Chloe Kroeger '25
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The 2021 Bootcamp Showcase was a series of performances at the end of the semester provided by the students enrolled in the Music Theatre Workshop Bootcamp Course. The performance was a final exam for the students, a showcase that truly shows how hard they’ve worked for the past thirteen weeks. The program was all-inclusive, with musicians ranging from grad school to freshman undergraduate students. One of these freshman students, Chloe Kroeger ’25, experienced nothing but excitement prior to the showcase. I sat down with Chloe after the showcase to discuss her first semester at Carthage and how the 2021 Bootcamp Showcase affected her plans for the future.

As you started your first ever college semester, what were you looking forward to here at Carthage?

I was looking forward to the music opportunities that Carthage has. I love how involved the different choirs are and the connections that the students and professors have due to the small student population. I found that admirable. All of the theatre opportunities that they have here makes it so much easier to get your name out there. I was really looking forward to broadening my horizons and meeting many new students.

Did you experience any feelings of nervousness?

I was nervous about being a commuter. I worried it would be harder for me to connect with other students and I would miss out on the “college experience”. Now, I try to stay involved as much as possible. Thankfully, there are organizations such as CAB who put on various events such as Bingo and Cocoa and Canvas. Those events helped me stay involved here on campus. I was also nervous about meeting new people! College can be a pretty scary thought due to so many people coming from so many places. I worried about finding my own group of friends. Fortunately, being involved with the theatre and music departments helped me meet tons of amazing people. 

What is your favorite activity to do while on campus?

One of my favorite things about the campus is walking to class, specifically in the fall. I would purposely park in the south lower lot so I could see the lake and watch the leaves fall. It’s so beautiful, and it always made my day. My favorite class was Intellectual Foundations because we were in the back classrooms of Lentz Hall and I could see the lake from the window. I also love finding “study spots” in places where I could see the lake and study at the same time.

What is something unexpected that happened to you this semester?

I have a few random unexpected things that happened to me this semester, but one that sticks out to me was when I joined the music theatre bootcamp. Originally, I wasn’t signed up for it, however I reached out to Dean Corinne Ness wondering how I could get involved with the Little Women production happening in during J-Term. She recommended I join this course to help develop my audition skills, and to settle me into the theatre community. I asked Professor Matthew Hougland if I could join his class a week before the semester started! Being in this class allowed me to sing the Alma Mater at the homecoming brunch for alumni with two upperclassmen! Professor Hougland also encouraged the class to audition for the spring musical. With his guidance, I received a call-back, and was offered one of the female lead roles, which was crazy, exciting, and unexpected! The music theatre bootcamp prepared me for all of the theatre involvement that I’ve had the privilege of taking part in.

What is your most memorable moment of the bootcamp course?

My favorite memory of this class was the showcase. This was the first performance in my life where I wasn’t nervous. I had so much excited energy! We kicked off the concert with “Heart and Music” from A New Brain, and the stage had great energy. When the time came for me to perform my song I was not nervous because my classmates were cheering me on. I’ve never had that easy of a performance before and watching how all of my peers grew, was amazing. It’s amazing how much we’ve learned in just thirteen weeks.

How did the showcase affect your musical plans for the future?

My professor has this quote tattooed on his arm and the phrase resonated with me during the performance. “You have nothing to prove, only to share”. The quote reminded me that we’re just showing our audience what we’ve learned in this class. Professor Hougland’s tattoo reminds me that every performing experience is a sharing experience rather than a way to prove oneself.

Do you have any advice for future music students?

I would tell them that taking this course is a necessity! Even if you aren’t super interested in theatre, it is such a great class and everyone is so welcoming! You learn so many skills on how to be a great performer and how to look at life. I remember one chapter of our textbook that talked about the “committee”, which is the set of voices in your head that tell you that you aren’t good enough. In class, Professor Hougland explained how we can quiet these voices by focusing on our personal growth and storytelling as a performer. There were so many life lessons intertwined with this bootcamp class that would be beneficial for anyone who takes the course. Plus, Professor Hougland is an amazing human and I think everyone should work with him!