Mosaic / May 3, 2017

Students discuss musical training at Knox

(Dan Perez/TKS)

  Jennie Jeoung

Sophomore Jennie Jeoung wants to sing because ze wants to act, and ze wants to act because of the legendary thief and hero Iljimae. When Jeoung was 11 years old, ze would sit with zis younger siblings Jeffrey and Grace to watch the Korean television show “Iljimae.” That show, the first show Jeoung recalls watching, inspired Jeoung and Jeffrey Jeoung to start their own two-performer acting troupe, with 6-year-old Grace as the sole audience member and sound effect producer.

“My brother and I started this group, and it went on for years and years until I had to leave [Korea] for Florida,” Jeoung said.

Ze noted that already after only one term of lessons ze was able to apply some of Bostwick’s vocal teachings to zis theatre performances. “I could use the vocal warm-ups,” Jeoung said, referring to zis recent rehearsals for zis play, “The Bald Soprano.” Ze then laughed and continued, “I mean, I don’t, but I should!” Jeoung said ze looks forward to being able to put zis vocal lessons to more use in the future the more ze learns.

Ze mentioned that efficiency and thoughtfulness are two significant principles for zem and zis performances. Ze highlighted a few exercises in particular that help zem be aware of zisself and zis voice.

“The most effective is the string one. When you sing, you’re supposed to imagine pulling a string,” Jeoung said. Ze pantomimed pulling a string, an imaginary string hanging inches from zis face that stretched from the top of zis head to the top of zis legs. “It helps with flow, which is good because when I sing I have a tendency to trail off.”

Jeoung noted that some of the exercises seemed strange when ze started. “There’s the walnut one. You put this walnut in your mouth and have to make noise while it’s there. Mah! Mah! Ah, eh, ee, oh, oo!… Yeah, it’s weird,” Jeoung said. Ze concluded, however, that the experience ze gained was worth the discomfort.

(Julian Blye/TKS)

Meghan Mohn

Junior Meghan Mohn’s journey with music did not begin at their first vocal lesson a year ago at Knox College. It did not even begin at their first piano lesson when they were a child. In fact, their story with music begins before they were born, when Audrey Lonegran, the young woman who would become Meghan’s grandmother, turned down a position as a singer in a European opera to live with the love of her life, Melvin Mohn.

“They met and fell crazy in love, didn’t spend a day apart since the day they met,” Mohn recalled.

Audrey received her B.A. in Music, became an award-winning vocal teacher, and had two children including Meghan Mohn’s father. Though Meghan took no vocal lessons as a child, Meghan remembers enjoying music with their grandmother all their life.

Both Audrey and Melvin Mohn suffered from cancer. Melvin passed away on Jan. 2, 2010, and Audrey followed a few days later. “She stopped eating, sleepingÉShe truly died from a broken heart,” Meghan said.

Meghan hopes, however, to carry on their grandmother’s legacy now through voice. “Pretty often now when I sing I think of her, wishing I could sing for her,” they said.

“There are actually recordings of her that my dad shared with me, and it’s a little uncanny how similar we sound,” Mohn said. They noted that they look very similar to Audrey Mohn, and that vocal tone is heavily influenced by facial structure.

“Allison and I tried to find the songs she was singing, but they’ve been lost to the sands of time. So I’m going to see if I can try to transcribe by listening the notes and the piano and see if I can sing them as my senior show,” Mohn said. They shared their favorite of Audrey’s songs, though they have not yet discovered the title.

“The first lines are, ‘Can this be summer? Though the gentle heat has left the roses on the wind of June,’” they said, “I have goosebumps just thinking about how beautiful that is.”

(Julian Blye/TKS)

Madeline Pape

When asked why she loved to sing, senior Madeline Pape shook her head.

“It’s more than that. I need to sing. I couldn’t be who I am without singing and without the relationships that I’ve made with other people,” she said.

The senior began her vocal journey at 7 years old when a children’s choir she tried to join attracted only two members. The vocal teacher, whom Pape remembers as the fun-loving “Crystal,” decided to coach Pape and the other girl into a duet. “We both really liked the teacher and started taking lessons from her privatelyÉ We were friends,” Pape said.

At Knox, Pape studies with teacher Allison Meuth. Pape couldn’t stress enough the importance of the student-teacher relationship.

“I feel really bad for people who’ve had a really strict voice teacher. You have to be so vulnerable with voice. And a really good voice teacher can sometimes tell just by the way your voice sounds if you’re upset,” Pape said. She recalled one lesson after a particularly hard week in Fall Term. Meuth, pushing Pape to grow her voice as usual, heard the stress in Pape’s voice.

Pape also participates in the Knox College Choir and has for her four years at Knox. “I really believe that we’re a family,” Pape said. She recalled a moment on tour in France in a small, mostly empty church. A small group of students began singing, and slowly the rest of the choir joined in. They sang the song “Leaves.”

“Leaves is my favoriteÉLyrically, it’s a Sara Teasdale poem, and it’s a lot about letting thing go and letting people go in your life and recognizing that even though that’s a really hard thing to do, everything that comes after is really beautiful and amazing,” Pape said. As a senior, Pape said the themes of Leaves meant more to her now than ever. “I don’t know how I’m going to move on from the Knox College ChoirÉ I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to find another choir as close as this.”

 

Tricia Duke

Tags:  College Discuss Musicians training

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