Student Focus: Sophia Pike

Name: Sophia Pike       

Major: Vocal Music Education

Hometown: Bettendorf, IA/Quad Cities

Planned Graduation Date: Fall 2023

What are you involved with here at ISU and beyond? 

At Iowa State, I stay busy in our department between ensembles, lessons, classes, and music fraternities! For ensembles, I’m involved in Iowa State Singers, Opera Studio, our Jazz Bands, CySlides, and have been a part of the ISUCF’V’MB and Symphonic Band in past years. I am a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, our co-ed band fraternity, and will be President of Sigma Alpha Iota this year, our music fraternity for women. This summer I’ve also been working in our music office helping out with orientation and meeting new and prospective students, alongside helping the department get ready for the coming school year! Off campus, I occasionally serve as a cantor at St. Thomas Aquinas, have been singing with a jazz quartet of colleagues and friends, and am about to begin teaching at the Lott Music Studio with their inaugural student program!

What pieces are you working on right now? 

Right now, I’m focusing on putting together art song cycles for my senior recital this coming Spring! I’m preparing a Faure cycle which ties together Notre Amour (a song I prepared for my Continuation Sophomore year), and his Op. 76 pieces, which is a gorgeous compilation of early and middle period Faure sounds and tonal experimentation. My English set I’m preparing is a Ned Rorem cycle based upon Walt Whitman’s poems exploring the narrative of new love, and its repercussions when it ultimately fails. And my German set I’ve been working on is an exciting exploration of elf and mystical being folklore told through the eras with a focus on the variance in the tone of the narrator’s encounters depending upon the time period and German society’s interpretations of folklore; beginning with Mendelssohn’s Neue Liebe, through Viardot’s Nixe Binsefuss, and ending with Wolf’s Elfenlied. (The list seems endless at times, as I’m also actively preparing arias alongside my art song literature.)

What are you doing/looking forward to this semester?

I’m excited to (hopefully) continue performing and singing with our jazz groups at Iowa State, prepare and perform a role in our Opera Studio production this fall, and continue working with our incredible faculty to ready myself for whatever the future brings!

What is your favorite thing about your experiences at Iowa State? 

I have always appreciated how much the faculty supports their students, especially in the music program. I truly feel this department has become my family, and my professors have become the people I know I can turn to if I need support, have a question about life after college, or want to explore a new performance opportunity. They’re some of the first people to encourage exploration of new opportunities that fit my skills and abilities.

Why did you choose the Dept. of Music and Theatre at ISU? 

It’s always been the people for me, because I felt I was welcomed into the department with open arms from the first time I stepped onto campus. I also was extremely intrigued by our department being undergraduate only, even within such a big public university. The intimate size of our department made me feel much more comfortable with the idea of a public school, and I think I somehow knew I would find a strong music community here.

What are you interests beyond music and theatre? 

I love spending time outdoors, hiking, exploring National Parks, and taking pictures when I explore new nature areas. My cat, O’Malley, is my favorite chaotic, but loving roommate, even though he doesn’t always appreciate my practicing (especially trombone) or singing along to my record collection. I also love the bookshop/coffee shop ambience and will try to find an excuse to do homework on Main St. whenever possible.

What are your plans after graduation? 

While the future still isn’t completely clear, I’m hoping to explore the possibility of graduate school for voice performance to pursue a performance career and teaching at the collegiate level.

Any words of wisdom for prospective students?

Always take the opportunities you’re given that you can, and surround yourself with the people who support you and allow you to confidently be yourself!

(If you want college search advice: find the campus that feels good walking across on tours/visits and find the faculty you can see yourself being excited to work with for 4+ years.)