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Rollene takes final bow of graduate degree

Nostalgic harmonies and high notes echoed from the walls of the Berry Performing Arts Center tonight as family and friends gathered in anticipation to hear the final graduate soprano performance of Donna Rollene.

Her voice reached staggering heights as she captivated the audience for an hour and a half recital in which she participated with other faculty of the University of Arkansas.

The assistant professor of communication and fine arts explained the recital would be her last as a graduate student since this was her final requirement for receiving her master’s degree.

As the lights went down, Rollene took the stage in a metallic gown and sang away. Her voice pierced though the audience as the first UofA faculty member pianist Michael Shuman, contributed his soothing skills on the piano for the duration of the show.

The pair continued to captivate spectators though a journey that consisted of noting the famous compositions of Antonio Vivaldi and André Previn.

Thai clarinetist Nophachai Cholthitchanta, was the second faculty member to perform with Rollene as they tackled Franz Schubet’s song, “Der Hint auf dem Felsen, The Shepard on the Rock.” Lastly, flutist Ronda Mains brought her advanced flute skills as she joined Rollene and Shuman to partake in a three-piece poem of Tristan Klingsor.

Sophomore Caleb Ellicott said he was impressed with the works featured but none stood out more than the song “I Want Magic” from the play “A Streetcar named Desire.”

“I thought the spin she decided to take with the high notes was great, she had a perfect pitch,” he said. “Even though I could not understand [the language] I knew what was going on because I’d seen the play before.”

However, the highlight of the show arrived when Rollene’s daughter, senior Rebecca Rollene walked out in a long black gown paired with a crimson belt and shoes to accompany her in a soprano duet of Leo Delibes’ most noted hit, “Sous le dome épais, The Flower Duet.”

As they both took a bow, Rollene remained to conclude the recital by singing her own melody titled, “Shout for Joy.” She said the song was inspired by Isaiah 48, a chapter she studied during a women’s community Bible study.

“I realize that I memorize scripture more if I sing and put music to it,” she said. “This verse is such a beautiful promise and it’s something that I not only want to memorize but also use as worship.”