Senior Meditations
by Katie Hakenewerth ('03)

Dear folkhead alumni,

Welcome me to your ranks! I am now officially an alumna of Notre Dame and the Folk Choir, and as such, this is the last newsletter I get to make. So I used my power to get the privilege of writing the senior meditation, even though there are plenty of other seniors who have stories as fascinating as mine.

It's hard to believe that four years have already passed since I first came to Notre Dame. I was all alone, far FAR away from my home in North Carolina, and I was overwhelmed by the newness of everything. Fortunately for me, one of the first things I did was to audition for Folk Choir. I was nervous because I knew how many other people were trying out at the same time, but Folk Choir was one of the only things that I knew I just had to be a part of while I was at Notre Dame.

Keeping this in mind, I braved the lion in his den (or Steve in his office, which is nearly as scary when you don't know him) and met the Cookie for the first time. He made me sing scales and "Amazing Grace," accompanied by him on the guitar. I was awed by the piles of books and music stretching from floor to ceiling of that tiny office in the basement of Badin. Ten nerve-wracking minutes later, I went on my merry way -- and fortunately for me, Steve accepted me into the choir.

Four years later, I can't remember my time under the dome without thinking of the Folk Choir; my whole life at Notre Dame was wrapped up in it. It started influencing me from my first day on campus — along with three other intrepid freshmen: Tim, Emmeline and Mary Beth. We were the only ones on time for choir practice that first night (but we learned quickly). I don't know what I would have done without my friends every Tuesday and Thursday night. I know I never ate with company as good as we had at Folk Choir dinners on those nights. I'm sure I will miss the Sunday brunches and add-and-pass. I will miss the loft, even at its fullest. And I will miss every person I have ever known in choir, every life-changing moment and even the more normal ones. Being in Folk Choir shaped me as few things have ever done in my life -- I would not be who I am today without all of you. I wouldn't be putting together this newsletter for the third (and last) time. I wouldn't be marrying the love of my life next year were it not for Ireland Tour when we first started to fall in love.

So — thank you. Thank you to all of the people who I have known and loved in choir for these four years, and to Steve especially for putting up with me as webmaster for over a year. We had a lot to juggle, but we certainly have come far with the website and this newsletter. And now, I hang up my cap and transfer all my webby power to the new webmaster, Paul VanLeeuwen. He'll be with us for a long time, and I can sit back and look forward to reading these newsletters as an alumni rather than going through the craziness of actually putting them together. As an alum, I can crash folk choir events like the National NPM conference this summer (we had so much fun!) and you can be sure that I'll be back in just two years for that silver anniversary.

Love, your ex-webmistress,

Katie Hakenewerth