Maura Atwood

Class Year

’16

Hometown

Milwaukee, Wis.

Major(s)

Music, Theatre Performance

For years, Maura Atwood knew that she wanted to be an actress, so choosing to major in theatre performance major was easy. However, deciding on her vocal performance major took a bit longer.

While Maura has been interested in opera since she was 12 years old, she wasn’t sold on making a career out of it. That changed during Maura’s freshman year at Carthage when she was cast in L’Elisir D’Amore.

“Many members of the music faculty told me I had a gift for opera,” she said. “The idea of doing opera was new and exciting to me, and this summer I stayed up late watching operas on YouTube, which proved that I was sold!” 

“Opera is theater in which every emotion is expressed in music, and I love that.” 

Maura Atwood, ’16

Career goal

“I want to do opera and Shakespeare!” 

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

“I love all of them, even my Heritage professors! The professors who have mentored me the most are Lorian Schwaber, my voice teacher, and Dr. Woodrow Hodges, who retired” in May 2013.

Favorite class

“Music Theory and Opera Workshop are my favorite music classes. Theory is sometimes difficult, but it’s fun. Prof. Mark Petering is very patient with — and has a sense of humor about — our learning struggles. Opera Workshop, which I am taking for the first time this semester, teaches us acting, some music history, and of course vocal technique for the opera pieces we will be performing at the end of the semester.” 

Campus involvement

“I am in the Carthage Women’s Ensemble, and I work in the Theatre Department’s costume shop and box office.” 

Toughest class

“Aural Skills! Prof. Garcia-Novelli has been patient with me, but I had almost no musical experience before I came to Carthage, and hearing pitches was initially extremely difficult. I am much better now than when I started, which is very encouraging, but I still struggle with this class more than any other.” 

Opportunities at Carthage

“I am in the Carthage Women’s Ensemble, and last spring we went to Florida and performed in churches. It was fantastic. And last J-Term, I was cast in the Carthage opera, L’Elisir D’Amore. I had never done opera before, but I loved it! I am so grateful that the directors Greg Berg and Matt Boresi gave me the opportunity. I ended up changing my major to Vocal Performance because of it. Carthage gives me opportunities every day to make progress in my pursuits. I know that all of my professors are very competent teachers, and I sense that they are honestly invested in each student’s progress.” 

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“I love the bells that chime the hours every day. I also love when it rains. Some people just walk in it and get soaked, but I love running in it.” 

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus? I like to sit on the floor in the library between the bookshelves.” 

Biggest surprise so far

“I discovered how much I love music. As I was growing up, music was that thing that I didn’t know how to do. I could sing and learn songs quickly, but when it came to anything else, I was lost. Now I find myself excited about practicing keyboard skills, and being geeky about theory.”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

When I was 8, I was much too shy to sing in front of anyone. I wanted to be a singer, and I would have been so excited to know I was going to be where I am now.” 

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“When people warn you how difficult the music major is, believe them. But remember that it is absolutely worth it. There is such satisfaction in pushing yourself to do what you really want to and watching yourself improve.”