Senior ends college, vocal career on good note

A soprano vocalist showcased her talents with a variety of languages and musical styles during her senior recital, receiving a standing ovation when she finished.

Senior Kayla Wilkens sang with what audience members described as grace and power Dec. 4. In an elegant, red dress, she stood on stage with confidence and kept the audience focused on her.

Wilkens sang various songs in French, German, English and Hebrew. The content ranged from music from the classical era to the twentieth century. Styles she performed included a tango-influenced piece and love poems.

“The Hebrew songs are quite lovely and very poignant, and I knew I wanted to share a moment like that at my senior recital—it’s a very special set of songs. I’d heard “Animal Passion” at a vocal conference two summers ago and it’s very memorable. It’s a little bit naughty, but really fun to sing and it seemed like a great piece to end with.”

Music majors are required to complete a senior project in order to graduate. One of the choices for the project is a senior recital that demonstrates competency and the accomplishments of the student’s time studying at Linfield.

“I think a senior recital is an extremely nerve wracking experience, and Kayla managed it with the grace and beauty that I would expect from her,” junior Jenaveve Linabary said.

The preparation process for the recital was an extensive one, Wilkens said.

“When I returned from France for Spring Term, my voice teacher and I sat down and mapped out what type of a recital I wanted to have, and we chose to pull one song from sophomore year and then we assigned a few songs from the program to work on for that semester,” she said. “Over the summer I met with her a few times to go over the rest of the songs that I was learning, and by the time I came back to school this fall, I was mostly working on memorization and details.”

Wilkens glided effortlessly through her recital, hitting every note with accuracy and precision.

“She is amazing. She hits those high notes and the audience is just captivated by it,” sophomore Anna LaBeaume said.

Wilkens was joined on stage by piano accompanist Debra Huddleston. Student musicians played alongside her as well, providing her with a fuller sound.

“It’s been great to see how far she has come since she was a freshman,” junior Jeremy Moll said.

Wilkens has performed many times with the Linfield Chamber Orchestra and with the Oregon Symphony in 2008. She has appeared as Adina in scenes from “The Eilxir of Love” and Violetta in “La Traviata” with the Linfield Opera Theatre. Wilkens performed with the LCO  in a performance of “The Marriage of Figaro.” She portrayed Belle in the Albany Civic Theater’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

She is looking into vocal performance graduate programs. She says she plans on pursuing a vocal career whether that be Broadway or opera.

Wilkens brought the audience to their feet with her passion and talent, as her family, friends and everyone else congratulated her on her progress and success with applause.

“I’d actually expected to feel a bit more nervous, but I was honestly just really excited to share the material that I’ve been working on,” Wilkens said. “I really loved every song in my program and so it was a fun way to share what I’m studying here.”

Kelsey Sutton/
Copy chief
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at

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