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My Manchester Story

Mason Kniola

by Brooklyn Schumm | Jan 23, 2023

Tell us about yourself

My name is Mason Kniola (He/Him/His), and I am a senior vocal performance major from Carmel, Indiana.

What are you involved in on campus?

Any and all music groups - A Cappella Choir (president and student conductor), Chamber Singers, Handbell Choir (President), Manchester University Spartan Pride (President), Jazz Ensemble (bassist), Manchester Symphonic Orchestra (student conductor and tubist), Manchester Symphonic Band (tubist), Music Department Student Assistant, Basic Conducting TA

Why did you choose Manchester University?

I chose Manchester University because of how welcoming the music department was from day one and the campus size. The campus and the music department were suitable sizes for me. Not too big and not too small.

What is your favorite thing about Manchester?

My favorite thing about Manchester University is all the wonderful opportunities I have received within the music department. Despite its small size, they strive to let students meet world-renowned artists and professionals in our field where we can get more personal interaction with them and unique performance opportunities that directly impact local communities.

What do you see yourself doing after Manchester?

I plan to continue my education at the graduate level after Manchester. I am looking to obtain a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting.

Who is your favorite professor you have had?

The entire music department faculty and staff. If I had to pick one, it would be either Debra Lynn or Pam Haynes. They have both molded, supported, and challenged me and my values. I would not be half the person I am today without them or the music department.

What is your favorite class you have taken at Manchester?

Despite my love for the music department, my favorite class I have taken at Manchester is either my intro to philosophy class or my introduction to political science class.

What's a Manchester bucket list item you'd like to check off?

I want to compete in the trike races on May Day, I feel like I'm too tall for it, but I still want to give it a whirl.

What advice would you give to an incoming Manchester student?

Go with your gut feeling. Many people advise getting involved with as many clubs as possible and saying yes to everything. I fully support that, but if you feel like saying yes to another club will overload your schedule, or you're just not that interested, it's ok to step down and not do that. That sounds a little hypocritical coming from someone involved in all things music, but the statement rings true.

What is something someone wouldn't know just by looking at you?

I did martial arts for six years of my life.

What is your favorite Manchester memory?

Any chance I get to perform at Manchester or in the community. If I had to pick one, it would be when A Cappella choir went on tour to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall. There was a soloist at the last minute called in sick. Debra Lynn got the call during a rehearsal, and she had to leave to take care of it. She left me in charge of a choir with about 130 or so singers (other ensembles from across the country were performing with the ACC), so I got to conduct them while she left. 

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