Fiery Passion

music truly is life for three students who plan to pursue music as a career.

From early beginnings, music has taken hold of the lives of students.

Sophomore Lucas Lowry and Juniors Katherine Riedel and Carly Pennock all want to pursue a career in music and the arts. Music entered their lives at a young age, and it has stuck with them.

“I’ve always loved it. I started singing and playing guitar when I was young and started choir in fifth grade,” Pennock said.

Pennock has been singing ever since then and is now a part of the Madrigals. She wants to teach music to others as a career.

“Most likely music education. I’d love to teach music in the future, high school for sure, mostly because I’m not too great with small children. I’m looking more towards WSU, but UMKC and Emporia are others I’m thinking about,” Pennock said.

Pennock is also involved in theater, but is sure where it fits in yet.

“I’m not sure yet. I love it, but I’m still trying to figure all of that out,” Pennock said.

Riedel also loves the arts, but choral singing was Riedel’s first taste of the arts.

“When I was in third grade, a choir called Young Singers of Overland Park came and sang at my school. I liked it and joined it,” Riedel said.

Riedel has a different plan for her career that brings in her love for acting and theater.

“I would like to do arts managing. That’s being in charge of a theater where plays and musicals are put on,” Riedel said.

Her love for theater also began at a young age.

“I always thought it would be cool to do plays. I was in 4H when I was little and we did plays. The judges at 4H told me that my acting was good, but I consider my first real show at middle school,” Riedel said.

Like Pennock, Lowry plans to attend WSU and become a music teacher.

“I started piano when I was in first grade. My mom thought I would be good at it,” Lowry said.

He has a back-up plan, if music education doesn’t work out.

“If music doesn’t work, then I’ll pursue acting,” Lowry said.

In addition to being a part of the Madrigals and the theater department, he also writes his own music.

“My friends used to write music in elementary school and I thought it was cool so I started,” Lowry said.

There’s a lot of thoughts, time and components that go into writing a song.

“I try to come up with the music, rhythm and melody first and then I try to come up with lyrics. Lyrics take longer and they’re harder,” Lowry said.

All across the board, students have all been impacted by Laura Vanleeuwen, the choir director that’s more commonly known as “Coach V”.

“She’s my inspiration. She’s an amazing teacher and without her, I don’t think I would have realized how much choir and music means to me,” Pennock said.

“She is so encouraging and supportive. It’s easier to love music when you’re around people that love music. She makes me want to be the best,” Riedel said.

Vanleeuwen is not the only one that Lowry owes his inspiration to.

“V has inspired me in so many ways, especially pushing me to be a performer. Chris Funk and Calista Martin have also helped me in becoming the man I am today,” Lowry said.

Pennock, Riedel and Lowry will all carry their high school music experiences with them as they continue on to careers in music and the arts.

“Being in the choir department at West has really made me realize how much I love choral music and how much more I want to learn about it,” Pennock said.