BENNINGTON >> A dozen Bennington College graduating students invites the community to witness music from their senior concert on June 2.
Original songs and compositions will be performed at the Masonic Hall in conjunction with Vermont Arts Exchange, as a result of the "best of" acts from the college's senior week at the beginning of May.
Jake Landau will play a piano duo with a drummer, Ned Haweeli will play drums, Evan Gall will play his piece "Cool" with Breeze Band, Julian Parr composed a one minute soundtrack for an old black and white film, Sam Irwin will play on a self-designed electronic wind instrument, and Marina Allen will sing an excerpt from Luciano Berio's "Sequenza."
Other singers and songwriters include Dane Whitman who will play piano or do a vocal duo with acoustic guitar and violin, Phil Hartunian will sing an original piece and play the electric guitar with a rock band accompaniment, Rainjana Haynes will sing solo with electric guitar, Dale Hoagland will sing a cappella to a piece he composed, Dani Radacosky-Pentoney will sing her piece "Turnips" in a capella, and Roi Karlinsky will sing and play the bass.
"This concert is unique in that we—Allen (colleague) and I—curate what we have seen and heard during Senior Concert Week," Kitty Brazelton, BC music professor and composer said. "So, it's a "best of" you might say—although I thought all of the concerts were amazing year. Curating was actually quite tough this round."
Senior shows are traditionally not curated, Brazelton said. She started meeting with students in February in groups of five or six to check in on what was being formulated for May. Students generally critiqued work and supported each other.
"They encourage and support each other, nix improbable efforts, and generally help each think through every plan logistically," Brazelton said. "Logistics, that's my main lesson. I require dress rehearsals, sound checks, a regular rehearsal approaching the concert—stuff like that. Practical stuff that comes from a lifetime of performing."
Irwin, from Queens, N.Y. , has been playing music since he was six, and gained more interest in electronic music during high school. He now focuses on designing electronic instruments.
"Each instrument has a different purpose and is intended for different kinds of music that I enjoy to perform," Irwin said. "I am performing with an instrument which I designed called the Scout's Pipe. I chose this piece because I wanted to do something that represented myself while reflecting the space and setting of the performance."
Irwin will continue to compose and perform his own music after college, but also work as a sound supervisor on an upcoming film. Without citing a particular influence, the young instrument designer said he learned a lot from his college peers.
"Being surrounded by people who all work in different mediums has pushed me to create work that I want to share and can be proud of," he said.
On the opposite end of the musical spectrum, Allen, who is a vocalist, started singing church choirs at a young age and evolved with her school chorus, however, she studied painting at BC. A soprano in high school, Allen prefers to sound a lower register. She finds many aspects of life that impact her passion.
"I find influences everywhere! I feel so grateful to feel influenced! I'm looking at Louise Fishman's 'Angry' paintings. I also love Bonnie Raitt, Bjork, Patti Smith, Jenny Hval. These are all women musicians which is interesting," she said. "I think my biggest influences are much closer to home. Kitty Brazelton, my teacher since Freshman year at Bennington, is a huge influence and even closer than that are my peers. I think I'm just realizing how precious and generous the community is and I feel very so excited to help bring this into the world."
She chose to perform "Sequenza III for female voice" because it permitted her to accept her "ugliness and chaos," in which the song acted as her companion.
Brazelton noted that there's been a slow evolution from the college's senior concert and that this year it felt like a festival with added participation from student composers and the audience.
"I'm looking forward to the concert," Brazelton said. "I'm especially excited to be part of a concert at VAE. My first time! I am definitely hopeful of the turnout! I have an off-campus friend who's been asking me every week when the concert was coming."
The concert is free and open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. on June 2 at the Masonic Hall located at 504 Main St. in Bennington.
—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.