Office ofAlumni and Constituent Relations

Taylor Capellaro, class of 2014

While sitting on the bench outside of Xavier, a few days before this article is due, I struggle to find words to sum up so many thoughts and emotions. The sun is shining. There is a nice cool breeze gently touching the trees over my head. Campus is quiet with the exception of the sound of laughter from a far off conversation every now and again. The buzzing of a summer bee flies past me as leaves, having escaped from their trees, tickle the ground. Goodness, has the sun ever shown more beautifully? I am reminded of why I love this place.

Throughout my entire life, from a wee lad until present day me, I have always been rather ambitious. I often reflect upon when I aspired to be a limo driver. Yes, the driver, not the passenger. Then my dreams went to the stars, an astronaut I was to be! But eventually more realistic ambitions came into view. It was then that music was first introduced to my life. It was 5th grade and I had gone to the gym to meet Sarah Runland, who would show me the violin for the first time. For the next 8 years I played the violin and every day discovered the world of music, the world I was meant to live in.

In my seventh year of music, I was introduced to another instrument - an internal one we all carry with us: the voice. During my junior year of high school, I was in my first musical, Titanic the Musical, playing the handsome British hunk that stoked fires. I was singing notes that today seem effortless, but then were the scariest part of my performance. Through much inspiration and guidance from PLU alum and high school choir director, Paul Scott, I was shown a glimpse of the path I could take in the vocal world post high school. It was very hard but a good decision to put down my violin as I became more passionate about singing.

College. It had finally come. After applying ONLY to PLU, and being accepted early, I was readying myself over the long summer months for my new home. Terrified, anxious, and excited, I walked onto campus. I had visited many times before, but this time was different. This time I wasn’t going home that night, at least not the home I had known for the last 18 years. This was a new chapter, this was a new world, and this was the beginning of a new life.

After a difficult goodbye with my family, I then experienced the best days of my life: Orientation. My experience of Orientation remains my favorite college memory. Orientation is such an empowering part of college -- meeting so many new people and learning so much about the university. I knew I wanted to get as involved as I could. So, at the beginning of my sophomore year, I was an Orientation Guide. I wanted to recreate my experience as an incoming first year student for each and every one of my “Jammies.” But being an OG wasn’t enough for me, I wanted more! That is why, this year, I applied and got the position of Student Orientation Coordinator! I, along with my colleague Amy, get to be responsible for recreating our experiences as first years and giving the students the time of their lives! What a pleasure it has been. It is not easy work but it is worth it to be a part of the unique and wonderful experience that PLU Orientation has to offer. I cannot wait to meet all of the students as they come from high school ready to make their dreams come true.

Coming to PLU was the greatest thing in my life. I feel so very at home here. I feel so appreciated by people I didn’t even know. There is a certain feeling here that you get by simply walking across campus. We all know how nice it is to be acknowledged with a smile of a passing stranger. Little did my little first-year-ambitious-self know the extent of the experiences I would have in just two years. I have been given opportunities to do great things at PLU. As a junior, I am currently a tenor 1 in the Choir of the West, which I feel is an accomplishment worth being proud of. Through the music department of PLU, I have been able to be in Titanic the Musical in concert at the 5th Avenue Theatre, ironically being my first musical ever and now first professional one. I have performed in some of the most beautiful halls on the west coast. I have studied with some of the greatest voices in the country. I have premiered original works of art. I have been asked to be a part of a tour of Italy coming up my senior summer. All of these things used to be only dreams.

Aside from music, because of PLU I have been able to make reality out of my dream to go to Egypt, which was the best 3 weeks of my life. The people I have met and the experiences I have had thus far are only the beginning. I have another two years at this institution and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Opportunity is in the air here at PLU. I fell in love with this University right when I stepped onto campus. I know that the training, knowledge, and experience I receive from this institution will help me continue to turn my dreams into reality. The dream to be a voice actor for Pixar and to perform on Broadway, although ambitious, has never felt more possible.

Thank you, Pacific Lutheran University. It’s been a pleasure. I look forward to the next two years.