The Voice

Out of School and Into Music

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Out of School and Into Music

Franca Onyibor

 

For many of us, age 5 was one of the most carefree times of our lives; we were free to explore life and question everything we came in contact with.

By age 5, junior Vickie Choin she had already received her first musical lesson on the string bass.

“I saw it one day and I wanted it,” said Choin. “I knew I had to play.”

From then on, her life would forever follow that exact lead. In nearly a decade, Choin would pick up and play several other instruments.

In the sixth grade, she was challenged to construct her own instrument (a challenge, mind you, brought on by her own voracious appetite for music) which she titled the pipaphone.

Entirely constructed out of PVC pipes, it was designed to play like a brass instrument.

In spite of this, the pipaphone itself was never meant for any real audience.

“It was just something I did for fun,” said Choin. “I guess I just really loved string bass at that time.”

If truth be told, till this day, the pipaphone’s only audience has been two friends and Jeannette Choin, Vickie Choin’s mother.

“I honestly don’t know why I did it,” said Choin. “I saw the brass instruments all in a store one day and figured I could make my own. So the next day, me and my dad went out to buy the parts. It really was something I did for fun.”

As a result, while the motive for selecting one instrument after another may not always have been evident, the reason has forever stayed the same: Choin would never be able to escape her unquenchable thirst for music.

Nevertheless, many might reason that such a future was inevitable. Growing up in a family in which both her mother and older brother play instrument, Choin’s love for music came as no surprise. It was foresseeable that the love of creating music would transcend over the generations and catch the ear of young Choin.

Choin however, holds firm that regardless of her background in music, in a way music found her.

Fast forward five years and Choin is still the same remarkable girl chasing after her unwavering dedication to music.

“I do it because I love it. It’s really that simple. I can never be sad or angry when I play.”

This definite passion has led her to play the French horn, the string bass, pipe, organ, guitar, drums, trumpet, trombone, accordion, obo, clarinet, hand bells, and piano, along with holding a strong position in her church choir in The First Congregational Church of Huntley.

“When people hear how many instruments I play, they don’t believe me,” said Choin. “And when they do finally believe me, they think I’m relentlessly practicing. But actually I don’t. It’s like this constant wrestle with homework and practice.”

It is this unpretentious and effortless rationale that allows Choin to accomplish these musical feats.

“We really didn’t know what she wanted to do, but she stuck with it,” said Choin’s parents. “And I honestly believe it’s a gift from God. She’s a very talented young lady.”

So focused and eager, the summer of her freshman year, Choin got in contact with one of the high school counselors, Angie Daurer.

“I decided early on in eighth grade that I wanted to study music, so I needed to graduate early,” said Chion. “That’s when I started my college search.”

As the result of hours of college searches, Choin stumbled across St. Olaf’s blue and yellow admissions page.

“Because I plan on doing a dual degree, one in church music, and one in history, it is going to take me about five years,” said Choin.

Acclaimed for its academically demanding program, St. Olaf University now stands as Choin’s primary university choice following graduation.

“My parents are very supportive of my passion,” said Choin.

Graduating early in high school, Choin hopes to graduate with the rest of her class in college.

“My dream job is to be and organist at a cathedral,” said Choin. “For me, music is like the energizer bunny. It’s my soul and it drives me forward and keeps me going.”


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Out of School and Into Music