Clare Conrad only became the person and performer she is today by taking risks.
Specifically, odds on itself.
The St. Edmond High School senior, however, believes her important life lesson is one that can help those who follow her.
“I hope future St. Edmond performers, remembering me, will remember that it’s okay to be yourself, to take a chance and put yourself out there,” Konrad said. “This year, I took a lot of risks. Yes, it was very hard, but I learned from all my mistakes and I’m now a better person and a better performer because of them.
“I’ve always been afraid to perform solo in front of people, but when my band manager, Ryan Swedean, asked me if I wanted to do a song, without hesitation I said ‘Yes.’ was the same for trying out a solo in a chamber choir and auditioning for an all-state choir.
“I knew I was going to struggle, but I learned so much along the way.”
During her career as a Gael, Conrad has been involved in the musical, fine arts showcase, concert band, jazz band, show band, concert choir, chamber choir, solo/small ensemble, speech, student council, in addition to being selected to the honor society and choir of all states. She also played volleyball for St. Edmond.
“I’ve met so many great people that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been involved in so many things,” Konrad said. “I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.”
The jazz band, however, provided Conrad with a special memory.
“We are a small group, but we defied the odds” she says. “Just knowing that hard work pays off is amazing. I’ve seen my peers work so hard for everything we’ve achieved this year and I’m so proud of them.
“They made my senior year at St. Edmond something I will cherish forever.”
Conrad earned two Division I rankings at the IHSMA Solo and Small Ensemble festival earlier this spring. She was also named Outstanding Soloist at the NCIVA District Meet when the jazz band went statewide.
“Music is my passion,” Konrad said. “I grew up with music in my life. My family is a very musical family and my love for music stems from that. Throughout my life, my father introduced me to many different types of music that no one my age would probably never listen. It opened my eyes to all the endless possibilities that music can offer. It’s not necessarily about playing, but about being able to express myself through music. I feel like I can be myself whenever I’m surrounded by music.
“I really look up to Ryan Swedean, Ben Wegner and Dan Cassady. All three have helped me tremendously over the years and I owe them everything.
In the fall, Conrad plans to attend Iowa Central Community College where she will major in music education.
Holiday destination: Santorini, Greece.
People I’d like to have dinner with: Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Jason Mraz.
It would surprise people like me to consider joining the 34th Army Band..
Performer who inspires me: Louis Armstrong. My daily role model: Ryan Swedean.
I can’t go a day without: music.
Where I see myself in 10 years:
Dream piece to perform: “Fix you” by Coldplay.
A show you binge watch: Friends.
Musical/Game: Mamma Mia!
Performing arts: Jazz orchestra.
Musical genre: Pop and jazz.
Movie: You have mail.
Book: Out of My Mind
by Sharon M. Draper.
Phone app: Snapchat.