Music major McKayela Collins explores her passion and her spirituality at Saint Mary’s.
For McKayela Collins, music is more than her major. It’s her vocation. Collins is a vocal performance major who uses music to express her spirituality. As a senior in high school Collins applied to Saint Mary’s and Saint Mary’s alone. She knew that between the College’s nationally accredited music program, and the opportunities to explore her faith through campus ministry, Saint Mary’s was the place for her. In her position as a music leader through the Department of Campus Ministry, Collins cantors at masses, leading the community in song at either the Church of Loretto or the Regina Hall mass each week. Not only is she performing a service, she’s cultivating her own spirituality. “The people in campus ministry here are always encouraging you to grow in your faith,” says Collins.
Now a senior, Collins is looking forward to completing her education at Saint Mary’s and pursuing vocal performance or opera in graduate school. It’s an opportunity she feels prepared for thanks to the music program and her mentors in the music department. “The professors here know who I am,” says Collins. “They know about my family life. They know about my personal voice. They’re so in tune with who we are as people. That alone proves that they’re great professors.”
Collins performs regularly for her professors and her peers. She also landed a special performance opportunity last year when she sang the lead role in Saint Mary’s production of the one-act opera Suor Angelica. She shared the part with fellow music major Crystal Buck. “Usually when you’re in a music department, it’s all cut-throat, competitive,” reflects Collins. “But Crystal and I worked on the part together. We just decided, ‘we’re going to learn this together, and we’re going to make sure that we perform this well, no matter which one of us is out there alone onstage.’” Collins says this attitude is indicative of the support provided by the Saint Mary’s community. “We’re always willing to help each other learn.”