Gunnar Aas ’22, Bemidji, Minn.
Major: Vocal Music Education

Why did you choose Concordia?

I chose Concordia because it felt like home to me and the music program here is fantastic!

What motivates or inspires you to pursue your passion for music every day?

For me, it’s all about the journey to becoming the best musician and educator that I can be. There are times that classes can get really difficult, but I just have to remember that everything I am doing is for a reason. Something else that motivates me is remembering the various choir directors and mentors that I have had over the years. It inspires me to reflect on the impact that they had on me. I strive to have that same impact on my students in the future. Finally, I am motivated by all of my fellow music majors. We are taking the same classes and encourage each other every day.

What activities are you involved in?

I am involved in The Concordia Choir, the American Choral Directors Association, and Residence Life (Hoyum Hall resident assistant). I also participated in three F-M Opera productions last year.

Why did you choose to study vocal music education at Concordia?

I am studying music education because I would like to instill the same passion for music into my students as my teachers did for me. Throughout my education, I have had amazing choral teachers and experiences from elementary school all the way up through college. It was during the summer of my senior year of high school, when I was in the Minnesota Music Educators Association’s All-State Choir, that I knew I wanted to pursue teaching music. During all-state choir, I caught what some choir directors refer to as the music “bug” and, from then on, I knew that music education was my calling.

What are the most important lessons you have learned from Concordia’s music program?

One of the most important lessons I have learned from being involved in music at Concordia is to always give everything you can to the music, whether that is in a music history class or in choir. Part of The Concordia Choir’s mission statement is that the choir will uphold the tradition of ​uncompromising and unrelenting pursuit of musical integrity. I make an effort to apply those words into every aspect of my musical and academic pursuits at Concordia. I know that when I leave Concordia, this mission statement will stick with me.

Another lesson I will take away from studying at Concordia is that ​music goes deeper than just singing the correct notes. Throughout my two years in choir, Dr. Culloton and Dr. Clausen have had important conversations about the music that we are singing. Who wrote the piece? What is the meaning behind it? How do we connect with the piece? All of these lessons have helped me to develop a better understanding of how to be the best musician and educator that I can be.

What has been your favorite memory so far at Concordia? 

My favorite Concordia memory so far has to be my first Concordia Christmas concert. I had never seen or heard the Christmas concerts before then, so to finally see and be part of one was an amazing experience.

What are you most excited about in your future with music?

I cannot wait to take choral methods and my first conducting course next year! I am eager to learn how to structure and run a choral program, as well as learn the intricate techniques behind conducting. As I mentioned​, I have had amazing choral instructors and experiences from elementary school all the way up through college. Each one of my choir directors has found a different way to keep students engaged and truly connect with the music.

After college, I am most looking forward to finding my own way of engaging and connecting with students. I am excited to ​instill the same passion for music into my students as my teachers did for me and so many other students.

Published September 2020