‘My time at NDSU showed me what it means to strive for greatness’

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ndsu choir

If your passion is singing, NDSU’s Challey School of Music is where you will shine.

You’ll receive an outstanding education, enjoy participating in creative performances and take part in many outreach activities. You’ll graduate prepared for a successful career as a music professional.

“Singing is important to me because it allows me to share myself with the audience in a way that isn't possible on instruments,” said junior Lauren Craig, a vocal performance major from Grand Forks, North Dakota. “We get to work with poetry and words that form an amazing bond with the audience that I have a hard time describing.”

Craig has studied with respected NDSU faculty members Bob Jones and Marianne Lemieux-Wottrich. She has performed at three Baroque Festivals, two operas and many recitals. In addition, she is a member of the NDSU Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers.

“Being in these prestigious ensembles has really pushed me to the next level in my performance career,” said Craig, who also plays violin and viola. “At NDSU, we are encouraged to be multifaceted musicians, and that makes us exceptionally well prepared for the real world of being a musician. I am so glad I came to NDSU to study vocal performance – I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities that I wouldn't have received if I would have gone to a bigger school.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Craig intends to further her education, perhaps seeking a double master’s degree in vocal performance and instrumental conducting. Her goal is to perform in Europe and teach at a university.

NDSU alumni like opera singer Karly Ritland vouch for the quality of NDSU’s music department.

“My time at NDSU showed me what it means to strive for greatness. I try to incorporate that mentality into my own life as well,” said Ritland, who graduated from NDSU in 2018 and is now studying at the renowned Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “My ultimate career goal is simply to make my living performing the most beautiful music on Earth. It would be amazing to sing on Broadway or on the Met Opera stage – every performer has dreams of fame. But I don't think success necessarily equals fame. For me, achieving success will mean getting to do what I love for as long as possible.”

As a student at NDSU Ritland, too, sang in the NDSU Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers, giving her performance experience that has propelled her forward in her professional singing career.

“My NDSU education gave me an incredible foundation for my studies at the Peabody Conservatory,” Ritland said. “Because I was fortunate to attend the Challey School of Music for my undergraduate degree, I was able to sing lead roles in several operas with full orchestra. Very few people my age have had that opportunity, and having that experience has been very beneficial.

“I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to be a Bison.”

Take your turn at center stage. Start your NDSU experience today.