“I come from the oldest city in North America, and singing is just a way of life there,” says Nicholle Andrews, director of choral studies, of growing up in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. “When I read the job description for my position at the University of Redlands, I knew it was where I needed to be.”
Andrews trusted her intuition—and Redlands indeed ended up being the perfect fit.
“Coming from Newfoundland, where there’s a real sense of community, Redlands feels just like home,” she says. “I know everyone from the president to the grounds crew. The university environment is incredible.”
In the classroom, Andrews notes that she and other music faculty members set the bar high for music students. “We treat them as professional musicians from day one,” she says. “We hold everyone accountable for attendance, performance, and other expectations, which is different than larger schools where they’re just another person.”
Those expectations eventually form habits in student musicians that are recognized by potential employers. “We’re contacted over and over by employers who say they want School of Music graduates because they know the students will come prepared—they know that 15 minutes early is the standard.”
Andrews admires the willingness to learn that she repeatedly finds in School of Music students. “The majority of students here want to download as much information as they can in four years,” she says. “It’s really exciting, as a professor, to be a part of that and watch them grow.”
Part of that growth in the School of Music is gaining professional acumen as a musician and educator or conducting research—both of which Andrews facilitates. “I’ve developed relationships with the majority of choral directors within a regional radius, so that students can know about the programs before they intern for them,” she says. “My graduate students conduct research on score preparation, score study, and repertoire.”
Although Andrews shoulders responsibility as a conductor and teacher, she acknowledges that teaching is a two-way street. “Students hold me accountable and that keeps me on my toes,” she says. “And each student has a different set of needs and expectations, and that helps me learn.”