The opportunity to travel doesn’t come very often, especially when you throw in the opportunity to pursue advanced training in one’s field of choice. However, for nine Houghton College music students, this is becoming a reality. From Texas to Austria and Cape Cod to Italy, these nine students have been honored with the opportunity to gain advanced and specialized training in their areas of music while traveling all over the United States and the world.
Rachael Anacker, a junior vocal performance major, will be traveling to Austria to attend the University of Miami Frost School of Music in Salzburg Program. She will take classes in the German language and study with Esther Jane Hardenbergh from the University of Miami.
Originally from Highland, Calif., Anacker chose Houghton because she wanted to attend a Christian liberal arts college with a strong music program. Along with her vocal performance major, Anaker is a French minor, plays the piano and does ballet and Irish dancing.
Anacker attributes her opportunity to participate in the University of Miami’s Salzburg Program to her vocal professor, Kelley Hijleh. “She has pushed me vocally and artistically so that I am ready to spend five weeks this summer in an intensive voice program.”
During the program, Anaker will be taking voice lessons twice a week, participating in voice master classes, taking four credits of German language, attending music history and theory lectures and attending performances at the Salzburg Music Festival.
“I think I’ll like everything about it,” Anacker said. “I love music history and German, and I enjoy music theory.”
Andrea Crickard, a freshman vocal performance major, will travel to Italy to attend the Accademia Vocale Lorenzo Malfatti in Giacomo. She will take classes in the Italian language and work with renowned voice teacher Barbara Paver from Rice University.
Crickard is from Hilliard, Ohio and Houghton seemed to be the perfect fit for her. She wanted a school that offered a strong music program, a strong science program and an equestrian program; she wanted a small Christian school with a beautiful campus; and a school with a fantastic choir. “One day I found Houghton and fell in love,” she said. “I knew I wanted to come here the moment I heard the college choir sing.”
Along with her vocal performance major, Crickard minors in flute and enjoys riding horses and competing in equestrian activities.
The application for Crickard’s program required that she sing two Italian pieces, as well as submit a resumé and headshot. She said, “That doesn’t seem too difficult, but when you’re singing in Italian for Italians, you’d better have your diction perfect.”
Crickard attributes much of her success to Houghton professors Mitchell Hutchings and Kelley Hijley. “Professor Hutchings has been preparing me and working very hard with me to be ready…I couldn’t have done it without professor Hutchings, who was always there pushing me forward,” she said.
“Professor Hijley is always there to help and offer words of encouragement,” Crickard said. “She is also a fabulous diction teacher. So while I’m in Italy I may not know what I’m saying, but at least I’ll say it correctly.”
Crickard is looking forward to being able to really focus on singing during her time in Italy. “I’m also excited to study with Barbara Paver and learn everything she has to teach,” she said.
Caleb Lawson, a graduate student in collaborative piano, will join the College Light Opera Company in Cape Cod, Mass. as one of two staff pianists for The White Horse Inn, George M, Lady, Be Good, The Pajama Game, Carousel, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, H.M.S. Pinafore, Les Misérables and Into the Woods.
Originally from Peoria, Ill., Lawson gained his bachelor’s degree from College of the Ozarks. He heard about Houghton College from a friend there and, after a semester at Missouri State, decided Houghton was the place for him.
Lawson heard about the opening with the College Light Opera Company through the grapevine. “I wanted summer music work and didn’t want to work as a camp counselor,” he said. “I immediately jumped at the chance to perform all summer.”
Although Lawson is excited to work with the Company, he is responsible for learning the music to a show per week. “The sheer amount of music that I will have to go through is pretty daunting when I think about it,” he said. “It’ll be an adventure, that’s for sure.”
Houghton has been able to help prepare Lawson for what he’ll be doing this summer. “If there’s one thing Houghton has done exceptionally well for me, it’s give me lot of performance experience,” he said. “Houghton has also given me a great deal of experience working with singers and as a rehearsal accompanist.”
Timothy McGowan, a sophomore vocal performance major, will be performing with Opera Breve in Texas and perform as Enoch Snow in Carousel.
McGowan is originally from Dansville, N.Y., and has always loved music and performance. Other than music, McGowan enjoys hiking through the woods around Houghton and “enjoying God’s creation.”
McGowan has an impressive resumé as a sophomore. He finished first place at the NATS district vocal competition and third at the NATS regional voice competition in the Upper Division Music Theater.
“My accomplishments really do not come from me at all,” he said. “I owe every ounce of congratulations and praise to God.”
He has found that rejection is that hardest part of finding a position as a young artist. The Opera Breve was the third position that McGowan auditioned for. “The biggest challenge that I faced was the fear of rejection,” he said. “It’s hard to separate your self-worth from your status as a young artist, which is where my friends and God have been instrumental.”
Although rejection is a real fear for not just young artists but all artists, McGowan has felt that Houghton has helped prepare him for the work he will be doing this summer. “The environment of the Greatbatch School of Music lends itself to a very hands-on learning experience and individual attention,” he said. “I believe that the fine music faculty has prepared me to make music at a higher level, for a higher purpose.”
McGowan has been working with professor Mitchell Hutchings while at Houghton. “He was instrumental in encouraging me and preparing my voice [and] my resume and video recordings that these programs require,” he said.
“I am so thankful for Houghton and the faculty of the Greatbatch School of Music for maximizing my opportunities, and giving me the tools to mold my gifts.”
Robin McLaughlin, Sean Douglas, Joseph Perrotti, Nathaniel Efthimiou, and Ben Yuly
After the recent success of being chosen as a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, McLaughlin will attend Saint Mary's College Summer Composition Intensive and study with Michael Scelle from Butler University and Kristin Kuster from Michigan University. McLaughlin is a sophomore music composition major and student of Dr. Sarah Hutchings.
Sean Douglas, a graduate student in vocal performance, will perform with Chicago Summer Opera as Monostotos, First Armored Man, and will cover Tamino in Die Zauberflöte.
Joseph Perrotti was selected to perform in the role of Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte in Salzburg, Austria as part of the Franco-American Vocal Academy in Salzburg Austria. Joseph is a graduating bachelor of music student and studies under professor Mitchell Hutchings.
Nathaniel Efthimiou, student of Dr. David Davies is attending the International Conducting Workshop and Festival in the Czech Republic.
Ben Yuly, also a student of Dr. David Davies is attending the Film Scoring Workshop at the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Institute in Seattle.