A sendoff for Dr. Sieck

For 14 years, Associate Professor and Co-director of Choral Studies Stephen Sieck, known by many as “Dr. Sieck,” has been leading Lawrentians in creating music for all of campus to enjoy.  

Sieck first heard about Lawrence by pure coincidence; he was in England for a music conference when Associate Professor of Music Julie McQuinn mentioned the university was looking for a new choir director. Sieck was instantly excited to hear about the opportunity, given his background in both liberal arts and conservatory training.  After claiming in an anecdote that he worked on the application “all summer,” Sieck finally began his time at Lawrence in 2010.  

In his time at Lawrence, Sieck’s proudest moments have all centered around being a part of bigger things, be it supporting Cantala at national conferences, working with Concert Choir at regional events, conducting concerts — he mentioned his Adolphus Hailstork and Brahms concerts especially — or spending time with the choirs at Björklunden.  

Sieck said his main goals at Lawrence have been to support students on whatever path they choose to take and to share the beauty of ensemble singing. And, according to many Lawrentians, this is exactly what Sieck accomplished; when asked about memories he had with Sieck, junior Jacob Hanekamp mused on the welcoming environment that Sieck created when he first joined Viking Chorale, as well as when Sieck answered all his questions about life at Lawrence.   

“He made my transition to a foreign world less scary, and I will forever appreciate that,” said Hanekamp. 

Likewise, junior Anna Dlugi remembered feeling greatly supported by Sieck her first year when they talked about major options.  

Sophomore Rachel Hannel Leech remembered what a joy it was to get to know Sieck and work with him as head of attendance for Viking Chorale. She remembered fondly how it felt like “no time had passed” when he returned from sabbatical last academic year.  

“Dr. Sieck has been one of the best choral directors I’ve ever had,” declared Hannel Leech. “And he’s also [originally] from St. Louis — same as me — so that’s good stuff!”  

Sophomore Ava Zappaterrini commented on Sieck’s great compassion towards the people around him, sharing how he always understands when students need to take a rehearsal easy. 

Senior Peter Findell admired the commitment that Sieck has both to the music he makes and those he directs, especially in the way he makes each person feel like they are an integral part of the choir, as well as being able to have fun while doing it.  

“He’s very serious, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously,” Findell summarized.  

Currently, Sieck is in his second year out of three in seminary to become a Unitarian Universalist minister. He has been interning at the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, which he will continue to do for one more year until he is cleared to search for a ministry position.  

When asked if he had any final thoughts he wanted to share with Lawrence, he simply replied “gratitude.”  

“I hope that performance majors felt like they received good pre-professional ensemble singing training,” Sieck began. “I hope education majors can steal one or two tricks that worked in rehearsal. And mostly, I hope that students who didn’t think of themselves as singers found a home where they could sing, have fun and make music with everyone else.”