Christmas at Lakeland set for December 3
This semester, Tayler Otten, a junior majoring in English and creative writing, is creating content for the Lakeland blog, as well as the social media pages for Lakeland’s School of Humanities & Fine Arts. This is her latest blog story.
Wilhelmina Nelmes-Vogtle, the new choir director and music faculty member at Lakeland University, has worked hard to put together a concert to remember in December. New to Lakeland, Wilhelmina has taken on the task of directing and crafting a new twist on the traditional Christmas at Lakeland Concert.
In the spirit of collaboration, Wilhelmina has crafted a concert that acts as a communication of music. The Christmas at Lakeland Concert will consist of modern carols, spirituals, a capella, singalongs and more.
The concert is Saturday, December 3, at 7 p.m. in the Bradley Theatre. The event is free and open to all.
Wilhelmina’s goal is to spread Christmas cheer through a wide variety of cultures and tales. Some songs will tell the story of Christmas while others will speak to the beauty of winter. The wide variety of content and style reflects her goals for her students.
“A primary function of music is that it is collective and communal, bringing and binding people together,” she reflects. “That coming together is happening on multiple levels: within each ensemble, across ensembles as we make music together, and with our audience, who have the opportunity to become performers themselves, sharing in the collaborative and creative act of making music.”
Wilhelmina has taken her position as both director of the Lakeland Choir and Sheboygan Symphony as a calling to bring the two together. She recognizes that the opportunity to perform for or with the Sheboygan Symphony is a shaping experience no student should miss out on. Her goal over the course of her time at Lakeland and beyond is to build that bridge and provide students with those meaningful opportunities.
“I am passionate about sharing the experience of singing with a full symphony orchestra with Lakeland's students,” Wilhelmina shares. “The colors, the timbres, the sounds are thrilling, and it is an opportunity few choral singers have. Partnering with the SSO and SSC adds an invaluable depth of experience to the music program here at Lakeland and sets us apart from most colleges of our size.”
Wilhelmina understands the importance of cultural exploration in music and strives to provide that enrichment to her students. She wants her students to not only learn the words, but engage in the music itself and its background. She asks her students to risk vulnerability, look inward to communicate with the music, open themselves up to possibility and allow themselves to be transported around the world.
“The beauty of singing is that we craft words and sounds into meaningful vessels of communication that touch and enrich the lives of those who hear us,” she said. “I am excited to partner with students in developing their abilities as choral artists and exploring the depths with which we can connect with the music.”
Born and raised in Canada, Wilhelmina commutes every week to Wisconsin to direct both the Lakeland Choir and the Sheboygan Symphony. As a musician, Wilhelmina said she’s used to traveling. In fact, when breaking down the hours of travel, Wilhelmina found it would take less time to take a direct flight from Toronto to Milwaukee than to drive across the city of Toronto. Even as a major commuter, Wilhelmina hasn’t missed a day yet. Her dedication to the Lakeland Choir is potent.
In her short time at Lakeland, Wilhelmina has made great changes. Her passion for music, of all cultures and genres, makes her the asset she is and continues to be. Her collaborative efforts will not go unnoticed, and her version of Christmas at Lakeland will be one for the history books.