Student Spotlight: John Litwiller III

Student Spotlight: John Litwiller III

John Litwiller, a sophomore in NSU’s School of Fine Arts, is pursuing a B.A. of arts in vocal performance.

Originally from Huron, S.D., Litwiller came to NSU for its small campus size, close proximity to his home, and its “stellar faculty of the fine arts program.”

“NSU has prepared me thus far for my future through teaching me to find how I learn best,” said Litwiller. “I am given plenty of performance opportunities, and I can really excel in my technical development.”

Litwiller has found that Northern has very much changed him as a person, allowing him to become more independent and helping him grow as he responded to situations, as well as helping him to develop his personal skills.

“Vocal performance was always my first choice of degree,” said Litwiller. “I could never imagine myself doing anything else, anywhere else.”

Musical Studies and Hobbies

Between classes, you can find Litwiller participating in multiple on-campus activities having to do with fine arts, as he is involved in several different musical groups.

“I am a part of quite a few ensembles, among those being jazz band, jazz combo, chamber singers, symphonic band, marching band, our theater department, and the Trio SSS program,” said Litwiller. “I have also gone on tours with the Colts, a drum and bugle corps from Dubuque, Iowa.”

Litwiller also enjoys writing music, playing Frisbee with his “Sinfonian brothers,” playing video games, and his favorite, playing trumpet and singing.

Despite his success in the fine arts field, Litwiller has had his own battles and obstacles to overcome.

“My biggest obstacle has definitely been a battle with depression and subsequently, self-confidence,” said Litwiller. “As a performer, confidence is key in everything you do, and if you don’t have it everyone will know. Your performance will suffer, and it’s hard to make it off the ground.”

Litwiller has overcome and mastered his depression through therapy, medication, drum corps, and the will to never give up on himself.

Plans for the Future

Although Litwiller has many plans for the future, he ultimately hopes to become a resident operatic tenor within an opera company in a big city like Chicago or New York.

Along the way, Litwiller hopes to march for drum corps at least one more summer before he turns 22, and to compete in the Metropolitan Opera auditions while he is in his undergraduate years.

As for his continuing education, Litwiller wants to earn a doctorate in his degree and one day portray the role of “Manrico” in the opera “II Trovatore.”

“In the end, I want to show people that we are much more similar than everyone would have us believe today,” said Litwiller. “People try and focus on what makes us different, but really we’re all just people. We’re all living the human condition, and there’s no sense in driving each other apart over petty issues like money, race, sexual orientation and religion.”

Learn more about NSU's School of Fine Arts programs here.