by Jasmyn Thornton ’16
Julian Reisenthel is a senior studying to get his degree in vocal performance. He exercises his vocal talent with ensembles Choir of the West and PLUtonic. Although Reisenthel spends his time doing performances and practicing, Choir of the West and PLUtonic are not all that the music program entails.
Pacific Lutheran University’s music program requires a student to take up to 44 semester hours for a Bachelor of Arts. There is a maximum of 66 semester hours required for a Bachelor of Music Education degree. Within these semester hours are the basic criteria for the music program. A student must complete an entrance audition and declare a major within the first year due to the level of work. There is an ensemble requirement and the student must have some keyboard proficiency. There is also a two year language requirement in French or German. Each student must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5. To stay in the program students must also pass an assessment according to their major at the end of each year. In Reisenthel’s case he must take up to 80 semester hours for a Bachelor of Music in performance.
Pertaining to the Senior Capstone project each student must pass in order to graduate from PLU.
Reisenthel stated, “The school has to view me as, ‘Okay, we’re comfortable letting you into the world, we’re comfortable letting you be a representative of the PLU Vocal Department.'”
Reisenthel stressed the pressure to pass, “People pass, I mean a lot of people pass. But some people don’t. And so I need to make sure that I am not one of those people.”
One may wonder how a student can distinguish themselves with so many other people of the same skill level and with the music program’s demand. Reisenthel explained, “PLU, it’s a small community but there are so many talented people.”
Even though Reisenthel has experience with vocal performance he still expresses some feelings of inadequacy, ” I just really want to be the best period, and that’s why I can’t handle my own mediocrity and so that’s why I’m a big critique of myself. ” In spite of his thoughts of insufficiency Reisenthel has found a way to showcase his talents: composing.
Reisenthel presented his familiar yet original composition “Ubi Caritas” on Oct. 16 for a Choir of the West concert. “A combination of four years of ideas exploded into two days of writing,” he expressed his inspiration for composing his piece. Reisenthel described music and composing as, ‘language’ and ‘rhetoric.’
Although Reisenthel is not a composition major he has been gaining unexpected recognition, response and praise.
“People were saying, ‘I saw grown men cry in the audience.’ The dean sent me an email saying congratulations.” Reisenthel is gaining the most feedback from composing even though he is a vocal performance major. But he recognizes the skills that need more attention.
“Although I’m very compassionate about composing I also really like to sing, and I’ve learned in this case that I like to sing opera. And I know that that’s something I need so much work on. And so I chose vocal performance for that reason.”
Through his experience Reisenthel answers this question: What is the key to standing out in a program of many talented people?
“Try hard and just to be friendly, and get to know people and just try to stand out,” he said.