Erin Hogan has a voice that shatters limitations

As the sun sets, Erin Hogan’s day is far from over. At around 6 p.m she enters DePaul University’s Holtschneider Performance Center for yet another vocal rehearsal for one of her many upcoming performances.

“I fell in love with the faculty,” Hogan said on why she came to DePaul.

Hogan is a junior at the School of Music studying vocal performance with a specialization in opera. However, she also explored the variety of music styles that Chicago has to offer, including folk and jazz. Hogan is originally from Grafton, Wisconsin and even though moving to the windy city was an adjustment, she quickly found that Chicago is a thriving city for the music industry. From living here, Hogan has found herself connecting with different performance styles and music groups. 

However, Hogan isn’t just a student at DePaul’s School of Music. Through the multitude of opportunities DePaul has to offer, along with Chicago’s bustling culture, Hogan has been able to show different versions of herself to many types of audiences. But at different times of the day, you will see Hogan in different environments. She has jobs on and off campus which have allowed her to interact with multiple communities outside of the School of Music. 

“Erin learned very early on that practice was the only pathway to success in whatever she was doing,” said Mary Helen Hogan, the mother of the singer.

Hogan became passionate for the arts around three years old when she first started dancing. By second grade, she started singing at church and this passion developed further by when fifth grade came around. Hogan also played a variety of instruments including the trumpet, french horn, trombone, guitar and piano.

Hogan spends most of her day at the Holtschneider Performance Center, which is now where DePaul’s School of Music houses most of its classes and performances. The diversity of courses Hogan has been able to take at the music school has enabled her to shape her career goals. As she arrives early in the morning and leaves late at night, her day is always busy, but filled with surprises.

Holly Jenvey | The DePaulia
Erin Hogan.

“Every day is different so you have to be on your feet,” said Hogan.

On most Fridays, she arrives at the School of Music by 8 a.m to warm up. By 9:15, she is in coaching, where she tutors first and second year students in the mandatory Aural Training class. For many, the course can be difficult because it’s where they have to dictate intervals, rhythms and pitches in a form that may have not been taught to them before. She then has Roger Pines from the Lyric Opera help teach one of her classes, which is then followed by opera rehearsals. The most recent were for the DePaul Concert Choir on Feb. 29, a performance in the “Marriage of Figaro” downtown on Mar. 13 and 15 and a Vocal Jury on Mar.17 (the March events were cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak). These are  among the many commitments that have made her stay at the School of Music as late as 10 p.m.

The DePaul Concert Choir took place at the Mary Patricia Gannon Concert Hall on Feb. 29. Hogan sang with 36 other singers performing songs that revolved around Jesus Christ. Even though Hogan has appeared in a variety of performances, the way she prepares for them is essentially the same. She warms up with other performers and all grow excited for each show. 

“Erin’s enthusiasm makes her unique as a performer,” said Mark Hale.

Hale is a senior at DePaul’s School of Music studying classical trumpet performance and performance arts management. Hale has seen some of Hogan’s shows and worked with her as an orientation leader.

Hale, like many others, has seen Hogan in different settings besides performing. She has a variety of jobs at the school of music and elsewhere. Every Thursday, she works at the Box Office at the Holtschneider Performance Center, where she performs administrative tasks including data entry, conducts phone calls with potential audience members and more. She also handles auditions and peer mentors incoming students of the School of Music.

“I want to make an easier transition for my peers,” Hogan said.

Holly Jenvey | The DePaulia
Erin Hogan’s choir.

As she had a hard time adjusting to Chicago, finding a community was essential to Hogan. Since she is from a small town in Wisconsin, adjusting to the bustling culture of Chicago was intimidating for the opera singer. While she found solace in her teachers, she was troubled with the fact that one of her vocal instructors was always traveling, which made for a harder time to settle in. Yet, this changed when she applied to be an orientation leader the summer after her freshman year, as she got a more comprehensive overview of the DePaul community and met parents and students from all across campus.

All the work she has done on campus has opened her to a variety of opportunities in Chicago. She occasionally works at the Lyric Opera Chicago and has volunteered at the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago. 

Even though Hogan enjoys exploring new spots around Chicago, she appreciates places that remind her of home. Colectivo Coffee is a cafe Hogan went to frequently in Wisconsin and she was glad to find that there was one that was a 15-minute walk from the School of Music. When the weather is nice, she likes sitting outside and breathing in the fresh air. She’s especially content in seeing the dogs accompanying their owners to the cafe. Hogan considers it a refreshing and convenient break while from back-to-back rehearsals and classes at the School of Music.

On her walks through Lincoln park, Hogan sometimes sings folk and jazz songs on her walks while taking in the architecture of the homes. She also passes St. Clement Church, where she sometimes attends services. A few blocks away from the church is the Belmont Senior Living Facility. Hogan wants to perform a concert for the residents there one day because she believes they will enjoy the artistry.

“Being well rounded, flexible and open minded are some of the key tools DePaul [School of Music] has instilled in Erin. Erin is also so lucky to have caring and accomplished professors to guide her and mentor her along the way. As a parent that means the world,” Erin’s mother said.

While Hogan has taken on several performance and job opportunities, she’s still trying to see where she will end up in the future. Hogan has several aspirational goals which reach across a wide variety of careers in the music industry. She hopes to combine music and academia into her life where she can pursue many of her passions simultaneously.

“I love the many avenues that I am able to take in music, so it is hard to say exactly what I will end up doing. As long as I trust in my path and the universe along with putting forth my best effort and attitude, I know I will end up exactly where I am supposed to be,” Hogan said.