Vocalist prepares for recital

Senior Emily Roach has been singing since she was 12 years old:

By Signe Trewyn


Emily Roach is preparing to take the stage for the moment she’s worked toward her entire college career: her senior recital.

Roach, a music major, began taking voice lessons when she was 12 years old. Since then, she said she has been working hard to hone her musical talent.

Roach said the thing she relishes the most about singing is the thrill of performing in front of an audience and making people happy while she does it.


Music Professor Robert Gehrenbeck had only positive things to say about Roach’s vocal work and personality.

“She has a rich, mezzo-soprano voice,” Gehrenbeck said. “She is very cheerful, and she has a great attitude.”

Brian Leeper, a music professor who has worked closely with Roach, said he has seen her voice change and grow over her time at UW-Whitewater.

“She’s gotten lower, and she had her tonsils and adenoids removed, which has improved her singing ability,” Leeper said.

Roach has a passion for opera, and she said it has influenced her repertoire.

She sang in the opera “Carmen” as the title role, and performed in the UW-Whitewater production of “The Coronation of Poppea” and “Signor Deluso,” a one-act comedy put on as part of the UW-Whitewater Opera Workshop.

Roach said her favorite opera is “Madame Butterfly,” and her favorite composers are Giacomo Puccini and Gioachino Rossini.

Learning music very quickly has always been something that came to her naturally, Roach said. She has been preparing several songs in foreign languages for her upcoming recital.

One of the songs is titled “Abendlied,” which is German for “evening song.” It was composed by fellow UW-Whitewater senior Adam Taylor.


Taylor composed “Abendlied” for a mutual friend of his and Roach’s who lost his father over the summer. Taylor said early Disney songs inspired the music. He said the vocal parts were tricky to write, and he tried to vary the harmonic progression to give the song a romantic sound.

Roach also is singing a song cycle by Robert Schumann called “Woman’s Life and Love.”

After graduation, Roach said she is planning to pursue music as a career. She credits her instructors for their contributions to her success, and said Leeper has done great things for her singing voice.

Additionally, Dr. Karen Boe, her piano teacher, and Christian Kent Ellenwood, who taught music theory, also helped her throughout her academic career.

Roach’s recital is at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 in Light Recital Hall.