The KSU Symphony Orchestra
Preparing for Showtime: Ivana Sri, Kelly Cato and Jessica Bradfield
By Julie Senger
Last spring, student musicians Jessica Bradfield, Kelly Cato and Ivana Sri competed in Kennesaw State University’s Annual Concerto Competition and won the opportunity to perform with the KSU Symphony Orchestra. The performance will take place on Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in the new Dr. Bobbie Bailey and Family Performance Center, and all three of them have been working hard to prepare for this very special performance.
KSU Orchestra Director Michael Alexander says these student musicians are “treated just like professionals.” Therefore, each will have the opportunity to rehearse only twice with KSUSO in the weeks before their performance. This means that there is much solo preparation to be done.
Just to compete for this opportunity, Ivana Sri practiced Tchaikovsky’s “Concerto #1 for Piano, Mvt. 1” daily, accompanied by her instructor playing the orchestra parts. Kelly Cato learned her “Concerto for Flute in G Major, Mvt. 1” by Mozart and practiced it for four months. Meanwhile, Jessica Bradfield mastered her vocal performance of Mozart’s “Batti, batti” from “Don Giovanni” and chose to “focus on the acting part” of the opera piece, so that she can better connect with the audience.
On the day of a performance, Sri’s parents used to have her run her hands under warm water to calm her. This practice no longer works for her, so she simply practices the piece a few more times. Cato will eat a banana, just because it is what she always does, and use a breath-builder machine to focus her air. Bradfield likes to eat pickles because she says they are “good for her voice;” and she warms up gradually throughout the day by humming.
Though they are obviously well prepared, each of these performers still gets nervous prior to stepping in front of the crowd. Sri chats with friends to calm her nerves. Cato and Bradfield both say that they use their nervousness to their advantage by channeling it into their performance. But for all three of these talented ladies, the nervousness quiets, just like the audience who listens to them, as soon as they play or sing the first note.
For tickets to the performance, visit the KSU box office.