MANITOWOC — Katherine Sohn doesn’t have to worry about what to do in her free time.
That’s because the Silver Lake College sophomore rarely has any of it.
Sohn juggles 13 classes, three jobs and various roles at her church this semester, all while pursuing a triple major — Music Education with an Emphasis in Choral, Music Education with an Emphasis in General, and Music Education with an Emphasis in Instrumental
“For me, sitting back and relaxing just isn’t something I do,” said Sohn, who makes a one-hour roundtrip commute to campus from her family’s home in Howards Grove.
“I’m going, going, going all the time. So, to take only 15 or 16 credits and less classes, I just feel like if I can get done earlier, especially with a triple major, I’d rather take more classes now and stay busier and stay on top of things. I'm usually pretty busy, I know I can handle it.”
Sohn will be performing at the sold-out Christmas at Silver Lake concert on Dec. 6 with the campus’ Chorale (as an alto singer), Wind Ensemble (playing oboe), Jazz Ensemble (playing clarinet) and Handbell Ensemble.
Sohn also played bassoon for a while in high school, and started piano lessons with faculty member Dr. Diana Shapiro last year. “I love playing piano, absolutely love it,” Sohn said. “Music is just something I’ve always liked.”
Outside of school, Sohn works as an assistant manager at Brookdale Kennels in Howards Grove; as a custodian at her church, St. James UCC in Spring Valley; and as a helper on her boyfriend’s family farm.
“I think you get used to having a lot of things to do,” she said. “I’ve actually cut back on some of the things I was doing last year because the classes are more intense this year.
“It’s very time consuming to take all those classes and work. Staying very, very organized and setting aside time to do everything is important. The great thing is, my bosses are completely OK with me bringing in homework since I’m sitting waiting for people to come in and I have time. I’m blessed to have that. At other times, it’s just knowing that I have to get things done and can’t procrastinate. I’ve always been crazy organized like that.”
Sohn intends to teach elementary music after graduation, which is scheduled for 2018. Ideally, she’d like to remain in Howards Grove, but she’d be OK with teaching anywhere in the Manitowoc or Sheboygan areas, as well.
That’s because Sohn wants to remain close to her family. Her father, Randall, teaches in Cleveland, and her mother, Cynthia, teaches in Reedsville. Both are Silver Lake College graduates (she also has two aunts, Sue Toepel and Tanya Wasmer, who are SLC alumnae).
“Because of my family’s ties to Silver Lake, I never questioned going anywhere else to college,” Sohn said. “This has always been the place I wanted to go.”
Randall has played saxophone, clarinet, piano and organ over the years, and Cynthia has played saxophone and piano.
Randall also played in a polka band, as did Cynthia’s father.
That explains why, when Sohn was asked how much she likes Christmas music, she replied, “I like it, but not as much as I love polka.”
“I grew up with polka music,” she said with a smile, noting that “Beer Barrel Polka” is high on her list of favorites. “I remember going with my parents and their friends to do polka things. When I was little, my dad and I would dance to polka music everywhere we went. That’s like a staple in my family. Not many places play polka music anymore other than weddings. It would be nice if more people played it.”
Sohn and her family also are active in their church, St. John’s UCC in Spring Valley. Sohn sings in the choir, while her father serves as an organist and her mother is the choir director. The family also organizes the floral decorations.
“I like always having something to do, whether it's at school or work or my church, because it keeps me busy,” she said.