My W&L: Morgan Luttig '14

Before walking onto the Washington and Lee campus as a junior in high school, after a long week of seeing colleges, I was more than ready to go home. I was looking for liberal arts schools with music programs, and I had not found a single school that seemed to be what I wanted. However, setting foot on our historic Colonnade made me look at the college search a bit differently. I decided to give the campus a chance, and by the time I walked into the Lenfest Center for the Arts, I knew W&L was the right school for me.

Entering as a first-year, I was the first student looking to major in music education. Each step of the way I was guided by the music and education faculty members. They were there to teach me how to play every instrument of the orchestra, aiding me as I squeaked and played wrong notes. They helped me perform with nearly every musical ensemble that the University has available. They encouraged me to teach classes in elementary, middle and high school music, and urged me to apply for the Todd Jones Memorial Scholarship to extend my musicianship beyond the walls of the University.

The supportive community that surrounds each student is established both by faculty and by peers. The people that we see every day become our promoters and close friends. As a sophomore I was put on the podium in front of the women's choir, conducting a piece for the holiday concert. The choir members were like family, encouraging me to pursue my dream as a choral conductor. However, most of the women that I was conducting were older than me, and who was I, a sophomore, to tell them what to do?

Yet now, just a few years later, I am the assistant conductor for the University Singers, the top choir at the school, as well as for the Cantatrici Womens Choir and the Men's Glee Club. This fall, I conducted the University Singers in front of a room full of music educators at the Virginia Music Educators Association annual conference. I was a W&L Summer Scholar in music where I transcribed a piece to be performed by the Men's Glee Club and arranged my own piece to be performed by the Cantatrici Womens Choir.

As a student at W&L, I have had numerous opportunities to be a student leader both on and off campus. I have even ventured outside of Wilson Hall to be a leader in student groups that are not related to music! My time as a student has passed quickly, and I am no longer the frightened sophomore standing on the podium. Through the guidance and support of my professors and peers at Washington and Lee, I have found my place as a leader.