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Gabriel Gray performs senior recital

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Gabriel Gray performs senior recital

Gabriel Gray performs at his senior recital on February 13, 2015 in Smith Recital Hall. (Ryan Fischer)

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Marshall University vocalist Gabriel Gray showcased the work of his college career for friends, family and community members at his senior recital Saturday afternoon at Smith Music Hall.

Gray is a music education major and has been studying voice at Marshall for the past four years, but his love of singing did not begin there.

Gray first joined an organized choir in fourth grade, but he said it is estimated he began singing around age 3. Gray said he attributes his early love of music to his mother.

“My mother really got me started,” Gray said. “She is not a singer and my family isn’t a big musical family. Growing up, however, she always filled the house with music, with R&B, soul and funk any time of day and the music just touched my heart in unexplainable ways.”

After being a part of organized choirs throughout his elementary, middle and high school years, Gray said he decided to turn his love of song into a career path by joining the music department at Marshall.

“The department, much like the Marshall campus, is not huge in size, but is huge in developments and opportunity,” Gray said. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn from world-class musicians, performers and composers.”

Gray studied voice under director of Marshall University Chorus and Coordinator of Choral Music Education Robert Wray, during his first two years at Marshall and Dr. David Castleberry director of Marshall Chamber Choir, Director of Choral Activities and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Media the past two.

Gray said he credits both of these men, along with other Marshall professors with not only helping him develop as a musician, but as a professional.

“I always know that when Gabe comes for a voice lesson he will be prepared, focused and eager to learn,” Castleberry said. “I’m so very proud of what he has accomplished.”

Gray’s recital included pieces from throughout his college career that were chosen for different reasons.

“I chose these in particular because each has been a challenge, not just vocally, but also personally and intellectually,” Gray said. “They range from feelings of joy, love, despondency and reconciliation.”

With a standing ovation, the audience expressed their enthusiasm and appreciation for all of Gray’s hard work on these pieces as well as the entirety of his musical achievements.

Gray thanked his family, friends, boyfriend and educators for his successes and dedicated his senior recital to the memory of his friend Robert E. Balint, who passed away in 2011.

“I thank him for his influence on me as a performer,” Gray said.

Leah Cook can be contacted at cook281@marshall.edu.

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