As we reflect upon the many great students and accomplishments from this academic year, it seems fitting to pay tribute to our phenomenal music student, Fabian Qamar. Below is a story we wrote a few weeks back about his Senior Recital:
As Fabian Qamar's final note faded gracefully into silence, dozens of appreciative spectators rose from their chairs and cheered.
Qamar, a talented senior tenor and the 2013-14 Lakeland College co-Music Student of the Year, recently shared a fabulous 90-minute performance at the President's House on campus. His Senior Recital featured a wide range of music, including works written in German, Italian, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese. He even played guitar for one number.
Recitals are a centerpiece for students studying music at Lakeland. Education majors studying music perform junior and senior recitals, while performance majors perform sophomore, junior and senior recitals. These are cumulative projects, based on hours of private lessons with instructors each semester a student is enrolled.
"It was an awesome performance, and he did an excellent job in every way," said Lakeland Associated Professor of Music Arthur Johnson. "It was the model recital, one of the best I've ever seen. It would have held up at any school in the country."
One highlight was when Fabian sang a song written decades ago by his father, Nadi Qamar, while Nadi played piano. Following the moving performance of "Mother, How I Miss You," Fabian leaned over and tenderly hugged his dad.
"This was special," said Fabian, who seemed to connect via eye contact with everyone in attendance. "It feels a little surreal right now."
For Qamar, who came to Lakeland from Kewaunee, Wis., the recital was the culmination of an academic experience that has him well positioned for graduate school. He majored in vocal performance and pedagogy but developed in many musical ways while at Lakeland. In addition to his renowned vocal skills, he plays the viola, French horn, organ, piano and guitar. He also served a conducting internship with Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra music director Kevin McMahon.
Following a collegiate singing career that included All-State Collegiate Choir recognition and positions with the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra as a singer and a violinist, Qamar will continue his musical path at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He'll pursue a master's of music in vocal performance and has earned a fellowship in the Opera department. Someday, he said, he'd like to teach music at a college or university.
"I was able to explore so many things at Lakeland," Fabian said. "The faculty cares about you enough to really take time to meet all your needs, not just musically but across the board, academically."
Like many of Lakeland's best music students, Qamar's thirst for musical knowledge and skill led him to sample numerous disciplines within the program. For example, he received private instruction on the viola and took Johnson's accompanying class for pianists.
"It's certainly not required that students become as well-rounded as Fabian is, but there's definitely more of an option for Lakeland students to branch out than at many other schools," Johnson said. "Fabian is a great case study of a student who really took advantage of his opportunities here."
"He has such an innate sense of musicality," said Lani Knutson, Lakeland's visiting instructor of music and director of choral activities. "Some of that talent you're just born with. But I really like how meticulous he is. He works very hard and he's always working to get better. He's like a sponge, always soaking things up. It's been a real pleasure working with him."
Reflective of the personal connections so many Lakeland students have with each other, Fabian asked several international students for help while learning how to enunciate the foreign lyrics. Lakeland students from Brazil, China and Japan attended, smiling and nodding as he belted out song in their native tongues.
Someone asked one young man, from Japan, how Fabian sounded performing the traditional Japanese folk song, "Sakura."
"Perfect," said Yorihito Iitaka with a big smile. "He was perfect."