinator or for a community chorus.    

Collins said participating in Convocation will help him be a better music educator.    

“Since I hope to be in a leadership position for different musical ensembles, I want to be able to provide my future students or the people I work with insight into what it’s like to prepare music under pressure, efficiently, with respect to self-care as well,” Collins said.    

Convocation, which is open to the public and live-streamed online, is one event that highlights the Con’s efforts to foster a supportive culture among students and faculty, Van Vorst said.   

“The Conservatory’s tradition of assembling regularly to lift up on another’s successes is but one ingredient of the very special learning environment that makes BW so distinctive,” Van Vorst said.   

The final convocation performance of the semester will be held on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 3:05 p.m. in Gamble Auditorium.