In September 2014, Caleb Eick, a baritone majoring in vocal performance at the College of Saint Rose, auditioned for and was accepted as our first Auriel Scholar. The Auriel Scholar program is an educational program, aimed at mentoring college-aged voice students, that provides practical experience and knowledge of the inner workings of a professional arts organization. Students involved in this program have the opportunity to sing in a fast-paced professional choir, acquire advanced choral and vocal skills, learn challenging repertoire and add practical performance experience to one’s resume – all the while learning the business skills it takes to become a music professional. The Auriel Scholar program is a valuable apprenticeship that helps students get a head-start on their professional musical careers.
Tell us a little about your background – where did you grow up, what did you listen to in middle school and high school? What were your favorite bands/groups/orchestras/singers?
I grew up in North Creek, NY. I had always loved choral and classical music from the time I was in sixth grade. I was always a member of chorus as well as the pop singers and jazz band. I was a great fan of Chopin as well as of bands such as Panic! At the Disco, Paramore, Shinedown and other popular bands. My favorite orchestra at the time was The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and their recording of Elijah featuring Bryn Terfel and Renee Fleming.
Did you play any instruments? Were you in musicals? Any favorite teachers? What made them great?
I played piano for the high school Jazz Band during my senior year. Every day during my lunch period I would practice piano in the music room and increased my sight reading abilities and my piano skills. I am by no means a great pianist, but I can get by. I was Albert in Bye Bye Birdie, Lt. Brannigan in Guys and Dolls, as well as the light tech for South Pacific.
My high school teacher Mary Leach was one of the biggest influences in my decision to pursue music. She continually encouraged me, challenged me to increase my ability, and directed me on my career path. She is a great musician as well as a great teacher.
Music made sense. It allowed one to move in ways you couldn’t in any other situation. Music allowed me to connect with people on a deeper level that we don’t allow ourselves to in our everyday interactions.
When did you know that music would be your purpose in life?
I knew music was my calling somewhere around ninth grade. I had just finished NYSSMA and it had been such a fun experience I wanted to do it every day. Katy Cole, a local voice teacher and performer, was student teaching during the time and got me interested in music school and vocal technique.
Music was also my unique interest. Many people in my small class of 30 students – we’re great at sports and science. I was not a physics or chemistry buff by any means. Music made sense. It allowed one to move in ways you couldn’t in any other situation. Music allowed me to connect with people on a deeper level that we don’t allow ourselves to in our everyday interactions.
Tell us about Saint Rose – what’s the best part about being a music student there?
Going to Saint Rose was one of the best decisions of my life. I met many wonderful people both in the college and local communities. Because of its involvement with the surrounding communities I was able to branch out and explore the professional music world outside of academia.
Saint Rose also presented me the opportunity to study with Dr. Susan Harwood. What an outstanding experience that has been! Without her guidance I would not have been able to achieve what I have thus far. She is not only an amazing teacher but an outstanding guide and advisor.
What music-related activities have you pursued at Saint Rose?
I have participated in many musical activities in my time here at Saint Rose. I have been a member of the Chamber Choir each year. With the Chamber Choir, I went on two international choir tours; to Cork, Ireland and Lyon, France. In addition I was a member of the Madrigals Ensemble, the Masterworks Chorale, as well as the Men’s Glee club. In the ’13-’14 academic year I assisted in running the Saint Rose Mixed Chamber ensemble under Dr. Harwood. I was able to assist in the selection of repertoire, program notes and translations, and booking/organizing rehearsals. Through the connections I made at Saint Rose I have also been able to perform with groups at Albany’s Cathedral of Immaculate Conception and FUMC Delmar. My senior year I was also given the opportunity to serve as the Vocal Intern at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church of Albany.
Tell us a little about the Lake George Music Festival and how you came to be involved.
In the summer of 2013, I assisted Bernadette Speach, Executive Director of the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek, NY, with the LGMF concert at her venue. While working as stage crew and as a venue assistant, she introduced me to the LGMF Executive Director, Alex Lombard. I gave him my information with the hope that they may have an internship opportunity in the future. In Spring of 2014 I was offered the Arts Administration Internship. The internship included assisting the directors with all aspects of the festival operations. It was one of the best and enlightening work experiences to date.
We’re certainly overjoyed to have you as our first Auriel Scholar! What are the best things about this program, and would you recommend it to other college students?
I don’t think I could pick just one part of the program I enjoyed most. The opportunity to perform with high quality musicians, perform advanced repertoire, as well as selecting repertoire and planning concerts has been such a great privilege. The program has allowed me to utilize and expand my abilities. I have enjoyed working in the program and being involved in such an amazing organization. I would most definitely recommend this program to other college students who have an interest in the professional music world beyond the classroom.
Tell us a bit about your upcoming senior recital – was rep planning easy?
I have been planning this recital for over a year now. I have been vigorously working to make the final selections the best they can be. One of my favorite parts of studying with Dr. Harwood is that she allowed me to research and present repertoire and she would either approve my selections or suggest something else. She has helped me increase my knowledge of standard repertoire and vocal literature.
On this recital I will have works of Lully, Campra, Bellini, Schumann, Gounod, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. The works span from the Baroque to Late Romantic/20th Century.
I am very excited to present this recital. Everyone should come. My amazing mother is preparing the reception, which is a reason in its own to go!
As a perk of your involvement with Auriel Camerata, you’ve got a master class with Metropolitan Opera soprano Maureen O’Flynn coming up too – what do you hope to get out of that?
I am beyond excited to participate in this master class! I hope to gain a few rehearsal and performance techniques as well as another opinion on the repertoire itself. I have always wanted to participate in a master class that is open to the public with a well-known singer. I am also excited that others will be participating, and I can gain insight and information from their performances. I aspire to be a voice teacher and clinician and what better way than to observe a master class?!
What’s next for you?
I am awaiting a decision for a graduate assistantship from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. There is an outstanding baritone named John Kramar, with whom I wish to continue my vocal training. I met Mr. Kramar at the New York Summer School for the Arts School of Choral Studies when I attended in the summer of 2010. Under his guidance at this program I gained an incredible amount of knowledge in only one month. After grad school….I don’t know. I would like to begin teaching and performing professionally and building a reputation. I would also like to at some point in the future apply to a Doctor of Musical Arts program. Where…..I also don’t know. I would like to at some point return to the Capital Region to help build the expanding arts community and budding cultural center of Northern New York.
Caleb Eick’s Senior Recital will be presented on Friday, March 13 2015 at 7pm at the Kathleen McManus Picotte Recital Hall in the Massry Center for the Arts, College of Saint Rose. The recital is free and open to the public.