“After spending only a few days on campus, I felt an immense peace and a strong calling to stay.” Emily Swope, senior Music Major, explains her decision to come to Ave Maria University. She wasn’t originally planning on attending AMU. In fact, she had already made a deposit to another school when a family friend invited her to come visit AMU’s campus. She enrolled a few days before classes started. “It was the best decision I have ever made,” she says.
Hailing from Derry, New Hampshire, Emily has always had a passion for music. Before coming to AMU, she was studying piano performance at a music school. She came to college looking to study something new. “But when I sent in my audition materials to the Music Department,” she explains, “I received a music scholarship that I couldn’t turn down.” Emily started off with a concentration in piano, but she switched over to voice during her sophomore year. “Also one of the best decision I have ever made,” she shares. Anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing Emily sing would have to agree—Emily has an achingly beautiful and clear soprano voice.
Emily will graduate as a Mother Teresa Scholar in May 2016. She has had a memorable stint with the Shakespeare in Performance troupe, singing with the troupe’s C3 Band and scoring leading roles such as Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and, most recently, Paulina in The Winter’s Tale. As is so often typical of the best and brightest at AMU, Emily has been involved in a multitude of other clubs and organizations. She is a Life Runner, a member of the women’s household, Daughters of God, part of the ISI Society, and she has worked for four years as part of the administrative team for the Genuine Feminine club and conference. She has also been nominated for the 2016 President’s Award.
This past February, Emily competed in and won the Southwest Florida Symphony Society 2016 Marilyn Van Sickle Vocal Competition. She learned about the competition less than a week before it took place. “Fortunately, I had had my senior recital two days before, so my voice was in good shape,” she recalls. “They told me afterward that the vote was unanimous for the winner.” Emily sang Barber’s “Sure On This Shining Night” and Mozart’s “Vedrai Carino.”
AMU offers an abundance of extra-curricular opportunities, but that doesn’t mean the academic demands are light. “If you are looking to do mediocre work for a mediocre education, do not come to Ave Maria,” Emily advises. “The amount of time that you can devote to studying the liberal arts is inexhaustible, but every bit fulfilling. I’m convinced that the Catholic liberal arts education is the best for preparing you as a citizen of the Faith and of the world… [and] I believe AMU has one of the best liberal arts programs out there.”
After graduation, Emily plans to return to her hometown and work as a music teacher, church music director, and part-time performer. In the near future, she hopes to go to graduate school for music. In the far future, she dreams of returning to AMU as a faculty member in the Music Department. “Coming to AMU, as I said, was hands down the best decision of my life. Among other things, my top three reasons for saying so would be the friends I have met, the learning I have done, and the progress I have made in my faith life… You would be hard-pressed to find a more supportive community for you as a full human being… Everything you need to be a fully informed and committed Catholic is here—you just need to make the effort.”