By Isabella Darcy
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Assistant professor of voice Brandi Diggs shined in Mayo Concert Hall on Friday, Feb. 2, delivering a remarkable opera performance in the third recital of the College’s Faculty Artist Series.
Diggs was joined by internationally acclaimed pianist Soojin Kim and saxophonist Tyrone Page for the recital.
“The performance was absolutely amazing,” said audience member and sophomore music education major Regina Ciampoli.
The recital took place notably during Black History Month and featured repertoire by eight different composers, many of whom were people of color. Some pieces on the program were “Canciones Clasicás Españolas” by Fernando Obradors, “You Can Tell the World” by Margaret Bonds and “Love Let the Wind Cry…How I Adore Thee” by Undine Smith Moore.
Diggs captivated the audience, which frequently erupted in applause throughout the program — their excitement a testament to her exceptional rendition. Diggs’s execution of the repertoire was mesmerizing, with her soprano vocals moving effortlessly from piece to piece, beautifully constructing a mix of emotion and exhilaration.
“It was really great,” said sophomore music education major Christian Rodriguez. “To see her do what she does in performance, having people of color on stage at a predominately white institution and just having that representation is fantastic.”
Diggs, Kim and Page intentionally chose repertoire composed by people of color for the performance.
“As far as choosing the repertoire, we really wanted to showcase diverse composers and amplify diverse voices,” said Page.
The recital ended with a piece by Moore, titled “Watch n’ Pray.” Diggs said that she chose to close with this piece to honor Black composers and pay homage to Black history during Black History Month.
Moore, sometimes known as the “Dean of Black Women Composers,” was a successful composer and music instructor in the 1900’s. Experiencing racism herself, she worked to support and uplift Black artists.
According to the National Public Radio, the list of Black female composers in the United States is very short. Moore, however, was not the only Black female composer whose work was featured during the recital.
Bonds is another Black female composer whose composition was performed on Friday. She was one of the first Black female composers to gain recognition in the United States. Amidst her own success, Bonds was an advocate for promoting Black composers.
The repertoire intentionally chosen for the recital, combined with exceptional performances by Diggs, Kim and Page, made for a great show.
Throughout the entirety of February, the College will host a variety of events to celebrate Black History Month.