Nodding his head with the rhythm, Nolan Crawford ’15 sang “Too Darn Hot,” a catchy jazz tune from Cole Porter’s Broadway show “Kiss Me, Kate” during the finale of his Senior Recital. As part of a collection of songs from musicals that Crawford sang at the end of his recital, “Too Darn Hot” ended with Crawford dramatically shouting “hot,” the final lyric of the song.
“Too Darn Hot” was one of 14 songs performed by Crawford, a tenor singer, who was accompanied by Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music, in the Timken Room in Graves Hall on Sunday afternoon. Crawford’s Senior Recital was divided into five sections that were organized by either theme or composer.
Crawford’s recital began with his rendition of the high-ranged “Quanto è Bella” by Gaetano Donizetti and the slow and calming “Ideale” by Francesco Paolo Tosti. Following those were three Franz Schubert pieces that increased in tempo and featured smooth sequences of notes. Next were a trio of compositions by Gabriel Fauré, during which Crawford’s voice tied together airy phrases of rhythms. A set of Roger Quilter’s “Shakespeare Songs” describing the sweetness of love and sadness of losing it followed. The final collection featured two Broadway songs by George Gershwin and Cole Porter. The whole recital ended with the famous “Drinking Song” from Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata.”
“I really enjoyed performing the Senior Recital. It was a great crowd, especially for a sunny Sunday afternoon. Just the sense of support in the room was really strong and great. I had a really enjoyable time out there singing and singing what I’ve spent all this time preparing for with my voice teacher and [Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music], my accompanist. I was really happy with how it all came together,” said Crawford.
Crawford’s Senior Recital was a culmination of his singing career thus far, which began when Crawford had a solo in a third grade concert. After that first solo, Crawford became a regular performer in the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus in New York City for six seasons, where he sang in eight major productions, notably two runs of Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème” and one of Georges Bizet’s “Carmen.” Upon coming to Andover, Crawford immediately became involved in Andover’s music program by joining Chorus, Fidelio and the Yorkies.
“[I was initially attracted to singing by] just the feeling I get when I belt out a note. It is different from playing an instrument as it is coming from inside you in a different way. And I think having sung at the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus, I just love to hear the sounds people can create. Everyone has a unique voice and that is something that’s different from the instruments you play as well, because it cannot really be quantified by another person,” said Crawford.
“If you are singing because you really love it, enjoy it and you do not have the pressures of going into it as a job one day, it is something you can enjoy unconditionally. That is what I have been able to do, something I want to continue, in some capacity, for the rest of my life, whether it is doing it or appreciating it. So for me, it hasn’t been challenging to love singing.” continued Crawford.
Crawford’s singing career has been full of highlights. In addition to performances at Andover and at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, last year he attended the Tanglewood Institute, which is an esteemed summer training program for high school musicians to train under the guidance of performers from the Boston Symphony Orchestra
In addition to perfecting his voice through performances and camps, Crawford can partially attribute his skills to his vocal teacher, Donald Wilkinson, Adjunct Instructor in Music, who has taught Crawford since his Junior year.
“[Crawford’s] been a real delight – a student I always look forward to seeing at his lessons. He’s really diligent about it, and he really works hard, and I appreciate that,” said Wilkinson. “[His performance today was] excellent. Not only did he sing in four different languages, but he also gave a little bit more, which I was hoping for with the motion of the songs. I was really pleased with that.”