When Ben Tipton first arrived at Manchester, a professor told him he had been singing the wrong voice part throughout high school. “In voice lessons, I had to completely change the way I approached singing, and it was really difficult at first,” explained Ben. “But I stuck with it and knew I could improve.”

That perseverance is what makes Ben, a junior vocal performance major from Dayton, Ohio, one of Manchester’s top musicians.

On campus, Ben performs with the A Cappella Choir, Chamber Singers, Jazz Band, Symphonic Band and the Handbell Choir. He also works for the Office of Admissions and as a student assistant at Petersime Chapel. If that were not enough to fill his time, Ben is involved in the MU Euchre Society, Simply Brethren, Students Today Alumni Tomorrow, and Campus Interfaith Board.

Ben is a fourth-generation Manchester student, though his reasons for attending the University run even deeper. “I chose Manchester because of the community spirit and how interested the professors seemed to be in my education.”

Ben has grown vocally and personally with the mentoring of Debra Lynn, vocal music professor. “She has been a big inspiration for me,” say Ben, “not just musically, but in the way she cares and looks out for the students, even the ones she doesn't teach.” 

Ben chose his major because he loves singing and wants to make music that others enjoy listening to. Along the way, he has made some great memories. “I really loved being able to perform with my friends on our annual choir tour, as well as being involved in the opera workshops,” says Ben. “I gained so much from working with Kathleen Belcher and Stewart Copeland on ‘The Invention of Morel.’ It really helped me to develop my voice further than ever before.”

Spring semester posed some challenges for Ben, as it did for other MU students, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced classes to move to remote learning. “Learning online was pretty hard for me,” said Ben. “I have always benefited more from being in the classroom and having a teacher in front of me, along with just being with classmates in the room. I struggled with keeping up with the work, especially due to picking up a job at home.”

Now that he’s back on campus this fall, Ben looks forward to participating in ensembles again, “hanging out with my friends” and enjoying the personal connections that are such a part of the Manchester experience.

After graduation in 2022, Ben plans to earn his master’s degree in opera performance. “I feel like I am being well prepared for a career in music,” he says. “I think I will be able to go on from Manchester with a lot of experiences that most people wouldn't get from going to another university. I don’t know if there is anything I would change about my experience so far. I am happy with where my college career has taken me and I wouldn't want it any differently.”

By Jennifer Wagner, Class of 2022