A week before he was scheduled to sing in a choral concert, Silver Lake College junior Jeffrey Erdman of Manitowoc lost his voice and was relying on orange juice, water and vitamin C to help him recover it in time. He did.
Jeffrey is one of those motivated students who can juggle 18 credits, sing with the Silver Lake Chorale, and play with the SLC Wind Ensemble and Manitowoc Symphony Orchestra. This is while holding down two jobs, putting in work-study hours and leading the Life Teen Band at St. Francis of Assisi Parish.
“In order to reach your goal, you have to realize it’s not always going to be easy. When I get stressed out, I remind myself that I am doing what it takes to get where I want to be,” said Jeffery in a whispered voice. He is majoring in choral, general and instrumental music education and plans to become a music teacher.
The 2013 Lincoln High School graduate was first introduced to Silver Lake College when his mother brought him to a “Music for Tots” class when he was a few months old.
He came from a musical family; his mother played piano when she was growing up and his dad played guitar when he was young. Jeffrey now plays violin, euphonium and piano, among other instruments.
A number of his elementary school music teachers attended SLC to become Kodaly instructors and told him that the College has everything they ever needed to become the teachers they were, he said.
It was in his junior year of high school that Jeffrey decided what he wanted to do. Silver Lake College was a natural choice.
“I really like the community, the different music backgrounds of the other students and the fact that geographically, they come from a lot of different areas,” he said.
He is recipient of a Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Grant and a Gala Award.
Outside of school, Jeffrey works about 30 hours a week as manager of a local restaurant and stocker at a home-improvement retailer.
“I’m able to manage such a busy schedule thanks to the flexibility of my bosses at both jobs,” Jeffrey said. “They understand that I have no desire to be at either place for the rest of my life. They admire that I’m going to school for something that’s going to make me happy for the rest of my life. They actually encourage me and tell me that school comes first, always.”
He is a work-study student in the music department, where he often can be found setting up the practice room and organizing the sheet music.
“The music building is like my home,” Jeffrey said fondly.
“I take each day as it comes. I try to work ahead in a lot of my classes. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my slowest days of classes and I try to get as much done as possible," he said.
“On Fridays, after I’ve had a long day of classes I have off from work. That’s my night to get my homework done for the whole weekend and sleep a little bit. Friday's the day I try to do something with my family, whether they come to see one of my concerts or I go out to dinner with them.”