When walking the halls of Grand Rapids Community College it’s not unusual to hear talented students studying their craft. However, last Saturday provided an unusual treat when GRCC grad and professional musician Brysien Beer, returned to his alma mater to perform a concert of classic songs. Beer is currently attending Michigan State University on a full scholarship. Singing in as many as three different languages, Beer’s rich baritone was at times so passionate he erased a noticeable language barrier by expressing with ease such emotions as anger, excitement and even sadness. Beer spent the afternoon telling stories through song. One of the more romantic stories was “Dichterliebe”, a song involving sixteen movements that although long, was made exciting and notable by Beer’s impressive voice.
Judging by Saturday’s performance, it appears Beer’s time spent at GRCC studying music served him well. The additional experience he gained by his extensive traveling, places that include China and Italy, has molded Beer into a talented tenor and performance artist.
The audience, full of students, music professors, pianists, friends and family, found themselves lost in the beauty of the music. Among them was Stephen Barton, a music professor at GRCC and a one time instructor of Beer. “Brysien has taken this opportunity and run with it and we are very proud of him,” Barton said. “I am proud to see how hard he has worked and the passion he has for his art.”
Another highlight of the afternoon was an appearance by John Wustman. Wustman, currently the Professor of Music at University of Illinois, accompanied Beer on piano. Having taught classes in locations such as Uruguay, Peru, and Argentina, Wustman has influenced many talented pianists including GRCC’s very own Kenneth Bos, professor of piano classes at GRCC. Bos also plays piano for the GRCC choral department and teaches students some of his secrets. “It’s thrilling to have someone of his caliber at the college” said Bos about Wustman. Bos was impressed with Beer as well, “Brysien has grown immensely as a singer and he has a great future ahead of him.”
While thousands walked the streets enjoying ArtPrize, GRCC’s music department provided its own wonderful venue for a pair of talented artists whose performance was so impressive, the audience rewarded them with a standing ovation.