Published: Dec. 11, 2017 By

Caroline Vickstrom

Outstanding Graduating Senior Caroline Vickstrom conducts at First United Methodist Church in Boulder as part of the CU Summer Lab Choir concert in August 2017.

At this month’s College of Music commencement, Caroline Vickstrom—a dual degree student in choral music education and voice performance, as well as a full-time student teacher—will be honored as Outstanding Graduating Senior.

“As long as I can remember, I've never said 'no,'" Vickstrom shared with us recently. “I was always involved in everything! And it’s been no different for me here. At the College of Music, there’s so much opportunity to try different things—why put yourself in one box?”

True to her word, the Colorado native—from Evergreen—enthusiastically participated in the College of Music’s choir program throughout her four years, and almost literally sings praises of Director of Choral Studies Gregory Gentry. “He’s amazing,” Vickstrom says of working with Gentry as a participant in the University Singers, University Choir, Madrigal Choir and Vocal Jazz Choir. “I learned so much under his direction, and from the huge variety of instructors here.

“The same goes for the opera program. They put on fantastic productions that are really accessible to undergrads. I’ve talked to students at other music schools around the country, where undergrads are always relegated to small roles. But at CU, undergrads and grad students intermingle. You get to have great role models right in front of you, and you have the opportunity to actually work with them.”

According to Associate Dean for Enrollment Management and Undergraduate Studies James Austin, Vickstrom is on track to graduate with highest honors. This super achiever even opted to complete two semesters of calculus, although math isn’t required for her degree.

“Caroline was elected by the faculty as our Outstanding Graduating Senior on the basis of her academic achievement, her musical accomplishments and her overall engagement in optional leadership and service activities associated with the College of Music,” Austin says.

“She assisted with the Middle School Choral Ensemble outreach program, and received a scholarship in recognition of her service in assisting with the Holiday Festival event in December 2015,” he adds. Caroline also studied abroad in Strasbourg, France, in Spring 2015, and received an Undergraduate Development Award to attend a vocal performance institute in Summer 2016.

“What’s unique about the College of Music is that you get the feel of a big university, but you’re part of a tight-knit community,” says Vickstrom. “Average class sizes are small, which often means getting one-on-one instruction. That’s been really great.”

So what’s next for Vickstrom?

“I have plans to travel to Australia with my sister this spring,” she says. “After that, I feel like I might try a little of everything! Doing more music education would be great—I’ve loved it so far. But I’d also like to try doing more with voice—performing with a choir, or as a soloist, or teaching privately. But it’ll definitely be in the world of music.

“The College of Music has prepared me for anything in a positive competitive environment that makes you want to be your best. Everyone is always cheering you on!

“It’s been a great four years. I’ve been really happy here.” Congratulations, Caroline!

The College of Music commencement for Fall 2017 will be held on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. in Grusin Music Hall.