Rising stars put on a show at UCR Performance LabOn Wednesday, May 6th, the UCR Department of Music presented a vocal recital performance by Randy Lee, accompanied by pianist, Tina Whitley. Both are very talented in their respective mediums and displayed their skills for an hour filled with solos, melodies, vocal ranges, etc.
The performance lab provides a decent-sized stage with the audience sitting in close proximity. Lights were dimmed with a mix of blue and white colors to provide more intimacy among the audience members and performers. The one hour set of performances flew by rapidly sans the 10-minute intermission, but every single minute was used exceptionally. In total, twelve songs were performed ranging from Baroque to Foster in a musical trip through history with some other standouts being Mozart and Schubert. At the beginning, it was foreshadowed that the songs would be a “challenging repertoire”, and that assessment was spot on, but Randy was amazing stepping up to the test.
Randy started off nervous, as most performers do, but nerves push people through. The jitters were quickly shaken off as more songs went by. The variety of songs toyed with our emotions as cheerfulness, sadness, agony, etc. were experienced as if we were on a rollercoaster.
Not everyone understood the languages being vocalized, but the pamphlets handed out pre-show provided translations to each song, which was quite helpful. Though, the words didn’t need to be understood to know that they were beautiful in magnitude because emotion seeped through the music provided by Tina and expressions shown by Randy.
One performance in particular stood out and held up throughout the night as the finest piece, which was the duet Randy performed with his stepmother, Hyun Mee Lee, as they sang “La Ci Darem La Mano” by Mozart together. The chemistry between the two shined through as they communicated with one another through song, but at the same time, they included the audience. At song’s end, Randy’s stepmother smiled with pride and her eyes lit up with joy because of the amazing duet performance with her son.
The night ended magnificently with “The Prayer”, which was a duet including Abigail Villalta as the other singer and Justin Myers playing the flute, and “Nella Fantasia” minus Abigail. “The Prayer” was the sole song that included English lyrics, so people didn’t have to worry about translations. In “Nella Fantasia”, Randy and Justin took turns with their respective solos as if it were a battle between vocals and flute. The crowd erupted to a standing ovation at the final performance’s end, as the musicians bowed and issued their thanks, because it was truly well-deserved. We were treated with an outstanding ride through history with Randy leading the way accompanied by Tina sitting passenger side and providing the musical selection.