(B.M. Music Composition, ’13)

I have been singing in choirs since freshman year of high school, and, since then, I have always wanted to be involved in music. When I was a junior, we performed Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Dirge for Two Veterans,” a piece that told an incredibly powerful story. Since then, I knew I wanted to compose, so that I could tell stories through music.

Social media:

Facebook

Self-described style:

Classical

Vocals:

I sing soprano.

Performance groups:

Currently, I am a member of Bel Canto Chorus, which is a Milwaukee-area choir.

Influences/mentors:

I think while I learn quite a bit from the works of various composers throughout history, I have also learned so much from my teachers at Stritch, especially those in the music department. Dr. Dan Maske, who was my composition teacher for my entire Stritch career, taught me about the many facets of the composing process—how to write interesting pieces, how to look for new ways to improve a piece, and even career options for someone with a background in composing. He was my piano and trumpet teacher too!

Favorite band/musician/composer:

I have several favorite composers. I find the works of Palestrina and Debussy the most inspiring from a compositional standpoint. Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Morten Lauridsen, Thomas Morley, and Thomas Tallis are other favorites.

Favorite song:

I can never choose a favorite song. There is so much that I like about each song I like listening to; they each have their own qualities. If I made a top five right now, though, there would probably be a Beatles song or two. “I Call Your Name” is one of my favorite Beatles songs, so let’s go with that.

Pieces with a special backstory:

One of the things about my composing process is that I accept that creative energy can’t be forced. Sometimes it comes in long bursts, sometimes in brief moments, and sometimes it feels like a lot of time goes by without any real inspiration. For me, that’s okay. Many of my pieces do have a specific backstory. Several of them have come to me in times of incredible stress or sadness, and writing helped me express those feelings and heal.

Biggest musical feat so far:

Really, I feel like my first season with Bel Canto has been a major accomplishment for me. I am singing with a much larger ensemble than I ever have, and the material that we perform also can be quite challenging. I am constantly learning. I feel like I have grown so much as a performer with Bel Canto, and I am really looking forward to starting a new season with them in the fall!

Earliest music memory:

I used to sing in the children’s choir at my parish. That was where I learned how to play the handbell!

Memorable gig:

On the performing side, one of my all-time favorite performances was the Stritch choral concert in Spring 2012. We sang Mozart’s “Coronation Mass” at the Cathedral, and every part of the process for that concert was so much fun. On the composing side, my favorite concert was the New Music Concert my senior year, which was combined with my senior recital. That concert was my final concert at Stritch, and it was incredibly special for me.

Day job:

I work as a product specialist at Brass Bell Music Store.

Future goals:

I do hope to go to graduate school at some point. There is a lot about composing that I still have yet to learn. Ultimately I would love to work with a choir and compose exclusively for them. What I loved best about composing for the choir at Stritch was that each member of the choir was a fellow student, and so I would get to know them and learn more about their individual strengths and could write with them in mind. That is the way I feel I would work best.

Stritch music memories:

I was in choir all four years at Stritch, and I feel like many of my happiest and most positive memories from college came from rehearsals and concerts with the choir. There are still times when my friends from choir will share favorite memories with each other and we still laugh. I always looked forward to going to rehearsal.

Recent connections with Stritch:

I volunteered at the state Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) Solo & Ensemble Festival held at Stritch in May.

Upcoming gigs:

Oct. 19, 7 p.m.: Bel Canto Chorus will be performing Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solennelle” at Shully’s Watermark in Thiensville, Wis. Tickets start at $50.

Other interesting facts:

During my time at Stritch, I premiered 24 new works, I participated in four New Music Concerts (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), and the New Music Concert my senior year was combined with my senior recital. I was a participant in the Open Box Project in 2011 and presented my junior recital in 2012. Also, for the 2013 spring choral concert, one of my choral works was performed as an encore piece.

Contact:

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