“Music is a language that transcends all culture & human experience,” Ardys Curtis says, explaining why music has such a strong presence in her life. “It touches something within me. I can’t put a finger on it – everything just clicks and comes together when I’m immersed in it.”
It was music that brought Ardys to Pacific Lutheran as a student. She grew up in Gresham, a suburb of Portland, where she had plenty of exposure to musical expression, mostly vocal, from her earliest years through high school. Her high school choir director, a PLU graduate, recommended PLU to her, largely for the musical connection.
While a student at PLU, Ardys majored in Communication Arts with a Public Relations concentration, finishing that degree work only after three years in the Choir of the West. Meanwhile, she met Brian, they later married, and subsequently since raised two children – Sarah, who graduated from PLU in 2010 and works now in the Pierce County Sexual Assault Center; and Katie, who presently is a sophomore at PLU.
Brian hails from Wenatchee, so these environs have served as a convenient point equidistant from their families, but it has also enabled deep engagement of two shared passions – kayaking and mountain recreation. They started out with a canoe, as Ardys explains it, but they soon realized they needed “separate navigation systems” for engaging this experience alone-yet-together – where they have autonomy, yet can share the transcending experience of playing with the seals in the quiet and power of the ocean.
After bringing two children through PLU it would be hard to convince Ardys that tuition remission is not a major benefit of working here, but that’s not what drew her back here in 1994 after eight years of employment in the wilderness (or real world, as some might call it). It was a part-time job in Admissions that she soon parlayed into a full-time position, then later adapted herself to the technology needs of that operational area. Six years ago she applied for and was accepted into a systems programmer (systems training) position in what is now I&TS Information Systems.
Something akin to music keeps Ardys here when she has a skill set that is readily marketable elsewhere. “Being part of a group -- the camaraderie – bringing several parts together to do something I can’t do alone – that’s what I love about music, especially choral music.” In similar fashion, Ardys savors the camaraderie, the teamwork, the opportunity to help build something she can’t accomplish on her own that energizes her for work in Information Systems. And it is this same spirit that gives her energy for her work training individuals and groups across campus in the nuances and idiosyncrasies of administrative systems like Banner.
If that’s music in Ardys’s ears, no wonder so many people enjoy working – after a fashion, singing – in this complex choral piece with her.