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Debbie Hansen

Debbie Hansen

Associate Professor of Music | Conductor of The Whitworth Women's Choir
Years of Service: 34

What is one unexpected thing a student has taught you?

There was one student with whom I had a memorable, unexpected conversation about prayer. It changed and freed me to pray more often and in different ways; I will always be grateful to her.

How have you changed since coming to Whitworth?

I've been here such a long time that this is also a question of how I have grown over 35 years of life, which feels impossible to put into words. I do know I am much more aware of what it means to be grateful for each moment and appreciate it for the once-in-a-lifetime experience that it is. This is especially true of choir – that it's never only about the concert, but about the thousands of moments of beauty and growth, inspiration and joy along the way.

I think I have also grown in my understanding of grace, continually learning to accept and share it.

What parting advice would you offer current students and lifelong learners alike?

Try to treasure the moments, and try to trust in grace.

What is one Whitworth experience, value or memory that you'll carry with you into retirement?

All the students and all the music – for the rest of my life! They all blend together in my memory in the richest possible way. I can just close my eyes and picture students across 35 years, singing the lead role in a musical, singing a solo with the choir, standing in the back row next to a best friend, playing timpani for the fourth year in a row at the Christmas concert, smiling at me from the piano. It's beyond words to describe how it feels to have been a part of so many of us sharing so much music.

What do you look forward to in retirement?

Travel, lunch with friends, getting back to directing my church choir, and trying new things. My grandson's teacher taught her class "the power of yet," and it inspired me. Now is the time for things I haven't done…yet!