Alex Manfredo is traveling again and singing again.
After four years of singing at Millikin University, she's with the University Choir on tour in the Baltics area of Europe.
On the weekend classes ended, she sang with OneVoice on Friday at an alumni event at Grafton and then at a Lock Stock and Barrel performance on Saturday. A few days later the airplane trip began.
A commercial music major from Marion, Manfredo has also sung with the Millikin Jazz band and will next head to the University of Miami, Fla., for graduate study. “I want to perform and then teach music at a university,” she discussed future goals.
“Millikin has been great for me,” she said. “It gave me travel opportunities I would otherwise have never had – trips to the Dominican Republic and to Santiago, Chile. I've been in love with singing since middle school days. A couple of friends recommended Millikin as a good music school and I found out I love Millikin, too.”
OneVoice, of course, has been the flagship of the Millikin vocal music program.
It was organized by Steve Widenhofer in 1986. The director of the School of Music, he's still in command. The group has performed at numerous educational conference and collegiate jazz festivals in the U.S.
“”Some times I have eight singers, sometimes as many as 12,” Widenhofer said. “Eight is the usual number. We practice for 1½ hours twice a week and make 8 to 10 public appearances each year. “What makes Millikin's School of Music so unique is that we do both – theory and practice. Musicians perform in the practice room, studio, stage and in the classroom,”
Widenhofer is described as a demanding although fair teacher who still knows how to have fun. He was once quoted: “It's very gratifying when when you see the light bulb go on and students get it or when you hear them perform either individually or in an ensemble and see them make giant steps in their performance medium.”
Widenhofer also started First Step Records, a student enterprise with faculty supervision. He came to Millikin in 1983.