Hello Noemi Ramirez
I have never fancied myself as a musical person, but at St. John’s College, music is an integral part of our curriculum. Freshman year we experience it through freshman chorus, and sophomore year we study music theory. Music has become a part of my life in a way that I never believed it could. All of my friends are musical. I spend a good chunk of my free time singing –sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, always on Tuesday and Friday nights in Equant, the pop a cappella group in Annapolis.
My parents tried so hard to make me musical. I’ve dabbled in the cello, piano, gu zheng (Chinese harp), saxophone, Spanish guitar, and participated in elementary and middle school choirs. I cannot begin to tell you how many sore throats I have feigned to get out of choir practices. I blame it on the macabre renditions of “Imagine” and “Let it be” that my choir spent two months trying to learn. For the longest time I was heartbroken. I still have some scars from those days. Much to the disapproval and the bewilderment of my most musical of friends, I cannot stand the Beatles. They are severely overrated. Alas, my distaste for the Beatles and the many failed attempts to learn an instrument did not keep me from succumbing to the whirlwind romance that would become my marriage to music.
In high school I was a member of a chamber choir. It was then, in the eleventh grade, that I fell in love with music. We sang polyphonies, masses, and chants. William Byrd, Giovani Pierluigi da Palestrina, Thomas Tallis, and Tomás Luis Victoria became my greatest friends. The chant “Ave Verum Corpus” became my favorite song, replacing “Rolling in the Deep”. I became unrecognizable to my friends and family. Instead of hanging out at the mall with my friends, or hanging out at Starbucks, I spent my weekends going to concerts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Performing beautiful music led me to art, which in turn led me to reading. I credit all of this to curiosity. I became curious about music, art, reading, philosophy, the world. Suddenly I had questions I felt no one else was curious in answering, but I read until my eyeballs hurt, and developed my taste in pre- 20th Century music. It was amid all of this frenzy that I found out about St. John’s. When I learned about the reading list, the discussion led classes, and the two year music program built in to the curriculum, I couldn’t get my application in soon enough.