Annual Happy Concert offers stress relief before finals

Students looking for a relaxing outlet before finals can find musical respite inside the Creative Arts Building’s Knuth Hall.

Victoria Neve, classical piano professor and Inara Morgenstern, accompanist and lecturer, have been relieving students’ stress with the Annual Happy Concert for more than 20 years.

The free concert on May 15 from 1-2 p.m., is aimed to create an environment where students can take a moment to breathe and not worry about the rough week of finals ahead.

“We do it because we want the students to relax a little bit and enjoy something,” Neve said. “Just to make everybody take a deep breath and relax a little bit before their finals.”

Songs selected for the Annual Happy Concert change every year, but consistently lean toward scores that showcase the uplifting, lighter side of classical music. This year’s compositions include “The Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saëns, “Circus Polka: For a Young Elephant,” by Igor Stravinsky and “The Musical Story of Babar the Elephant,” by Francis Poulenc.

Anna Marie Cunningham, music department office assistant, said it’s one of the most well attended concerts of the semester because of the legacy it has created.

“It happens every semester around the same time,” Cunningham said. “It’s always a way for people to distress — it is the ‘happy concert.’”

Cunningham also mentioned that the faculty members make it an enjoyable show through the entertaining way they perform.

“Doctor Neve and Doctor Morgenstern, they’re always really fun to be around and they have a great stage presence,” Cunningham said. “Everybody loves them.”

Maya Keces, one of Morgenstern’s students, has attended the concert in the past and admired the professors’ performance.

“It’s great to see the professors in the music department get to perform and it left me in awe,” Keces said. “The concert is a great way to destress and listen to amazing live music with positive energy filling the room.”

She plans to attend again this year and looks forward to the calming environment the concert provides to help take her mind off the stress that comes with the end of the semester.

The concert is set to take place two days before finals week and Neve urges students to take this last opportunity to think about something other than final exams.

“Its free,” Neve said. “Come and have a good time.”