Nostalgia with Khalil Cabrera-Tosado
By Cam Alsbrook
At 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 25, Vocal Performance senior Khalil Cabrera- Tosado performed online at the Nostalgia recital.
The recital covered music pieces and styles that span hundreds of years up to the modern era of music. Tosado was surprised that he was not nervous prior to the recital.
“I guess I was you could say over-prepared,” Tosado said. “I was supposed to perform my junior recital in April, but for obvious reasons I couldn’t.
“However, that night I found myself waiting in my professor’s office, while listening to worship music and praying to God that this performance glorified him, not me.”
The Nostalgia recital exemplified Tosado’s connection with the pieces he sang — each piece featured meant something to him.
“The focus of the recital was to remember my past while I was singing each piece,” Tosado said.
“Each piece of my repertoire consisted of one memory that I connected with. For example, in the Spring semester of 2019, I was Prince Eric in the Cameron Theater production of ‘The Little Mermaid.’
“I sang my solo piece, ‘Her Voice,’ in my recital to reflect back on the fun and the impact the theatre department left for me.”
Tosado’s past deeply ties in to why he performs, and it shows in how he performs the pieces compared to other singers.
“A lot of performers think differently when performing,” Tosado said. “Some think constantly about technicality; others think melodically.
“I am not saying that those performers are wrong, but in my mindset, I think about the text of the piece and what the text really means. Not only does it give me concentration and focus, it also gives me a motive and I can somehow connect the piece with a close family or friend to deliver
every emotional aspect there is to that piece.”
Tosado credits the department as well as his voice teacher, Dr. Gregory Hoepfner, for the success he has seen.
He also commented on Hoepfner’s high level of patience with his students, as well as his positive outlooks for life.
Hoepfner attests to Tosado’s character as a key part of the Nostalgia recital’s success.“ …if he hadn’t been the hard-worker he is, this concert wouldn’t have gone as well,” Hoepfner said. “Because of the delays, the work-arounds and general annoyance of dealing with health issues, another student may not have done as well.
“Our guidance as professors is hampered and it takes students like Khalil to step up and be motivated to get things done under terrible pressures and duress.”
Tosado’s favorite part about performing is the energy that he puts into every piece he performs.
“People often mistake performing vocal music as merely just entertainment rather than the effort one has to put into the piece to convert it into what is perhaps a life lesson that connects to people instead of just amusing them with the melody,” Tosado said.
Tosado grew up in a religious household, so he found music in the church he attended as his communication with God.
“Music has always been my life,” Tosado said. “Music is my devotion to God. Music is my communication with him. It says in Colossians 3:17, ‘And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.’
“With the input of the talent that God has honored me with to glorify his name, I knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Two of Tosado’s favorite pieces of the night are “O Komm im Traum” by Franz Liszt and “Dulce Embelso” by Miguel Matamoros.
Tosado said both songs impacted his life when he heard them for the first time, and they still resonate with him while he performs.
The Impressionist and Romantic eras of music interest him the most.
Tosado has changed over the course of his academic career, yet still carries focus toward glorifying God with his voice and passion.
“Starting from freshman year, it has been a long journey, but everything was worth it,” Tosado said. “It just depends on how much effort and practice you do to take you to that satisfactory state that you want to be in.
“I am not trying to be arrogant when I say that I allow myself to fulfill the maximum effort I can to deliver the performance for God’s glory, always not for me.
“It says in 2 Timothy 2:15a, ‘Be diligent to present yourself approved to God.’ Comparing my freshman year to my senior year, I can say that those two performers are not the same person.”