Students choose Wittenberg for many different reasons. Here are some thoughts from some of our music majors:
Elizabeth Davis ’24
I’m from Urbana, Ohio, and I attended West Liberty-Salem High School. I was involved in marching band, pep band, concert band, JV and varsity choir, musical, and the Ohio Heritage Conference Fine Arts Festival.
Why Witt? I chose Wittenberg because it’s close to home, it has an incredible, friendly atmosphere and I because loved the amazing music and education programs. Wittenberg was the first college I visited and no other college ever measured up!
What next? After graduation I plan to teach high school or middle school music, hopefully somewhere in a city.
I’m from Granville, Ohio, and attended Granville High School. I was involved in orchestra, playing violin, and an electric ensemble (electric string instruments). I took piano lessons privately.
Why Witt? I chose Wittenberg because Witt offered me the opportunity to continue learning piano while also following my interests in computer science as well.
What next? After graduation I see myself having a job with my computer science degree but still playing and enjoying piano!
I am from Tipp City, Ohio, where I attended Bethel High School. Throughout high school, I was involved in choir, jazz band (as vocalist), theatre, and an a cappella group. During my senior year I served as president of the woman’s choir for its first year up and running. While in high school, I participated in OMEA solo and ensemble, where I received superior and excellent ratings, and district honors choir. All four years of school, I received multiple DayTony awards for my roles in shows around the Dayton area.
Why Witt? I decided on Wittenberg because of the small-school atmosphere. I liked that if I did not understand a concept I could go to my professors and they would help me one-on-one. I also greatly appreciate that the professors here at Witt really do want their students to succeed and that was a really big factor for me as well.
What next? After graduation I plan on finding a job teaching music in a school where I can also direct the school plays and musicals. I also hope to open my own dance studio one day.
I was born in Portland, Oregon, but later moved to Indiana where I was raised. I attended three different high schools (Tipton High School, Elwood Junior-Senior High School, and Alexandria-Monroe High School), where I participated in several musical activities. I played trumpet for all of the marching band shows for Tipton, Elwood, and Alexandria. I played trumpet in the jazz bands of Tipton and Alexandria. I participated in several All-Region and All-District honor bands for trumpet. I performed in the Alexandria Community band on trumpet, played in the Indianapolis 500 parade on trumpet, and I have performed in the Indiana 4-H State Band several times. I participated in the ISSMA Solo & Ensemble events on trumpet and French horn, and for choir. I also sang in the Crimson Suite Show Choir of Elwood.
Why Witt? I chose Wittenberg because I enjoy the vibe of caring and family that Wittenberg gives off. Even then, the community of people who wish to work towards a better future really took the cake overall. I could not be any more thankful for all of Wittenberg’s opportunities and all of the faculty and staff who work so diligently to help all of the students.
What next? After graduation, I am hoping to pursue my masters in computer science, primarily quantum computing. Then, hopefully, I may continue on to pursue in doctorate in computer science.
I’m from Maineville, Ohio, where I attended Little Miami High School. During high school I was in the auditioned choirs: Select Women’s Chorale and Select Mixed choir. The Select Women’s Chorale was invited to be a premier ensemble at the Music for All national festival in 2018 as well as being invited to perform at the 2020 OMEA conference in January. During my three years with the ensembles we attended OMEA adjudicated events and performed in class AA and B and received superior ratings.
Why Witt? I chose Wittenberg because I absolutely loved campus and there was a feeling of warm welcoming and community. In the classes here you are more than a number; the professors take time to get to know their students. The community environment is emphasized greatly by the kind people you meet both within and outside of your major.
What next? After graduation I hope to become a choir director for junior high or high school so I can provide a safe place for students to express themselves and create music with others.
I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I attended Walnut Hills High School. In high school I mainly played piano in the school jazz ensembles, pit orchestra, and at various gigs around town. I also played percussion in the concert band and synthesizer in the marching band.
Why Witt? I chose Wittenberg because I have other interests that I would like to pursue in addition to music, and I liked that the option to major in music and another discipline was open to me. I also liked that it was a smaller school with a tight-knit community where I would get a well-rounded liberal arts education from great professors.
What next? I don’t have a solid idea of what I want to do after graduation right now. I plan to take more classes in what interests me and learn more about what fields and careers I can pursue in the future.
I’m from Brookville High School in Brookville, Ohio. In high school, I was involved in theatre, winter guard, marching band, pep band, concert band, concert choir, and was a part of a thirteen-member a cappella group called Shades of Blue. I also participated in the Springfield Youth Symphony and played in the 2020 All-State Band.
Why Witt? I chose Wittenberg primarily based on costs. Wittenberg was my cheapest option with a high-quality music education program. I also chose Wittenberg because of the tuba and euphonium instructor. The staff at Wittenberg has unwavering support for the students, and I admire the work ethic it takes to obtain a BME here at Wittenberg.
What next? After graduation, I am looking into finding a job at a school or taking a different path in life. The future is unpredictable, so I believe taking every moment to enjoy life’s many possibilities is crucial to today’s world.
I’m from Howard, Ohio, where I attended East Knox Jr./Sr. High School. Because I went to a very small and agriculturally focused school, there weren’t a lot of different music opportunities, but I was a part of both concert and marching band for all four years of high school. I did solo and ensemble and participated in honor band. I was also section leader for three years. Outside of band I also participated in art, theater, and debate.
Why Witt? I chose Wittenberg because I love that it’s a small and close-knit community. Everyone here is very welcoming and accepting, I remember how nice the professors were when I was visiting and doing my audition, and it made me want to go here even more. The people here feel like family, and that’s something that I really wanted out of my college experience.
What next? After graduation I want to teach music at a junior and senior high level, and after a few years get my masters in music education.
I am from Fort Loramie, Ohio, and I attended Fort Loramie Jr./Sr. High School. I played the flute all throughout high school and performed in the concert band, the pep band, and the marching band for all four years. I performed in solo and ensemble for five years as well as some honors bands. I was first chair and section leader for two years and also held the office of the band’s librarian during my senior year. Beyond music, I participated in theater, art, writing, and bowling.
Why Witt? While I will admit money was a big issue for me, I decided that Witt was where I wanted to be when I began to interact with the faculty. There’s something special about the community here. Everyone is incredibly welcoming and it truly does feel like family. The people you meet inside (and outside) of your major can become the people closest to your heart, and that was something I desperately wanted out of my college experience. I will forever be grateful for everyone I have met here.
What next? After I graduate, I hope to teach for a few years to save up some money—which I then hope to put into creating and maintaining my own business pertaining to music and art. I want to create a place for children with disabilities (and those from intercity schools with disciplinary issues) to come and find something that can help them live fuller, more enriching lives. I have seen art and music bring out passion and genuine happiness in such children in ways no other subjects can, and I hope for all children to have that in their lives one day.
Cooper Greensage ’23
I am from Xenia, Ohio and I attended Xenia High School. While at XHS, I played guitar for Jazz Band.
Why Witt? I choose Wittenberg for several reasons. Connections through friends, its prestigious reputation, and it offered a B.M.E., meaning I could learn the ins and outs of all things music.
What next? After graduation I plan on going to a grad program at either Ohio State or Kent State. I plan on receiving my doctorate and teaching at a college level. Where or what focus remains to be determined but I am leaning towards theory or classical guitar studies.
Mason Ritchason ’23
I am from a small town (Mechanicsburg, Ohio), and I went to Mechanicsburg High School. While there, I participated in as many music projects as a small agricultural school could offer. I was part of the marching band, concert band, pep band, and jazz band. I formed a jazz combo performance group for our school’s arts festival and participated in the student-sanctioned Jazz Club. I was part of the Ohio Heritage Conference Honors Band in 2019 and received the Band Music Booster Scholarship my senior year. I also aided our band director in the 5th- through 8th-grade bands, where my passion for music education formed.
Why Witt? At first I chose Wittenberg because I had not been rejected from a different school, and Wittenberg was my back-up. Now that I’m here, however, and in the midst of the university, I’ve found a wealth of resources: professors, peers, performances, that all make Wittenberg a great place to be a musician. There’s really something here for everyone, and, as someone who enjoys an array of music, I never find myself wanting for more playing experience. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that I would have had the same opportunities and connections at a larger university.
What next? After I graduate, I’d like to be a performing musician primarily—either in a touring form, or a small gigging scene—but teach general music or music theory at the high-school level on the side. Eventually I may return to school to work on a master’s degree in music education or another discipline in order to teach theory at the university level.
Molly Moran ’22
I’m from Eastlake, Ohio, where I attended Eastlake North High School. While there, I was involved in a bunch of different ensembles, including marching band, Northern Lights (the co-ed a cappella group), Concert Choir, Wind Symphony, and Drumline. During spring semester I also participated in the OMEA Solo & Ensemble for voice and flute, where I received superior ratings.
Why Witt? I chose Witt because of the immensely welcoming atmosphere I felt on my audition day. I remember a professor taking time out of his day to introduce himself to me and wish me good luck on my audition. That really stood out to me because Witt was the only place to do that out of all of the places I auditioned.
What next? After graduation I intend to teach in public school for a while to gain experience before ultimately earning a Ph.D. in choral conducting.
Layne Egelhoff ’23
I’m from Columbus, Ohio. I attended Westland High School, where I participated in chamber orchestra, symphonic band, and jazz band.
Why Witt? I chose Wittenberg because of how small and tight-knit the school was. I also loved how intimate and small the music department was. I really felt like I got a lot of one-on-one time during my first audition and my first semester at Witt.
What next? After graduation I plan to audition for grad school and continue further on with my music career and earn a Ph.D. to become a bass professor.
Elizabeth Uhl ’23
I am from Cincinnati, Ohio, and I attended Saint Ursula Academy for high school. While at St. Ursula I played clarinet professionally in the pit orchestra for school plays, along with professionals and University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music students. I also played in the school orchestra for my freshman and sophomore years and was a member of the classical music society.
Why Witt? I chose Wittenberg because it had everything that I was looking for. Witt has a great liberal arts program, a great culture, and allowed me to pursue my passion for music. At Wittenberg I can double major in music and business, unlike at most universities. I liked that I could take classes in all different subjects and learn more than just music. I also am able to play on the traveling golf team at Witt. Wittenberg allows me to participate in very different things that I am passionate about, whether it be music, golf, business, or anything else. I know that I would not have been able to do all of those activities at any other university.
What next? To be completely honest I am not exactly sure what I am going to do after graduation, but I will probably go to graduate school. I have always loved music and really cannot see myself without music in my life in some way.
Sasha 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 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.
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’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 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.
Nicholas 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.
What next? I plan on attending medical school after graduating and studying to become a physician.
Annemarie 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 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 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 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.
Molly 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.
Shanté Leslie ’22
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.
Lillyan 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 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 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!
Isaac 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.
Nathan 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 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.
Elena 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.
Christina 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.
Kendra 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 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 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.
What next? After graduation I want to teach music in private secondary schools.
Sarah 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 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 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 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 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.
Zach 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.
Chelby 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 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 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 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.
What next? After graduation I plan to attend law school and become a federal prosecutor.
Tierra 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.
Grant 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.
Grace 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 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 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 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 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.
Laura 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 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 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 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.
Seamus 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 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.
Zach 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 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.
Kathryn 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 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.
Brianna 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.
Allisha 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 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.
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 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.
Claudia 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 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 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!
Clayton 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.
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?”