On Thursday, March 8, Professor Mary Beth Coolidge, Dr. Mary Kathryn Brewer, Dr. Karri York and Professor Diana Huntoon are coming together for a night of celebrating women through music. They are the only four women’s voice professors in AU’s School of Music.
The four collectively shared that they’re excited to have the opportunity to perform with their colleagues because they’ve never had a recital like this before.
Their passion for music and teaching shows in their excitement for the recital.
The AU community is a huge part of each of their lives, and when asked what their favorite part was, it was hard for all of them to choose.
“The overall theme is women and life,” says Coolidge. “The themes of all of the songs kind of just dwell around experiences we have all shared as women.
“The first song cycle is meant to be sung by one person, but we are all taking pieces and parts to show that we all experience these things as women,” Coolidge says. “We’ll go through the want for love, experiencing love, bearing a child, childbirth, motherhood and the loss of love.”
She also added that they are hoping to showcase “the wonderful spirit, resiliency and boldness that women have.”
Coolidge shared that her greatest passion is to “live fully present and fully aware of all of the support that the world has to offer me.”
“Finding that in different ways in my life and helping others know that they have the strength already inside them to find that wholeness is my greatest passion,” she says.
Coolidge shared that her husband has a lot of family ties to AU, and while it is an educational institution, it is also a community that supports and pulls everyone together.
Huntoon says of herself and the other voice professors, “We’ve known each other and worked together for a long time, but we’ve never done a recital together. It’s a fun collaborative project for us, and we like each other so that helps.”
Huntoon says that her greatest passion is “good storytelling.”
“I love all kinds of music as long as it has something to say,” she says. “I love being able to take music, tell stories with it and involve the audience.”
Huntoon says that the AU community is like a family to her and that she appreciates the positive interactions with her colleagues.
“It’s not a job—it’s a family,” says Huntoon. “The music department is a special place to be. We are able to communicate and collaborate well together. When any of us are going through a hard time, we know that they have our back. It’s been an incredible support system for a long time.”
Brewer, who attended AU for her bachelor’s degree, shared that she developed lifelong relationships here.
“Being part of that legacy not once but twice as a student and then as a faculty member is very meaningful to me,” she says.
Brewer is excited to be a part of the recital, because it allows students to get to know each of the female voice professors on a personal level.
“I just thought it would be a great way for us to spend time together and also for the students to see the variety of experiences and styles of music that we sing,” says Brewer. “It also allows students to hear some of our own personal stories as well.”
Brewer also shared that she loves singing performing and teaching. “I am very blessed to do what I love and what I’m passionate about as my job,” she says.
York shared that even though she lives in Indianapolis, she loves going to recitals on campus. She says that this is her first step in being involved in the Anderson community, so she is really excited to be a part of that.
York shared that music is one of her greatest passions.
“Music is in my life every single minute of the day. I love singing, teaching and directing choirs,” she says.
At the recital, the audience will experience a wide variety of female voices. All of the singers are from different ages and backgrounds, and they want to share that in this performance. While the performers are each different, they will be singing about themes that everyone can relate to.
Each performer expressed that they want everyone to be part of this celebration. Coolidge says that they’re wanting students and community members of all ages and gender to come and enjoy the music.
“We hope that [students] will come away with their soul filled a little bit, hearing music that has themes that we can all relate to,” says Professor Coolidge. “There are themes on joy, loneliness, love and comfort.”
The recital will take place in York Performance Hall on Thursday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m.