Concerto-Aria winners channel passions into musical success
Four Augustana students will take the stage and perform their solo work at the annual Concerto-Aria concert in the Washington Pavilion on April 9.
The concert is the culmination of the Concerto-Aria competition in which student vocalists and instrumentalists audition by performing their work before a panel of judges.
Students audition with the piece of music they intend to perform at the final concert. This year’s winners are pianist Josh Jaton, trombonist Matt Watt, and vocalists Joscelyn Schipper and Jonah Kistenmacher.
Sophomore Josh Jaton has spent over a year practicing and memorizing his 50-page piano concerto, spending five hours on each page. He says the strict and meticulous practice regime challenges him to become a better pianist.
“When deciding to compete in such a program as this, you have to be willing to push yourself past what you’ve been previously capable of,” Jaton said. “It requires intense discipline to keep that up.”
As a music, classics and physics major, Jaton says the intense piano practice has influenced how he approaches his classes and work as GSA’s leader.
“It relates to how I spend time in my practice room,” Jaton said. “Do you want to spend a lot of quantity or quality time in your practice room? That’s how I tackle my whole life.”
Junior Matt Watt began playing trombone in fifth grade. He has yet to put it back down since at Augustana, he says he practices trombone at least an hour each day, five days per week.
“Music has a lot of power to do a lot of different things,” Watt said. “It evokes emotion, and it helps people to cope witvh stresses.”
With headphones in ears, Watt can usually be found underneath the dimmed lights of the Huddle, listening to music while studying computer science.
As a computer science major, Watt says he came to Augustana because it allowed him to pursue his interest in technology while cultivating his trombone playing as well.
“I could have gone someplace like Dakota State University or South Dakota State University to get a computer science degree, but I chose to come here because I could be involved in something that I love to do,” Watt said.
Sophomore Joscelyn Schipper said the Mozart piece she is performing has allowed her to use her musical abilities in ways she never thought possible.
“I never thought I’d be able to sing loud enough to fill the Washington Pavilion,” Schipper said.
Besides being a vocalist, Schipper has stood beneath the spotlight as a dancer and actress as well. To her, performing arts are more than entertainment—they can be used as therapy. She hopes to someday weave her psychology and theatre majors into social work.
“I’m really passionate about the performing arts because I think they are a lot more relevant than people think they are,” Schipper said. “From a psychology standpoint, you can use music, theatre, dance and visual arts all as forms of therapy.”
Growing up in a musical family, singing has been an influential part of Kistenmacher’s life. Because both his mother and father are musicians at his hometown church, Kistenmacher is interested in combining music and ministry.
“One of the shaping factors of music is that it can be very spiritually uplifting,” Kistenmacher said.
As a music and elementary education major, the sophomore is excited to be able to pursue music as a career rather than just a hobby.
“Music is something I’ve always enjoyed, but now that it is something I want to do as a job, there are two different realms and it’s fun to see how they come together to make an awesome music experience,” Kistenmacher said.
Like Schipper and Watt, Kistenmacher also views music as a stress reliever.
“It’s listening to music that helps me cope with stresses in life or gets me out of a bad day or just reset,” Kistenmacher said. “In that aspect, I think it’s shaped me in learning how to cope with things through music.”