Guest co-host Carmen Geiger-Schutz plays, composes and sings
Prelude in B Major by Carmen Geiger-Schutz
Carmen Geiger-Schutz joins Steve Staruch as the guest co-host of this week's Project DJ on Classical MPR.
Currently a junior at Concordia College, Geiger-Schutz is a singer, tuba player, pianist and composer. She also has the distinction of being the first female tenor in the Concordia Choir. The tuba came into her life in eighth grade when her band teacher came to her nine days before a concert and asked if she could play the tuba part. With confidence and determination she learned to play the instrument (and the part) and never looked back. Her next goal is to learn all there is to know about music production (including radio!). She will also share a few of her own compositions.
How were you introduced to the tuba, and what do you like best about it?
"I first started playing the tuba when I was in eighth grade. I had been playing euphonium in my school's band for most of that year, when nine days before a concert, my director approached me and said, 'We don't have a tuba player, would you want to play?' I said yes, and the rest is history. I continued playing tuba through the end of high school, and I've loved it since I first picked it up.
"I like that the tuba has a wide variety of things it can do. Most people tend to think of it as something that hits low notes, but it's so much more. You can get many exciting colors, and as a solo instrument, it provides a warm and beautiful sound. There are so many places it fits into, ranging from an orchestra stage to a polka band.
When did you discover that your voice was best suited for the tenor part?
"I had the realization in high school. My mother and father have very low voices, as do most of the people in my family. My sister is a second alto, my mother is a contralto and my dad is a bass-baritone. The odds I ended up with a low voice were pretty good. I realized tenor was where my voice best fit during my senior year of high school."
What's it like being the first female tenor in the Concordia Choir?
"Being the first female tenor in the Concordia choir is a little bit nerve-racking, but I'm proud to say I'm the first. The only real struggle has been the use of language on the director's end. It's pretty efficient to say 'women' and 'men' instead of 'sopranos-altos' and 'tenors-basses' when referring to voice groupings, but I kind of throw a wrench in the mix. If I had a nickel every time, Dr. Culloton said, 'Women, I mean, sopranos and altos,' I'd probably have enough money to buy a couple of candy bars.
"The best part of singing in the Concordia Choir is the sense of community and dedication to musical excellence. Everybody in the chorus is so dedicated to greatness, and it shows in both our recordings and rehearsals. We're equal parts college kids and excellent musicians.
How did you begin composing?
I began composing when I was in 10th grade. My family was very musical growing up, and it hardly surprised anyone when I started writing music seriously. I came up with little ditties when I was young and wrote little pop things when I was in 8th grade. It got really serious the summer after sophomore year. The first thing I ever wrote was a four-part choir piece, and to this day, that was probably my favorite genre to compose for."
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