Fall Choral Concert with conductor Isabelle Esquivel ’22
After taking a brief hiatus in fall of 2020, Carthage’s Fall Choral Concert has returned for 2021! Carthage Choir, Chorale, Treble Choir, and Lincoln Chamber Singers are eagerly awaiting for the chance to perform in front of a live audience once again. For our seniors, they may be experiencing feelings of sadness, nervousness, and excitement as this will be their last Fall Choral Concert before they graduate. I spoke to chorister and conductor Isabelle Esquivel ’22 about her Carthage musical experience and plans for the future.
How long have you been a part of Carthage Choir and how does it affect your degree?
I have been in Carthage Choir since my freshman year! As a music major with a music scholarship, I am required to be in an ensemble so Carthage Choir fulfills that requirement.
What is your most memorable experience with music at Carthage?
The first time I felt that being in Carthage Choir was unique was when the choir in the summer of 2019 won an international competition representing America. This occurred after my first year at Carthage, and that experience changed my life. I could not believe that I was in an ensemble at a tiny liberal arts college in Kenosha that now holds an international title by winning both categories. Since that day, it was such an affirming life moment that I chose the right school and major.
Social distancing and online learning was a demoralizing experience for most students. How did it affect your musical activities?
Right as the shutdown happened, I had just finished a spring break tour of Wisconsin with Carthage Choir so I was happy that I was able to sing with the group one last time. It was very bittersweet. I then went home with my family and had classes online but it was sad that I wasn’t able to sing with friends for the remainder of the year. Carthage Choir did have to make a virtual graduation video and when that was released I broke down in tears because it felt amazing to make music again through such a hard time. Singing with a group of people is one of the most special things ever. Choir saves me every day so that is why I try to be in any ensemble I can because making music with these groups of people is something that will never happen again so I try to cherish that every rehearsal.
Carthage has returned to in-person events and classes this semester. What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to all of our concerts having audiences! It was so hard last year to just sing to a camera, so I am so excited to be able to see friends and family in the audience while performing. As a performer you thrive off of people’s reactions to what you are doing so it will be so rewarding to see those standing ovations or a room full of clapping after a difficult piece of music.
The Fall Choral Concert is just around the corner. Are you nervous or excited?
I am actually a little bit of both! I am excited to perform but I am also conducting for the first time so that is something new for me. It has been really fun to learn from the Interim conductor and the music that we are performing is at such a high caliber.
As you finish your senior year, what are your plans for the future?
My current plans are to graduate, finish student teaching, then I will prepare to go on tour with the Carthage Choir to Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia! After that trip I’ll be trying to find jobs around my hometown of Wauconda, IL.
Do you have any advice for incoming freshmen?
My best advice is to give everything you have to what you love! Love yourself and know that college is meant for you to learn more about your passions and teaches you how to be the best version of yourself. Music is a profession and if it’s something you love don’t shy away from it.