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Why Wittenberg?

Wittenberg students come from about 30 states and 10 countries. And Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any other four-year college or university in the state.

Music Scholarship Auditions

Students choose Wittenberg for many different reasons. Here are some thoughts from some of our music majors:

Sasha ButanisSasha Butanis ’23

I’m from Urbana, Ohio, but I attended Northwestern High School in Springfield, Ohio. Throughout high school I was involved in show choir, a music and performance class, and school musicals. Also, I participated in OMEA Solo and Ensemble for voice, where I received both excellent and superior ratings.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because it is close to home and I’m able to commute to my classes. I also fell in love with the campus and people here, as all the people I met during my visit were helpful and friendly. I love that it’s a small school; you recognize faces on campus and your professors know who you are.

What next?  After I graduate I would love to teach choir at the middle and/or high school level.

Samantha ChildressSamantha Childress ’21

My family moved around a lot while I was growing up, but I finished my last two years of high school at Mason High School (in Ohio). I did martial arts and cross country. I also was in orchestra my senior year.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg mainly because of the study abroad programs. I also just fell in love with the campus when I came for my visits. Witt felt like home.

What next?  After graduation I’m hoping to get a Fulbright Scholarship and to use it to go abroad and get a master’s degree in linguistics.

Alexander O’ConnorAlexander O’Connor ’20

I am from Miamisburg, Ohio, where I attended Miamisburg High School. While in high school I played flute in a few of the concert bands and in the pep band. I also played synthesizer for five years in the marching band, mallet percussion in Miamisburg’s indoor percussion group, and synthesizer and piccolo for the first season of Miamisburg’s indoor winds group my senior year. I also played in the Star City Community Band on percussion and flute/piccolo.

Why Witt?  The short answer for why I chose Wittenberg is the cost, as it ended up being the cheapest of the schools I was looking at. But now, being a senior at the time I’m writing this, I realize that Wittenberg was exactly the school experience I didn’t know I needed. I love the tight-knit community on campus, and I would not have been able to do many of the things I’ve done here (such as lead the Pep Band, teach marching band at nearby Northeastern High School, just to name a few from the tip of the iceberg) if I had attended a different school. I am eternally grateful for my Wittenberg experience.

What next?  After graduation I hope to get a job as a high school band and/or orchestra director. I may eventually go to grad school for orchestral conducting, because the orchestral repertoire has always fascinated me.

Finley MeansFinley Means ’22

I am from Shelby, Ohio, where I attended Shelby High School. I was involved in all things music and theatre. I played mellophone in pep band and marching band, where I was the section leader for 3 years and was principle player for the French horn section in the symphonic band that participated in OMEA’s large-group contest. I have also participated in OMEA Solo and Ensemble Events for horn and voice, where I have received superior ratings. I was the student director of an audition-only female ensemble of 13 voices called The Melloettes, performing for concerts and community events. I was also in the chamber choir, another OMEA contest ensemble, where I was a section leader of the second sopranos.

Why Witt?  I came to visit Wittenberg on a whim because of a family friend from my hometown who was attending Wittenberg at the time of my college search process. As soon as I stepped on campus, it felt like home. All the faculty and staff I encountered were genuine, friendly, and helpful. Coming from such a small town, I knew I needed a smaller, closer community where I could be more than just a number. Wittenberg has done a phenomenal job of giving me that close and intimate community. Another thing that was important to me were involvement opportunities, and the involvement opportunities here are outstanding and have become a huge part of my Wittenberg experience, especially in the music department.

What next?  After graduation I plan to teach for a couple years before going to graduate school to work towards a masters and/or doctorate degree in choral conducting.

Nicholas WeissmanNicholas Weissman ’21

I’m from Kettering, Ohio. I went to Fairmont High School. In high school I was involved in wind symphony, marching band, pep band, jazz band, indoor percussion, Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and I played in the pit orchestra.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because my brother came to Wittenberg and it was the most cost-effective choice.

What next?  I plan on attending medical school after graduating and studying to become a physician.

Annemarie BrierAnnemarie Brier ’21

I am from Chillicothe, Ohio, and I attended high school at Chillicothe High School. In high school I was involved in band, orchestra, and choir. I played oboe and tenor saxophone in band, cello in orchestra, and sang soprano in the symphonic choir. I was also a part of the string ensemble and Tri-M (Music Honor Society) chapter.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because their music education program does not have tracks. I am equally passionate about teaching band, orchestra, and choir, and Wittenberg did not make me choose simply one. Here, you get to learn how to teach every aspect of the music education experience.

What next?  After graduation I hope to teach high school orchestra and/or choir in Ohio. I want to teach private lessons as well. Lastly, I plan to continue playing in community groups. Music will always be a part of my life, and Wittenberg has only helped this passion.

Isabelle McClureIsabelle McClure ’21

I am from Powell, Ohio. I attended Olentangy Liberty High School, where I was involved in the varsity choir, an a cappella group, and musicals.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because I was able to double major in music and communication. It allowed me to be involved in the many things that I enjoyed without having to necessarily major in them. I also decided to come to Witt because of the support that the professors provide for their students so that they can succeed.

What next?  I want to continue to pursue both music and theatre and go to graduate school for something in the communication field.

Danielle CristDanielle Crist ’22

I’m from New Carlisle, Ohio, and went to Tecumseh High School. In high school I participated in the all-women choir my freshman year and then was in the show choir for the rest of high school. I performed at community events with my choir whenever the opportunity came up and even sang the national anthem with some classmates at one of my school’s band competitions. I also sang Class A at an OMEA Solo and Ensemble Adjudicated Event during my senior year where I received a 1 (the highest rating).

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because I knew that they had a great music program. I had heard lots of great things about the professors and their dedication to getting students through the program and helping them to become better musicians.

What next?  I am currently a music education major. After I graduate, I plan to stay in Ohio and look around the local and surrounding areas for high schools or middle schools in need of a choir teacher.

Bryce YaminBryce Yamin ’21

I am from Hendersonville, Tennessee. I attended Station Camp High School, where I did jazz, symphonic band, and marching band.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of its historical background and its connection to ELCA seminaries.

What next?  I plan to attend seminary in order to become a chaplain. I would like to use my education in music to help others through music therapy.

Molly CarnerMolly Carner ’20

I am from Tipp City, Ohio, and I was home schooled. I was involved in many choirs growing up: my church’s children’s choir, youth and adult choirs, and I was also part of a high school chorus and a drama troupe’s chorus.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because it was a smaller school, and it was close to home.

What next?  I am still unsure of what I want to do after graduation, but I am a music and communication double major, so finding a job that would combine the two would be ideal.

Shanté LeslieShanté Leslie ’20

I am from Bowie, Maryland, which is 30 minutes from Washington D.C., and I attended Bowie High School from 2014 to 2018. I was involved in my school’s annual musicals, the orchestra, and the “Madrigals” and chamber choirs during all four years of my high school career. I also performed in Bowie High’s Coffee House events since before my freshman year.

Why Witt?  From attending Wittenberg, I can say that I love the small class sizes and how personable and down-to-earth the faculty and staff are. I wanted the opportunity to explore my many passions with access to resources that I wouldn’t be able to get at a larger university, like 1-on-1 conferences with my professors. Another important reason as to why I chose Wittenberg was because I knew there were (and are) many paths at my disposal that I can take after my college career is over.

What next?  As of right now I’m not sure what my life will look like after I graduate, but I know that Wittenberg will provide me with the tools I need to build my future.

Lillyan GaertnerLillyan Gaertner ’22

I am from Cable, Ohio, but grew up in Columbus. I was homeschooled and studied music and piano at the Conservatory of Piano in Worthington since I was six years old. I also sang in choirs, which I have always enjoyed. I helped with drama groups, attended music camps, and eventually took violin lessons for two years. All these elements showed me that music was what I wanted to pursue.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because during my college search, the faculty took an interest in me and my plans. I was encouraged to start cello lessons and to become a better pianist. I saw that the community at the beautiful campus truly cared about the success of each student.

What next?  After graduation I hope to teach elementary children all about music and teach private piano lessons. I would like to use music as a ministry and help children see the fulfilling nature of music with the same passion I do.

Breanna PlummerBreanna Plummer ’22

I am from Perrysburg, Ohio, and graduated from Perrysburg High School. During high school I was a member of our Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, and played piccolo in Marching Band. I was also given the opportunity to go to Europe with Ohio Ambassadors of Music.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of the type of environment that is created on campus. With it being a relatively small school, there is a strong sense of community around campus and it instantly made me feel at home.

What next?  After graduation I plan to continue with school to become a music therapist. Eventually I hope to work with special needs children.

Andrew ShafferAndrew Shaffer ’22

I am from Springfield, Ohio. I attended Clark Shawnee High School, and I was involved in marching band, orchestra, choir, pep band, solo and ensemble, and the Springfield Youth Symphony.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of the smaller classroom sizes and for the relationships you can create with all of the wonderful faculty because of it!

What next?  After college I plan to teach for a little bit to gain some experience and then go to grad school and hopefully end up teaching music at the college level.

Isaac LewisIsaac Lewis ’21

I was born in Columbus, Ohio, but I later relocated to Orlando, Florida, and graduated from Dr. Phillips High School in the Visual and Performing Arts program. I was a member of the dance magnet program and I was heavily involved in the music magnet as well. I was the officer for my class and I participated in the men’s, concert, and premier choirs.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of its reputation, its distance from Orlando, as well as the fact that I would be able do a double major.

What next?  After graduating from Wittenberg I intend to continue my training, working towards a master of fine arts centering on vocal performance, music technology, or choreography and performance.

Nathan BaulchNathan Baulch ’21

I am from Nashville, Tennessee, and attended Brentwood Academy. In high school I participated in our concert band for 4 years, our pep band for 2 years, and the jazz band for 3 years.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg for their student-teacher ratio, which helps me learn better, as it is more focused than other universities. Another reason I chose Witt was the freedom of choice Witt gives. I am a music education major and also have the opportunity to play tennis at the same time. That type of opportunity is something only schools like Witt can offer. Also, the faculty here are phenomenal, and I feel like I have walked out of every class with something I can use later in life.

What next?  After graduation I plan on teaching instrumental music in either a middle school or high school, preferably in either Tennessee or Ohio. I would also love to become an assistant tennis coach for whichever school I teach at.

Emma SeibertEmma Seibert ’21

I am from Ypsilanti, Michigan, where I graduated from Washtenaw International High School. During high school I sang in the Chamber Choir, participated in many solo and small group performances at community events, and mentored the middle school’s Glee Club.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of the small community and emphasis on a well-rounded liberal-arts education. I loved my small high school (for reference I graduated in a class of 94 students) and wanted to have that same sense of community in college not just with my peers but with my professors as well. And I knew I wanted the opportunity to broaden my mind in all aspects of education, not just my majors.

What next?  After graduation I plan to work as a freelance writer and/or editor for a few years before landing a more concrete job in that field.

Elena DummElena Dumm ’20

I am from Shaker Heights, Ohio, and I attended Shaker Heights High School. I did some musical theater, but I was a band nerd at heart. I was involved in my school’s marching band as a flute player and field commander, I played oboe and English horn in the pit orchestra, and I was principal oboe in the school’s Wind Ensemble. I also played oboe in the Contemporary Youth Orchestra at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because I loved the look of the campus and the friendliness of the faculty and students when I visited campus. Because of the small size, the campus feels like a community of students and faculty who genuinely love Wittenberg. I also love that I am able to build personal relationships with all my professors and know that they genuinely care about my success as a student.

What next?  After graduation I’d like to get my masters in communication and media, and continue playing in a community orchestra!

Christina ThompsonChristina Thompson ’21

I’m from Maineville, Ohio, and a few other suburbs scattered around the Cincinnati area. I was homeschooled. I have studied piano for over 10 years and performed at occasional community events.

Why Witt?  I came to Wittenberg because of the communication I had with faculty members before I had even committed to attend. In my college search I was looking for an education that could accommodate the fact that both science and the arts were major parts of my life, and I wanted to continue developing my skills in both fields. The faculty at Wittenberg gave me the encouragement to pursue both a chemistry and music major, and have patiently worked with me to ensure that I can achieve those goals.

What next?  After I graduate, I want to work in the pharmaceutical industry, leaning towards possibly graduate school so I can work with drug development

Kendra EbanksKendra Ebanks ’20

I’m from Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, which is located about 460 miles south of Florida. I graduated high school from Wesleyan Christian Academy. While attending Wesleyan I was a section leader for both concert band and high school choir. I performed at the yearly art festivals on island and competed at the International Student Convention in the US. I placed in the woodwind solo category and ensemble category at the International Student Convention.

Why Witt?  I obtained my Associate’s degree from God’s Bible School and College in Cincinnati, after which I chose to transfer to Wittenberg University. Deciding to attend Wittenberg was highly influenced by its highly noted accreditation, the beautiful campus, and its strong music and education programs. The welcoming atmosphere and school spirit allowed for a smooth transition to the university.

What next?  After graduation I plan to pursue a career as an elementary school teacher. I will use my music degree to become a church musician and continue working with the youth choir at my church. I hope to continue my education and obtain my master’s in teaching.

Haley HydeHaley Hyde ’20

I came to Wittenberg from Henry County, Kentucky, where I attended Henry County High School. Because I’m an instrumentalist, I was involved in everything relating to band, such as concert band, marching band, pep band, jazz band, pit orchestra, and small ensembles/chamber music. During my senior year I stage managed my high school’s musical, and I got the chance to be a vocal coach for one of the actors as well.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because when I visited I knew that it was where I wanted to be. It has a great music department and the faculty throughout all of the departments here are great. I also loved the fact that it is a small school with small class sizes. Wittenberg also has a ton of opportunities to get involved with different things. I like getting out of my comfort zone and Wittenberg allows me to do that very easily.

What next?  As of right now, I don’t have a plan for after graduation. I know I want to continue with my music career and with theatre, but I don’t know specifics yet. I have four years to figure it out I guess!

Jefferson TruittJefferson Truitt ’20

I am from Monroe, Ohio. I attended high school at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. There, I was drum major of the pep band while also playing trumpet in the wind ensemble, honors orchestra, and brass choir.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of the fantastic music and education departments. I also really enjoy the sense of community on campus.

What next?  After graduation I want to teach music in private secondary schools.

Sarah KnobelochSarah Knobeloch ’20

I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I graduated from North Hills High School. Throughout high school I was involved in women’s choir, symphonic choir, North Hills Singers, and several musical theater productions. I also participated in the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because I felt very at home here on campus. Everyone was so nice when I came to visit that I was immediately drawn in. Also, the music program was very intriguing because of the many excellent voice instructors.

What next?  As of right now, I would like to see myself in a professional choir after graduation.

Hannah BrattainHannah Brattain ’20

I am from the small town of Greencastle, Indiana and I attended Greencastle High School. During my four years there, I participated in choir, solo and ensemble, and musical theatre! My favorite roles in high school were Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical and Sandy in Grease.

Why Witt?  Aside from theatre, I’ve always loved music and was very excited to attend Wittenberg because of the strong program and the amazing communication I had with music faculty before I even visited campus. I’m very happy here and am pleased to call Witt my new home.

What next?  As a music major I hope to pursue a career in the entertainment industry somehow, but I am not exactly sure where I’ll end up. I hope to continue to integrate performing into my career, whatever that may be!

Jaheem WashingtonJaheem Washington ’20

I’m from Naples, Florida, and I attended Palmetto Ridge High school. I was involved in marching band, wind ensemble, and jazz band.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because while being recruited, alumnus Jay Ries talked to me about a great school with a great music program and football team. In the process of being recruited for football, I met my coaches and future professors in the music department who assured me that I would be supported managing both football and music. During my visit I instantly fell in love with the beautiful campus and the feel I got from the other students. The community was really inviting. I saw myself achieving my dreams here.

What next?  I’m thinking that if I don’t get an opportunity at the NFL that I would graduate regardless from Wittenberg with my bachelors in music and be a live performer and go in to music production.

Jakob StaggsJakob Staggs ’20

I am from Chillicothe, Ohio, and attended Chillicothe High School. While at CHS I played in the school’s symphony orchestra, strings-only orchestra, and honors quartet that played all around Chillicothe and southern Ohio. I also had the opportunity to play for many musicals while in high school.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of its academic reputation and also because of the great opportunities that come with being here. All of the professors are so easy to approach and talk with and it is very obvious that they care so much about your education and you as a person.

What next?  After graduating from Witt I plan to go to medical school and become a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor. I also plan on sticking with cello and playing throughout the rest of my life.

Haley RawlingsHaley Rawlings ’20

I am from Amherst, Ohio, and I attended Amherst Steele High School. In high school I was involved in concert choir and my high school’s a cappella group.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because I am confident that the music department and the faculty will prepare me for a successful career in music.

What next?  After graduation I plan on getting my license to become a music therapist.

Zach SimmonsZach Simmons ’20

I am from Chillicothe, Ohio, and I graduated from Bloom-Carroll High School. I was involved in my school’s chamber choir my freshman year. I was also involved in marching band and symphonic band for all 4 years of high school.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of the small campus and the family feeling from a close community. The music program made me feel more at home with all of the friendly students and staff.

What next?  I plan on teaching music at the junior high and high school level after I graduate. Later I plan on earning a doctoral degree and teaching at a collegiate level.

Chelby DyeChelby Dye ’20

I am from Springfield, Ohio, where I attended Northwestern Jr/Sr High School. While attending Northwestern I was the field commander of the marching band, and played the flute, French horn, and piano as a member of symphonic band, jazz band, pep band, and concert band. Along with other members of the symphonic band, I competed in OMEA Solo and Ensemble programs. I also participated in the Spring musicals, acting as Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, Frenchy in Grease, and Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls.

Why Witt?  I chose to attend Wittenberg University because of the highly recognized and esteemed music and education programs. In addition to the academic appeal of Wittenberg, I chose to attend because the University reflects its Lutheran history as a component of a liberal arts education.

What next?  After attending Wittenberg, I plan on becoming an elementary school teacher. My goal is also to continue my education by going to graduate school to receive a master’s degree in teaching. Along with education I hope to use my music degree from Wittenberg to become a church musician and travel to perform in musical theatre productions and band ensembles with my community.

Joshua GobleJoshua Goble ’20

I come from a little town in Ohio called Hillsboro. I attended Lynchburg-Clay High School. I wasn’t involved in my school’s arts programs but I took private lessons for both piano and violin.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because it is a great place of learning that allows me to express both my love of the arts and of science.

What next?  After graduating from Wittenberg I plan on attending graduate school to become a physician’s assistant, specializing in orthopedics. As of now that is the plan but I may change my major and my life decisions depending upon my experience here at Wittenberg.

Ethan PeckEthan Peck ’20

I am from Lexington, Kentucky. I attended Lafayette High School, where I was involved in the orchestra, symphonic band, and jazz band, as well as instructing the lower orchestras and providing private lessons.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of my visit to campus. I noticed that every professor I met with was more than happy to assist with anything and everything that any student may need. I was extremely impressed by the dedication and desire to instruct students and provide them with every tool necessary for success, especially within the Music Department.

What next?  After graduation I plan on becoming a music teacher at the high school level.

Allison RossAllison Ross ’20

I am from Green Springs, Ohio, where I attended Clyde Senior High School. I’ve been playing the flute for seven years. In high school I participated in wind ensemble, marching band, pep band, honor band festivals, and solo and ensemble competitions.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because I fell in love with the beautiful campus. I also was really excited to earn the benefits of a liberal arts education and get involved on campus!

What next?  After graduation I plan to attend law school and become a federal prosecutor.

Tierra HarrisTierra Harris ’20

I am from Millersport, Ohio, where I attended Millersport Junior/Senior High School. I was very involved in music in high school. I was in jazz, concert band, and marching band. I also sang in a concert choir and performed in a competitive show choir. I won many awards, including best dancer, head choreographer, best vocalist two years in a row, and best performer, and I received superior ratings many times. I was involved in musicals, including Annie Get Your Gun, Legally Blonde, Oliver Twist, Li’l Abner, and Willy Wonka.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because the first time visiting the feeling was very welcoming. I was home, plain and simple. This campus not only took my attention but my heart too. It is truly a family community here. The professors care about the students and it reminds me of my small high school back home. I feel important and loved. Here I’m not a number, I’m a person.

What next?  After graduation I plan to possibly pursue performing in New York. Being a performer is such a lifelong goal, and I believe that Wittenberg can help me in reaching for my goals.

Grant SteeleGrant Steele ’20

I am from Downers Grove, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. I attended Downers Grove North High School. I grew up in a musical family, beginning piano lessons at the age of three. During my time in high school, I played in the symphonic orchestra and jazz band, starting off as a cellist and then transitioning to the double bass. Outside of school, I studied classical guitar independently.

Why Witt?  I chose to attend Wittenberg because of the opportunities they offer, both musically and academically. Wittenberg makes it very easy to double major and the music department is very flexible. I enjoy the small campus, community, and personal interaction with the professors, as they really care about you and give you the right tools to succeed. I felt that a liberal arts environment would be the most beneficial for me to grow and prepare for adulthood.

What next?  I hope to enter international business using my German language background. I plan on keeping music a large and important part of my life no matter what I do, however.

Grace FischerGrace Fischer ’20

I am from Ostrander, Ohio, and attended Buckeye Valley High School. I was involved in my high school’s SATB choir for two years, the SSA choir for two years, and then the a cappella choir for my senior year. I was also involved in marching band, the color guard, for four years. Plus, I was involved in theatre during high school, and dance outside of my school.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because I fit. I felt when I walked on campus that I belonged there and could never see myself at any other school. The professors drew me in and just made me fall in love with the school even more. There were so many options for me to choose from and so many ways I could get involved on campus and I was excited to get started. That is really what made me choose Witt, because I couldn’t wait to get back there after every visit and also compared Witt to the other college’s I visited, and I couldn’t find anything I wanted more then to be a Witt student.

What next?  I am thinking of doing a music and psychology double major so I can go on to graduate school and become a music therapist, but as I go through college I am thinking that might change. I am now keeping my options open, considering a history double major with music, but I know music will be part of the equation not matter what I decide.

Brian SchindehetteBrian Schindehette ’20

I am from Westerville, Ohio, just outside of Columbus. I attended Westerville South High School, the oldest of the three high schools in the area. While I was there, I was part of the drumline of our marching band for four years, a member of Westerville’s indoor drumline for two years, and I was part of our high school theatre troupe all four years, as both an actor and part of the pit percussion in musicals. I was also a part of our symphonic band all four years and jazz ensemble my senior year.

Why Witt?  I chose to attend Wittenberg University for a few reasons. My Lutheran background fit well into the school’s Lutheran heritage. The music program they have here is spectacular, and is well known amongst the college world. Through this program, even in the span of a few short months, I have been able to grow and mature musically more than I ever thought feasible, and this would not be possible without my main reason for coming here: the people. The staff and faculty, even outside the music program, are incredible, wonderful people, as well as great educators and teachers. They know so much and are willing to help no matter the problem. Their first priority is to make sure you succeed, not just hoping you do well and moving on. In this place, I felt right at home almost immediately.

What next?  To be honest, I do not know what I’m going to do after graduation. I’m planning on being a double major, though I haven’t decided on the second major. All I know is continuing in this music program will expand my abilities and knowledge of what is out there, so I am sure that by the time I graduate I will know exactly what I will be doing and will more than likely be able to do it successfully.

Ryan TilleyRyan Tilley ’20

I was raised here in Springfield, Ohio and attended Tecumseh High School. In high school I was involved in the choir, concert band, marching band, pep band, jazz band, and school musicals. The choir and musicals had the greatest influence on me to become involved in music. I was involved in jazz band for one year; concert band and marching band for two years; and pep band, choir, and musicals for all four years of high school.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg University for multiple reasons. Being close to home was important in my choice, as I love Springfield. I loved Wittenberg’s campus when I visited on tours, and everybody on campus seemed extremely nice and welcoming. Wittenberg’s excellent music program enticed me very much. I am very glad that I have chosen Wittenberg as my college for study because of the wonderful people, brilliant professors, and amazing experience.

What next?  After graduation I am hoping to pursue a career as a choir director. I have had an interest in choir and choral music ever since middle school. I love choral music, and hope to be able to lead and educate a choir of my own someday.

Wendy HawkWendy Hawk ’20

I am from Washington Court House, Ohio, where I attended Washington Senior High. Throughout high school I was involved with a lot of musical activities including choir, a cappella groups, show choirs, and church choirs. I also was involved with concert, symphonic, and jazz bands. With some of these groups, I also sang at a few sporting events, nursing homes, funerals, graduation, and military retirement ceremonies. My best friend and I also had the opportunity to conduct our alma mater at our high school graduation ceremony for winning the 2016 Choral Achievement Awards.

Why Witt?  I first chose Wittenberg because of the amazing softball program they have here, then when I came on my visit I learned about the music program and fell in love instantly! The people in choir are so very inviting and kind. Wittenberg’s campus is also very beautiful and has a very inviting feel to it—due to the kindness of others who share as much love for this school as you do.

What next?  Plans after graduation include possibly going into the Air Force as an officer for psychology. I would like to work with PTSD patients and help aid any soldiers/veterans who have psychological issues. I am very excited to also include my musical education in my occupations. There are areas such as music therapy that can also help calm someone who might be experiencing PTSD or other psychological issues. I am very excited to see how I can use my education in my line of work after graduation.

Ethan HughesEthan Hughes ’20

I hail from Cincinnati, Ohio. I attended Colerain High School. While there I was involved with our wind ensemble, marching band, and indoor drum line. Outside of school I’ve also marched Drum Corps International.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg for the family feeling I got from the small campus. My professors know who I am. They are also aware of the ways I learn best. I don’t think I could find that in a large university.

What next?  I am planning to apply to graduate schools to pursue a masters degree and eventually a doctoral degree. I am looking to teach at the collegiate level one day.

Laura BucherLaura Bucher ’19

I’m from Amesbury, Massachusetts, where I attended Amesbury High School. In my four years of high school, I sang soprano in my school’s a cappella group, sang in and accompanied our chorus on piano, as well as played piano in the pit band for one of our musicals, Legally Blonde. I’ve been taking piano lessons since I was three years old, and I’ve participated in the Piano Teachers Guild Auditions for the past seven years, consistently scoring in the Superior range. In my senior year I had the distinct honor of being the president of both our choir and our a cappella group as well as receiving an incredible audition-based music scholarship through my town.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg entirely because of the close-knit community and kind environment. As a music major it’s difficult to find a musical community in the college setting that is friendly and supportive rather than competitive and cut-throat. Wittenberg is one of the rare few. Everyone at Wittenberg is welcoming, and all students are helping other students as much as they can to be better musicians and succeed in school.

What next?  After graduation I’m positive that I want to be a music teacher. I’d love to be the choral instructor at a high school and help students to grow as musicians and as people. I look forward to teaching students music and helping them find their passion. I think that music is an extremely important outlet for students to express themselves, and I’d like to be the one helping them find that outlet. Ideally, either directly after I graduate from Wittenberg or after teaching for a few years, I’d like to get my master’s degree in either piano performance or music theory.

Anna FoxAnna Fox ’19

I am from Cleveland, Ohio, where I attended Charles F. Brush High School. During my four years of high school, I played the trombone and participated in marching band, wind ensemble, and jazz band. I was also the Vice President of our drama club and starred in many of our musical productions. I have been taking voice lessons since the age of eight and have trained classically at the Cleveland Institute of Music. In addition I was a seven-year member of the Cleveland Singing Angels, an auditioned group for youth all around the Cleveland area.

Why Witt?  I first visited Wittenberg when I was in the eighth grade and my older sister was searching for colleges. We visited Wittenberg primarily because my father is a Lutheran minister and the school has a rich Lutheran heritage. The moment I stepped onto the campus, I knew that it was the place for me. From the rolling green hills of the hollow to the involved and caring professors, I knew that I would one day call Wittenberg my home.

What next?  After graduation, I hope to pursue a master’s degree in music therapy. I am currently pursuing a double major with music and special education and hope to one day combine my two passions to make a difference in the lives of others.

Kieran HunterKieran Hunter ’19

I graduated from Franklin High School in Seattle, Washington. In high school I did concert band, marching band, and jazz band. I played tuba, sousaphone, and trombone/bass respectively with each ensemble.

Why Witt?  I chose Witt because of how much money I was offered in scholarships as well as how amazing the music department is.

What next?  When I graduate, I want to go back to Seattle and try to get a job at my high school if not at a surrounding middle school. I may also go for a master’s degree at the University of Washington.

Rachael YalazRachael Yalaz ’19

I am from Springfield, Ohio, and attended Springfield High School all four years. I was involved with our top choir that went to contest every year and was also involved with theatre and musicals all four years I attended.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because even though it’s right down the street from my house, it’s such a different atmosphere from Springfield. The community is so strong and everyone is so warm and welcoming, and it’s always been my top choice in the back of my mind.

What next?  After graduation I am thinking about going to grad school to get a master’s in zoology and hopefully work in a zoo or an animal reserve.

Seamus DunphySeamus Dunphy ’19

I am from Westlake, Ohio, and attended Westlake High School. During my four years at WHS, I was heavily involved in music. I’ve been in Freshman Mixed Chorus, Symphonic Choir, Men’s Chorus, Company D (show choir), Hexadeca, and Chorale. I was also heavily involved with the drama/theatre productions, both inside and outside school. Senior year I was in a total of five choirs.

Why Witt?  I knew I had to come to Wittenberg when I stepped onto campus. The environment there was extremely welcoming and friendly. It had everything I was looking for in a college. The Music Department here has made me feel like I’m part of the family. It’s a great place to be a part of!

What next?  After graduation I plan on pursuing a master’s degree in choral conducting. With my bachelors in music education and a master’s in choral conducting, I plan to pursue my passion with choir and become a high school choir director.

Maklayne VitovichMaklayne Vitovich ’19

I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I attended North Hills High School. During that time I participated in drama club productions, symphonic choir, wind ensemble, flute choir, and handbell choir. My high school’s wind ensemble was chosen as the select high school group to play at the 2015 NAfME convention, which was such an awesome experience!

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because the first time I visited the campus I could feel that it was a very special place. The community and liberal education it supports is something that is very valuable to me.

What next?  I am thinking about possibly joining the Peace Corps and then pursuing a doctorate in music therapy in order to later join music and mission together.

Zach HoyerZach Hoyer ’19

I am from Cincinnati, Ohio, and I attended Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy High School. At CHCA I was involved with Encore Performing Choir (tenor), Electric Jazz Orchestra (bass trombone), and CHCA Quartet, an independent a cappella barbershop organization. I was also heavily involved with musical theater through CHCA, St. Ursula Academy Ensemble Theatre, and Acting Up Community Theatre.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg mainly for the amazing community that I found here. I was consistently shown interest and support from Witt throughout my college search, and that meant more to me than anything.

What next?  After graduation I plan to pursue a master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Nicholas School for the Environment at Duke University. I hope to use the knowledge gained both at Wittenberg and Duke to better the planet and lead to positive steps toward a sustainable future.

Ava DotyAva Doty ’19

I am from Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. I attended Dublin Scioto High School. I participated in marching band, jazz band, concert band, pep band, and percussion ensemble.

Why Witt?  My Mom and sister are both alumni, so that’s what really started the process for me. The music program really interested me because I felt like the professors really wanted me here. I love the size of the school and the classes. The atmosphere also drew my attention. The scenery is so beautiful and everyone is very friendly.

What next?  My long term goal is to direct a high school marching band of my own. I want to inspire my students like my high school band director did for me.

Kathryn NydeggerKathryn Nydegger ’19

My name is Kathryn Nydegger, or Kat, and I am from Hilliard, Ohio, about thirty minutes from Columbus. I attended Hilliard Davidson High School all four years during my high school career. In high school I was involved in several music activities including the top orchestra at my high school, being president of all three orchestras my senior year, being involved in our Davidson String Quartet that performed at many events both within and outside of my high school (including school ceremonies, weddings, nursing homes, and churches), and being president and vice president of the String Quartet my junior and senior year.

Why Witt?  I chose to attend Wittenberg University because of my love for a liberal arts education. I believe mixing education with community service, religion and having a strong, personal community of friends and educators who have similar beliefs will take you farther in life both in the workforce and as a person. I also chose Wittenberg because of the people. During my tours, random visits, and phone calls I always felt so welcomed by everyone I passed by and talked to. I felt that others took the time to recognize me and made me feel at home.

What next?  I am a music and communications double major at Wittenberg, with a minor in business. My hopes and plans after graduation are in still in the air as I try to let life take me wherever it leads me, but my goals after graduation include having a start-up job relating to my major while continuing my education for a graduate degree hopefully at an institution out west, maybe Arizona State University, but who knows! I would also like to start performing the violin professionally, whether in a community or state orchestra.

Nicholas WanamakerNicholas Wanamaker ’19

I was raised in Bethel Township, right outside of New Carlisle, Ohio. I attended Bethel High School and participated in all the activities I could including marching band, solo and ensemble, symphonic band, the high school musical, and multiple honor bands around the area.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg University for multiple reasons. The first is I had been taking horn lessons with Mr. Bear during my senior year, giving me a strong desire to keep learning from him. Another reason is because of the academic and musical superiority at Wittenberg. The final reason for my choosing Wittenberg is the size and location of the college. If I ever need help, I can easily go and find a professor and talk to them.

What next?  After graduating from Wittenberg I am hoping to enter a medical school to pursue a degree in a surgery-related field, and continue to pursue music so I can one day be part of an orchestra.

Briana WalworthBrianna Walworth ’19

I’m from Cleveland, Ohio. I attended a small Lutheran school called Lutheran West. I was involved in marching band, concert band, jazz band, and pit band.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because it was far enough from home and school that I could get a new start but not too far that I was unable to go home for a weekend. It was larger than my high school but still considered small for a college and I liked that.

What next?  After college I will be going to graduate school to eventually earn my PhD in biochemistry. My long term goal is to lead my own research lab.

Alisha LattimoreAllisha Lattimore 19

I was born and raised right here in Springfield, Ohio. I attended Springfield High School for all four years of my high school education. I was involved in multiple music activities, such as marching band, symphonic band, concert band, pep band, and jazz band. I also volunteered this summer to be a chaperone and trumpet specialist for my high school’s marching band during their week of band camp.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because I simply fell in love with the music department, especially after I participated in both a jazz band and symphonic band rehearsal. I simply love the atmosphere of the campus and every person I met just had a smile on their face and seemed like they were happy to be here. They made me feel included and like I belong, plus they were all and have been very nice and polite to me and each other.

What next?  After I graduate and get my bachelors in music education, I plan to become a music therapist and help all different kinds of children and adults. Whether it is teaching them how to play an instrument or performing for the sick and dying, I know it will be rewarding. On top of getting my music therapy license, I plan to get my teaching license as well, just in case I cannot find a music therapy job right away. I also plan to move out of Ohio entirely and go to a place where there is no snow and where it is warm all year!

Carson GrittonCarson Gritton ’19

I am from Maineville, Ohio. I went to Kings High School and was involved with my church band and gave solo performances whenever I had enough material to perform.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of the great education and program I wanted. It also felt as though this was the school for me.

What next?  I’m not to sure what I want to do, but I’m pretty sure I want to attend medical school after graduation.

Laryssa VanHooseLaryssa VanHoose ’19

I’m from the village of Saint Paris, Ohio, where I attended Graham High School. In high school I was involved in many things, most of them doing something with music. I was a member of the marching band known as the Dancin’ Band from Falconland, I participated in pep band, jazz band, concert band, and I was in the orchestra/rock band for the musical Grease.

Why Witt?  I choose Wittenberg because of its small community and close environment. Being from a small village, I thought I wanted to venture out to a big school and get into a different environment but after touring many big schools I knew that a big school wasn’t for me. I toured Wittenberg and instantly liked it because of the small community and how well everyone got along. I liked that everyone was accepting and nice to each other.

What next?  After graduation I am unsure what I want to do. I would love to become the director of bands at my high school, and I feel that’s the whole reason I choose to be a music education major.

Claudia ScullyClaudia Scully ’19

I’m from Mason, Ohio, and graduated from William Mason High School. There, I was involved in the honors concert choir and pop a cappella group.

Why Witt?  I chose to attend Wittenberg because of the community atmosphere, small class sizes, and how accessible all of the professors are. Not to mention that the campus is beautiful, and that it’s only about an hour from home.

What next?  As of right now I want to be a high school choir director, but that could change between now and graduation.

Heaven OsborneHeaven Osborne ’19

I am a Springfield, Ohio, native and graduate of Greenon High School. As a student there I was very involved in music throughout my four years: marching band (to eventually become band president in my senior year), as well as four years of symphonic band and pep band. I joined chorus my senior year as one of two second sopranos, and then received a Superior rating in my first vocal solo performance for OMEA (singing “American Lullaby”). In addition I performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” at countless basketball games. I was vice president of our school’s Tri-M Music Honor Society and was hyper-involved in musicals and many other productions in the drama department over my 8 years in the program, such as The Importance of Being Earnest and Bah Humbug!, and I received our school’s Barbara Arnold Drama Award for theatrical excellence at the end of my senior year.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg from day one; in fact, I didn’t even apply anywhere else. There is something magical about this place: the students, the staff, the environment. It was amazing to me how kind and welcoming everyone was. I came from a really small close-knit high school and I was really interested to seek out a college with the same sort of values, hoping not to get lost but to find an environment in which I could truly better myself as a person and a musician; a perfect match for my goals was right under my nose! I loved that here I would have the opportunity to learn so much outside of my major, have the possibility to double major, and participate in all kinds of clubs and groups on campus. I knew Wittenberg was going to be a place where I would be able to ensure progress in the pursuit of becoming a music teacher, band director, drama club director, and eventually a music therapist.

What next?  After graduation in 2019 I plan to spend some time traveling and broadening my knowledge and experience in different parts of the world. Upon my return I plan to apply for jobs in music education in my area and then jump back into schooling for a music therapy program. I suppose my biggest goal on this path is to assist in the growth and improvement of other being’s minds and souls. I want to help people through music, teaching others all that I am able to, spreading the love of music to future generations.

Madeline DominiqueMadeline Dominique ’19

I am from Swanton, Ohio, which is a rural farming town close to Toledo. I went to St. Ursula Academy Toledo, an all-girls Catholic high school. During my time there I participated in Honors Concert Choir, OMEA choirs at the district and state level, and musical theater during all four years. I also had the opportunity to perform with the National Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall in NYC in both 2013 and 2015.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because the community is unique in its sense of unity. The smaller classes are perfect for my learning style, and the professors are directly involved and know each of their students by name. I love walking around on campus on every given day and always seeing happy, friendly faces!

What next?  After graduation from Wittenberg I hope to go to graduate school for marine science. While in graduate school, I hope to give private vocal lessons and perform, perhaps in operas.

Clayton MarshClayton Marsh ’19

I am from Piqua, Ohio. I was home-schooled. As a violinist I was involved with my private instructor’s studio, playing for recitals and special events, was a volunteer for weekly church services, was a member of the Springfield Youth Chamber Orchestra, Springfield Youth Symphony, and Dayton Philharmonic Youth Strings. In addition I was briefly a bass/tenor in my church choir.

Why Witt?  I chose Wittenberg because of its friendly atmosphere, accessible faculty, and commitment to academic excellence and social engagement—this is the essence of the Light we pledge to pass on.

What next?  After graduation I hope to enter law school and become an international family law attorney.

Click here to see students previously featured in “Why Wittenberg?”

Witt Chamber Orchestra

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