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Choir & Me

Where Matthew talks about his personal experience with singing in choirs, before and during Carleton.

Where Matthew talks about his personal experience with singing in choirs, before and during Carleton.

I’ve been singing in choirs for a long time now… since first grade I think? It’s something that my two older sisters did, so naturally, I had to, too (even if reluctant at first). I now love choir, singing, and most importantly the community created when people come together for the love of singing. In this post I will talk about my relationship with choir before and during college. This will not be a post describing the logistics of the choir at Carleton but you can find that here

Before Carleton

Oberlin Choristers was my first choir program, from 1st grade until I graduated from high school. This non-profit choir offered opportunities for me at all ages and was separate from my high school — or any high school for that matter. Participating in the Oberlin Choristers meant that you were going out of the way to be involved. This commitment went beyond showing up but also being committed to making music at a high level.

There are then, of course, issues of inclusivity and outreach to under-served communities. That conversation is too complex for this blog post but please know that it’s not lost on me. 

Being involved in Oberlin Choristers taught me how to sing, obviously. But I also relished being in a community of people who truly loved to sing! Some of the people I sang with I still talk to today and, honestly, I will probably continue to be friends with them for the rest of my life. When people strive for something together, and put in hours of hard work and dedication, a strong bond is formed. 

At Carleton

I had a late start with the Carleton Choir; I didn’t join until my freshman winter because I feared football would take up too much time. Joining a brand new community, especially one that had already been making music together, made me pretty nervous. But, this is precisely where I first saw the beauty of the choir community at Carleton. As soon as I arrived, I was welcomed with open arms by everyone from the seniors who had been in the choir since their first year to the other first year students. Everyone was genuinely happy to have new singers join them.

At first I did struggle in the choir, not because the material was too hard or we went too fast but actually because it felt like we didn’t do enough. I felt as though we were going much slower than I had in high school. I also felt that I wasn’t being challenged musically like I had been before. But now I know why  and the answer is so undeniably Carleton and it makes me happy to be a part of the choir.

The Carleton Choir is a place where people of all skill levels, experience, and background come together to make beautiful music. Choir at Carleton isn’t about performing the hardest piece or about perfecting every single detail — though we do try. But rather, choir at Carleton is about creating a loving, music-based community. 


Before I was introduced to the choir community, I had lost sight of why I love choir. Being with these other musicians fills me with satisfaction. That is the purpose of a choir: it isn’t to be the best individual, it’s about creating one sound with many diverse voices. The choir program, like Carleton itself, is devoted to creating a curious community of people who love what they do and are driven by each other.

Matthew is a junior Computer Science major from Oberlin, Ohio, but who also takes up residence in Walla Walla, WA. Most of his time is spent singing in the Carleton Choir or playing football for the Knights. When he has free time he loves to hang out with friends by either grabbing a meal, playing D&D, or lounging on the Bald Spot. He is currently trying to find a way to both eat amazing food and stay active, the eternal struggle. Meet the other bloggers!