Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

For vocalist, path to recital began with major switch

By Lauren Piek


Senior Jennalee Brummel originally came to UW-Whitewater with the intention of majoring in flute performance after receiving a full scholarship. That was her plan until one of her professors suggested she do something else besides play flute.

Brummel had always wanted to take voice lessons and found a new relationship with opera.

“Singing opera is so completely different than anything else,” Brummel said. “I had never even heard an opera before I came to school. It wasn’t even on my radar, and I discovered I loved it.”

Brummel has played the flute since she was nine, and when she switched to a vocal performance major, her parents were surprised, but supportive.

“It wasn’t until my junior recital that my parents ever actually heard me sing,” Brummel said. “They knew I was taking voice lessons, but since flute was still my major instrument, I was never performing recitals or anything. They were just shocked; they didn’t know I could sing that well. They were like ‘I didn’t know there was that opera voice coming out of you.’”

While a flute major, Brummel still was enrolled in choir classes with Dr. Robert Gehrenbeck, the director of Choral Activities at UW-Whitewater.

“She’s very talented, very hardworking,” Gehrenbeck said. “She has a fantastic soprano voice; she can sing really high, which is distinctive about her.”

While on a choir tour last year, Brummel sang very high notes while performing at the Milwaukee High School for the Arts.

Gehrenbeck said the students at the school were really good singers themselves and appreciative of the music. They also loved Brummel.

“We got to the part at the end, and she’s singing the high note, and then she hit the super-high note and got a standing ovation,” Gehrenbeck said. “It was awesome.”

Brummel’s experience as an instrumentalist has helped her as a vocalist, Gehrenbeck and senior Josh Wang said.

Wang and Brummel met as freshmen in the chamber singers choir course, and he will accompany Brummel on the piano for her senior recital.

Wang said there were two main things that have made Brummel a successful singer.

“She’s an instrumentalist at heart,” Wang said. “She started on the flute, so she’s got well-rounded musicianship, and she’s got the drive to be her best and practice and get where she needs to be.”

Brummel is performing an array of songs at her recital including arias, “The Doll Song,” from the opera “The Tales of Hoffmann” by Offenbach and “The Bell Song” from the opera “Lakme” by Delibes.

She also is singing “Shepherd on the Rock” by Schubert, accompanied with clarinet, and “Bright Rails,” “So Little There,” and “Beneath the Hawthorne Tree,” by Libby Larsen.

The performance is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, in Light Recital Hall.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Royal Purple encourages readers to voice their opinions via the online comments section. Comments may be monitored for appropriateness and viewer safety. If a comment is harassing, threatening or inappropriate in nature, it may be taken down with editor's discretion.
All Royal Purple Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Founded 1901
For vocalist, path to recital began with major switch