Colleen Jennings, Ph.D., a University of Guam assistant professor of music, and her students, Kayla Del Rosario and Brett O’Connor, participated in a Vocal Music Seminar hosted by Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music in Chicago, IL, this past summer.
Students from all over the United States participated in this program. There were a total of 33 students who represented various grade levels.
Like the other participants, the UOG students who attended had to first audition to earn placement in the seminar.
“They [the students] got to see how music works in the mainland,” Jennings said. “This seminar gave the students a small glimpse of what it’s like to be in the world of music and what it takes to be a working musician.” Jennings also taught at the seminar with Northwestern’s associate professor, Pamela Hinchman.
Del Rosario, an undergraduate UOG music major with a vocal focus, explained that although there were challenges, the students learned to over come them, and they came out with an amazing experience.
“It was a really big challenge,” Del Rosario said. “Students always had to be on their toes and produce what they trained themselves to.”
“I am a hard working individual,” Del Rosario said. As part of the training, the students had to put on an entire opera within five days as apart of the seminar.
“The program was very intimidating,” said O’Connor, a UOG undergraduate political science major, minoring in music, who participated in the seminar. “It offered mutual respect and mutual rivalry.”
O’Connor has had experience in different school plays and programs like University Singers and has been in the play “Seasons of Love,” which was produced by the University of Guam. The students hope to experience something similar to this event in the future. “It was nice to have access to facilities and resources that you don’t really get access to on Guam,” O’Connor said.
They felt the pressure but overall felt that it was a memorable experience. Although this was not a University of Guam sponsored event, the students were proud to represent the University of Guam’s music department in a positive light. or seminars offered here on Guam that are similar to what they experienced at Northwestern University.
Del Rosario stated, “Talent only gets a musician so far. You have to take the time to become educated in the craft in order to excel. There are things you learn when taking university courses that help you use your instrument, which is your voice to its fullest potential.” The UOG music department provided them with a base of education that helped them progress in the seminar. Jennings, who is in her third year of teaching at UOG, is from the state of Missouri. At UOG, she offers courses in Voice Lessons, Intro to Music, Class Voice, and Acting 1. She also teaches applied music (voice lessons).