With her heartfelt crooning, audience-focused vision and bluesy feel, junior Justine Hauge is ready to take the stage at the 23rd Annual Commercial Music Showcase on Feb. 2.
Hauge, who described her style as “pop music with a soulful, R&B feel,” began her vocal performances in the first grade and continued to be involved in music through high school by means of choir, concert band and musical theater.
She says, however, that experience singing in, directing and arranging for her high school’s a cappella group helped her to look deeper into a song and introduced her to the “rush” of presenting her vocal talents to an audience, with whom she hopes to interact “on an emotional level” through the style of her performances.
“My favorite songs to sing have always been ballads, because they’re a challenge, but when you do them right, you can connect with an audience on a deeper emotional level than you could through almost any other medium,” Hauge said. “I love to play with colors and differences in tone to emphasize specific phrases and adding layers and nuances to allow the lyrics I’m singing to tell their intended story.”
Hauge will be accompanied by Kevin Hutchens on piano and the keys; Sam Rodberg on bass; Tim Kampen on cello; Spencer Loveless on drums; Nate Foley on guitar; and Colton Jones, Christopher Simmons, and Katie Colosimo on background vocals.
She says that, while she is excited to perform with so many of her friends and fellow artists, having so many people accompanying her caused some difficulty in getting ready for the showcase.
“The biggest challenge I’ve faced in preparing for Showcase has been scheduling rehearsal times. We’ve got 13 players that will have to be on stage at one time, and scheduling around so many music majors’ schedules has proven to be really hard, and finding a consistent practice space on campus has been difficult as well,” Hauge said.
After a “hectic” rehearsal schedule, however—one that Hauge credits her vocal instructor for helping her through— the group is ready to perform and bring a new twist to songs that Hauge wants the world to hear.
“I’m also really excited for the songs I’ve chosen to be heard, because they’re all originally written by some of my all-time favorite artists and I’m really excited to advocate for them with some of their lesser-known material,” Hauge said.
All-in-all, Hauge is optimistic about the variety of music that will be presented at the showcase and wants to encourage the audience to come out and have a good time.
“I would just really love to invite everyone to come out to the show to experience it!” Hauge said. “Monday night classes allow skips, right?”
The commercial music showcase will be held at the MPAC at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 2. There is no charge for admission.
Photo credit: Karen Will Rogers