International students to perform annual recital for guests

By Sidney Selvig | 4/9/17 11:29pm

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GVL / Courtesy - Helen Marlias

by Helen Marlias / Grand Valley Lanthorn

Although music can be played and listened to alone, it is also a powerful social magnet, connecting people of all backgrounds and cultures.

At Grand Valley State University, events and programs driven by music play a large role in the community and help shape abilities and character for current and future students. With GVSU being home to almost 400 international students, it prides itself on helping these students connect with performance outlets available both on campus and in the greater Grand Rapids area. Among these opportunities is the Recital for International Guests of GVSU.

The recital will take place Wednesday, April 12, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. in Room 1325 in the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus. This event is free and open to the public.

Every year, the GVSU International Office invites a small group of international guests to tour campus and see what it has to offer. Part of their visit includes a walk-through of the music and dance department and a special performance put on by international music students at GVSU.

Helen Marlais, the recital coordinator, is an associate professor of music at GVSU. She teaches piano and directs the piano pedagogy program. Marlais received a doctor of music degree in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University, and a master of fine arts degree in piano performance from Carnegie Mellon University. She received a bachelor of music degree in piano performance from the University of Toledo and was named their 2008 Outstanding Alumna. Marlais’ has performed concerts and pedagogical sessions throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has had her performances broadcast regionally, nationally and internationally.

The recital will include international piano majors and Piano Pedagogy Certificate participants performing solo piano works, a piano duet and a piano trio as well as collaborative pieces with a vocalist, flutist and a clarinetist.

“The guests are always excited about meeting performing artists and it’s a wonderfully engaging event,” Marlais said. “We hope that they will go back to their respective countries and speak about how our GVSU music department is a strong entity on campus.”

Performing pieces in this year’s recital are international students Dasol Um and Yushan Ying.

“I think it will be a very joyful and a relaxing time for the guests during their visit at GVSU,” Ying said.

Both Um and Ying are returning participants who are excited to meet other international guests and share their music with them.

“I think it is important to let international guests, who are interested in GV, know that there are some international students in music building too and they are studying well with GVSU’s help,” Um said.

The recital is intended to inform other students of how great the GVSU music department is.

“The significance is celebrating new friendships and the pure pleasure of music and the performing arts,” Marlais said. 

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