Under the sparkling spotlights, Henry Crater ’20 sat at the base of the Timken Room stage in Graves Hall, lightly strumming a guitar while the melody from the piano drifted in. Singing softly at first, Crater’s tenor voice starts the slow, romantic melody of “Falling Slowly” from the musical Once, soon joined by Chloe Webster ’20, harmonizing softly in her soprano voice. As the song gains intensity for the chorus, Crater and Webster move slowly down the two symmetrical aisles of the room, holding other’s gaze the entire time.
“I think it helps that we made a conscious choice to constantly stay connected with each other while we’re up on stage, and not just drop the moment when the song ends… let the moments flow into the next song, and make it like a show,” said Crater.
The Student Voice Recital featuring Crater and Webster took place last Friday. Webster’s teacher, Krista River, Adjunct Instructor in Music, initially suggested that she hold a concert. Webster asked Crater to join her in holding the recital because of their shared love for music and theater.
“We picked the duets together, and they were all musical theatre, because that’s what we’re both really interested in. In terms of collaboration, it wasn’t just performing the duets together but also supporting each other in our individual works. So while the other person was singing, individually supporting them by being on stage, it was really important to have partnership in that way,” said Webster.
Abigail Johnson ’19, an audience member, said that she was impressed by Crater’s and Webster’s stage presence and their expressiveness.
“Both Chloe and Henry have beautiful voices, and they sing so well together and they’re both so expressive. You see them getting lost in the music but in a way where they’re just pulling the audience in to the story that they’re telling,” said Johnson.
In the final piece, “Move On” by Stephen Sondheim, Webster and Crater decided to sing the ending a second time. The clamor of both singers’ voices marked the beginning of the epilogue, as if two characters were arguing. Soon, however, the tenor and soprano merged into unison an octave apart, finally arriving at a harmonious note. Soft notes of encouragement from the soprano brought the piece to a soft close.
Crater said, “We picked a really loaded spot in the song – the soft ‘something in the light, something in the sky, in the grass…’ is a really big character epiphany [in the play]. It’s the most beautiful part of what was, for me, the most beautiful and momentous song on our set list.”
The ending lyrics of the song express the idea of creating art for yourself instead of others: “Let it come from you, then it will be new, give us more to see.” Webster and Crater wanted to emphasize this message by singing the ending twice.
“I think that we as artists really connected with the message of the piece. It also shows a really beautiful connection between two characters, and to end the evening by working together on that piece reflected the collaborative nature of the recital,” said Webster.