Voice juries were today. Although my recital was within the cut-off date, I juried anyway. As part of my Sacred Music Professional Experience class, I had to learn 6 sacred solos. I didn't want to learn them and not perform or be evaluated on them so I opted to jury. It's always good to see what the teachers write. Compliments after a recital are nice but tend not to be particularly constructive. This was my last formal chance to sing for all the voice teachers and get some suggestions. It also wasn't nearly as stressful because I had my music. Thank God for performance practice! Basically, these pieces are rarely performed memorized and so it is common practice to hold the music. In general, juries have to be memorized even if it's sacred, but since this wasn't a "voice jury" but a "sacred music jury" there was an exception.
The basic format for juries is to wait in the rehearsal room until it's your turn, then walk into the hall, tell the teachers what piece you would like to begin with, sing that piece, and then they will choose a second. Performance majors have to prepare 5 songs, everyone else prepares 4 songs. It's usually fairly easy to guess what they will select based on the first selection, as well as what you've sung for master class and student recital. People use all kinds of tricks to avoid having to sing a piece they don't like (or memorized the night before). The second piece is generally a contrast to the first so if the student selects a piece similar to the one they don't want to sing (same language or style or tempo) the second is likely to be something different. Of course, many times the student is prepared to sing any of their songs and begins with their favorite.
I chose to open my jury with This Touch of Love by Alfred Fedak. Not only do I like the piece but Papa H. (my Sacred Music Professional Experience teacher and one of my advisors) specifically picked it for me to learn this semester. After singing my first piece, as I expected, they wanted to hear either the Mozart (Laudate Dominum) or Vivaldi (Domine Deus). Laudate Dominum was the selection and as I got to the end of the song I realized that it, unlike all my other songs, ends with "Amen." So, yes, the last word of my last voice jury at Seton Hill was "Amen." How appropriate!