Fanfare in Pottle Auditorium


Ian Stewart

Soprano Betsy Uschkrat and Charles Effler perform the opera piece “Ma rendi pur contento.”

As a part of Fanfare, a celebration of art events in the Hammond area, SLU and the Opera/Music Theatre Workshop showcased the talents of guest artists in the “Opera Composers Through Song” recital in the Pottle Music Building Auditorium on Nov. 1.

The recital lineup consisted of soprano Loyola voice instructor Betsy Uschkrat, tenor Loyola professor of voice and vocal pedagogy Tyler Smith and staff accompanist Charles Effler. Uschkrat is a two-time regional finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has performed in Washington D.C, New Orleans, Pensacola, Des Moines, Idaho and Shreveport. Smith recently portrayed Rodolfo in “La bohéme” for Louisiana Opera in Monroe. 

Smith was also a Southeastern graduate alongside Charles Effler and enjoyed being able to collaborate with him again.

“He was my accompanist for my senior recital in 1998, so it was very exciting to work with him again in a recital setting,” Smith said.

Effler works at SLU as a staff accompanist and has conducted for Opera/Music Theatre Workshop since 2000. He is responsible for the musical preparation of the cast and orchestra for each production and for conducting the performance.

The performers sang 12 classic operatic pieces composed by various writers, some of which included Gene Scheer, Vincenzo Bellini and Richard Strauss. Most of these pieces date back to the 19th century, while the most contemporary is “American Anthem,” written by Gene Sheer and performed by Smith.

Smith noted the amount of preparation needed for a recital and how much attention a singer has to give to their voice to perform well. 

“Some are things that I have known for years and haven’t forgotten and others I have to revisit, so I guess singers are always trying to revisit pieces because their voices change. I’ve noticed changes in mine since I sang them almost 20 years ago,” Smith said.