May 072010
Authors: College Avenue staff writer Elizabeth Cornish

Graduation is a frightening time for many seniors about to enter the world after years of being looked after and guided by their elders.

It is especially nerve-wracking for music majors who face an industry with little job security. But 22-year-old senior vocal performance major Cody Laun has little to worry about and is more than ready to explore the unknown.

“I’m one of the least nervous people,” Laun said. “… Maybe it’s because I’m optimistic to a fault, but there’s ways to make it.”

Laun’s sense of security may spurn from his intended career path as a teacher at the collegiate level. Instead of taking the performance route, he wants to make money and have a certain level of security, supplementing this by performing on the side, he said.

Laun has a particularly good chance at securing a job as a college professor due to his strength as a singer and musician, said James Kim, director of Choral Activities at CSU.

“He has a very unique timbre and range in his voice, which makes him very competitive in the job market,” Kim said. “He is also a very fine musician who uses his brain as much as his voice, if not more.”

Rightfully, Laun has no reason to be nervous, as he has been accepted to a masters program in vocal performance and pedagogy at the University of Florida. He said it was pure luck that has created his future path.

“They were doing an opera and didn’t have a tenor for the role so my friend said, ‘call Cody.’ I sent them a tape and they liked it,” Laun said.
Despite his modesty, Laun has worked hard to get to the position he is in.

From an early age, he has been involved in music in a variety of forms including the school band, church choir, swing bands and Jazz bands. He has played the trumpet for nine years and is proficient on guitar and piano.

But it is his singing that has taken him the furthest.

Laun was accepted at CSU on a prestigious scholarship and was immediately involved in the chamber choir who were invited to perform at the National Collegiate Choral Association conference in San Antonio, Texas in 2006, his freshman year.

Laun notes this performance as his most rewarding experience while at CSU.

“We sang one of the hardest pieces to sing, and after we sang it, there was silence for 10 seconds, and then there was uproarious applause,” he said. “To know that, as a freshman, I got to make that calibre of music was incredible.”

Although Laun is excited to leave CSU to start building his career he recognizes the significant impact his time at CSU has had on his life.

He first enrolled as a music education major believing he wanted to be a high school conductor. This was before finding his true passion in music performance after being involved in some of the 25-plus productions, which have helped him evolve not only as a musician but as a person.

“Four years here seems really short –– I’ve done more than I could possibly have imagined,” Laun said. “CSU has been one of the most nurturing and warm places; it has created a wonderful family for me with the chamber choir and my opera colleagues.”

While CSU has nurtured Laun from the egotistical freshman he described himself as, it is clear that he has a long way to go to be the musician he wants to be.

To become an excellent singer, Kim said it’s vital for Laun to engage himself in reading books about music and philosophy as well to gain experience in Europe to learn different languages and styles.

After four years at CSU, Laun is under no illusion of how much there is left for him to learn.

“Now I know exactly where I am and how much further I have to go,” Laun said.

“I want to learn to be a better learner –– learn how to assimilate wisdom –– how to apply things and be effective with that knowledge I’ve gained.”

_College Avenue staff writer Elizabeth Cornish can be reached at

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