Education major makes music in three ensembles

By Alexa Ganzeveld ’22

When making his college decision, Chandler Njus ’23 knew he wanted to be involved in a variety of activities, including music ensembles, though not as a music major. He found his perfect fit at Wartburg, where he is in band and choir while pursuing a degree in elementary education.

“I knew ever since I started my college search that my day would consist of my classes and some type of music component, regardless of whether it was band or choir. Even though music is not my major, I enjoy playing and singing in any way that I can,” Njus said. “Music has a lasting impact on me, and I was not going to let something that I was passionate about go. I am very grateful that at Wartburg I can be in both band and choir and have the opportunity to do both every single day of the week.”

Christmas with Wartburg is one event that Njus looks forward to each year.

“I like to perform, and I enjoy being part of a big production. I love going to the mass rehearsals and getting to perform Christmas music. I don’t know how to describe the feeling of performing with all my friends and peers. It is just unreal,” said Njus, who was in show choir in high school and even choreographed the shows for two years.

Though this year’s Christmas with Wartburg production will look a little different — each ensemble has a separate video recording session for the show that will be combined in post-production into a full concert — the work that went into the effort was none less, though the number of steps put in each day paled in comparison. In normal years, students like Njus, who are members of multiple ensembles, run back and forth between numbers to make sure not to miss a beat while switching roles during the production.

Chandler Njus

“During traditional rehearsals, we are very conscious of the role each person plays in the big picture and make sure that every little detail is worked out and looks seamless to the audience,” said Njus, who sings with Ritterchor and plays percussion in the Wind Ensemble. He’s also a member of the Wartburg Drumline, though that is not part of the annual Christmas production.

In addition to his musical pursuits, Njus also is part of Entertainment ToKnight, Castle Connections, IgKnight Mentoring, and Wartburg Ambassadors.

As an incoming student, Njus participated in the inaugural Castle Connections program, a year-long college prep program open to a select group of Wartburg students who demonstrate a strong commitment to academic success and the college. Since he had such a great experience as a participant, he decided to give back to the program and the college as a mentor for the next class of students. Njus hopes his experiences as a Castle Connections and IgKnight mentor will help him become a better teacher.

“Even though I am not working with children, I can use the skills that I am applying to my mentees now in my students in the future,” Njus said. “I am glad I am getting the experience working one-one-one with others and helping them out in any way I can.”