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In Tune with the Students

Saint Ben's encourages every member of our community to step outside of her comfort zone, try new things and find her voice. As it turns out, that message resonates beyond our student body.

This spirit can be seen in full force during Women's Choir practices, where President Mary Dana Hinton can sometimes be found cautiously lending her voice to the choir's freestyle vocal exercises. She doesn't consider herself to be a singer or performer, but rather a "lover of all types of music." And yet there she is, pushing out of her comfort zone.

President Hinton became a fan of the Saint Ben's Women's Choir when she heard them perform the night before her inauguration. She attended every concert she could over the next year, and over the summer she half-jokingly suggested to Women's Choir Director Susan Cogdill that they should "do something together." And they did. She began serving as a mentor to the choir, sharing her research and knowledge about spirituals and the historic black church, the cultural symbolism and significance that spirituals have played historically and the role that spirituals can play in the lives of the CSB/SJU community. Her mentorship has enriched the experience of the entire choir, but the inspiration is mutual. Because, of course, what is participation in choir without singing? So she sings.