Senior Spotlight: Grant Stramer

Posted on April 30th, 2020 by

The “Senior Spotlight” series honors graduating fine arts majors for their contributions to the Gustavus community.

Grant Stramer is a music major from Erhard, Minn. and Robbinsdale, Minn. Next fall he will be attending graduate school for a master’s in music therapy at Montclair State University. Gustavus Wind Symphony Conductor Heidi Johanna Miller says Grant’s caring nature, versatile musicianship, and willingness to help wherever needed will be greatly missed. “My first memories of Grant are of him stopping by my office to ask if I needed help…He was always willing to contribute, even when he was playing in GWS as a secondary ensemble, and he always did it with a smile,” she says.

We asked Grant to give us a little insight into his time at Gustavus and how he’s continuing to pursue music while living off-campus.

What will you miss most about music at Gustavus?
GS: I think what I will miss most about music at Gustavus revolves around two central ideas: the conductors and the musicians. I am going to miss walking into a band or orchestra rehearsal and letting the music bring me peace. I will miss being able to see every single conductor’s different interpretations of the music that they choose to play and also how they treat rehearsals. Most importantly, I will miss a lot of the musicians that I have become super close with. I will miss seeing people who have impacted me in such huge ways. I am saddened to think that I may never see some of these people again.

Can you tell us about a favorite memory of music at Gustavus?
GS: I think my favorite memory has to be meeting a saxophonist from my favorite saxophone quartet (EdiSax) while in Stockholm, Sweden. The chance to meet a musician halfway across the world that you look up to with such gratitude brought so much joy to me. My face when I saw him was absolutely priceless.

Can you tell us a story about what it’s been like to “be musical” at home?
GS: Being in a house with another musician and an individual who is working full time can be difficult. We have to make sure that nobody has any zoom meetings at the time that we practice, because you can easily hear everyone practicing throughout the house. However, living in a house with another musician (Emily Loken ’20) can be super enjoyable. She takes lessons through Esther Wang, and Esther likes to make funny comments about me during their Skype lessons. I also always look forward to hearing her practice piano and wondering how her fingers can move SO FAST on piano.

What professor has made the biggest impact on you and why?
GS: It is very hard to pick only one professor that has made a huge impact on me, but I could narrow it down to two. The first one would be Dr. Heidi Miller. Dr. Miller has always been one of my biggest supporters at Gustavus, and I look up to her for being such a great conductor. Outside of rehearsals, I know how caring of a person Dr. Miller is. She has helped me out plenty of times through many of my troubles, and she deserves so much credit for being a person who actually listens to her students. She is absolutely amazing.

The other professor who has made a huge impact in my life would be Dr. Alexandra Bryant. Dr. Bryant and I have had a very strange relationship since Music Theory I. She was forced to listen to all my questions about music theory (which let me tell you, I had a lot), and she also had to deal with me for a long time. However, the reason I respect Dr. Bryant so much is because she is such a busy person, but still cares for each and every one of her students. I don’t know how a person can go from 8 a.m.­–4:30 p.m. teaching classes with only a one hour break, but I know that she does it. Because of that she deserves so much respect. She is also one of the biggest reasons I decided to go to graduate school early. Without having her as a professor, I feel like I would definitely be less of a person than I am today.


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