This week, justArts spoke with Morissa Pepose ’17, who sang the National Anthem at Commencement. She majored in vocal performance and has been involved with theater and music for the entirety of her Brandeis career. Specifically, Pepose was a member of the musical theater a cappella group Proscenium. She also sang in various recitals through her major.

justArts: What was the audition process to sing the National Anthem at commencement?

Morissa Pepose: I sang the National Anthem in Slosberg Recital Hall in front of music faculty and representatives from the Office of the President.

JA: What made you want to audition?

MP: Imagining my family hearing me sing one last time at Brandeis motivated me to audition.

JA: What background do you have as a musician?

MP: My major here at Brandeis is vocal performance! I have spent a long time cultivating my voice, including studying in Germany for two months and Italy for six months. I love music, specifically musical theatre and opera.

JA: Why are you excited about singing the National Anthem?

MP: I am excited to represent the Class of 2017 in this final tribute to our time spent here at Brandeis.

JA: Have you performed the National Anthem before in a setting like this/done something similar?

MP: I have never performed the National Anthem. (Not even in the shower!) I am hoping to get the words right; feel free to shout them out.

JA: What other performances have you had on campus this semester?

MP: I gave a full-length solo voice recital in Slosberg this past semester. I sang in English, German, Italian and French! I also was a member of Proscenium, the musical theatre a cappella group on campus, during my years here and performed with them for the last time during exams.

JA: How are you preparing to sing the National Anthem at commencement?

MP: I think this performance is more about calming nerves than anything else! So I just have been breathing and focusing on an image of everything going well and making the audience feel something during the performance. Plus lots of water!

—Hannah Kressel