Senior Caitlyn Balkcum will take the audience through a range of cultures during her classical voice recital at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 in Whitley Auditorium. 

As a music education major, Balkcum is required to prepare a recital featuring music from various composers and time periods.

Balkcum has prepared 12 songs by five different composers in four different languages: German, Italian, French and English. The preparation for the concert is a cumulation of four years of training at Elon University, but she said more serious training began over the summer.

“I got together with my private lesson teacher and we thought about what kind of repertoire we wanted to include, as well as the order of the songs and the composers,” Balkcum said.

The recital will feature new songs Balkcum began learning over the summer, as well as pieces that she performed during her freshman, sophomore and junior years.

Outside of rehearsals for the show, Balkcum has been researching the pieces and creating a program for the audience to follow throughout her recital.

“In order to perform [the pieces] well, you need to have good knowledge of why they were written that way or what the composer had in mind,” she said.

For her program, Balkcum compiled research including background information on the composers and the specific songs being performed, as well as stylistic techniques the composers incorporated and translations for pieces in other languages.

“The audience will be able to read along with the translations and get some background as to what we are singing about, especially because for vocalists, most of our pieces are not in English,” she said.

This will mark Balkcum’s first solo concert.

“I am really excited because it is a culmination of four years of training, and I know that my voice has changed and that I have grown as a musician working so closely with private instructors and my accompanist,” she said. “I have come a long way and it will be nice to show that off.”

She is also looking forward to her family coming to the recital because it will be their first time hearing her sing in a different style.

“My family hasn’t heard my classical voice in its full capacity, so I am excited for them to hear how much I’ve grown,” Balkcum said.

During her time at Elon, Balkcum needed to take 10-12 classes and music classes each semester, which she said was like double majoring in music and education.

Balkcum said she had to become proficient and familiar with the guitar and the recorder to understand how to teach lessons for various grade levels. She also had to take education classes such as “Teaching in 21st Century Classrooms.” 

Following graduation, Balkcum will be certified to teach music for grades K-12, but wants to pursue professional vocal performance first.

“I want to see what I can do performing both classical and contemporary voice,” she said. “I am trying to get some demo tracks out before I graduate so I have that to send out to people.”

In addition to a busy class schedule, most music education students are often involved in ensembles that meet outside class.

Balkcum is a part of Camerata, Elon Music Ambassadors and Vital Signs, and she is business manager of the a capella group.

Since the spring of her freshman year, Balkcum has been a part of Vital Signs. But beyond being a member, she is in charge of booking gigs for the group, whether on or off campus, and making sure rehearsals are running smoothly.

Senior Adam Gill, also a member of Vital Signs, has known Balkcum since freshman year and was amazed during her audition to see such a “ridiculously talented individual.”

“Caitlyn has always brought positive energy into the group and is always willing to help out in any way that she can,” Gill said. “Being a music education major, she is super busy and always hard at work — but despite this stress, she always comes into a rehearsal with a smile and is an amazing addition to the group.”

Gill added even though Balkcum is so busy, she has done a great job at coordinating Vital Signs with outside gigs and planning participation in exciting events.

Sophomore Abby Dionise said Balkcum is always encouraging Vital Signs to work hard and take it to the next level.

“Because of Caitlyn’s strong musical background, she is a great person to have in rehearsal because she picks up on subtle things we can to do to improve our songs,” Dionise said.

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