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Westminster Choir Blog - A Student's Perspective

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Five Westminster Choir members have volunteered to share their experiences through the Westminster Choir Blog this season. Here are some fast facts about them.

Emma Daniels

Name: Emma Daniels
Hometown: Chicago, IL 
Major: Choral Conducting
Teachers: Joe Miller, Amanda Quist
Voice part: Soprano 2
Class Year: Second year grad 

Why Westminster

The conducting faculty here struck me as incredibly innovative and inspiring and the performance opportunities are unparalleled. It feels wonderful to be part of a program that lives on a one-of-a-kind, very special, choral-centric campus.

Life outside of class

I like to go on long runs, color or draw, or relax with a nice, warm cup of coffee. I also like to work on new ideas for musical projects and compose!

I’m listening to

Mostly choral and classical music, but also a lot of Queen, David Bowie, Coldplay, Muse, The Killers, and Bobby McFerrin.

Favorite apps

My most used apps recently have been Google Keep (great for organizing!) and Metronome (self-explanatory).

Favorite food

My favorite food is probably eggs, cooked in every way. 

Favorite book

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Professional plans after graduation

I hope to conduct and teach, of course, and also plan to continue singing and composing choral music. I would love to be able to travel and interact with people from different cultures, and make music with those people!


John Lucado

Name: John Lucado
Hometown: Frederick, MD
Major: Music Education
Teacher: Laura Brooks Rice
Voice part: Bass 1
Class Year: Junior

Why Westminster

I knew about Westminster from high school, and when I came here for my audition, I knew this was the only school for me. The feeling of community I got as soon as I stepped on campus was so inviting. Plus, I get to work with some of the best faculty in the country for voice, music education, and choir. I really can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

Life outside of class

I’m a part of the NAfME executive board, so I spend time organizing conferences and fundraisers. I also enjoy reading short stories and mystery novels and playing trivia games on the computer. Honestly, between classes, choirs, practicing, and homework, there isn’t much time left for leisure, so every free moment I get is a gift.

I’m listening to

Nina Simone, Fiona Apple, Broadcast, The Cranberries, The Screaming Females, Janelle Monae, Krissanthemum (WCC grad!), Lorde, and so many more. I also listen to a lot of musical theatre, especially William Finn and Sondheim. My favorite professional choirs to listen to are Voces8, Tenebrae, and Roomful of Teeth.

Favorite apps

I like Facebook Messenger because I can keep in contact with my friends no matter where they are. Venmo is also an incredible app — not only does it make sharing money and paying back friends so much easier, but some of the things people write in the memo line are hilarious!

Favorite food

Brownies! But I love all desserts.

Favorite book

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.

Professional plans after graduation

Right now, I’m planning on teaching middle school after I graduate. Middle schoolers are a lot of fun to work with, and it’s fun to be with them through that transition. I also hope to get my master’s in either music education or choral conducting after a few years.


Betsy Podsiadlo

Name: Betsy Podsiadlo
Hometown: San Diego, California
Major: Voice Performance
Teachers: Mark Moliterno
Voice part: Soprano 2
Class Year: 2020

Why Westminster

I came to Westminster after attending a summer camp here when I was in high school. I met my current voice teacher, Mark Moliterno, and felt inspired to pursue vocal study at a higher level. The best thing about Westminster, that makes this place my home, is the community. It is a small school but everyone really does look out for one another, this was especially amplified upon joining the Westminster Choir last year. I gained a family that I get to perform with, tour with, and learn with. I am truly grateful.

Life outside of class

I love musical theatre and direct cabarets with other Westminster students for fun. I also work as a substitute section leader at various churches in the Philadelphia area. I participate in opera theatre at Westminster. This year I’m covering the role of Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.  Other than that, I read and cook in my limited free time.

I’m listening to

Jacob Collier, The Staves, Joni Mitchell, Nickel Creek, and the new Martin Mass recording by the Westminster Choir

Favorite apps

Gmail & Spotify

Favorite food

Avocado Toast. I make it for myself every morning.

Favorite book

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy OR The Bad Feminist, Essays by Roxane Gay

Professional plans after graduation

I plan to pursue Master's and Doctoral degrees focusing in Operatic Performance. My goal is to perform, travel, and eventually teach voice. I’d love to keep choir a part of my professional life and look forward to continuing my work in the sacred choral community.


Enrique Silva Gil

Name: Enrique Silva Gil
Hometown: Guayaquil - Ecuador
Major: Choral Conducting
Teachers: Dr. Joe Miller
Voice part: Tenor
Class Year: First Year Choral Conducting Graduate

Why Westminster

I first visited Westminster on January 2016 on a guided tour, and I was very lucky to be able to attend a Westminster Choir rehearsal. It was a magical experience and it had such an impact in me that I knew I had to come back, so I decided to apply, and now I’m happy to be part of this great school, and its wonderful community.
 

Life outside of class

I’m actually a grad on call in the Residence Life Department.
 

I’m listening to

Djavan, Eliane Elias, Zaz, Phil Collins, Jack and the Weatherman, Dirty Heads, Kings of Convenience, Coldplay.
 

Favorite apps

Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook because they are great to keep in touch with my family and friends, and to be in touch with new friends here at Westminster. 

Favorite food

I love sushi, and Italian Food!

Favorite book

Reportaje al Pie del Patibulo


Professional plans after graduation

Help the choral movement grow in Ecuador through cultural projects involving youth and children choirs.


Felicia Villa

Name: Felicia Villa
Hometown: Mineola NY
Major: Music Education
Teachers:
Voice part: Soprano
Class Year: Junior

Why Westminster

Westminster Choir College is known for its rigorous music education program and incredible choirs. The conductors and professors demand and reflect elite dedication and craftsmanship. I wanted to be a part of these incredible experiences.

Life outside of class

When not focused on my studies and music, I sing in a church choir. My summers are spend lifeguarding. I love reading and traveling. Most importantly I absolutely love hedgehogs.

I’m listening to

Anything that is good!

Favorite apps

Duolingo

Favorite food

Mozzarella Sticks and Mac n Cheese

Favorite book

Anything by Anthony Horowitz

Professional plans after graduation

I would love to teach High School, obtain a master's degree and get my doctorate in choral conducting. After that I hope to teach at a collegiate level.