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Soprano crosses language barriers

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Carly Hill
Arts Editor

Faculty from Claremont Graduate University provided a multicultural performance for listeners Tuesday at Mudd Theater in the Claremont School of Theology.

The performance was given by adjunct professor Ursula Kleinecke-Boyer, soprano vocals, and accompanied by Kyungmi Kim on piano.

Dressed in black and white, Kleinecke-Boyer put on a very emotional performance in four different languages: Swedish, Spanish, English and German.

“I think in English you have to try twice as hard to enunciate your words, and in other languages you have to try twice as hard to show your emotions through singing,” Kleinecke-Boyer said.

She performed musical selections from composers such as Jean Sibelius, Carlos Guastavino, Richard Hundley, Gustav Mahler and her husband, Peter Boyer.

Boyer poured her heart into the music, projecting emotion throughout the auditorium.

Even without comprehending the lyrics, listeners could tell whether the song was happy, sad or angry.

Her slight hand movements and swaying kept the energy flowing throughout the performance.

“The different languages kept it interesting,” said Linda Marquez, Claremont Graduate University music secretary. “The emotions were very apparent.”

Each section, separated by the different languages, evoked a different emotion.

The Swedish section had a sad tone, with songs entitled “Was it a dream?” and “To evening.”

The German section, on the other hand, had a more comical feel with songs that dealt with birds and nature.

One song in particular described a battle between a cuckoo bird and a nightingale, judged by a donkey.

“There was a good contrast between styles,” said Vernon Snyder, Claremont Graduate School student.

Kim’s effortless key strokes were in perfect tempo.

The crescendos and decrescendos of the piano music were in sync with Kleinecke-Boyer’s vocals.

Each moment of silence was exactly where it was supposed to be.

The most emotional part of the performance was when Kleineke-Boyer sang songs that her husband, Peter Boyer, composed.

Boyer is a Grammy nominated orchestral composer whose pieces are performed worldwide.

He is also the chairman of the Claremont Graduate University music department.

One of the songs, “The Bargain,” was written for Kleinecke-Boyer as a wedding gift.

“When I finished, he said, ‘I love you, great job,’ which was the perfect thing to say,” Kleinecke-Boyer said.

Boyer presented his wife with a bouquet of flowers after she sang his song, and the crowd erupted with cheers.

The audience seemed to enjoy the whole performance, and cheered for over a minute after the music had ended.

“The performance was pretty good, I enjoyed it,” said David Gonzalez, Rancho Cucamonga Community College student. “It was nice and relaxing and some songs were funny.”

After the performance, the crowd enjoyed cheese, crackers and wine in the lobby while mingling with the performers and other music enthusiasts, some of whom were Kleinecke-Boyer’s students.

Kleinecke-Boyer received another ovation after emerging from the stage, and her husband announced, “Here is the soprano.”

“It’s never an easy thing singing your husband’s pieces,” she said. “But it felt like I was giving a piece of myself to the crowd and it feels good.”

Kleinecke-Boyer received her bachelor’s of music at the University of the Pacific, and a master’s of music performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music.

She has also taken many roles on stage and in concert performances, including “The Magic Flute” and “The Medium.”

She is also a founding member of her chamber ensemble Colloquy, which performs around California and the Midwest. She also maintains a private studio for vocal instruction.

Carly Hill can be reached at

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