LHS grad sings at K-State commencement
Lansing native Matthew Fallesen opened the Kansas State University fall graduate school commencement last week by singing the national anthem. The performance in front of 150 graduates, faculty and nearly 1,700 guests was enough to make anyone nervous, but Fallesen, who has been singing for as long as he can remember, seemed to take it in stride.
"I've been studying music pretty much all my life," Fallesen, a K-State music graduate student, said. His mother sang and played the piano, and her son followed suit. He began piano lessons in third grade and played French horn in high school.
Though he's put a lot of time into practicing his instruments, he loves singing far more.
"I've always been into it, always been doing it. It's one of my main passions," the 22-year-old said of vocal music.
While at Lansing High School, Fallesen sang in Swing Choir for four years. During his senior year, he also participated in the concert choir. He attended league, regional and state music festivals and received the highest rating, a score of one, in all the individual events he entered his junior and senior years.
With the choir, Fallesen received top ratings throughout high school in group competition.
Fallesen also entered competitions as a horn player, receiving the highest award in that category his senior year.
Though he hasn't lived in Lansing since leaving for college, Fallesen said he sees his parents, Mary and Jon, and sister, Lansing High School senior Kelsey, at least once a month.
Fallesen received his undergraduate degree in vocal performance at K-State this May and will complete his master's degree, also in vocal performance, in May 2006.
"I started singing classically and taking lessons my senior year in high school," Fallesen said.
The hard work paid off. He was chosen by the head of the K-State voice department to sing at commencement.
While the baritone plans to pursue vocal performance - mostly solo work - post-graduation, he teaches music now and said he thought he might work that into his future as well. Although Fallesen said he didn't know if he would settle down in his hometown, he might be interested in teaching vocal performance at a small college. If he isn't too busy performing, that is.
"I want to perform," Fallesen said. "I want to sing classically - that's what I'm studying here (at K-State) - but I also like doing Christian music, praise and worship groups. I've written a few Christian songs."
Fallesen said his parents attend his performances and have supported him in his pursuit of music.
He and his wife, Jaime, also a K-State graduate, both enjoy singing at church.
Fallesen said his favorite classical composers were Puccini and Mozart.
Fallesen is serious about music, serious about his education, serious about his commitment to his family and religion. But he does squeeze in time to have fun.
"I like playing video games," he admitted, laughing.