Two more additions…
Matt Dean, A.B. ’00
Matthew Dean, well known to choristers past and choristers present, sends his regards:
Warmest autumn greetings to all choral alumni and current participants!
Since 2005, I have been honored to be back on campus as a professional artist-in-residence at Rockefeller Chapel and University Development officer. My most fulfilling experiences have been when the two roles combine, working with the Chapel staff on proposals, coordinating organ and carillon renovation events, and securing new composer commissions so that the University and ensembles can be ambassadors in the current musical landscape.
After graduating from the College in 2000, I taught in the Core while pursuing graduate studies in Art History, leaving to help a startup travel company expand into the European market. I planned luxury destination weddings and trips in Spain, France and beyond for four years, while managing the Schola Antiqua of Chicago Foundation here, and continuing to sing in Golosa, which I helped to found in 1997, and which is still going strong. Katie Steffes Dean, a dedicated Motet and ethnomusicology alumna (AB ’01) and I were married in 2002, moving to Oak Park, where we currently reside; Katie teaches middle school social studies and maintains her involvement with the University of Chicago Folklore Society. I was proud to return to the University as part of the liaison team to philanthropic organizations, enabling me to continue my commitment to the arts and humanities.
Our best news of the past year and a half was welcoming Erik Eldon Dean, born last October. His baptism was held at Rockefeller Chapel with lots of good music and kind words by Dean Elizabeth Davenport and Professor Russell Tuttle. Katie and I continue to sing around the city, and I’ve been able to do some acting as well: I just finished playing the Devil in Abbatini’s La Comica del Cielo, a fun contrast to singing the role of Jesus in the Bach Johannespassion and soloing in the Messiah last year. We look forward to wishing the Motet Choir well on their Minnesota tour next year and to seeing as many of you in the extended community as possible soon. Drop us a line if you’re in town (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Matthew Dean (AB ’00 Anthropology, X ’02 Art History)
Associate Director, Organization Research
Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations
The University of Chicago
Dennis Corkery, B.A. ’07
Dennis writes from D.C.:
I spent the last two years in New York City loving every minute of a cramped apartment, overpriced groceries, and 24 hour diners and Duane Reades on every corner. I worked many long hours as a corporate paralegal in a big firm, learning the value of billable hours and overtime. The hours started to get more manageable, however, as the recession set in and our clients dropped like flies, but that gave me more time to spend catching up with my DVR and my niece who is now 15 months old, and more adorable than anyone else’s. Oddly and most likely foolishly undeterred by my sleepless nights in the world of the law, I packed up a U-Haul, bid a tearful goodbye to the Big Apple, and headed out for the United States Territorial Possession of the District of Columbia, where the apartments are spacious, the groceries cheaper, but the 24 diners and Duane Reades are sadly not to be found. I am currently a 1L at The George Washington University Law School. Between getting uncomfortably intimate with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and playing spot the tortfesor while riding the Metro, there is little time for anything else except watching episodes of Glee on Hulu. I do try to get in a tea party or two, however, just to make sure that the government keeps its hands out of my medicare.
Where are they now? CHOIRalums…
From music to politics and other adventures, our first installment catches up with three choir alumni.
Steve Sieck, B.A. ’99
Steve, now a choral conductor and singer, says:
I had a terrific four years of singing at Chicago. I was delighted to sing in both the Motet Choir and the Chapel Choir my first year. The Chapel Choir performance of Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir left a lasting impression that continues with my current research on Martin’s sacred choral works. The Motet Choir tour through Canada, NYC, and D.C. was another highlight. In my second year I started working as the assistant conductor of the Chapel Choir, and that mentored experience with Randi was priceless. Senior year was extraordinary; Randi allowed me to conduct Bach’s “Ein feste Burg” bwv 80, and the Chapel Choir recorded Distler and other 20th century German composers for Arsis Records. I think we tend to forget while we’re at U of C just how amazing it is to be in such a scholarly environment, with such exceptional teaching, singing in such exceptional places to sing like Rockefeller Chapel. I’m forever grateful.
Stephen Sieck is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Emory & Henry College in Virginia. Stephen completed his graduate degrees in Choral Conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his B.A. degree in music from the University of Chicago. As a choral singer, Stephen has performed with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Roger Wagner Chorale. As a soloist, Stephen performed the principal tenor roles in The Mikado, The Fairy Queen, Don Giovanni, and Candide. Stephen has written about Aaron Copland, Benjamin Britten, and Frank Martin in Tempo, Choral Journal, and The Choral Scholar and is an active clinician in MENC and ACDA.
Juliana Shulman, B.A. ’09
After graduation, I spent my summer volunteering on organic farms in Italy. After U of C, the manual labor (and copious amounts of homemade red wine) was just what I needed. In August, I returned to the States and started my new job as a field organizer with Green Corps. Green Corps is a one-year training program for political organizers and it’s definitely an intense, but exciting, experience. Essentially, they train us in all the skills of organizing and then send us into the field so we get hands-on experience running political campaigns. We run three campaigns a year and very little is told to us ahead of time. Though my colleagues are currently in South Dakota, West Virginia, and a number of other ridiculous places, I got placed in Santa Barbara for the September-December campaign. I’m working for an organization known as Food and Water Watch and essentially, we’re trying to fight the privatization plans that the government has for our oceans and fisheries. I don’t know where I will end up next, and I will most likely be moving in December, but for now, I’m having a lot of fun mobilizing community members and hanging out at the harbor with fishermen. It’s certainly a far cry from my life at the U of C.
Emily Robinson, B.A. ’07
After graduating I worked for two years at the Center for Italian Opera Studies, doing research for them. This was mostly in the form of proof editing opera and band music before it went to the engraver. I also got to read a lot of auction catalogues in search for autograph materials. I got to do quite a bit of singing in the Chicago area during this time. James asked me back a few times to sing as a soloist with the choirs, I sang at churches and a synagoge regularily, and I even got to be in a production of the Pirates of Penzance (thanks to all the Motet people who came out and supported me!).
This was all excellent but I knew that I really wanted to try to sing opera professionally. So I went about applying and auditioning for Master’s programs in vocal performance, and acutaly got in! I am now in my first year at New England Conservatory studying vocal performance in the Opera Studies program. It is possibly as different as an educational experience can be from my time at the University of Chicago. My classes include audition techniques, Acting, Movement, Opera Scenes, voice lessons, vocal coachings, and Brain Development and Music (because you can take the girl out of the U of C, but….). Now instead of reading for hours each week I practice and translate music. I also have a fabulous job working at From the Top, an NPR radio show featuring talented kids, as a production assistant.