As the campus community prepares for commencement May 10-11, the Office of Marketing & Communication Services is featuring a series of articles about the Class of 2014 as they prepare to become Heidelberg graduates and alumni. We hope you enjoy the “Countdown to Commencement.”
Some students spend their time at college searching for a career. For Melissa Flowers, becoming an organ performance major started at a young age.
Melissa has been playing piano since third grade. Her interest in organ started after her piano teacher took her to an organ recital when she was in sixth grade. Luck would then have it that a neighbor was giving away an electric organ and Melissa’s organ career was born.
During her college search, Heidelberg was recommended to her as a good option for music. After a visit, she knew she found the right place. “I felt such a personal connection to Heidelberg,” she said.
As one of only two organ majors on campus, personal connections were important. “We are like a little family,” she said. Joan McConnell, instructor of organ and music theory, made sure to take Melissa to workshops, recitals, and concerts. “Professors treat us like peers,” Melissa said. “Taking trips helped us bond.”
Melissa’s involvement on campus included the concert choir, jazz ensemble, honors program, Newman Club, and teaching at the Community Music School.
“One of my favorite things about Heidelberg has been having so many opportunities to perform,” she said. “Being able to accompany the concert choir and jazz band is something I know I wouldn’t have been able to do somewhere else.”
While her primary instrument is the organ, she can’t exactly carry it around to performances. She divides her practice time between the organ and piano, and while they are similar, they are not the same. “I have to change my mindset when I switch instruments,” she said. “They are stylistically different.”
Another bonding experience that changed Melissa was being a part of the campus catholic Newman club. As president, she worked with officers, coordinated projects and events, and recruited new members. She has worked hard to strengthen the club.
“I’ve really grown as a leader,” she said. “I think this experience will be important in my career.”
Her career started taking shape her freshman year. Melissa has worked with St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Findlay for four years. She plays piano, organ, and leads the hand bell choir. This experience has solidified her desire to work in music ministry and coming to Heidelberg helped develop more than just music skills.
“Meeting all the new people here allowed me to break out of my shell,” she said. “Coming here has helped me in so many ways.”