Class of 2010
Major: Sacred Music (Voice)
Amy Gallwas can’t remember life without music. “It’s always been in my family,” she says. Her mother, aunts, uncle, and grandmother all played and sang, helping to foster her love of music, and she joined her first choir in fourth grade.
“I had my first solo,” she remembers with a laugh. “It was really scary; my knees were shaking the whole time.”
Singing became more exciting than it was scary, though, and Amy eventually wound up majoring in sacred music at Franciscan University. Her experiences with liturgy and music had a huge impact.
“I learned so much about the Catholic Church,” she says. “I came in not knowing very much at all. Especially liturgy: I got to experience the Latin Mass, and saw the huge potential the Novus Ordo has.”
After graduation, that experience and enthusiasm translated into a job as the pastoral assistant for music and liturgy at her home parish of St. Andrew in Sumner, WA, a job she described as a dream come true.
“It doesn’t feel like a job, I love music and liturgy so much,” Amy says. “I get to study music and liturgy all week, and to attend four Masses every weekend—it’s a great grace.”
Amy selects music and directs the choir for the parish. While being a music director may be the first thing many people think of as an option for those who study sacred music, Amy says there are other options as well.
“It depends on what you want. There is always the option to continue taking voice lessons, no matter what direction you go; search for choirs in your area and audition for them,” she says. “You can market your name, look for solo work, or sing at different events. And there is always opera!”
The transition from student to working was a little rough, but being able to receive the Eucharist almost every day and learning to rely on the resources God and her professors have given her have helped.
“I’ve learned to be open to whatever God is trying to teach me,” Amy says. And she can’t thank the professors in the sacred music department enough. “The help, encouragement, and expertise they have given me will last a lifetime!”