As a freshman, Meredith Eib was interested in working with a voice teacher so she auditioned at the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. Encouraged by the school’s faculty, she decided to become a musical theater major, but she was torn. She felt a deep calling to music and an equally deep calling to serve others.
Despite a demanding academic schedule, Eib made time to participate in nearly every service activity possible, from entertaining the elderly to visiting the physically and mentally disabled to serving as a cantor at Mass. But she still felt a disconnect between her passion for music and her commitment to service.
Until, with the support of the music school faculty, Eib, now a senior, created a new minor that combines music with a mission of service. The minor, Music as a Form of Education and Service, comprises courses in music education, general education, theology, and psychology with the goal of using music to teach, heal, and connect with others.
“One of my biggest struggles was dealing with the separation of Meredith the music major and Meredith who volunteers with Campus Ministry,” said Eib, who performed in shows throughout high school. “It took me a while to realize that I could bring them together. Catholic helped me do that.”
From the time she was 13, Eib understood the power music has to heal and bring joy -- a discovery that came about as a result of her grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. Eib, who lived close to her grandmother, was determined to find a way to make a connection despite her grandmother’s failing mind and memory.
She quickly discovered that her grandmother, a former pianist, would light up whenever Eib visited her to sing and play the piano. Long after she forgot Eib’s name, she would still smile, make eye contact, and seem to mentally connect with her granddaughter through music.
In the future, Eib hopes to continue performing and one day pursue a graduate degree that would allow her to take her love of music and service deeper. But for now, she’s content with pursuing the dream that her grandmother placed in her heart: making the world a happier place through music.