Life is a balancing act

Robert Hite

Wichita State vocalist Jessie Wells spends her days doing more than just singing.

“I joined choir in the eighth grade because a friend was in it,” she said. “I started enjoying my time with singing and doing solos. I was shockingly decent at it.”

Wells, a junior, realized she could pursue opera as a vocal performance major. Practicing makes up most of her day, but before that it’s a mandatory breakfast because she has diabetes.

“I can’t just run to class without eating breakfast,” Wells said.

Sometimes she is late to class.

“I’m sure my professors hate me,” she said.

After morning classes, she spends an hour practicing in a practice room followed by choir practice and a private vocal lesson on some days. She sings alto, which is a low voice for women.

Wells said she likes the other singers in the choir.

“We all pretty much know each other,” she said. “We get pretty silly.”

Before she started studying opera, she liked musical theatre, but does not participate in it anymore.

Opera requires patience.

“With opera, you can’t do much with it until you get older,” she said.

She also has a job working at Pet Smart.

“It’s great fun, except I want to adopt every pet,” she said.

Wells said she has an 11-year-old cocker spaniel and an 8-month-old kitten.

“He’s a grumpy old man,” she said. “He was a rescue cat. I love animals.”

With all that she describes her life as “fairly boring” even though she is taking general education classes and learning about living in unexpected ways.

She said Michael J. Hanawalt, assistant professor and director of choral activities, told the choir a story about giraffes because they cannot dance, which he ended with a metaphor.

“Anybody can dance, you just have to find your own song,” Wells said.