Senior Spotlight: Julianna Wessels ’12

If Julianna Wessels ’12 had let the result of her first musical audition deter her fromp pursuing music, Andover would have never have had the honor of enjoying Wessels’ sweet yet powerful singing voice around campus and most recently, during her Senior Recital on Saturday. Wessels first became involved with singing when she auditioned for a part in her middle school production of “Annie.” Prior to the audition, she hadn’t sung much but thought it would be fun to audition. However, her audition fell apart because she didn’t anticipate how nervous she’d be on stage. Nevertheless, Wessels was able to look past this experience and went on to audition for two more musicals. Wessels began her singing career at Andover as a singer in Gospel Choir during her Junior year. She gradually branched out to different genres of music and by her Upper year had become a part of the all-female a cappella group, Azure, as well as the selective choral ensemble, Fidelio. “Andover opened doors to many different varieties of singing for me. Some people prefer to only sing pop, classical or soulful pieces, but Andover taught me to enjoy all three equally. It has been a great opportunity to jump around different genres,” said Wessels in an e-mail to The Phillipian. For Wessels, a musician at heart, singing has neither been a heavy burden nor a completely serious and intense endeavor. “When I think of taking music seriously I think of uptight musicians which I certainly am not. Music is the one thing in my life that can completely change my mood. It inspires me and challenges me at the same time,” said Wessels. Every time she performs, Wessels brings not only her genuine affection for music, but also hints of her personality, allowing her to connect to her audience on a more personal level. For her Senior Recital last Saturday, Wessels said that she had to persuade her private vocal teacher, Lisa Tamagini, to let her sing many vocal pieces in minor keys, which often carry a somber quality. “I was a little nervous about how the audience would react to classical minor pieces, knowing that they are the exact opposite of popular contemporary pop music. I was glad that people enjoyed it; my repertoire ended up being a great mix,” said Wessels. One of Andover’s respected student vocalists, Wessels said that her development as a musician very much depended on the presence and guidance of several individuals both at home and at Andover. Among these individuals are Tamagini, the members of the Andover vocal groups that she has been involved with and her sister, Stephanie Wessels. “[Stephanie Wessels] is an amazing singer. If I ever have a big performance, I always sing it for her first to make sure that it sounds okay. Gospel Choir taught me how to let loose and Azure taught me about the importance of a support system. They all taught me how to become a good singer,” said Wessels. Wessels’ four years at Andover have helped her refine her singing, and in turn, Wessels has given back to the musical community through impressive performances and her involvement in many facets of Andover music.