Sydney Ward’s Senior Solo

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Sydney Ward (’21) records her senior solo. Photo credit: Armand Messier

Larissa Hebert, Adviser

This year, the BFA music department has had to adapt to Covid-19 regulations, which has impacted their ability to perform for the community at large.

According to BFA choral teacher, Armand Messier, “While COVID-19 has placed severe restrictions on in-school music performances, new opportunities have also arisen, giving our seniors, such as Sydney [Ward (’21)], a chance to showcase their talents.”

Ward was allowed to select the piece she wished to perform for her senior solo.   Ward said, “I chose the piece ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’…because it is my favorite Elton John song. I find the way Bernie Taupen uses it as a tool to express his longing to escape stardom, while intertwining it with Dorothy’s [from the Wizard in Oz] entrapment in Oz very eloquent and unique.”  Ward added, “Since I was unable to attend the Elton John concert I was so looking forward to in April of this year, it only felt natural to do one of my final choral pieces as something to pay tribute to such a fantastic work.”

Students had to put in many hours to prepare for, and record, their solos.  They were able to replicate what would have been a live performance into something similar on screen.  “Although these recording projects cannot replace live performances, much of the same effort to prepare and perform have occurred in producing these videos,” Messier said.

When asked how she prepared for her performance, Ward said, “Unlike an average choir piece, I already knew the rhythm, melody, and words by heart. This really allowed me to explore the meaning of the song, and during my few sessions with BFA’s pianist Melissa Ewell, we really worked on the meaning of the piece…I took what I had learned from the session I had done, practiced at home and was finally able to record at school.

Ward’s recording has already been featured on BFA’s Facebook page and is receiving much praise.  Like many works of art this year, the audience’s experience may look different, but the artist’s expression, such as Ward’s, is still straight from the heart.