There is an inherent emotional tie to music. I think all the time about how I feel in the choir at St. Olaf. I stand in the front row in the center, and I feel like I have a blanket of sound wrapping around me. I don’t mean for this to sound cheesy or cliché, yet I can't even begin to explain how much I value this feeling. I treasure the choral experience, and I know it will always have its part in my life.
When I was in high school, I did not initially think that I wanted to be a music major, but I knew that I wanted to do serious music. With this desire, I decided to participate in Heartland’s Side-by-Side program.
I was just this high school kid coming in, wanting some experience and wanting to “do it with the big kids”. I hoped that this was my opportunity to be taken seriously. Truly, the respect that I was shown and the warmth with which I was treated, made all the difference in the world. It helped me understand that choral music is not a thing; it is kind of a world.
After I had my Heartland "Side by Side" experience, I realize that not having it would have created a huge void in my life. I'm so grateful that I had an experience where I was able to see that people can do professional choral music even while they pursue other vocations or professions. That’s been very formative for me – especially in my choice to pursue a dual degree in Music Performance and Chemistry. Having had such a good example in my life with the Vocal Artists as role models, I have been able to set goals and kind of understand that choral music isn't a single track. It's a path that you can decide how much you want to give to it throughout your life.
- Kirsten Overdahl, Former Side-by-Side Student