October 23, 2012
The Composition of a Community
Anne Nickerson ‘13 loves music. A music composition major with a concentration in voice, she’s been improvising on the piano for as long as she can remember. However, Anne only started composing during her late high school years and did not really consider composition as a future path. As a senior, prepared to study fashion design, Anne attended a retreat that changed her mind and suddenly was sure that music composition was the career path she wanted to take.
Last semester, Anne applied for the “New Song Composer Residency,” offered by Houghton College. This unique program, one of few nation-wide, is offered to any serious composer taking composition lessons through the Greatbatch School of Music. Intentionally set up to involve both a church in an urban setting and a church in a rural setting, each church involved (Houghton Wesleyan and University Presbyterian in Buffalo) has music led by a Houghton grad. Anne was chosen as the “New Song Composer in Residence” and is now responsible for the composition of two original choral pieces – one this semester and one next semester. Both pieces will be performed during church services by the respective resident choirs.
When asked if she had plans for the future, particularly ones involving composition, Anne shared that she is presently working towards a doctoral degree in composition. After that, she hopes to compose sacred choral music, but “will be open to any opportunity – musical or non-musical – that may present itself… My experiences at Houghton have definitely been crucial for shaping me, both as a musician and in my faith. I firmly believe that God has used the incredible people I have encountered here at Houghton to shape my faith and strengthen my musicianship in a way that will enable me to better create music that helps people reflect on Him and His character.”
Anne has kept herself busy during her time at Houghton, singing in the Houghton College Choir, serving as worship coordinator at the Salvation Army Corps, and singing with the JOSHUA chapel band. To all Houghton students, Anne advises, “Be prepared and willing to have God humble you. Take advantage of the wise people He’s surrounded you with for this season of your life and learn, learn, learn. Four years go by quickly, and, though nobody is perfect, there is so much good to glean from the people around you. Be a sponge. But that’s not to say you have to believe everything you are told. Prayerfully and thoughtfully pick through the plethora of views and ideas that will bombard you and trust God to help make the important things stick.”
The “New Song Composer Residency” will continue to be offered once a year, giving young composers a unique opportunity, both to put into immediate practice what they learn and to impact the communities around them in a very positive way.