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Music professors give sophomore confidence to pursue her passions

Caylee stands next to her upright bass and smiles.Caylee Olson, '18, initially came to Whitworth to study biology but soon found herself drawn to the music department, instead.

"I changed to a music major after one semester because the music department is so wonderful and encouraging," Olson says. "My professors gave me confidence to pursue my passions and provided tools I didn't have prior to Whitworth."

Olson plays the upright bass in the symphony orchestra, jazz II, a jazz combo and sometimes in string quartets.

This winter, Olson will be accompanying Whitworth choirs during the Christmas Festival concerts, an annual series of holiday concerts. There are four performances featuring Whitworth Choir, Whitworth Men's Chorus, Whitworth Women's Choir, Whitworth Chamber Singers and student instrumentalists. The first concert takes place in Seattle at 1st Presbyterian Church of Seattle on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m. The second concert will be in Spokane at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 8 p.m. Choirs and instrumentalists will perform again at the Martin Woldson Theater on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m. For more details on the concerts and ticket information, visit our news blog.

One of her favorite moments from her time in the music department has been the Whitworth Symphony Orchestra's "Monuments of Music" performing tour in spring 2015. The tour included performing concerts at historical sites in Washington, D.C., Virginia, New Jersey, and New York City.

"The tour was a good example of what it would be like as a professional musician," Olson says. "We had long rehearsals in strange places and had to be organized and efficient. I learned exactly what goes into large-scale musical performances."

Whitworth's small class sizes offer Olson and her fellow music students a unique experience.

"The small class sizes make taking theory or piano classes much better because we are able to receive personalized attention," Olson says.

Because of this personalized attention, Whitworth students have the opportunity to connect with their professors.

"I really appreciate the relationships I've been able to build with my professors," Olson says. "I can go into their offices or talk to them whenever and get all the extra help I may need. It has helped me stay on top of everything and gives me peace of mind because I know my professors want me to succeed."

In addition to fostering Olson's music skills, Whitworth has also fostered Olson's faith.

"I went to a public high school where it was strange to talk about faith or Jesus," Olson says. "I had to separate my school life from my church life, and Whitworth has totally changed that. My faith has been nurtured by having community with other Christians my age."

After graduating, Olson plans to pursue a master's degree in education and teach at the high school level.