Janeanne Rockwell-Kincanon, public services librarian at Western Oregon University, has been a singer all her life, but she purposefully chose not to make music her career. Singing with the Willamette Master Chorus when her day at the library is finished allows her to pursue her hobby seriously, but not so seriously that it destroys her love for singing.
The Willamette Master Chorus is an auditioned choir that offers community members like Rockwell-Kincanon an opportunity to develop their musical talents. The choir, which is directed by Dr. Paul Klemme and rehearses at Willamette University in Salem, performs four times each year between September and May. According to Rockwell-Kincanon, they sing primarily classical masterworks. Each year they give a Christmas concert, two others whose themes vary, and a special one in November for veterans. “It’s a concert to thank veterans and their families and active service people – part reflection on past wars, part patriotic concert,” Rockwell-Kincanon said. The veterans’ concert is a gracious gesture to the community, as are the chorus’s invitations for local school choirs to perform with them.
When asked if she had any good stories about her years with the Willamette Master Chorus, Rockwell-Kincanon thought for a while, smiled, and decided that she simply loves it as a whole. “It’s a really important aspect of my life…when I’ve taken time off, it’s been lacking for me,” she said. She has sung with the chorus for 16 years. Her volunteer work is organizing the concert programs, a job which relates to her work at WOU since she is, in her own words, “an organizational person as a librarian.”
Rockwell-Kincanon’s career and her musical activities do not often intersect, but working at WOU has introduced her to Dr. Kevin Helppie’s opera workshops in which she has occasionally participated. Practicing and performing alongside students has been a change from working at the library. “I’ve been able to know the students in a little different way than I typically do as a librarian, which is a lot of fun,” she said.
Rockwell-Kincanon also enjoys working with students in her usual capacity as a librarian, and her “favorite thing in the world is to help with research questions.” She directs the services that library patrons use daily, such as checkout, circulation, research, and information services. She enjoys her job, but her suggestion to students as they choose their majors and career paths is to let the things they love remain their hobbies. “It’s not necessary if you enjoy something like that to pursue it as a career,” she advised. By working as a librarian and singing purely for the joy of it, she is able to pursue a meaningful career and a meaningful hobby.