“That’s what I love to do-make music,” said Dr. Lori Wiest, the director of choral activities at Washington State University. Dr. Wiest is in charge of all the musical events and ensembles at WSU, which include Concert Choir, University Singers, Madrigal Chamber Singers, Opera Workshop, and VoJazz. She conducts two of those groups, Concert Choir and Madrigal Chamber Singers. Her position also includes a multitude of leadership roles such as the voice area coordinator, the representative for scholarships, coordinating tours for musical high school students, and more. After spending 23 years at WSU, she has spent 18 years as director of choral activities.
Prior to WSU, Dr. Wiest did her undergraduate studies at North Dakota State University, graduating in music education and chemistry. During her undergraduate, she also taught piano lessons as well as being the assistant director of college choir at the University. Dr. Wiest said these leadership roles were very important for her. Before going to graduate school, her mother recommended she take a teaching position,
“My mother called me and said ‘I don’t know if you’re going to be a good teacher, you’re so impatient!’” said Dr. Wiest.
She took a position in music education at a private school, teaching instrumental, vocal music, and chemistry. Dr. Wiest said working at the school broke down rigid barriers of hers, which prepared her for working with college students. Dr. Wiest said she considers herself a very analytical person, and chemistry gave her the fundamental idea of why things are composed the way they are, while music provided the aesthetics.
“Seeing the little picture, all the little details and seeing the big picture of where you want to be, is very important,” said Dr. Wiest.
She continued on to Arizona State University where she got her masters, and completed her doctorate at the University of Arizona, while also teaching at a community college.
Her family influenced her passion for teaching, always supporting her music events and education. Growing up, her older brother taught her the ways of the world, said Dr. Wiest. His teaching intrigued her, which lead her to want to be involved in teaching, educating or helping others, said Dr. Wiest.
Dr. Wiest’s teaching has influenced one of her students, Amanda Vander Woude, a graduate teaching assistant for Concert Choir.
“One thing I really appreciate about Dr. Wiest is she is really good under pressure,” said Vander Woude.
Dr. Wiest has to deal with varied personalities, and she understands how people tick, said Vander Woude.
Dr. Wiest said she enjoys the atmosphere and sound created by live concerts. She said a recorded concert doesn’t have the same spark of a live concert. She also said she credits the students, they sing for each other. She said the students always rise to the occasion, even in disaster. Dr. Wiest recalls one performance in particular, when the lights went out in the middle of the concert. The students kept performing, and the lights came back on before the performance ended. “Something has always worked out,” said Dr. Wiest.
Dr. Wiest and the students have been preparing for the Holiday Concert all semester. The WSU School of Music Holiday concert features the Madrigal Chambers Singers, University Singers, Concert Choir, Chamber Orchestra, and the Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Wiest said she enjoys the creative thinking and music making aspect of her job that comes with the preparation of the Holiday Concert.
“Music is like a sports team,” said Dr. Wiest. “When somebody wants to be a part of something they’ll work really hard at doing that. In choir, it’s like a team.”
Dr. Wiest said the best part of her job is working with the students.
“That’s what keeps me doing what I do,” said Dr. Wiest. “They become that inspiration for anything else that I do. It’s the dream job.”
Dr. Lori Wiest firstname.lastname@example.org
Amanda Vander Woude email@example.com
Script for Final Story Video Package
Introduction: Dr. Wiest
Shot one: Madrigal Chamber Singers, “Good King Wencelas”
Vander Woude: quote
Shot 2: Concert Choir
Shot 3: Chamber Orchestra
Narration: This year’s Holiday Concert includes performances by…
Shot 4: Madrigal Chamber Singers
Shot 5: University Singers
Shot 6: Concert Choir
Shot 7: Chamber Orchestra
Shot 8: Symphony Orchestra