BERKELEY HEIGHTS—The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) presented a day of recitals by students of all ages and instruments on Sunday, February 4 at the Performing Arts School located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. 35 students performing flute, piano, violin, cello, guitar, saxophone, musical theater, and voice had the chance to shine in four concerts to an audience of close to a hundred enthusiastic listeners.
Says Student Servcies Manager Kristen Wuest, “The idea for Super Recital Sunday came from conversations with parents about what we can do at the Performing Arts School to enhance their child’s private lesson experience. Most of the feedback we received was a desire for more performance opportunities that create a sense of community. This was a great opportunity for students to hear others outside of their instrument discipline and a chance to get comfortable on stage—which can be a difficult boundary to overcome.”
These recitals were not just for young students, however. Wharton’s Performing Arts School has a growing adult division and several adult students took advantage of the opportunities afforded by the day of concerts. Plainfield resident Gail Bayse, who has studied cello at the Performing Arts School for five years, performed on three of the four Super Recital Sunday concerts. Bayse was introduced to the cello in grade school and went on to complete an undergraduate degree in vocal music education. She taught K-12 vocal music for two years, but always regrets the day that she gave up the cello. She didn’t realize there was a venue for adult music studies.
Fast forward to almost six years ago when Bayse was awarded a ten-year tenure bonus from the company she worked for at the time, and after having a conversation with a Berkeley Heights resident and friend who suggested she look into adult study at Wharton, she used the bonus to rent a cello and sign up for a year of private lessons at the Performing Arts School. Today, Bayse works at a Japanese bank in New York City as an Internal Information Technology Auditor, assuring the confidentiality, integrity, availability of her company’s systems and data.
Says Bayse, “As you might imagine, the audit profession is fairly routine and does not encourage creativity. Cello is my escape from the mundane. As an adult, it is the one part of my life that I do for me. No one pays me to do it; no one depends on me to do it; I do not get graded on it; no one demands that I get in my practice time. It is literally and figuratively my “play” time. I commute on average four hours a day to get to work. Between my commute, my work life, and my responsibilities at home, I tuck in as much practice time as I can. This is often late night and it is quite relaxing. Saturday and Sunday mornings, before weekly errands, are also “cello-time.” I loved Super Recital Sunday. We do not often get to hear other areas of study that Wharton offers—I can’t remember the last time I heard a saxophone soloist or a budding vocalist accompanying himself. It was very encouraging.”
Adds Bayse, “Super Recital Sunday was also scheduled the week before our winter cello recital. I was able to play multiple times and am hopeful that it tames my performance jitters for the upcoming recital!”
The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve. Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony which serve 500 students in grades 3 - 12.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.