Student Spotlight October 2019

Our student spotlight for October is actually twins Lydia and Julia Bobell! Both Julia and Lydia are juniors at Lee with a passion for learning and collaboration. As Julia is an oboe performance major and Lydia is a flute performance major, they have the opportunity to perform together on several occasions. We had the chance to ask both of them some questions about their lives, and the impact Lee has made on them.

Q: What are your future goals?

Julia: I want to perform in the pit orchestra for musicals/ join a military band so they can pay for my future education (masters, doctorate).

Lydia: I would like to get my master (get an assistantship) and doctorate in performance or possibly conducting. Then I would like to teach for a college or university (possibly Lee one day) and play for a major symphony. Maybe go into military to help pay for my doctorate and play for a fife band.

Q: What’s your favorite part about having your twin at Lee?

Julia: I always have a study partner and an emotional support person at all times. I can cry in front of her whenever I need to and same goes for her. Plus I don’t feel so lonely. I always have a best friend with me.

Lydia: I like being able to look at someone and have them understand my happiness/frustration/annoyance without words. We are basically the perfect married couple.

Q: How has Lee helped your career?

Julia: Lee has helped my career by preparing me for rejection. That sounds terrible, but hearing the stories of my professors who didn’t get the job or wasn’t picked for a certain position in an ensemble actually encourages me. It’s not because I suck. It’s just because music is such a hard career to peruse that I can’t let a rejection get in the way of pushing on for my dream. Also Lee has helped me to become more focused on my relationship with God. People always say that Lee is a “bubble”. They say it in a derogatory way, but I see it as a good thing. Here, I can focus on my relationship with God, focus on my studies, and focus on my career as a performer without the influence of the world really getting in my way.

Lydia: Lee has helped me stretch my limits. I was an A student in high school, got along with everyone, state ranked musician, all that jazz. At Lee, i learned how to accept my first A- and B. I learned how to prioritize my time and accept that i could not physically do everything. I had to make sacrifices. I had to decide what was more important; studying that extra hour, practicing that extra hour, or hanging with my friends for an hour. On different days the answer was different and i am still learning that that is ok. Lee has taught me that God wants me to succeed and reach for my dream and He will help me, but I need to do my part and work for it.
This wasn’t a question but I am thankful for faculty like Dr. Warner, Dr. Wykoff, Dr. Lee, Ms. Karla Hyder, Mr. Vaught and just everyone in the SOM who truly make an effort to know how much they care about me. The teachers here are truly my favorite part about my LeeU experience.

Q: What would you recommend to an incoming freshman?

Julia: I would recommend being prepared for struggle. Everyone struggles at some point in college (not just music majors). That’s just life. It’s important to find someone to confide in and BE THAT PERSON for someone else. Do not suppress feelings. Let someone know how you feel for real everyday. Also, it’s ok to have a meltdown in the practice rooms. I’ve done that soooo many times. On a happy note, remember to have fun. If you aren’t having fun and are stressing about your major so much that you are causing emotional or physical harm to yourself then take a step back and figure out what the issue is. You need to look out for yourself now that you are away from home.

Lydia: I would recommend the freshmen to take advantage of the one on one classroom experience and really get to know their professors. The teachers here are the best at what they do in the world but know one would guess because they are so humble and give all the credit to God. I love being able to go to literally any of my teachers and they will sit down with me and just talk. Each teacher looks out for their students and so often I meet people who have never stepped foot in a professors office because they dont feel like they can. The thing is, at this academic level, our teachers will eventually be our colleagues and networking is soooooo important in any field. I could seriously talk about the faculty here for hours. Some have fed me, some i have cried in front of, and one kidnapped me and took me to smoothie king. I love the people here and i just want the freshmen to love them too!

Congrats to both Lydia and Julia on their hard work! We are so proud of you both and wish you success in everything you accomplish.

Faculty Spotlight October 2019

Kristen Holritz is our first Faculty Spotlight of the month! Mrs. Holritz is the flute instructor here at Lee University. We had the opportunity to ask her some questions, which are listed below.

Q: How long have you been working at Lee?

Holritz: I have been teaching flute at Lee University since the fall of 2014 – so this is my fifth year!

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching at Lee?

Holritz: There are so many great things about Lee. The campus is beautiful, there is always plenty of parking (even if it is far away), the performance halls have great acoustics, my colleagues in the School of Music are always friendly and so helpful – but I’d have to say my favorite thing about teaching at Lee is the students. The flute studio only has positive attitudes and shows up every week eager to learn. What more can a teacher ask for?

Q: How long have you been with the Chattanooga Symphony?

Holritz: This is my sixth season with the CSO.

Q: What is it like to be involved with both the Symphony and Lee?

Holritz: Some weeks the schedule is pretty full, but I enjoy teaching and playing equally. I feel very blessed to be able to do both in Chattanooga!

Q: What is it like having a husband that is musical as well?

Holritz: That has its benefits and downfalls! Since we both work at the CSO it is easy to carry the stress of work home with us. However, it is great to have someone that understands the lows and highs of my craft, as well as be married to someone who speaks and understands the language of my soul. We are very encouraging of each other and often practice together, play for each other, and perform together outside of the Symphony. We learn from each other’s playing and teaching as well!

Q: What is it like playing together?

Holritz: Some days we both need our space to be by ourselves but most of the time we love it! The flute and violin have some opposite tendencies for bad habits but a lot of concepts are the same. We perform as the duo, Schaafritz, and perform frequently across the country! When preparing for concerts we enjoy talking about the correlations between our instruments and learning how to blend, articulate, and simply play more like each other. Even more fun than playing music together is listening to music together. Like I said – our souls speak the same language!

Q: What would you recommend to someone that is thinking about auditioning for the School of Music?

Holritz: I’d recommend having weekly private lessons leading up to the audition. A good private teacher can help you improve your playing, guide in proper audition repertoire selection, prepare you to have a successful audition both mentally and physically, and help you understand what a degree in music entails. I’d also recommend visiting the campus and meeting the faculty and students in the studio you are interested in – and coming prepared with questions you might have. Do research and be inquisitive! The more a student is prepared and invested before arriving, the more they will get out of their experience in the long run!

We are so thankful to have Mrs. Holritz with us!

Student Spotlight September 2019

Coleman Smart is our student spotlight this month! He is a junior music and worship major from Ashville, North Carolina.  In his future, he would love to be a full time ministry major, but would love the opportunity to travel with a singing group as well.  As he is in his third year of being in The Voices of Lee, Coleman has learned how important finding a community is, and encourages everyone that finding a family at school is important.  When asked about what his favorite memory with Voices was, he replied singing in the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York.  Since he has dreamed of even going there, the fact that he was singing there was unbelievable and almost a full circle.  Through his time at Lee, he has realized how important it is to apply excellence to learning and to be an excellent student for the Glory of God.  His advice to new students is as follows, “Rather than comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to you were yesterday.”