Kaufman Tours East Coast Voice Programs

This past May, McNair Scholar Cheyenne Kaufman and her mentor, Dr. Erin Colwitz – Director of Choral Music at Northern Michigan University, traveled to the east coast to visit music schools. Cheyenne joined the McNair program at NMU in December of 2015. She is double majoring in vocal performance and speech, language, & hearing sciences. Cheyenne gave us a synopsis of her travels and shared some great pictures chronicling her travels, the sights, and of course the food.

“The purpose of my East Coast tour was to interview music faculty members of the following five schools: Manhattan School of Music, Mannes School of Music, Yale University, Boston Conservatory, and Temple University. The trip was an opportunity to collect data for my research project and to learn more about the schools’ graduate programs for possible future attendance. Dr. Colwitz and I spoke with seven members of various vocal and choral programs to learn about their interaction and collaboration with one another which pertains to my research. We also asked them about their vocal performance Master’s program requirements and expectations of potential applicants for my graduate school search.”


“Dr. Colwitz and I went to see national monuments like the Statue of Liberty in New York City and took a city tour of the historical Philadelphia where we saw things like the Liberty Bell. We also attended shows at the Metropolitan Opera House and on Broadway.

Spending time in these cities was like nothing I have ever experienced. I’ve been in the chorus of two small scale operas but to see a full production Mozart opera at the Met was absolutely amazing. The building was beautiful, the singers were magnificent, everything was perfect. I have never felt more excited for my future career in performance than I did while watching Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Wicked.”

“Things that I didn’t expect during this trip: airplane rides are not scary. Actually, airplanes might be the coolest invention ever. Honking does not mean the same thing in big cities as it does where I live. Taxi drivers have very little patience, manage to merge into tiny spaces in traffic, and all the ones I spent time with barely spoke English. Broadway is not just one theatre but actually a street in New York where many theatres put on all different kinds of shows. After homeless people recite their original poetry to you…they expect money. Not all people from Boston like the Boston dialect. Last and certainly the least expected, Justin Bieber was staying at a hotel just down the block from me in Philadelphia (*insert fangirl screaming*).”


“This experience has opened up so many possibilities for me in regards to my future. I feel I am now able to make informed decisions when it comes to graduate programs in big cities, especially the ones I visited. This opportunity has given me a renewed sense of passion for the field of work I want to pursue.”


“Dr. Colwitz was absolutely amazing on this trip. It would not have been possible without her. She booked the plane rides, purchased our tickets for both shows and the Statue of Liberty ferry, and navigated me everywhere we needed to go. I was able to experience the big city better with her than if I was alone. Her professional influence helped with scheduling interviews with some big names in the choral world and she introduced me to two classical singers who gave very useful information for these next few years for me and my career. I had a wonderful time and most of the credit goes to Dr. Colwitz.”



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