University students who have been anticipating their graduation — complete with celebrations, final recitals and capstone project presentations — are struggling with the abrupt end to campus activity as a result of COVID-19 closures. 

The setback prompted Mykayla Turner, who has called Conrad Grebel University College a second home during her time studying health studies and music at the University of Waterloo, to record her year-end recital in the Grebel Chapel. 

“Mykayla offers music to bring peace and hope to others, as we all struggle to deal with a bewildering and bleak time in our world,” said Laura Gray, a music professor and department chair. “Her graduation recital this year is a case in point, perhaps reaching more of us than it originally would have, had things gone according to plan.” 

As a parting gift to those who have supported her in her musical pursuits, Turner shared her recorded recital with a note of encouragement: “I hope my recital brings you what you are in need of during this season - be it joy, peace, or hope.”  

She wrote that the final piece, Quejas o la maja y el ruisenor (Laments or The Maiden and the Nightingale), was her favourite. 

“The piece is one that expresses deep and captivating sorrow, perhaps that of a young maiden, but it concludes with a "bird call" of sorts.” Turner explained that this hopeful end to grief felt especially fitting in the season of Easter and the “beauty of spring marred by a . . . viral fear.” 

Turner said the piece acts as her reminder to “lament well in this season and be convinced that the nightingale still has the final word.”