Saxony junior presents voice recital

The public is invited to a free voice recital presented by Paige Kiefner, a junior at Saxony Lutheran who studies voice with Judith Farris, Artist in Residence at Southeast Missouri State University. The recital will be held on Sunday, May 2, at 4:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of Centenary United Methodist Church in Cape.

Although she is only a junior in high school, Kiefner will perform intricate, demanding selections normally tackled by far more advanced singers. Some of these include: "Alleluia," by Mozart, a group of Schubert pieces, including the much loved "Ave Maria," a Puccini aria from "La Rondine," and a set of English pieces by Barber. One of her favorites is "Glitter and be Gay" from Leonard Bernstein's "Candide." She says, "It is a lot of fun and extremely challenging for me just because of the way that my voice works. But it's also extremely fun because it's one of the few comedic pieces that I'm doing. It's one that I can really ham it up!"

Kiefner began singing in church when she was ten and never anticipated she would choose vocal performance as her career. She originally was more interested in musical theatre and praises Mike Dumey for his work with her in Showstoppers and "Godspell." She says, "I love working with Mike! He is so funny and so good at pulling out the tiniest little details that can make such a difference in a performance. He's so good at working with people my age."

But once she began studying with Farris as a freshman Kiefner explains, "She injected a couple of classical pieces into my repertoire, and it evolved to the point where I chose opera and classical in general because it's more challenging, and I find it very interesting and very, very fun. I am so incredibly glad that she's my voice teacher. She really found my voice in the beginning and just kept pushing me and encouraging me to do things that at first I wasn't excited about, like classical and opera. I was the junior high school kid who didn't listen to that and thought it was funny, but she really got me to love it. I owe it all to her. I am so grateful that she was willing to teach me and put up with me."

Farris has been 'putting up with' Kiefner for three years now and explains, "She is an amazing singer! I feel fortunate that I am her first and only teacher. Whatever I tell her to do, at the next lesson it is done. This recital work began in my quest for her to work on repertoire before she auditions for various conservatories during her next school year. Her plans are to study opera and to make her passion for that art form her life's calling."

"I definitely am going into opera," confirms Kiefner, "and I will hopefully be applying to several conservatories on the east coast. I'm studying German and Italian; hopefully, next year I'll be studying French so that at some point I could either work or study overseas. Plus, it helps with singing in a different language. I really want to go somewhere that is difficult. I'm one of those people who succeeds when I'm under pressure, so I'd like to go where it's challenging and I have to stay very focused on what I want to do."

Farris, who sang opera professionally in New York before returning to her hometown, knows first-hand the challenges and demands of choosing opera as a profession. She explains, "From my personal experiences with the various pitfalls and difficulties of pursuing a career as an opera singer, I think she has everything that it takes to be a successful one. That includes the voice, the look, her work ethic, her passion, her gratitude to God for her vocal gifts and the sense of spiritual obligation to those gifts. She always works with patience and diligence, which are both so important, because the work is never over! People who come to this event will be thrilled in the moment and in the future, knowing they heard her when she was just beginning."

Kiefner will be accompanied by Dr. John Shelton, Professor Emeritus of the Southeast music department. Farris adds, "I am especially grateful that Dr. Shelton has been so giving with his amazing professional accompanist experiences and abilities. Paige has learned more from him, as I did as a student at Southeast and the times he accompanied me when returning to perform here over the years after moving to New York. This is wonderful for me to see him now accompanying my student--'The Circle of Life!'"