Senior Spotlight: Erin Oberle

Posted on May 5th, 2020 by

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

Erin Oberle is a music education major from Mankato, Minn. Next fall she will be student teaching at a middle and high school and then hopes to find a full time teaching job. Associate Professor of Piano Esther Wang says Erin has a bright future ahead of her. “She is all that I wasn’t at her age: poised, confident, and willing to serve others. I can’t wait to see her at work with her own students,” Wang says.

We asked Erin to give us a little insight into her time at Gustavus and how she’s continuing to “stay musical” while living off-campus.

What will you miss most about music at Gustavus?
I think I will miss the community and opportunities that we get such as touring. The humans are just super amazing and I miss them very much.

Can you tell us a story about what it’s been like to “be musical” at home?
Being musical at home has looked quite a bit different than what it typically looks like at school. I have been playing my guitar for my mom’s online class recordings. The audience consists of two and three year olds, which is a little different than most performances that I have had! I have also been playing songs from the camp I work at or fulfilling my sister’s song requests. I honestly haven’t played the piano very much. I think it has been hard since I am no longer having a recital and not playing in GWO.

Can you tell us about a favorite memory you have from music here?
“A Child’s Garden of Dreams” and “The Frozen Cathedral” were both very challenging pieces, but we had some amazing musical moments when we performed them on tour. I was also honored to have been chosen as a senior soloist and at our last GWO rehearsal together I got to conduct “Sheltering Sky” by John Mackey. It was super amazing to be on the podium in front of such great humans.

What professor has made the biggest impact on you and why?
Esther Wang has been amazing throughout my time at Gustavus. I have had a recurring tendonitis issue that has made it really hard to be a pianist and a percussionist, but she has helped me every step of the way. There was one lesson where I was in a brace and she had just had wrist surgery. She just looked at me and said, “We look horrible.” We laughed pretty hard and then we ate some of her many snacks in her office. She always helped me through tough/stressful times and even met with me to talk while she was on sabbatical. Professors like Esther make Gustavus a special place.

What do you look forward to most about life after Gustavus?
I am really looking forward to teaching and having my own ensemble! I also can’t wait to make music with my future students. I had such an amazing experience participating in music, especially throughout high school and college, and I can’t wait to help my students learn and grow in their music careers. I am also looking forward to being a mentor to students, because many of my music teachers and professors have been so influential in my life and have made me into the person I am today.


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