Nick Sienkiewicz | WMUK

Nick Sienkiewicz

WMU School of Music

They auditioned from their bedrooms, basements, and backyards to join the WMU School of Music as choral students this year. Dr. Kimberly Dunn Adams, the director of Choral Activities, says she is moved by their tenacity and talent, saying there are reasons for singing that transcend any moment in history and the challenges they represent.

Choral conductor Nick Sienkiewicz graduated in April from Western Michigan University with degrees in music and biochemistry. He also helmed the Unitarian Universalist Community Church choir and was working with the Kalamazoo Children's Chorus. But the pandemic changed all that. In an interview with Cara Lieurance, Sienkiewicz shares his science-oriented perspective on how choral activity was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and why it's important to use current research to find ways to continue singing. 

Sienkiewicz summarizes some of the recent developments in our understanding of the transmission of the virus, and vaccine development. He says that even with his background in biochemistry, it's still a challenge to read and absorb the latest research published in different science journals. That contributes to laypeople's confusion about COVID-19. It doesn't help that official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control  is being contradicted, questioned and even changed by the current administration. But, he says, the efforts of scientists working around the clock to combat COVID-19 is a beacon of hope.

Sienkiewicz will attend Indiana University-Bloomington this fall to pursue a Master's degree in Choral Conducting.

courtesy of the artist

Nick Sienkiewicz, a music director at Unitarian Universalist Church of Portage and a senior majoring in music and biochemistry at Western Michigan University, tells Cara Lieurance that he wanted to focus on community by bringing a range of choirs to perform together at 7:30 pm on Saturday, Nov 2 at First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo. He explains the music that the Kalamazoo Male Chorus, the Mall City Harmonizers, the UU Community Chorus, Kalamazoo Community Chorus, West Michigan Gay Men's Chorus, and a Grand Chorus will contribute to the hour-long program, and encourages listeners to join a choir if they have a chance.