Mollie Parce on Philosophy & Opera

mollie-620x264Note: This piece was originally published in Mast Magazine, Pacific Lutheran University’s monthly student magazine.

J-Term is a time of transition for Lutes and junior Mollie Parce is no exception. Her last two J-Terms were dominated by Pacific Lutheran University’s annual opera performances. This year, the opera class was held during the fall, freeing up Mollie’s January to fulfill her Philosophy credit by taking Ethics and the Good Life with Professor Mike Rings.

“I feel like [Ethics and the Good Life] makes me question my own opinions and views, which is weird because I am really passionate about what I believe in,” Parce said. GURs, or general university requirements, such as the philosophy course Parce is taking, offer a unique opportunity to gain perspective.

“I usually am pretty stubborn about my opinions,  I can talk to other people about it but usually don’t change my mind,” she said. “This class makes me see things from a different point of view.”

“It makes me use a different type of thinking,” Parce continued. “Opera is more of a habitual thing and I can pick up the material a lot faster because it’s what I’m good at. But when I have a different class it challenges me a bit more. Last year I did both a J-Term class and opera and it was awful just because I had a hard timemasksbalancing both. This year I’m having an easier time in my GUR because it’s really the only thing I have to focus on.”

Comparing this year’s opera to the last two she’s performed in, Parce preferred performing during January. Last year, the opera class performed “Alcina” by Handel. The year before that, they performed an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“I thought it would be better during the fall because we had more time, but I think J-Term is a better setting for it. It’s intensive, and you do it for five hours a day, every single day, Monday through Friday. It’s harder because you have to memorize your music quicker, but I think it’s better because it keeps you more focused on that specific thing because it’s your J-Term class.”

“During the regular semester you have all these other classes going on, so it doesn’t feel like as much of a priority as it really should be, especially for people who are vocal performance majors.”

It takes a special kind of crazy to become a music major, especially with a focus in vocal performance. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication to produce those kinds of results. The results they produce speak for themselves, though. All that great music follows naturally from the amount of work they’ll put in to honing their craft.

“It’s a cliche, but you are your biggest critic. It’s hard because your body is your instrument, so when you get sick or you’re tired you can feel it and hear it in your voice. Even if you’re fatigued from carrying boxes all day you can feel it in your voice.”

“I question it almost every day; ‘is this the right major for me?’ The difference is it’s me saying that and not my vocal teacher or a professor.”

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