When Kelci Kosin first performed “Carmina Burana” on a Chicago stage in 2015, she had no idea how meaningful the cantata soon would become to her.
“My husband, who was my fiance at the time, sang it with me,” said Kosin, who is pursuing her doctor of arts degree from Ball State in vocal performance. “After that, we both agreed we had to include it in our wedding ceremony.”
After walking down the aisle to one of its arias, Kosin will once again perform the classical orchestral-choral masterpiece Feb. 26. That’s when she takes to the stage of the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, joining hundreds of other students from the School of Music at the 1,600-seat concert hall. “It’s a dream that’s become a reality,” she said.
Fellow soloists will include alumnus Hongteak Lim (tenor) and faculty member Jon Truitt (baritone), Kosin’s voice teacher of almost 10 years.
“Our conducting faculty selected her to perform this piece because of her suitability for the music, her work ethic and her high level of artistry and experience,” said Truitt, who has spent months helping Kosin train her soprano voice to sustain the high notes required of the piece. “In one sense, performing with Kelci brings feelings of pride in one my most successful students performing at such a high level, but it also brings a kind of paternal pride in sharing this great opportunity with her.”
Kosin described “Carmina Burana” as “intense, raw, and breathtaking.” Written by German composer Carl Orff, the music is based on a book of poems from the Middle Ages written mostly in Latin and found in a Bavarian monastery in 1803.
“It can be so many different things for the audience, but being on the stage surrounded by a choir and orchestra … it’s simply life-changing. For all of the musicians involved, it takes so much energy to put this piece together.”
Concert is School of Music’s largest
Ryan Hourigan, director of the School of Music, said the Palladium concert will be the largest ever performed by Ball State students. It will feature the school’s symphony orchestra and wind ensemble, as well as a 200-plus-student choir that will collaborate with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.
“Some of our best faculty and students, Kelci included, will be highlighted as soloists as part of the program,” he said. “Our aim is to provide an opportunity for them to perform in a professional, authentic environment like the Palladium, with the added bonus of providing a high-level performance near some of the strongest music programs in the region.
“We hope high school students thinking about studying music at Ball State will attend.”
The first half of the concert will feature the Ball State Wind Ensemble, led by Thomas Caneva, director of bands. The ensemble will present the Indiana premiere of American composer David Maslanka’s Concerto No. 3 for Piano and Wind Ensemble with faculty pianist Jim Helton and will also perform the concerto “Mavericks” by composer Paul Dooley. The ensemble will perform the same program next month at the annual conference of the College Band Directors National Association, one of eight collegiate wind ensembles selected for the honor after a round of competitive auditioning.
The second half of the concert will feature Kosin and the other soloists performing “Carmina Burana” with the Ball State Symphony Orchestra, combined Ball State choirs, and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, led by Douglas Droste, director of orchestras.
Venue leaves student performers speechless
Kosin can’t begin to fathom how incredible the piece will sound once it’s performed inside a venue as breathtaking as the Palladium.
“When I Googled images of it, I was speechless,” she said of the three-story concert hall that opened in 2011. It’s since become a popular destination for live performances by some of the world’s best known singers, musicians and orchestras.
Performing at the Palladium gives Ball State students the real-world experience required of touring musicians, who must adapt to performance venues away from home, Hourigan said.
“It will be a different audience with a different set of expectations but it couldn’t get any better than this for our students. The Palladium is probably the most professional space most have had the opportunity to perform in.”