Student Highlight: Melanie Heckethorn and Vocal Performance

Melanie Heckethorn loves Taylor Swift,  so you already 100% know this girl has good taste in music. This SUU freshman is a Vocal Performance major and makes sure to practice singing at least five hours a week. 

As a Presidential Ambassador, a member of Opus Choir, and a full time student taking 18 credits, finding the time to do so isn’t easy. She does it anyway. 

 On top of this, Heckethorn plays the piano, violin, guitar and ukulele. She had her first solo performance when she was only three, and has enjoyed singing ever since. 

“Music is a large part of the community where I’m from. Everyone learns to play the piano, and so I did too. But singing and playing the ukulele is definitely my favorite,” she said.

So what is a Vocal Performance major and what do you do with it? Heckethorn explains that vocal performance prepares you to sing professionally, whether you end up singing on Broadway or teaching lessons. 

She explained that when deciding to declare her major, a lot of people tried to talk her out of it. 

“There’s just that stigma around these kinds of majors that you’re not going to get a job after you graduate. But I love singing so much, and so I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt.”

In high school, she was a member of choir and is now in Opus choir at SUU. Heckethorn has performed at various festivals, one of which was all the way in Elko, NV where she sang at the local Cowboy Poetry Gathering. 

Heckethorn says that although she hopes to make a career out of singing, she’d be content with having a different job, and singing and teaching lessons on the side, as long as music is still a part of her life. 

Just like the world-famous pop-singer Taylor Swift these two singers have something in common.  They both took leaps of faith. Swift dropped everything and moved with her family to pursue a career. For Heckethorn, she decided to pursue her passion, even though it doesn’t seem logical to others.

Her next performance will be on Dec. 6 with Opus Choir. This Christmas concert will be held at the Heritage Center Theatre.


Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photo by: Melanie Heckethorn