MURRAY, Ky. — Julie Knight of Catawissa, Missouri, graduated from Murray State University on May 11 with a bachelor’s degree in music. Through her involvement in several campus organizations, including Concert Choir, Campus Lights and Racer Band, she is excited to finish her undergraduate career on a high note.

This is her story.

What first sparked your interest in your chosen field?

I realized I wanted to go into vocal performance when I joined the University Chorale. With some guidance from Dr. Bradley Almquist and Dr. Chris Mitchell, I auditioned to be a voice minor.  

I remember one night when I had a symphonic band concert on the same night as a dress rehearsal for the Murray State Opera Theatre Ensemble’s production of “Hansel and Gretel.” I spent that entire concert wishing I was at the dress rehearsal instead, which just reaffirmed what area of music I was truly passionate about.

If you could spend one hour with anyone, who would it be and why?

This is such a hard pick. I think I have to say Mozart. It would be so interesting to learn more about how he thought and composed. Also, I am a really big Mozart fangirl so I would love the opportunity to go back in time and meet him.  

Why did you select Murray State?

I actually came to Murray State because I knew the music program was great. However, I knew Murray State was home the moment I set foot on campus.

Who is one of your favorite professors and why?

My favorite professor is definitely my applied voice professor, Dr. Maribeth Crawford. She has been one of my biggest mentors at Murray State by helping me transition from majoring in tuba to majoring in voice, applying for graduate schools and just helping me to grow as a performer and musician. I could not have gotten anywhere close to where I am now without her help and guidance.

What is something you’ve accomplished at Murray State that you’re most proud of and why are you proud of it?

I think the accomplishment I am the most proud of is when I was cast as Lucy in Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Telephone.” It was my first lead role in a production, so I was super nervous about whether or not I could do it. I especially got nervous when I got two strains of the flu back to back and could not sing for almost a month. Amidst the challenges, I learned all of my music and the performance was spectacular. The performance showed me that I am capable of a lot more than I think and gave me the drive to challenge myself as a performer.

What opportunities have you been afforded at Murray State?

At Murray State, I have been able to be in three musicals, two operas and three opera scene programs. I have also been able to be in three total choral ensembles and perform major choral works with orchestra, both at Murray State and the Carson Center with the Paducah Symphony orchestra. Overall, I have gotten so many unique performance opportunities at Murray State. I have also been able to pursue some opportunities outside of music. I have participated in the spring break stage combat workshop at Murray State three times and I have received basic passes in four different forms of stage combat (unarmed, knife, rapier/dagger and single sword). I found a love of stage combat at Murray State as well as a love of music, which I will continue to pursue in my career.

What do you think sets Murray State apart from other universities?

The faculty truly care about making you grow as a person and professional. They really want to send us out into the world at our best and I appreciate that so much.

What do you want to do after graduation?

After I graduate, I am going to pursue a master of music in vocal performance at Florida State University. I want to become an opera singer and recitalist, but I could also see myself studying historical musicology.

The May 2019 commencement ceremony took place May 11 at 9 a.m. in the CFSB Center for graduates of the Bauernfeind College of Business, College of Humanities and Fine Arts and Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology, with a 2 p.m. ceremony for graduates of the College of Education and Human Services, Hutson School of Agriculture, School of Nursing and Health Professions and interdisciplinary studies (Associate of General Studies and BIS Degrees). Use #RacerGraduation on social media to share your commencement experience.

Photo: Julie Knight of Catawissa, Missouri, graduated from Murray State University on May 11 with a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in vocal performance.

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