August 19, 2009
A day without music is like a black and white sunset
Heidi Wolak-Faber '97, CSB graduate, continues to sing in her 10th year with the choral ensemble Kantorei directed by Axel Theimer, CSB/SJU professor of music.
Heidi majored in communication with a German minor. Her love for music, coupled with her communication major, built a foundation for her current practice as a Speech and Language Pathologist.
She found her interest in communication after switching majors from social work to psychology and finally to communication. Topics such as women's issues, eco-rhetoric, journalism and interpersonal/group communication were areas Heidi found important and motivating.
"My communication major gave me the foundation and skills to work with people in any setting, and build rapport with coworkers and patients in various work environments," Heidi said.
Although she ended up not pursuing a music minor, as originally intended, Heidi participated in Axel Theimer's Chamber Choir and voice studio during her four years at CSB/SJU. It was in this ensemble and in her voice studies where she learned how to take care of her voice and to use it in a way that would allow her to make it last a lifetime.
"I really began to develop an appreciation for the voice and the physiology of singing."
She continued to explore this connection between music and communication, leading her to pursue this interest in graduate school work in Speech Language Pathology.
"The music department gave me a home base to build my confidence as a singer, and a person."
In the fall of '95, Heidi studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria. She joined the church choir at the Franziskaner Kirche in Salzburg, rehearsing every Saturday evening and singing major works by Haydn, Schubert, Mozart, Palestrina and others for Sunday morning Liturgies. During her semester in Salzburg she also had opportunities to travel extensively throughout Europe, including a week-long tour to Italy as a member of the Franziskaner Kirche choir.
"I look back on those days as some of the very best in my life. Those experiences gave me the courage and confidence to do just about anything I put my mind to," Heidi said.
Heidi benefited from the commitment to excellent education. She currently works part-time for a small private practice, as well as for North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Minn., as a Speech and Language Pathologist.
"It is great to have the flexibility, doing something I love."
At work and at home, she uses her love and passion for music and communication to make each day a colorful one.
"Life gives you opportunities to change and grow. The interesting thing is that no matter what you decide, you will succeed if you believe in what you are doing and find joy in what you are doing."