Photo by Hannah Murray
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—On Tuesday, September 11th, Terry Concert Hall was filled with music as JU faculty welcomed guest artist, Todd Wedge, to the stage.
Wedge, who sang tenor, joined with professor Kimberly Beasley, who sang soprano, to perform classical vocal music for the students in attendance.
Wedge and Beasley were accompanied by Edith Moore-Hubert on piano.
“I like to program a variety of pieces that are both immediately approachable for college-aged students, and repertoire that might be music that they might study later in their careers,” said Wedge.
Wedge performed pieces from Schubert, DuParc, and Finzi. Beasley’s pieces were all selected from the works of Delius. Both performers began by singing selected pieces in German, then French, then English. They finished with a musical theater number as their encore.
At the event, programs were handed out with information about the performers, as well as lyrics and translations for the pieces performed in German or French.
“I always hope that my audiences will appreciate the work that goes into connecting music and vocalism to poetry,” said Wedge. “I love seeing the audience move their eyes from the program notes to the stage, which demonstrates active audience engagement. I definitely saw this in the students at JU and I was very impressed.”
Kelly Wolfe, a musical theater student and vocal student of Beasley, was attended the concert.
“I always love to hear Professor Beasley sing,” Wolfe said. “She has the soprano vocal quality that I dream to have one day through hard work and practice. Not only that, but Todd Wedge was phenomenal. It was great having a guest artist come in.”
Perhaps what Wolfe enjoyed most about the concert was the opportunity to listen to music of a different genre.
“This concert was interesting for me as a musical theatre student because I was able to branch out and listen to a different style of music outside the realm of musical theatre,” she said. “Also, knowing all the technique I’ve learned in my independent lessons, I was able to pick up on small vocal things and even performance techniques that would help the singer be confident and produce the sound properly.”
Wolfe wasn’t the only fan of Beasley’s at the concert. Taylor Neal, a student who functions as the Concert Recording Manager, was also in the audience.
“I attended Prof Kim Beasley’s recital to record it, but I would have gone anyways,” Neal said. “She is one of the most talented vocalists on campus, and it is inspiring and refreshing to hear her perform. I would highly recommend attending any event she puts on in the future.”
Of course, students aren’t the only fan of Beasley’s. Wedge, as the guest artist, also appreciates Beasley’s musical capabilities.
“I’m thrilled to be singing with Prof. Kim Beasley again,” he said. “It’s been so long since I’ve connected with her, and yet it feels as though no time has passed whatsoever. I’ve always greatly admired her singing and artistry and it’s been incredible to see how it’s continued to develop throughout the years.”
Wedge himself is no stranger to success as a vocalist and educator. Wedge was named Music Educator of the Year by the San Francisco Classical Voice and was nominated for the Grammy foundation’s Music Educator of the Year award.
Wedge does not give credit to just one quality for his success as an artist.
“Perhaps it is a mixture of strong work ethic, being in the right place at the right time, and putting myself out there,” he said. “Somebody once told me, ‘If you don’t stand in the rain, you’ll never get struck by lightning.’ I really took that to heart, and made it my full-time job to audition and apply for absolutely everything. I believe that talent is a seed, and it’s your job, nobody else’s, to grow it. The choice is yours.”