Finding a Home through Music
May 27, 2016
During their time at The University of Mount Union, most students consider their residence hall, apartment or townhouse to be a “home away from home.” But for senior music education major and commuter student Nicklaus Embrogno of Malvern, Ohio, “home away from home” was within the Department of Music.
At Mount Union, Embrogno took full advantage of opportunities within the music program. He was involved with Kappa Kappa Psi, Mu Phi Epsilon, OCMEA, Mount Union Concert Choir, Wind Ensemble, the Purple Raider Marching Band and Brass Quartet for the Mount Union Christmas Festival. In addition, Embrogno recently received the Lucille Ketchum award for the most outstanding senior music education major.
Not only did being involved help to make the department home to Embrogno but the exceptional professors within the department provided memorable experiences as well.
“The best part of Mount Union's Department of Music is the choral program with Dr. Grant W. Cook III,” Embrogno said. “The choral program enhances your experiences as a learning singer. It gives students opportunities to perform anywhere in the United States and also to be able to go on an international tour every four years.”
To Embrogno, these opportunities to tour nationally and internationally are one thing that sets the music program apart at Mount Union.
“With the international tour, I had my first trip on an airplane, my first international trip outside of the United States, and I got to experience and sing at some of the most famous places in Austria and Germany,” Embrogno said.
As a music education major, Embrogno not only was able to learn a thing or two about music, but he was also able to teach what he has learned.
“My favorite part was learning to play the piano more efficiently. I came to Mount Union with no piano background at all, but left having accompanied students for their vocal juries,” Embrogno said. “This process helped me immensely in student teaching, mostly where I was teaching general music and also playing score reduction in the band room.”
Embrogno credits another exceptional professor in the music department, Dr. Maira Liliestedt, for inspiring his piano studies.
“Dr. Liliestedt has taught me a lot about the piano and I have experienced so many of her stunning recitals, so I have learned so much from her,” he said.
As a commuter, Embrogno highlights the fact that he was still able to be involved on campus, with few difficult challenges.
“All of the ensembles and groups I was in had flexible schedules and set schedules for an entire semester,” Embrogno said. “I knew where to be and when to be there and I knew that information for quite some time.”
Utilizing the opportunity to commute from home also allowed Embrogno to work throughout college.
“Commuting allowed me to work two part-time jobs during each semester I attended Mount Union,” Embrogno said. “The opportunity to work from home was great because I was in a comfort zone and it made me be more organized, which is never a bad thing.”
As for his future plans, Embrogno hopes to make music programs home for every student.
“My future plans are to teach in a general music classroom with K-5 students. I also would not mind teaching a choral program either,” he said. “Eventually, I would enjoy becoming a principal in an elementary school.”