The Gustavian Weekly

Senior recital celebrates friendship and music | The Gustavian Weekly

By Michaela Woodward - Staff Writer | November 22, 2019 | Variety

Lowe (left) and Yee (right) rehearse for their recital.

Lowe (left) and Yee (right) rehearse for their recital.

Seniors Katelyn Yee and Lauren Lowe started their musical journeys at Gustavus with each other, so to them, it only seems fitting to end it that way.

The two hosted their senior cello and viola recital together on Nov. 17th at 7:30 p.m in Bjorling Music Hall, hoping to express their love for music and each other through their performance.

As for planning their recital together, it was a no-brainer from the beginning.

“We’ve been talking about this almost since we met,” Lowe said.

“We’re kind of best friends. It just made sense. We met through orchestra. We’re not music majors so [a recital] is not required, but it just felt right to kind of have this closing chapter of our music careers be together,” Yee said.

“I went to a performing arts school in St. Paul. With that, I was able to do a lot more orchestral work. I really got to see whether being a music major was something I wanted to do, and it helped me know that that was not what I wanted to do and that music was more of just a passion.”

-Senior Lauren Lowe

Yee and Lowe both started music at an early age and were both involved in orchestra, musical theater and choir throughout their earlier years.

Having played cello since fifth grade, Yee knew she wanted to continue in college. But her passion for music went beyond orchestra.

“I ended up not doing choir my first year here, and then I missed it so much I had to join again,” says Yee.

Though music is something Yee is heavily involved in, she decided on a communication studies and sociology and anthropology double major and a Spanish minor.

Lowe followed a similar path. She is a psychology major with a biology minor.

“I went to a performing arts school in St. Paul. With that, I was able to do a lot more orchestral work. I really got to see whether being a music major was something I wanted to do, and it helped me know that that was not what I wanted to do and that music was more of just a passion,” Lowe said.

This emphasis on music being an equally important part of one’s life though not necessarily a career is something special about opportunities that go beyond requirements, like this recital.

Dr. Justin Knoepfel, Lowe’s viola professor who helped the two put together their recital, feels recitals are important opportunities for students.

“Student recitals are vital and essential to our program. It’s true that recitals are a required component of a music major anywhere, but it goes beyond checking off the box. Music is meant to be shared, to be experienced in the live setting. And that is a wonderful aspect of the arts: to experience together a moment in time of collaboration and shared beauty. It makes us better for hearing it, preparing it, and experiencing the moment. We become better human beings because of art,” Knoepfel said.

Lowe was excited to share her piece with Knoepfel, who she has been wanting to play a piece for since she was a first year.

Yee looked forward to engaging the audience emotionally with her pieces.

One piece in particular makes her feel happy, and she hoped to share that feeling with the audience.

“This is what I wanted to be sharing with people,” Yee said.

On picking pieces for their recital, Yee and Lowe saw their program as an expression of both them as individuals and together.

They chose to highlight some of their personal favorites and also pieces that are meaningful to them.

“With our duet pieces, they showed our personalities. We both love Disney, we both have Spanish culture as a passion in different ways,” Lowe said.

“I thought of it as a celebration of us as musicians and friends,” Yee said.

Though their recital is their own performance, they feel grateful for the help and support they’ve received with putting it together from their friends, peers, and teachers.

“I’m really grateful for everyone who’s been willing to help us and play with us and support us,” Yee said.

Though this is the closing of one chapter of their lives, it is clear that Yee and Lowe’s friendship will continue long after the last note of the recital was played.

“Working together has been lots of fun. It will be bittersweet to be done,” Lowe said.

For Yee and Lowe, their friendship is in the music.

“The recital [was] a good way to see who we are as individuals and also who we are together and kind of our growth through our musical journeys, and to have it end here, together, is special,” Yee said.

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