Alumni Highlight: Charlie Ahlquist
September 01, 2009
Lewis & Clark
My name is Charlie Ahlquist, and I graduated from Lewis & Clark College with my BA in Music and Psychology in May of 2007. The music department, with its wonderful faculty and staff and all of my fellow musicians, was the nexus of my collegiate experience. I got involved in every way that I could, taking lessons on piano, guitar, and voice (my primary instrument), singing in Capella Nova, working as stage manager nearly all four years, and spending a semester studying music in London with the Overseas program run by David Becker. I owe a great debt of gratitude to everyone in the music department for helping me to evolve immensely as a musician and as an individual largely due to their support and their challenging guidance.
After graduation, I continued along the track to become a music educator (my focus has been choral conducting). I began my Master’s in the Art of Teaching program at Lewis & Clark’s Graduate School of Education and Counseling about a month after completing my undergrad. I found many new adventures, and continued to prosper from the wisdom of the L&C music department while completing my student teaching internship at Southridge High School in Beaverton, under the tutelage of Robert Hawthorne. During my time in graduate school, I continued to develop my own performance technique - singing first tenor with the Oregon Repertory Singers and the First Unitarian Church Chamber Choir in downtown Portland. I also accepted a position to work in the Department of Campus Living as an Area Director here at L&C. All of these things kept me super busy, but I feel that I flourished under the pressure. I graduated with my cohort in June of 2008, and I was honored by the graduate school community - who selected me to serve as the student speaker for the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony.
After yet another graduation, now with my L&C BA, M.A.T., and my teaching license in hand, I began to fully comprehend the immense debt of gratitude that I owed to the Lewis & Clark community for the countless opportunities that I was afforded in its caring hands. I made the decision to accept a full-time position in the Department of Campus Living, where I now get to apply my education background in overseeing the Residential Education and Pedagogy that goes on in the 6 residence halls that I oversee. I also have had the great honor over the last 12 months to serve some small role in the revitalization of the Choir program at Lewis & Clark College. After Dr. Kathy Fitzgibbon took over as the new Director of Choral Activities, I was offered the chance to come support her efforts as an Assistant Choir Director. We’ve seen the program grow drastically, with over 100 people involved last year - and now a plan for three choirs this fall!
I continue to be active as a vocalist, taking on more solo work in various choirs, singing at Laulupidu, the Estonian national song festival, this summer (in a choir of 25,000). I also recently auditioned for and was invited to sing with a relatively new small professional group, the Portland Vocal Consort. It has been a really fast two years since I finished my undergraduate work, and I am grateful on a daily basis to everyone who has helped me make the most of my experience. I’m thrilled to still be a part of the L&C community, and I’m glad to know there’s more fun on the horizon!