PSU music alumnus William “Bill” Vance has been performing for 71 years and he celebrated his long life the only way he knows how: with music.
First United Methodist Church hosted Vance’s 75th Birthday Recital on Oct. 6, 2019 at 3 p.m. Vance performed a variety of repertoire, accompanied at the piano by Jung-Hee Lee, including “The Singer” by Michael Head, “I’ll Sail Upon the Dog-star” by Henry Purcell, “Where’er You Walk” from “Semele” by George Frederic Handel, two songs by French composer Henri Duparc, two songs by German composer Richard Strauss, three hymn settings by Vance himself, and a piece by former PSU professor Hubert Bird.
“It’s (music) the only thing I know how to do,” Vance said. “Everything I did on the recital was a piece I’ve performed before. The longest interval was the Michael Head piece which I last performed in 1965 while I was still in junior college…”
Vance also encouraged students to get out into the community and come see community recitals like his.
“If anything, you should come out of curiosity,” Vance said. “I know it’s hard to get people away from the TV on a Sunday afternoon, and I know exactly what they are talking about. I intend to watch the Chiefs game tonight and it’s a good thing it was tonight…”
Students, faculty, and community members came to the recital to celebrate with Vance including Taylor Qualls, senior in music education.
“I thought it was really incredible,” Qualls said. “That was a really long time for him to sing without any breaks. When students have senior or junior recitals, they normally take a break halfway-through. He just went for it…”
Qualls is a vocalist herself and said that the process of preparing a solo voice recital is challenging.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” Qualls said. “It’s a lot of preparation. It’s a lot of practice time; learning anything takes a lot of dedication…”
Vance, in addition to performing solo, also sings with both the University Choir and auditioned ensemble Chorale.
“He’s in Chorale too, so the fact that he can put this recital together and sing in both University Choir and Chorale is pretty amazing..,” Qualls said. “He’s very dedicated to his craft…”
Vance was also assisted by professor of music and flutist Denissa Rivas on “In the Garden of the Lord” by former professor of music Hubert Bird.
“He is such a great person to work with,” Rivas said. “We didn’t have any problems. We didn’t have any disagreements… He’s very aware of how to put together chamber music, specifically instruments with voice… I knew that he trusts me completely…”
Rivas also encouraged students to come out to recitals like Vance’s for the purpose of “appreciating music.”
“Here in Pittsburg and all around, we have professional people who live here; professional people in music who have retired here..,” Rivas said. “We have this quality of recitals… They are being done because of the love of music…”