Student Life a Mix of Study and Performance

Matt KleinLikening his student life to that of an athlete, Matthew Klein '06 found a good balance between academic study and a busy performance schedule.

Matthew sang with the Botetourt Chamber Singers and participated in the Opera Workshop series and in performances by the Sinfonicron Light Opera Company. Off campus, he was a cantorial soloist at Rodef Sholom Temple in Hampton, Virginia.

"In the Jewish tradition, the cantor is responsible for knowing, teaching, developing, and serving as a resource for liturgical music," Matthew notes. "It's a valued role, and offers an unusually steady and stable career for a life centered around music."

After a visit to check out William and Mary, Matthew decided that it felt right and followed his instinct, with a plan to major in English and minor in Music. "By the end of my sophomore year I realized that music, of all my subjects, was the one I was most passionate about, engaging both my academic and creative impulses, and so I declared a music major.

"The liberal arts requirements really worked for me that way, allowing me to learn and explore my interests. I got the whole spread. Economics, geology, philosophy, religion - I enjoyed these classes and think they helped to inform my music studies and career path."

Friendships that began freshman year remain strong at graduation. "Eleven of us were on Monroe Hall, Second Floor East. We affectionately called ourselves 'The Posse.' Something clicked that year. We've gone in different directions academically but really stick together and support each other." Matthew also pledged the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, a group that affirms Jewish identity and observances, and is a member of the international music honors fraternity Delta Omicron.

Matthew's advice for prospective Music majors? "There's so much offered here, it's easy to get overextended. Pick carefully, and then commit. And try to take a foreign language in a foreign country. My study abroad program in Vienna, Austria, was unforgettable, and the lessons and challenges that I faced living abroad were an indispensable part of shaping who I am."

In the fall of 2006 Matthew begins a five-year graduate program in cantorial studies at the H.L. Miller Cantorial School, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, in New York City. The program's first year takes place in Jerusalem. "I've got a busy summer ahead, earning money and doing my best to learn modern Hebrew. I'm looking forward to it."