‘I have changed for the better at Wartburg’

NAME: Olivia Ramaekers
MAJORS: Music education and vocal performance
YEAR: 2023
HOMETOWN: Windsor Heights, Iowa

CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT: Wartburg Choir, Opera Workshop, Pinnacle

HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJORS: In high school, I was in choir and I also did theater and drama. Additionally, my music teachers were graduates of Luther and Wartburg, and so I grew up with that Lutheran choral sound. I did All-State for choir and that’s where I really fell in love with it. I even took an education class my senior year of high school and discovered I really liked working with kids. I came in to Wartburg as an elementary education major, and then through my experiences with Wartburg Choir my freshman year, I realized that I should also major in vocal performance.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT YOUR MAJORS: With the education part of my degree, I really love the people. I love the fact that we get to have field experience almost every year and not just in our last couple of years. We are able to get experience all throughout college. With my performance degree, when I participated in the musical Brigadoon last year, it sparked that I love to perform, and with that major I’m able to explore that love of performing.

Olivia Ramaekers

HOW HAS WARTBURG PREPARED YOU FOR YOUR FUTURE:  I think the way that the music department goes through each class is very good and our classes help us prepare for our student teaching experience. We have to step foot in many different classroom environments in our time here, and I think that gets us ready for our own classrooms. As for my performance major, it’s a very small major, and it’s been a learning process within itself.  I really enjoy the extra classes I get to take within my performance major. There’s a class I’m currently taking which is Perspectives of Music, and I think that this class should be available to any music major. This class gets more into the multicultural perspective on music beyond the focus on western music. I also have enjoyed doing my arranged study with Dr. Jennifer Larson as it has helped me understand the difficulties and joys of being in the performance industry.

HOW HAS BEING PART OF MUSIC ENSEMBLES AND ORGANIZATIONS IMPACTED YOUR STUDENT EXPERIENCE: I’ve had the honor to be a part of the Wartburg Choir in all my years here. We’re a very close-knit group even though there’s so many of us. You don’t really get to experience this type of choir ever again in your life, and that’s why it’s a very different experience from high school or even other colleges. Being in that environment has really shaped me and built my confidence in myself. In Wartburg Choir, I’ve made my closest friends, and they have shaped me for the better.  It is a really special group to be a part of.

WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT DURING YOUR TIME AT WARTBURG: One of the things I am proud of and feel really grateful for is that a lot of underclassmen look up to me and I have enjoyed being that person for them. I also think my voice has really grown here, and it’s nice that I get opportunities to use my voice at Wartburg. My professors have given me the opportunity to do that and I’m really grateful for every opportunity I have had to perform.

HOW HAVE YOU EMBODIED ONE OF WARTBURG’S FOUR PILLARS: I think learning is what I’ve embodied the most because I very much have changed for the better being at Warburg. Not only have I learned so many things from my classes, but I’ve learned so many things from people I’ve interacted with. Wartburg is a very open and accepting campus, and I think just building your knowledge of any subject is a very important aspect of being a good human, and we get that here.

WHAT IS ONE MEMORY YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE OF YOUR TIME AT WARTBURG: A memory I will never forget was Christmas with Wartburg 2021. The Wartburg Choir sang a rendition of Silent Night by Dan Forrest. I remember it was the last concert of that CWW season, and it was our last time singing that piece because we didn’t bring it on tour. That arrangement was just so beautiful especially with the the St. George Quartet, it just very much brought us all together. That piece really connected us throughout all 80 of us during that moment. Those moments happen so many times in Wartburg Choir, that I can’t remember all of them, but I very specifically remember that one.