The performers following their musical showcase "I Know What You Did Last Summer". / Photo courtesy of Eddie Reichert

By Devin Witte, Staff Writer

The parking lots were packed and Corthell Hall was roaring. The turn around for such an event was amazing, only three weeks of school had gone by and the students were prepared for a live event, the event being, “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” USM students ranging from freshmen to seniors performed songs that were either given to them last semester or were decided on over the summer, hence the title of the performance. The title was also created due to the timing of the performance as the director and vocal coach, Eddie Reichert, stated, “Since we would be performing it a couple days before the summer ended, I thought it was appropriate.”

A recital is an opportunity for students to use their talents and showcase them to the surrounding community. A recital is a way to express the hard work that students put into their craft and with their teachers. Reichert acknowledges the importance of bettering one another through peer review as he expressed in his interview, “I stress the importance of learning to be good colleagues and supporting each other.  These recitals are opportunities for the students to observe each other and learn by doing exactly that.” Many of the previous recitals since March of 2020 were conducted online. Family and friends were forced to enjoy the show from behind a computer screen and through computer audio. 

The pandemic was a struggle for those in the music department and many others, working with masks on and trying to get great sound out of students behind a mask became more of a challenge. However with the vaccine and the compliance of spectators to the COVID-19 guidelines, the performers were able to sing in person without masks for their showcase. All of the current sophomores and the freshman had never performed live in the concert hall, so this was a very exciting time for many. 

A few student performers shared their experiences with their first in person event, as well as just their overall experiences with their songs.

Isaac Martel, a third year musical theater major, spent his summer listening to the musical “The Bridges Of Madison County” and fell in love with the song he ended up dueting with Ciara Neidlinger for the showcase. They worked together to stage the performance, creating the experience they wanted to share themselves. 

Martel shared their emotions in this statement, “As I’ve said, I loved how excited everyone was. COVID-19 robbed us all for over a year and a half from doing what we love, what we are all studying to do for the rest of our lives. Nobody that performed took it for granted, and that is really quite a beautiful thing. I truthfully wouldn’t have changed much. Out of the misery of all that’s happened, we got a glimpse of what things used to be, and hopefully where we’re heading back towards. We were happy and we were making others feel the same way. I couldn’t ask for more than that.” 

Brandon Wong, a fourth year musical theatre performance major, explained how there was nothing more that he loved than the experiences made working on a duet with his friend Dylan Cao. The two created such a chemistry working together and this showed on the stage.

Emily Bartley, a third year musical theatre major, decided to sing “They Just Keep Moving the Line” from the show Smash because, “It is super fun and upbeat and I, along with my vocal coach Reichert, thought it would be a great song for our first live performance.” Along with this Bartley shared what an experience it was to have her friends and family be there in Corthell Hall cheering her on after such a long time away. 

Chana Wingard, a third year musical theatre major, decided to sing a duet with Will McPherson, that the two had been working on together over the summer. The song is titled “Falling Slowly,” and Wingard, “Thought the song would be inspiring and heartfelt.” Based on the roar after the song had completed, the audience loved it. Wingard also made it very clear that to them, the most loving part of their entire experience was the support. Wingard said, “We were all so proud and supportive of each other and I loved the song selections for this recital, and again, how supportive the environment was.”

In the end the production had very few minor flaws. The performance was done very well and all the students seem to be very happy with how it turned out. All of those that I had the opportunity to speak with stated in one way or another that there was nothing they would have changed, and that it will be an event to remember. As we remember what we did this summer and how it is coming to an end, these students will be reminded of this amazing performance. The students are currently in rehearsals right now for the upcoming fall musical entitled, “The World Goes Round.” It’s a celebration of the songs of Kander & Ebbwhich and will take place on Oct. 29 through Oct. 31st, in the concert hall.

The performance can be found on YouTube here.


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