It’s homecoming weekend at Lincoln Memorial University! This is one of my favorite times of year on campus because I get to see the wonderful impact this place has made in the lives of our alumni. Already there has been plenty of fun with a homecoming dance and a student bonfire. Some of the items on the rest of the schedule include dedications of the newest buildings on campus, reunion lunches for our six Greek organizations, and several alumni sporting events. The festivities will end tomorrow night with what is probably the biggest event of the weekend—the alumni banquet and awards dinner.
I am especially excited for the banquet because this year I will be participating in the ceremony as part of the University Concert Choir. Not only will we get to perform some of our concert selections for faculty members and alumni, but we will also have the opportunity to dine with them and hear how life as a Railsplitter has influenced them in other ways. It’s a unique privilege to get to represent the University, and I am so glad that I get to take part in it.
That’s not the only thing that the choir has in store this year. In two weeks we will be departing on a weekend-long choir tour, where we will perform at area high schools and nursing homes and even provide special music for the morning worship service at a local church. Our performances in the schools are an excellent time to showcase LMU’s growing music department, and it also allows us to reach out to prospective students who might be interested in pursuing music in college. We also have a Christmas-themed concert coming up on the main campus toward the end of the semester that will coincide with the University’s tree-lighting festivities. Then, in the spring, we’ll begin all over again, with another choir tour and another end-of-the-semester concert.
The other music programs at LMU also have some exciting things going on each semester. The pep band gets the crowd hyped at all of the home basketball games, and the concert band also puts on a show for the public each semester. The music department, as a whole, often holds workshops for both band and choir that area students can attend to learn about the different programs and receive special music instruction. This semester, the University is also sponsoring some free concerts featuring several acclaimed classical musicians, including the Hanneke Cassel Trio, James Restor, and the Apollo Duo.
So how can you get involved in these awesome extracurricular activities? Just bring your instrument of choice and sign up for an audition. If you’re really shy or it’s been a while since you’ve played or sang, have no fear. The auditions are private, so you won’t be required to prove yourself in front of all of your peers. And don’t let thoughts like “I can’t do it” or “I’m not as good as so-and-so” stop you from going after it. Many of my friends in choir swore up and down that no one would ever be able to get them to sing or that they physically couldn’t do it. But now that they’re in it, they’re having a blast, and they’ve found that they actually really enjoy singing with a group. Plus, if you’re a little tight on funds for college, there’s a $1,000 scholarship available for all members of the band and choir who may qualify.
You can even take music classes at LMU for course credit. This semester I’m taking Applied Voice for one of my electives. I attend a 30 minute lesson once a week, and then my instructor gives me singing assignments to work on throughout the rest of the week. I’ve only been to a handful of the lessons so far this semester, but I can already see a dramatic improvement in my singing voice. Volume has always been a problem for me—I’ve never been able to be heard over other instruments without the help of a microphone. That’s because I had never learned the proper breathing techniques to get the right amount of sound behind each note. My instructor showed me how to engage my stomach muscles in order to fully project out to the audience, and I’m slowly getting better at doing this every time I sing. The video below is from my first performance at student recital, which is a seminar co-requisite for the voice lessons. Singing for all of my classmates, many of whom are also music majors, was a little scary at first, but I think it turned out pretty good!
Hopefully this post has inspired you to get involved in music programs in college. I’m so glad I did. I’ve made a lot of friends I probably wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise. Plus, it’s just a whole lot of fun! Rehearsals are the highlight of my day, and performing with everyone feels so great because all of our hard finally gets to be put to the test. If you want to read about some of my other experiences with music at LMU, I have a post about singing at some other events on campus as well as a post about my stint last year in the LMU Players’ production of the musical Godspell. Feel free to leave any questions you have for me in the comments section below, and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more updates!