Sharing your voice: Lawrence University’s vocal talents

Holly Beemer (‘23) performs “When You’re Not Afraid of the Sun” while making art in alum Emily Austin’s Youtube video for Lawrence University. Photo by Jamie Dong.

Lawrence’s Conservatory is a place where skills are refined and new voices and talents are discovered. Wishing to share this sacred experience and promote new talent, Lawrence alum Emily Austin returned to campus this year, a camera in hand, and used her connections with current Lawrence students to film a promotional video for the vocal talent at Lawrence. This video highlights the unique vision of individual students at Lawrence, utilizing strength and voiceovers to bring the Conservatory to life through the screen.  

Students highlighted in the video include the vocal talents of Casey Kollman ‘23, Preston Parker ‘23, Holly Beemer ‘23, Samuel Schuler ‘25, Elena Crino ‘24, Kate Stenson ‘24, Sarah Navy ‘22 and Colleen Bur ‘22. Each shared their unique perspective about not only what music means to them, but how Lawrence has allowed them to shape and find identity in their voices.  

The video utilizes both spoken and sung voiceovers to display the talent and emotion each person carries through vocal performance. The video is truly something that needs to be seen rather than summarized, but perhaps one of the moments the video shines most comes with the unique use of visuals in Holly Beemer’s segment. Beemer is found atop a large blank white canvas, using her hands to slowly mix a combination of red, yellow and blue paint into one large, swelled together color surrounding her. This takes place all while she sings “When You’re Not Afraid of the Sun,” and in addition describes the confidence music has brought her in her time at Lawrence. The visual isn’t explicitly explained, yet I dare say it is effective in whatever it is saying, as it catches attention and is visually appealing by many symbolic stances. The rest of the video’s techniques serve similar purposes with a similar structure, emotionally grounded and visually stunning. 

Of all of Lawrence’s social media outlets, its YouTube channel by far goes the most undetected. This is unfortunate, as there are many great promotional and entertaining videos such as Austin’s that explore people and talent at Lawrence, as well as some of its most significant history. Please go view Austin’s video if you haven’t, and be on the lookout for future videos displaying the Lawrence experience!