A Passion for Music

April 10th, 2013 | SMWC

Article Written By: Tiffany Stroud

A fine tenor voice and a passion for choral music have propelled Michael Boswell, associate professor of music at Saint Mary-of-the Woods College (SMWC), to stages across the United States and right here at SMWC.

Boswell joined the Music Department faculty in 2005 and was promoted to Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choirs in 2009. His primary responsibilities are to direct the Chorale and Madrigals choirs, teach voice, coordinate the Music Area Convocation Series and serve on various committees. But Boswell's talent and passion extend far beyond the SMWC campus.

Boswell began singing professionally with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale in 2004. Since then, he has appeared with Santa Fe Pro Musica in Bach's St. John Passion and Haydn's Creation. He has also appeared with Vox Humana, the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, Tucson Chamber Artists, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Alchemy Ensemble, and The Bach Institute at Valparaiso University. He is comfortable singing in about eight different languages, but over the years has sung in 20 different languages.

"I was impressed with Michael's fine voice and great spirit as a member of the ensemble," Joshua Habermann, music director for the Santa Fe Desert Chorale. "He has continued to deepen his artistry and show great leadership. Michael is a great singer who has brought his talent to many excellent choral groups across the country."

Boswell will soon join Conspirare, a "dream team of singers from around the country" that has received several Grammy nominations.

His passion for music extends to his job and SMWC itself.

"I really like seeing my students get excited about making music," Boswell said. "I enjoy being able to make music with them, not just teaching them how to do it. I like seeing programs and ideas fall into place, growing from my imagination into something real that sometimes touches people. Music – and for me, especially choral music – has the ability to bring people together. It is so much more than entertainment. It has the ability to simultaneously educate and create a sense of shared humanity.

"For many years, I tried to find something else to do because of the common misperception that music wasn't a practical career choice," Boswell said. "So I did a few other things, but I was unhappy and kept feeling a pull back to pursue music as a career. Now that I'm on this side of it, I think perhaps that was Providence pulling me back and bringing me here. Being from rural North Carolina, I would have never dreamed I would be working at a women's college in Indiana."

Being a women's college means women make up the entire Chorale and Madrigals. Most music is written for mixed choirs, making finding appropriate music an unending challenge, but Boswell said it is a challenge he enjoys. What Boswell really enjoys, though, is the time he gets to spend making music.

"When I was a student, I would look at my choir directors and think, 'They are so lucky. They get to make music all day.' I was only half right. The actual music making aspect of being a choir director comprises about 5 percent of what I do," Boswell said.

Most of his time is filled with administrative duties, scheduling, searching for music, planning, and working with students, among other things.

"All that needs to happen to make that 5 percent of time the best 5 percent you can imagine," Boswell said. "Most people don't understand that when they hear a musical performance, it has been weeks, months and sometimes years in the making." SMWC's Chorale and Madrigals perform at concerts, Ring Day, Baccalaureate ceremonies, various religious services, and admissions events, among others.

"I have wonderful students and colleagues at SMWC, and the longer I am here and learn about the college's history and that of our founders, the Sisters of Providence, the more I appreciate this special and truly unique place."

Boswell received his Master of Music degree in Voice from Indiana State University and his Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from East Carolina University.

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