This time last year vocal performance major Paige Brum lamented that a threatening virus had forced the campus to close, along with her chances to show off her talents at the annual Frost Music Fest.
“I think we all knew we weren’t going to end up performing, but it was still sad when we knew it was official,” said Brum, a member of the vocal ensemble Sunshine State.
This year an excited Brum joined a diverse cast of performers who filled the intramural fields with the sound of music in a six-hour eclectic showcase featuring Grammy-winning performers and ranging from classical orchestra to contemporary country.
“This show was the first time I’ve performed live with a band since last March, so it was a really new experience,” said Brum, a sophomore who performed with Sunshine State, known for its country-oriented music. “And singing with a mask on is a whole skill in itself, but it was awesome to be back performing live and in front of people.”
The March 20 concert, offered on the first day of spring, also was the first time that Frost had offered a live concert on campus since the pandemic.
The campus community, including supporters, students, faculty, staff, family members and alumni, turned out for Frost Music Fest ’21, and wore mask as they dotted the intramural fields in socially distanced seating that accommodated up to 435 attendees, said Frost Dean Shelton Berg.
Freshman track and field athlete Ryler Gould attended the fest with his father, Richard Gould, who was visiting from New York.
“It was really fun to get to go to a concert again,” Gould said. “I usually don’t like orchestra type concerts, but everyone who performed did really well. Plus the stage set up and everything was really well done.”
The performance featured superstar soprano Renée Fleming, who performed with the Frost Symphony Orchestra conducted by Frost faculty member Gerard Schwarz.
And while audience members seemed eager to take in the fresh air and music, the fest also was live streamed on YouTube.
“Many more watched the live stream, and the cumulative media impressions reached over 46 million,” said Berg, who was a guest pianist at the festival.
Brum said she did not mind that in-person attendance was limited.
“I knew that my whole family was watching back home and a lot of people were watching the live stream,” said Brum, who is from Tuscon, Arizona.
As for any future concert plans, the dean said Frost is eager to keep the music playing, but not in a large venue.
“There won’t be another outdoor concert on this scale this semester,” Berg said, “but outdoor performances and rehearsals are happening all of the time in the music quad.”
The event also was a fundraiser for the Travis Quinn Memorial Scholarship Fund, a talented former University of Miami student died last May. The live stream can also be viewed below.