It's easy to sing the praises of SLC student Emily Laurin

Posted On June 15, 2015

Silver Lake College music student Emily Laurin of Manitowoc is used to singing in front of audiences.

But performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers baseball game earlier this summer was, well, more rattling that ever.

The minor-league team plays home games at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute, just outside Appleton.

“It was very nerve-racking for me,” said Laurin, 22, of the May 5 game. “I’m used to performing on stage, where you don’t see anyone except for the first row or two. The stadium was all lit up. I was miked and on camera. There was much more pressure than performing on stage.”

Despite the anxiety, Laurin said she got a lot out of it.

“I have terrible stage fright,” Laurin said. “The experience helped me overcome that fear of performing in front of a large group of people.”

She is scheduled to perform at additional games this summer, but the dates have not yet been set.

Laurin found out about the opportunity from her mother, who learned that the Timber Rattlers were holding auditions, she said.

“It builds you up,” she said of auditioning and facing possible rejection.

Laurin said she was very excited once she found out she was chosen to sing.

Not only is “The Star-Spangled Banner” the country’s emotion-laden national anthem, but it’s the first song she ever learned to sing — bits and pieces of it, anyway — from her maternal grandfather when she was about 4 or 5.

“He was a talented singer. That whole side of the family was kind of like the Von Trapp family,” Laurin said with a smile, referring to the real-life singing family whose story was told in the classic movie, “The Sound of Music.”

Her foray into music began with flute in elementary school, followed later by saxophone. It wasn’t until she reached Roncalli High School that Laurin discovered her natural instrument, her voice.

She won exemplary awards for her singing at the Wisconsin School Music Association Solo & Ensemble competition and was chosen to sing for the state music conference in Madison.

Laurin, who will begin her senior year at Silver Lake College in the fall of 2015, is pursuing a degree in general and choral music education. She was awarded a Music Ensemble Scholarship and a Gala Scholarship, among others.

She has participated in various musical activities on campus including Chorale, Jazz Band, Handbell Ensemble and Wind Ensemble. Laurin also was president of the college chapter of the National Association for Music Education, performed at the Silver Lake College Gala scholarship fundraiser and sang roles in two operas for the Opera Workshop’s spring production.

“One thing I love the most about Silver Lake College is how interwoven the professors and staff are with your life,” she said. “If you are in a community production, they want to come see you. They want to support you in whatever you’re doing.”

Laurin’s loves of music, particularly opera, stemmed from childhood, when her mother played classical CDs and tapes to her. When Laurin saw her first video of opera, she knew that’s what she wanted to do.

“It was so regal, so full and beautiful. I was just in awe of learning that people can sing like that,” said Laurin, who dreams of opening a music studio of her own someday.

During the summer, Laurin is manager of Mimi’s Café, the college's on-campus café that serves Starbucks products. There, she doles out sweet treats and whips up lattes, espressos and frappuccinos for students, employees and visitors. She is getting ready to take over as general manager of the coffee shop, cafeteria and banquets in the fall.

Her café job helps her meet new challenges as she hires workers, learns to concoct new drinks and balances the cash register, she said.

It may seem out of harmony with her dream of a music career, but should she ever have her own voice studio, she will know a lot about running a business, Laurin said.