Two students performed “The Songs of Travel” by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the GRACE festival as tribute to one of the student’s late father Friday in the Gentile Gallery.
Junior Andrew Anderson sang baritone and was accompanied by junior Maylee Brown on the piano. About 60 students and faculty were in attendance.
Anderson has been learning the various songs in the collection since his senior year of high school, but the songs took on a new meaning after his father passed in February 2020. Anderson and Brown have been working on the songs together for around two years.
Anderson related the traveler in Vaughan Williams’ collection to his own father, Markus Anderson, since he made his own journey to heaven.
“As I kept learning these songs, I saw more and more of my father in the music and the lyrics,” Anderson said.
The songs describe a traveler who is journeying through life and encounters love and suffering on the road. The songs have musical motifs such as sharp staccato notes and gentle flowing melodies that help convey the themes of struggle and hope along the journey of life.
“(Vaughan Williams) is telling the story of a traveler,” Anderson said, “but it’s not so much of a narrative as it is checkpoints along the journey. The flow of the themes will help to guide the story.”
Junior Elizabeth Williams was moved to tears by Anderson and Brown’s performance.
“It took my breath away, and I was at a complete loss for words after it ended,” Williams said. “It was a truly beautiful performance from the heart and incredible tribute to (Anderson’s) father’s memory.”
Anderson and Brown’s performance was sponsored by the GRACE arts festival.