Bright stage lights. A sleek, black Steinway. A young woman in a striking red dress.

It was the first of many lasts in this spring semester at Denison University – the first recital I attended this year, and the last for Emily Walker, the senior on stage.

I sat with friends and the family of the senior in the darkened auditorium.

We listened as her voice rose from the stage, quietly at first and finally, with a crescendo that soared to the rafters and inspired a standing ovation.

But not before some tears – of joy for a senior who is so poised, so talented and so ready for the world.

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