Grand Valley Stages Amplify Student Voices
Talented opera singer Christine Amon had never considered pursuing vocal performance as a career until she applied to Grand Valley State University. After getting accepted to the Department of Music and Dance, though, she knew from then on that was where she was supposed to be. “I get my love of singing from my parents; music was always in our home.”
The curriculum in the music department has helped Christine to grow as a singer. Voice lessons with a private teacher, core music courses, general education classes, and hours for practice helped to ensure that her voice was maturing appropriately.
The music program at Grand Valley is backed up by facilities that help contribute to the learning environment. “If you work so hard on your voice and your presentation, you want to be able to show that off in a great concert hall or a great recital hall.” Christine believes that the facilities and places available for student performances are so central to the learning process. “To have an acoustically beautiful space, especially for opera singers, who don’t use microphones, is so crucial.”
Christine was also involved in the four musical productions that Grand Valley held while she was a student. “We need more beautiful and efficient spaces, like the one I performed on, for Grand Valley to display its singers.” In the productions, she was able to learn from the great directors and understand how things work in the professional world. “I learned things at GVSU that I can bring into an audition and really make people pay attention.”
With all the responsibilities of a vocal performance major, she gives a lot of credit to the professors of the music department. “My voice teacher, Dr. Katherine Steeler, was very good at balancing the technical aspects of singing with the psychological component of performing, singing, and being nervous.” She says the professors she had at GVSU continue to act as mentors to her still today, making sure she and other students are having as much success as possible.
“There are a lot of Grand Valley alumni that are having great careers in singing, and it’s due to their experience here.” It’s because of GVSU’s expansive curriculum, experienced faculty, and great facilities that talented students, like Christine, are able to make their dreams a reality and leave their Laker Effect on our community. “I sing because of my passion to connect with the audience. Music has a message; it’s going to connect with someone out there in the audience – even if it’s just one person.”