Two-Part Harmony in the Student Experience

Students express themselves through involvement in their major and other extracurricular activities on campus. For some students, participation in the performing arts provides a valuable outlet to relieve stress, pursue lifelong passions and discover their niche. Three students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences share their stories of how the performing arts have allowed them to excel on stage and in their college careers.

Daniel Schnadt

2015-two-part-harmony-daniel-schnadtDaniel Schnadt, a senior in biology from Sumner, Iowa, participated in the Iowa Statesman choir for three years.  His love for music led him to join the all male ensemble under the direction of James Rodde.

What inspired you to join the Iowa Statesman?
“Throughout high school I was involved with the whole nine yards as far as vocal music was concerned, so when I came to college I wanted to find a way to continue that. I’ve learned a lot about myself, ways to improve my singing and just had fun. It was a nice community and I really enjoyed the people I was with.”

What is your favorite memory of participating in the Iowa Statesman?
“Last year we took a four-day trip to New York and sang at Carnegie Hall for a special event. That was one of my coolest memories from college. Being able to fly to New York and explore downtown, take in the experience and sing in a performance with so many other fantastic singers was truly inspiring.”

Reflecting on your college career, what advice would you give to students regarding campus involvement?
“Work hard and enjoy your free time. Don’t let your short-term goals compromise your long-term goals, and don’t let your long-terms goals compromise your short-term enjoyment. Life is too short to spend it stressed out.”

What are your plans following graduation?
“I will be attending medical school this fall at Des Moines University. I will be pursuing a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree with the goal of becoming a physician.”

McKaila von Rentzell

2015-two-part-harmony-mckaila-von-rentzeMcKaila von Rentzell is a junior majoring in animal science, pre-vet from Earlham, Iowa. Her lifelong love of dance motivated her to join two dance clubs at Iowa State – Tap Iowa State and Orchesis II.

What influenced you to pursue dance at Iowa State?
“I’ve been dancing since I was five years old. It’s been a huge part of my life. I wasn’t involved in dance my freshman year and I really missed it, so I decided to see what opportunities I had to be in dance on campus. I found the Tap Club and Orchesis II and I am in love with it. I can’t imagine quitting anytime soon.”

How has your continued involvement in dance impacted your college experience?
“It’s a huge stress reliever.  Dance is something I enjoy and it’s something completely different than what I do on a regular basis. It’s kind of like my getaway. Some people like to go to the gym but I prefer to go dance. It helps me keep my stress levels down and keep a level head with all of my classes.”

Would you encourage other students to be involved in a dance club?
“Definitely. It’s a good form of stress relief and everyone loves to dance, so why not? The clubs I’m in try to incorporate all difficulty levels, so even if you have no experience at all you can join and catch up pretty quickly. It’s a really friendly environment and a lot of fun.”

What are your career goals?
“I want to become either a livestock or equine veterinarian and I hope to attend veterinary school at Iowa State.”

Douglas Todey

2015-two-part-harmony-douglas-todey,Douglas Todey, a junior in environmental science from Brookings, South Dakota, found his sense of community through the Iowa State University Marching Band. As a third year trumpet player, he has made unforgettable memories wearing the distinctive red bibs, cardinal and gold jacket and white shako topped with a white and gold plume.

What motivated you to become involved in the Iowa State Marching Band?
“I’ve been involved in the band program since the fifth grade. Both of my parents were in the marching band when they went to school here, so it’s kind of a family tradition. We have a fantastic marching band, two great directors and it’s a good way to get to know people and have a good time at Iowa State.”

How would you describe the experience of performing with the Cyclone Marching Band?
“It’s a really incredible experience. Being able to perform in front of 60,000 people at Jack Trice Stadium is absolutely indescribable. Stepping out on the field for the first time in the fall is incredible. It’s a blast.”

What has been the highlight of your participation in the performing arts?
“My favorite thing about marching band is the people I get to be around. These people I am going to remember for the rest of my life. I met them when I first came to Iowa State and they are my friends. It’s what I love about this band; it’s such a family atmosphere.”

How do you envision your interests in environmental science transpiring in your future career?
“I’d like to be involved in water quality. It’s a very big problem in our society and I’d like to be part of the solution.”