Combining music & science - MSU crop and soil sciences student Rachel Drobnak plays the carillon in MSU Beaumont Tower

December 7, 2021

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Crop and soil sciences student Rachel Drobnak is one of the people entrusted with a prestigious job - she plays the carillon at Beaumont Tower on the campus of Michigan State University.

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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Rachel Drobnak. I'm a crop and soil sciences major, and I play the bells at Beaumont Tower. In agriculture, I really love studying plants, I love to know how plants grow and how they function by also really like working with people. And so agriculture is something I'm really interested in, because I get to study how to make food more sustainable for people, and how to bridge social gaps between consumers and producers and I really like that.

And then music wise I've played piano since about seventh grade back home and I just did it for fun, and then coming to college I kind of lost that. So through a friend I found the Tower, and I was able to take lessons.

The instrument itself is similar to an organ, so it's a fun challenge for me, both learning to use my feet and my hands but also to play in a really public instrument and really public space. It just works a different part of my brain, it's really important I've learned to have a diverse range of like classes and things that I'm learning, because when I'm just doing like STEM all day. Kind of makes me really tired. So, having another venue for like using my brain is really helpful, mentally, but also just for fun.

MSU Shadows is the song that I'm most loved to play but also the song I was scared to play because everybody knows it. And when I play it it's beautiful, but if you make one mistake everybody will hear, and so it takes a lot of courage and effort to just focus and like get it right. But it's so beautiful, and the bells make it sound just amazing.

The fight song is really fun. It's fast, and I don't play as much with my feet I play with my hands so then I can play the notes a lot faster. I made a lot of connections through the Tower and yeah it really does connect me to the school. I'm also from out of state so I have no connection to Michigan, so this is something that really ties me to my school and makes me feel like I kind of belong here.

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