For Senior Joe Turner, music isn’t just a hobby: its a lifestyle. As a music major, the President of the Gustavus Choir, co-chair of the Greeters, and a member of the men’s a capella ensemble G-Sharp, singing is one thing Joe can’t get enough of.
Joe followed in the footsteps of his mother when he joined the Gustavus Choir during his Junior year, of which he is now the President after two years in Chapel Choir. His passion for music truly began in high school.
“I came to Gustavus knowing music was what I wanted to do,” Joe said.
Joe’s involvement in music stems from the emotional connection he feels to it.
“I truly believe music is one of the most expressive ways that humans can express emotion. You can really identify with music as it pertains to different situations,” Joe said. “It’s something you can really feel, for me it becomes a therapeutic thing. It can influence my emotions, and I think that is unique to music.”
Those around him notice the work he puts into choir.
“Joe is the most committed member in choir. Besides handling the business side of being Gustavus Choir president, Joe learns music faster then any one else and shares his expertise with those around him, which rapidly improves the efficiency of the bass section during our rehearsals,” Junior Gabe Hanson said.
Senior History Major and Joe’s roommate Kyle Edelbrock also knows the love Joe has for music.
“Music is who he is and what he does, it’s what he wants to do for the rest of his life. I think he’s in a good place to fulfill his dreams,” Edelbrock said.
Joe sees himself hopefully joining a semi-professional choir, and will eventually get his Master’s Degree and Teaching License to direct a high school choir.
“Joe has so much enthusiasm and is sincerely interested in people. He has a great willingness to connect and communicate with others,”Professor of Economics and Management, Joe’s advisor, and long time family friend, Kathi Tunheim said.
For the time-being, Joe’s post-graduation plans are looking a little more adventurous. In August, Joe will leave for South Africa through an ELCA program called Young Adults in Global Missions. He doesn’t know exactly what his duties will look like while he is there, but he could be working on programs dealing with HIV/AIDS awareness, or volunteering in a church or school.
“I never had the chance to study abroad, and my father and I share the belief that that’s a part of college everyone should experience. It’s a good time in my life to go now,” Joe said.
Edelbrock agrees that this program is the right adventure for Joe.
“He’s going to South Africa, and I think it is a good opportunity for him. It will challenge him, but I think once he gets past the shock it will help him a lot. It will help him to grow even more than he has here at Gustavus,” Edelbrock said. “There’s a chance he could work with kids, and he’s amazing with kids so that could be a very good fit for him.”
Joe volunteers as a Big Partner and enjoys a mentoring role as a third year Gustie Greeter.
Though he is excited for the opportunities that lie ahead of him, he will miss the traditions he has fallen in love with at Gustavus, especially the last song during Christmas in Christ Chapel, O, Come All Ye Faithful.
“I have memories of that moment that will stick with me for the rest of my life. There are audience members I remember, when everyone stands for the last verse, their faces will stay with me. Its an emotional roller coaster,” Joe said.
In addition to the many senior celebrations, Joe is looking forward to his final concert with the a capella ensemble G-Sharp this friday night at 7 p.m. in
the Beck Atrium. The group was founded by five Gustavus Choir members during Joe’s sophomore year. Joe joined shortly after their founding that first year. He is the only member from the first year who is still in the group, so his final performance with this group will be special.
“Its based on the social aspect of seven guys getting together to make music and just hang out,” Joe said. “It’s been a blast.”
G-Sharp fans can expect a variety of music this friday, including works by Outcast, Bach, Queen and Tina Turner.
As a fellow G-Sharp member, Hanson will be sad to see Joe go after his final concert with the ensemble.
“Joe is willing to put in time in the practice room outside of our normal rehearsals, and is always searching for a new musical idea. Joe doesn’t just make music for his own enjoyment, he truly loves to share his music with anyone that is willing to listen,” Hanson said. “Although G-Sharp is considered a democratic ensemble in which there is no one ‘leader,’ if it were not for Joe’s organization and desire to challenge the group, we would be at a completely different place then we are today.”
“Joe is very loyal and helpful— he always goes out of his way to help other people. He has a lot of the qualities of a good dog, with the advantage of being a human. He’s very funny and will make you laugh no matter what,” Edelbrock said.
“My hope for Joe is that he follows his heart and passions in life in whatever field he chooses to be in. People will have to watch out for him because once he finds his calling he is going to be widely successful and unstoppable,” Tunheim said.