The music was chosen to tell a story from the woman's point of view starting with life as a young girl, a tot, and continuing with music with themes of todt, the German word for death.
The recital will include 13 pieces. Shaffer will sing a song at the start of the show and follow with four sets of three songs.
"I have one at the beginning that is a very easy, simple piece that is a Bernstein piece from Peter Pan, and it's just asking 'Who am I?' -- kind of a child's fascination of, you know, 'Why am I here?'" Shaffer said.
The pieces range from classical songs to simple pieces and analyze various themes, like life and death, from many angles.
A French piece Shaffer will perform approaches the theme of death in a figurative way, using it in relation to love, as many French poets have described over the years.
Another composition describes a woman who is ready for death.
"It's a song sung from a woman's point in her life where she's fairly old and ready to move on, is ready to die and to go to the next part of whatever there is after that," Shaffer said. "But she's asking for a return to her childhood and for her mother to come back and rock her one last time, never to wake and never to weep.
"I find it beautiful. I believe I'll find it difficult to sing because it is so personal. My mother is still alive, but I'm at that stage in life where I will lose my mother at some point. I have a lot of friends that have lost their mothers. So it's a beautiful yet very simple song, and it's not normally what I would sing on a recital as far as a classical piece."
To complete the recital, Shaffer chose to have a slideshow of artwork being displayed as she performs. She chose the artwork, which will include famous pieces as well as those that people have never seen before, to give the recital a multimedia aspect.
"I think it will be moving as a story is being told, and I also think it will just be entertaining because it will be a feast for the ears and the eyes," Shaffer said.
Shaffer, who is an adjunct voice instructor, is a soprano and has taught at Southeast Missouri State University for 20 years.
She is also the senior voice faculty with the Southeast Missouri Music Academy, which is an organization affiliated with the university that uses the facilities but is not monetarily supported by the university.
Southeast's collaborative pianist and instructor of music Matt Yount will accompany Shaffer for the recital. He is the accompanist for all faculty and student recitals and has collaborated with Shaffer in the past.
"He is amazing," Shaffer said. "He's very enthusiastic about what he does, teaching and playing."
The recital titled "Songs and Art: A woman's life from 'tot' to 'todt'" will take place at 1 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall.
Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at the River Campus box office or online at rivercampusevents.com.