The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at Catholic University is my home away from home. Upon walking to the building you feel an overwhelming sense of community. Everyone greets each other with smiles or knowing glances, and the lounge spaces are filled with students learning music, or studying together. The musical theatre majors, myself included, are the largest contingency in the music school, comprising approximately 80 students total. We like to call ourselves the “MT family,” a phrase coined by a former director of the program. We even have our own traditions, such as a Musical Theater Scavenger Hunt to welcome the freshmen, MT Thanksgiving at our director’s home, and a “Benny” awards ceremony (our department’s version of the Tony Awards). Though it all sounds a bit playful and silly, these traditions allow all the classes to bond, and create meaningful friendships. Here, we foster an environment of support. Even if we are up for the same role or solo, every student wishes each other luck. Since so much of our craft is collaborative, these friendships are not only pleasing, but necessary.
Academically, the music school offers a wide and challenging array of majors to incoming students. You can choose to pursue either a Bachelor of Arts in Music or a Bachelor of Music. As a Bachelor of Arts you have the opportunity to take a more diverse array of classes, and possibly pursue other academic interests alongside music. The BM is more like a conservatory-style program. Though we are welcome to take outside classes, the rigor of the music school programs is more concentrated with this degree. Here, you can major in anything from Musical Theater, to Collaborative Piano, to Music Education. The school urges students to explore all their musical interests, and allows you to take lessons in a wide variety of instruments. There are also a great many performances each semester, and the students at Catholic never need to look far to attend a musical evening. Overall, the Music School has given me both the technical music skills, and the practical knowledge to venture forth in a career in the arts. I have fostered immensely strong friendships there, both with colleagues and mentors, which will guide me as I look toward and beyond graduation. I highly recommend our program to anyone who finds music a fascinating art.
– Eleanor Tynan