Virtual B.W.M.T. senior recitals stream to audiences from the comfort of home

B.W.M.T. senior recitals were streamed on Nov. 30-Dec. 2 with a concluding live performance on Dec. 3 that highlights one song from each recital.

Courtesy of Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music

Courtesy of Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music

The Baldwin Wallace Music Theatre Class of ‘23 streamed their senior recitals on Nov. 30-Dec. 2 on the B.W.M.T. YouTube channel, culminating in a live performance on Dec. 3 in the Mainstage Theatre in Kleist Center for Art & Drama. 

Senior recital is a way for B.W.M.T. students to fully produce a 30–35-minute display of their talents and skills developed in the four-year music theatre program. 

Prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the recitals were performed live for an audience. Because of the pandemic, the format of these recitals transitioned to student-produced videos viewed through an online stream. 

The B.W.M.T. program has continued to have students film their recitals because the medium allows for a level of creativity that is not achieved live, and it fully immerses the students into a directorial role. 

Senior music theater student Katelyn Baughman said that through film, students can experiment with different filming locations, singing both live and lip-syncing to a self-recorded track, and they can film as many times as they need. 

“It’s a pretty … open-ended project in which you can do whatever you want with,” Baughman said. “You can get the desired effect that you want with each piece, which is really great.” 

Andie Peterson, a senior B.W.M.T. student, said that the recorded recitals give people a chance to experience B.W.M.T. from the comfort of their own homes, wherever that may be. 

“Anyone and everyone can watch this, which is cool,” Peterson said. “I’m from North Dakota, so it’s great that my family back home will be seeing it just the same as anyone else. It’s unique in that way.” 

Now that all the recitals have been streamed, the B.W.M.T. seniors are convening for the Senior Celebration on Dec. 3 at 6 p.m., which is a way for the students to still experience the live recital element in this process said B.W.M.T. senior Will Boone.  

“The senior celebration is basically the supplement for that live recital,” Boone said. “And it’s where … we each pick one of our favorite songs from our own senior recital and do a cute little concert.” 

The seniors have been thinking about their recitals since their first year at BW, with most of them doing the bulk of the work beginning in the summer of this year. The time-management needed for this process was difficult for some students, especially when working with the unfamiliar medium of a recorded video. 

“We’re live performers… It’s really daunting because it’s out of our comfort zones,” Peterson said. “It’s just really rewarding to see it, and it’s a product or something that was completely self-produced.” 

The seniors had to learn how to use software like iMovie, Final Cut Pro and GarageBand to edit their videos and songs. And Boone said that he enjoyed being able to use his Blue Yeti microphone to record his voice. 

“Figuring out which [songs] I wanted to do like lip-sync vocals to and which ones I wanted to do live vocals to was fun,” Boone said. “You really feel like an artist; you feel like a producer.”  

Baughman produced a recital that takes audiences through the seasons of a full year, filming in various locations and using live and recorded vocals. She said she enjoyed experimenting with gender-bending songs that she could otherwise not sing in a professional musical. 

“A lot of musical theater can be really fun and really explorative, but it can be boxing at times,” Baughman said. “But with the freedom and creativity of a senior recital, you get to be whoever you want to be, and you get to explore different types of yourself.” 

Peterson said her recital incorporates a collection of songs that she feels are either right for her career or just ones that she loves. She pays tribute to her grandfather by singing a song they both loved, using home videos of the two and then cutting to herself singing in the present day. 

Unlike some other seniors, Boone did not have a concrete concept to his recital. Instead, he said that he chose songs that show off his vocals and personality, singing both classic musical theatre pieces and contemporary songs.  

Although many seniors chose to fully self-make their recital, some students like Baughman collaborated with others within and outside their class. 

“I have a couple of people from my class and even a couple of people outside of my class that have helped put together all of this,” Baughman said. “I think we’ve grown and bonded a lot with senior recitals.” 

Boone said with graduation approaching fast, the B.W.M.T. seniors are working hard to constantly put together the highest-quality work that they can and are getting ready for the next phase of their lives.  

“It is bittersweet because you’ve just put in a lot of hard work and then all of a sudden it’s just over,” Boone said. “I’ll miss college, but also it makes you ready and excited for the next step in your career to move to New York.” 

After their recitals and live celebration, the seniors will embark on the final step of the BWMT program: Showcase. This is when the seniors put together a final performance in New York City that will package them for agents and casting directors. 

Michaela Henry, a junior arts management & entrepreneurship and stage management double major working as the student producer for the Showcase, said that everything B.W.M.T. students do is to prepare them for the showcase, and she is excited to begin working with them on this event. 

“Especially with this senior class, it’s going to be really exciting to see them graduate and do all this senior stuff,” Henry said. “I’m really excited to see their work and be able to support them.” 

But for now, B.W.M.T. seniors are focusing on this part of their final year that they have been working on and thinking about for years. And with a recorded video, they will have an artifact of their time at BW to look back on for the rest of their lives. 

“[The recital] is such a tangible thing to show [that] I am ready for the next step and also how much I’ve grown from now versus the videos I have of myself freshman year or high school,” Peterson said. “It’s like a capstone that you can rewatch and you’re always going to have it.”