Senior singing sensation

Senior Cari Exarhos prepares for her final Hamline recital.

Adam Whitt, Reporter

Overcoming obstacles, newfound opportunities and a positive outlook to the future all come to mind as Cari Exarhos prepares for the culmination of her Hamline musical career, her senior recital.

Exarhos has always been a singer at heart. She started singing in youth choirs during elementary and middle school. At just nine years old, Exarhos began singing solos in church. Her mother, a pianist for the church, encouraged her to continue singing and learning through private voice lessons.

During her time at Hamline, Exarhos has been a part of the A Capella choir.

“That choir has really become my family,” she said. “It’s full of amazing students who share my passion for music.”

In her first year, she had the opportunity to tour with the choir to England and Wales. Exarhos has continued to grow in her talents through voice lessons with Deb Carbaugh and this year Exarhos is excited to help conduct a piece for Kathy Thomsen’s Women’s Chorale during their Christmas concert.

While Exarhos has always had a passion for singing, her journey hasn’t always been easy. Exarhos has been involved in many organizations and activities throughout her time at Hamline including the HU Baking Association, Student Alumni Board, Omicron Delta Kappa honor society, HU Radio and the Hamline Outdoor Recreation Club. She also spent two years on the Hamline Women’s Soccer Team. It was during this time that Exarhos’s life was changed. She sustained an injury, which required her to have two surgeries on her knee in a six-month period.

“That was definitely challenging to overcome. It was a hard decision to give up soccer after that, but music has been able to fill the void that soccer left,” she said. “If I hadn’t quit soccer, I don’t know if I’d be where I am today, about to give a voice recital and leave for a study abroad program in music.”

Exarhos’s most memorable experience includes the first time she was able to perform in the music departmental recital during her sophomore year. She fondly remembers the performance as “the first time [she] really felt good about [her] abilities as a musician” and the positive reaction she received from the audience.

“I think after that performance, people knew that I wanted to take music more seriously,” she said. “It was kind of the jumping off point for my college singing career.”

As Exarhos reflects on her musical career at Hamline, she is grateful for all her opportunities to work with her voice teacher and her professors in Hamline’s Music Department. She noted the biggest challenge of performing is self doubt, saying that “no amount of practicing will ever completely suppress feelings of self doubt.” Though doubt is a daily struggle, through her mentors and professors, Dr. George Chu, Deb Carbaugh and Kathy Thomsen, Exarhos has been able to build that confidence as a performer.

“I am so thankful for all they have done for me, she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to take music classes that have pushed me to learn and challenged me to think about music differently.”

This coming spring, Exarhos will be studying abroad as part of a music program in Milan, Italy. She is hoping to be attending graduate school in the fall with the intent of getting a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance, and then enroll in a Doctorate program for choral conducting.

Exarhos’s Senior Recital is a free event. The Hamline community and public are strongly encouraged to attend. It will be held in Sundin Music Hall on Friday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. Exarhos’s performance will include pieces by Mozart, Handel, Ravel and other composers.

“I’m nervous! But also very excited,” said Exarhos. “I feel as though I’ve done the preparation, and I’m ready to stand on the stage and have fun.”