Recipient of the Ken and Diane Ballweg Endowed Music Scholarship
Joe Pleuss received his BS in Music in 2004. He currently performs with the San Diego Opera and is applying to graduate programs for a DMA in Opera Performance.
Deciding to become a Music Major
“Music has always been an important part of my life. I began playing trumpet in fourth grade, and played in my uncle’s jazz club in Appleton. Music and theater were my primary interests in high school, so when I got to college, it was natural for me to head in that direction. I was primarily a trumpet player in high school; however, at Edgewood College it was rather obvious to the music faculty that I had more potential as a singer. The faculty helped me make the most important career choice of my life, although I didn’t know it at the time.
Grad School and Summer Programs that were great opportunities for me
Career highlights thus far included working on the title role in Don Giovanni at Opera in the Ozarks, as well as the roles of Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, and Frank Maurant from Street Scene. My voice really excels in the music of Mozart, and Don Giovanni is definitely a fun role to play. Almaviva was a very special role to me because it was my first opera role, and the Frank Maurant role was a wonderful opportunity because it let me draw heavily on my theater roots. I really enjoy the Giovanni character because of the multifaceted psychological approach needed to tackle this large work.
Experiences that have helped me in my career
Edgewood College really helped me find myself as a person. College is a unique place to begin to ask your own questions and find your own opinions on life. Faculty, including Moses Altsech, Julie Dunbar, Blake Walter, and Kathy Otterson, really invested a great deal of time in developing my potential—not only as a musician, but as a person. They were able to give me great experiences working on a wide variety of repertoire.
A great testament to the quality of teaching is that five years after I graduated, I was still able to test out of the preliminary classes for both Music History and Music Theory for my master’s program. This is pretty remarkable, especially considering many students, including composition majors, weren’t able to pass despite coming directly in from undergraduate programs. The professors at Edgewood College do a great job of not only teaching you information, but helping you retain what you have learned.”