Emma Kelsey – Staff Writer
Senior Ingrid Welna is this week’s Gustie of the Week. Welna is very involved on campus, especially within the music department. They are a horn section leader in the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, a member of the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, the Groovy Gusties jazz combo, a sight singing and music theory teaching assistant, works in the theater and dance department in the costume shop, and are also the Vice President of the Future Music Educators Association; a student organization for those who are considering teaching music in the future, in any capacity. In the past, they have also been involved in the Gustavus Wind Symphony, the Lucia Singers, and vocal jazz ensemble.
“The community here is so warm and genuine, and I’ve had amazing opportunities to improve my skills as a musician in our department, [including the] tour to Spain and France with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra in January, and I actually got to conduct a piece with them on that tour. I also recently was featured as a solo vocalist with the Gustavus Wind Symphony. Currently, I am working on presenting my senior recital, which will feature pieces for horn, voice, and brass ensemble,” Welna said.
James Patrick Miller, professor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, has known Ingrid since they were in high school at St. Paul Central, and Miller was the guest conductor of the Ordway High School Music Festival. Miller said that Ingrid stood out even then as a star musician and human being. When Ingrid came to Gustavus, they enrolled in Miller’s FTS, played horn in band, and sang in choir. Ingrid is now one of Miller’s advisees as an instrumental music education major.
“Ingrid is driven to be always improving, growing, and learning. They are kind, supportive, and a great advocate for DEIB initiatives in music education,” Miller said.
He shares that the qualities that make Welna deserving of Gustie of the Week include talent, humility, work ethic, and sincerity.
Heidi Johanna Miller, Conductor of the Gustavus Wind Symphony, has known Welna for years and praises them as an excellent musician constantly striving for excellence.
“They are an extremely gifted horn player, majoring in instrumental music education, and also a beautiful singer. Ingrid was a featured soprano soloist at our spring band concert this past March, and it was a highlight of the concert for me,” Miller said. She describes Welna as a “very deep, emotional, and artistic soul,” very driven about the things they are passionate about.
“They care deeply about the feelings of others and are very vocal in their advocacy. Ingrid is such an important part of the music department; it will be very hard to see them graduate this spring,” Miller said.
Professor in Music, Dr. Alexandra Bryant, met Welna in their second semester at Gustavus when they were enrolled in her Music Theory II class. When the pandemic hit, Bryant remembers Welna’s dedication didn’t fade. “I remember Ingrid still, regardless of being on a screen, always being willing to fully participate and engage in the lessons. It was tough for all of us, but Ingrid was always putting their best foot forward,” Bryant said.
“Ingrid is a multi-talented individual who strives toward perfection. They’re wonderful at both horn and voice! Ingrid has a great ear for music and it’s obvious to anyone who has worked with them… Their openness and realness is something I have always appreciated. I feel that not all students are comfortable with being honest, but Ingrid always is and I greatly respect that about them,” Welna said.
Senior Rose Paddock is roommates with Welna, and has known them for a couple of years now. “Ingrid is not only an easy roommate to live with, but they excel in all the musical ensembles they’re a part of. They are an awesome and supportive French horn section leader and a fantastic singer,” Paddock said. She describes Welna as a poised and professional performer, and a supportive, humble, inclusive person who will become an inspiring and fun band teacher in the future.
After graduation, Welna will be a student teacher at East Ridge High School in Woodbury and PACT charter school in Ramsey. Following that, they plan to teach middle or high school band and hope to eventually go back to school to get a Master’s degree in wind conducting.