By Michelle Leibowitz, Bloc Reporter
When Kendra Browne woke up on March 7, she couldn’t speak a word.
Browne texted her singing partner, Lisa Driscoll, and told her a doctor diagnosed her with acute tonsillitis. The timing couldn’t have been worse.
“We were frantically trying to come up with plan B and C,” said Lisa Driscoll, a junior broadcast journalism and vocal performance major.
Browne, a junior vocal performance, and hearing and speech double major, immediately began taking antibiotics. Two days later, her voice returned.
Despite Browne’s health scare, she and Driscoll performed their duet titled “The Sisters: Kendra Browne and Lisa Driscoll’s Junior Recital” on April 12 at 7 p.m. at the Leah M. Smith Hall.
Browne and Driscoll wore dark-blue gowns and sang songs in Italian, German, French and English written by composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Irving Berlin. Pianists Hsiang-Ling Hsiao and Nedezhda Christova accompanied the singers.
Because the performers acted as they sang, they had to comprehend the lyrics even though neither is fluent in any of the foreign languages.
Their instructor, Delores Ziegler, division chair of voice and opera at CSPAC, taught them the English translations to assist their understanding.
The performers took solo voice lessons once a week, attended each other’s lessons to practice duets and often met on the weekends.
Although she was able to manage her time, Driscoll said it was a challenge to fit her singing schedule in with her regular schoolwork.
“There were definitely times when all my free time was rehearsals,” she said.
Browne, Driscoll and Ziegler chose songs like “Die Schwestern,” composed by Johannes Brahms and “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better,” composed by Irving Berlin based on the singer’s voices, the instructor said.
“You have [Browne] with a really big voice and [Driscoll] with a small, clear voice, so you have to find songs that work with both of their voices,” Ziegler said.
Attendees of the performance included members of Browne’s church, Trinity Moravian, in New Carrollton, Md., where Browne originally began singing.
The Rev. Tammie Rinker said everyone at the church loves Browne, who has managed to stay involved and sing during holidays despite being in college.
“I’m not a musical critic, but she sounds really wonderful to me,” she said. “She’s got a gift.”
Driscoll, who is also a member of the Catholic Terps, plans to focus her career in broadcast, but would like to sing in a professional choir and at church in the future. Browne said she plans to become a vocal therapist.
“Working with Lisa was like a breath of fresh air, she’s a very wonderful person,” Browne said. “We had our down times when I was sick, but she was patient through the whole process.”