‘Experiences we have here are unlike anywhere else ‘

NAME: Ty Fall
HOMETOWN: Mount Vernon, Iowa 
MAJOR: Music Education
CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT: Wartburg Choir, Castle Singers, Ritterchor, Festeburg

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: Wartburg was a no-brainer. My choir director graduated from Wartburg and was a huge fan of the college. I first heard about Wartburg my freshman year when I did a joint concert with the Wartburg Choir, which I was so fortunate to experience. I also went up to Wartburg for honor choirs and All-State camp. I was really lucky to come from a high school that had a really advanced choir program. I always knew I wanted to sing in college, and I wanted to go somewhere I would grow as a musician. The first place that came to mind was Wartburg. When it came time to sit down and think about colleges, I only wanted to visit Wartburg, but my mom forced me tour other places. After all-state camp my senior year working with Dr. Nelson, I knew this was where I wanted to be. I wanted to sing for him, and I wanted to sing here and so my mom finally let me cancel my visits. I really can’t imagine being nearly as happy anywhere else.

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED MUSIC TO BE YOUR CAREER: Junior year of high school is about when I decided I wanted to do this for the rest of my life, but I think I always knew I wanted to do music throughout life. Trying to balance a life that is musically fulfilling along with another career sounded like a lot of work, so I just combined the two. I really got into music as a result of my choir director. He paved the path for me and lit my passion, and I want to do that for other kids.

Ty Fall

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT BEING IN TWO AUDITIONED ENSEMBLES: All the choirs are totally different experiences. We are a more close-knit choir in Castle Singers due to the smaller size. Wartburg Choir scratches my musical itch, and it’s really fulfilling. In general, good directors do things in different ways, so obviously everyone’s style is different.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RITTERCHOR EXPERIENCE: Ritterchor is a very different feel as the other choirs. There is a little more down time and chill time. Dr. Nelson always asks during concerts for all nonmusic majors to raise their hands, and I would have to say at least 60% are not music majors, and that’s incredible. They are not doing Ritterchor because they have to but because they want to. We have a lot of fun, but we perform at an incredible level, especially for a nonauditioned choir. Ritterchor also has allowed me to meet people from many different activities and groups.

WHAT IS FESTEBERG AND HOW HAS IT ENRICHED YOUR EXPERIENCE AT WARTBURG: Festeberg is a student-led, auditioned tenor/bass choir. It’s really cool because we get to be producers as well as performers. One of our members is the music director, and that person is responsible for teaching most of the pieces to the rest of us. However, individual people in the group also get to pick their own song, and you get the opportunity to do whatever you want with that piece. Aside from being a section leader, you don’t really get experience like that as a music education major until student teaching — taking a song and making it yours and teaching it the way you want to. It doesn’t always go perfectly, because we are all learning, but you get better and you grow as a musician as a result of it, and that has been a great experience. The only way to get good at something is to mess up first and have those experiences where you try something, and it didn’t work at all. That is a huge part of producing a song; finding out what works and what your strengths and weaknesses are as a teacher. It has been a great opportunity to be in front of a group and find your leadership style.

HOW HAS YOUR VOICE GROWN AT WARTBURG: The biggest thing that has contributed to me improving as a singer is being around people who are really good singers and hearing how they sing. Yes, I wanted to be a music education major when I was in high school, but I didn’t know anything about tone and vowels or technique. Hearing other people do it around me in Ritterchor and Castle Singers, and then eventually Wartburg Choir, helped me so much. Voice lessons are good as well, of course.

WHAT HAS BEEN A HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR MUSICAL EXPERIENCES: Last year going to Chicago with the Wartburg Choir for the Midwest ACDA performance was so special. My high school choir was going to do a performance akin to ACDA in March 2020, and we weren’t able to do it. Just being able to perform after so long was so incredible. It felt almost spiritual when we were performing. I don’t really remember a lot of the performance, but I also will never forget it.

WHAT WOULD YOU WANT SOMEONE TO GET OUT OF YOUR STORY: The experiences we have here are unlike anywhere else. Everything music related is so advanced and one of a kind. A school like this should almost be in New York or California. It is super prestigious and very high-level but in Iowa. It is almost weird that here in Iowa in this small town there is such a high concentration of top-level musicians our age. Wartburg has built a reputation of being really good at choir and that brings in new people who are really good who want to be a part of it. It is a loop of excellence. We don’t have to say these things about our experience, but we will because it is really like that. I wish so many more people could experience what it is like here. If you are involved in music and at all interested in it, you have to come to Wartburg. It’s just special.