BY KATHLEEN STUBBS
Nicholas Will seeks to teach sacred music students all they need to know about leading music, including the non-musical skills they will need in their careers.
As a professor, Will conducts Franciscan University of Steubenville’s two choirs, the Schola Cantorum Franciscana and the Franciscan University Chorale, and teaches various courses in the sacred music program. Will also serves as the director of music at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Carnegie, Penn.
A graduate of Duquesne University and the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Will recently became a full-time teacher at Franciscan. However, he has been involved with Franciscan’s sacred music program for a few years.
Will has worked with Franciscan’s two choirs as an accompanist and presented a guest lecture this past spring in a conducting class, speaking about life as a parish musician and aspects of leading music at a parish. Through his interaction with the University, Will became familiar with the high quality of Franciscan’s sacred music program and was impressed with the achievements of both choirs and the alumni of the program.
“When the position came open, I naturally wanted to become a professor in the sacred music program (of Franciscan University),” said Will.
Will believes he is extremely fortunate to be able to teach music students at Franciscan. Recently he sought the opportunity to more deeply explore the teaching aspect of music, he said. This desire has been fulfilled in his current position as a professor at Franciscan.
Many people in his field would like to teach sacred music, said Will. He said Franciscan is quite unique: Even though there are schools with faithfulness to the Magisterium, most do not have a program in sacred music.
He compared serving as a professor to working as a director of music. He enjoys working in a parish, where there is new music sung each week, but also takes pleasure in teaching sacred music classes where the students spend one semester preparing pieces of music to be performed.
Leading a congregation as a director of music is Will’s area of expertise, so he shares his knowledge of that with his students in order to prepare them for their future careers. One of his goals is to equip students with all the tools they need to be confident in their positions after their time at Franciscan, such as an awareness of how to be an effective leader.
Will has directed a variety of choirs, including one at his current parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Regarding some of the community choirs he has directed, Will said it is gratifying to work with non-musicians and to help them appreciate the Church’s music.
Will has also performed solo organ recitals in many churches in the eastern United States, including the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.