House Performs in Farewell Concert

Sarah Devine

The Mitchell Auditorium staff underestimated the number of people who came to Dr. LeAnn House’s farewell concert Saturday, as they ran out of pre-printed tickets — having to make their own — and even encouraged patrons to find a buddy if they wanted to see a program.

The talent in the auditorium was overflowing and matched only by the kind words from the departing professor’s former students.

“She always pushed me to do more than I believed I could do, she wanted students to have more confidence in themselves,” said Bianca Aspin, who graduated from St. Scholastica last year.

She’s guided countless others in the decades spent at St. Scholastica.

“She’s a great mentor, very great,” said Sun Ny Vang, a music major.

House’s first pieces were Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #5 and a Telemann Concerto. She was accompanied by husband Shelley Gruskin on the recorder and daughter Rebecca Gruskin on the horn. Although the harpsichord was intended for small venues, it holds a pleasant sound which flooded the furthest parts of the Mitchell. In fact, each of the instruments played — three versions of the piano and the harpsichord — were used exclusively for pieces from their time period.

An 18th century replica was used to perform Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. While smaller than the pianos we are familiar with today, the fortepiano produces a uniquely haunting sound, and coupled with Dr. House’s talent, the music took on a life of its own.

Dr. House performed two pieces that she composed in the late 1990s. They were upbeat pieces accompanied by lyrics written by Nancy Fitzgerald and sung by faculty member Bill Bastian. The lyrics were humorous and unique, “avoid the slimy bile, hunks of half chewed food from landing on the floor” drew laughter from the audience.