BEA grad hits the right note with her music career
Whether you listen to music and merely enjoy the sounds, or are a part of creating the musical experience, it takes a special heart to gather others together to create a musical experience. Just ask Nikita Albrecht. She’s a Blue Earth Area grad who is now a choir teacher.
BEA alumni Nikita (Welder) Albrecht is one of those people whose talents have been a gift to many throughout her life.
Born in Blue?Earth to Dan and Heidi Welder, Albrecht says she has always enjoyed music from as early as she can remember.
“It is what I love to do,” she says. “I was in theater and dance at a young age and took piano lessons from Becky Jans starting in elementary school, so when I could join choir and learn more instruments in middle school, of course I wanted to.”
Albrecht graduated in 2009 and was a very active member of the BEA choir, 12 Bucs Plus Change, concert band, jazz band, orchestra and chamber orchestra. As a member of the local fine arts groups, Albrecht was given the opportunity to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, with BEA’s orchestra, travel to Chicago with the Buccaneer choir, and says she enjoyed being involved in concerts and joking around with her musical leaders including Mark Frahm and Mike Ellingsen.
“I loved listening to ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ every Christmas in choir with Mr. Ellingsen,” she shares. “and I loved joking with Mr. Frahm and going to rehearsals in general and just getting to know my teachers. They all taught me to love music of all kinds and encouraged me to keep learning after high school.”
After graduating from BEA, Albrecht attended Concordia College in Moorhead where she earned a bachelor of music degree in music education with vocal emphasis. From there, she obtained a Master of Music degree from North Dakota State University for music education with choral emphasis.
The musical educator has been teaching 7-12 vocal music at Dover-Eyota High School for the past six years and now lives in Wykoff with her husband Mitch, their two-and-a-half-year-old son Abram, and their two Brittany Spaniel dogs they have trained to pheasant hunt. The Albrechts are also expecting another baby due in October.
“We like to raise pheasants in the summer and try to live as much of a ‘country life’ as we can until we actually live outside of town,” she shares. “Another hobby outside of music I enjoy is lifting weights and spending time with my family, especially my nieces and nephew.”
On top of teaching choir, she plays piano and sings for her local church and says she still loves to sing for performances, like weddings, whenever she can.
“I went back to Concordia last fall to sing in the alumni choir as a part of my choir director, Dr. Rene Clausen’s last year at Concordia,” says Albrecht.
Music, for Albrecht, is more than just a pastime or a job opportunity. For this musician, music helps her teach students the importance of self-expression, communication, and emotion.
“Many kids have told me that music is what gets them out of bed and to school each day,” says the choir director. “Music, theater, art, and dance give kids a way to express themselves. Fine arts don’t discriminate everyone tends to belong in music and arts programs and no one has to sit on the bench. Many children need something like that, especially as of late.”
Music, ensembles in particular, teaches people to work as a team in a unique way, she says, by balancing, blending, listening and doing one’s part are important to the overall group. Everyone depends on one another.
“It can teach students that they are only one in the big picture of many and they must sometimes step back and allow others to stand out,” says Albrecht. “And yet, at other times, it teaches them to step up and stand out from the rest.”
Music also helps students to conquer their fears.
“Public performance, especially in solo situations, teach students so much about poise, class, managing emotions, overcoming fear, being humble and appreciative, and for some, learning it’s okay to be proud of oneself,” she says. “Music and art is something that can be done for a lifetime. Your body may age and change, but you can always use these as an outlet for expression, celebration and healing.”
Finally, the discipline it takes to become proficient or exceptional at some of these fine arts is something that Albrecht says can be transferred to other subjects and areas of life.
“There is not a lot of instant gratification when it comes to learning music,” explains Albrecht. “To make even small improvements takes a lot of patience and consistent practice. It takes self-reflection, awareness and a certain level of cognition to understand what needs improvement and to figure out ways to make it better. Where in life are these skills not useful?”
Albrecht says music is all about the live connection between the musicians, as an extension through the audience.
“Right now, in the midst of distance learning, there is still a lot that can be done with music and other fine arts,” says the music educator. “I think for many, it will become very apparent when we are able to go back to somewhat normal and ensembles can rehearse together again. Nothing can replace a live rehearsal or performance with musicians who are physically, mentally and emotionally present together working toward the same goal.”
In choirs, the singers breathe together and heartbeats can actually sync up while singing, says Albrecht.
And that is, perhaps, the true need for art and music during this time to connect hearts to a common rhythm and purpose.