Claire Dettloff on Performing, Homework, Everything in Between

Story by Katie Sergent, photos courtesy of Alanna Sparks

For every student, there’s an attempt to balance homework, classes and a social life.

But if you’re junior Claire Dettloff, a Central Michigan University honors student, try balancing being a double-major in musical theater and journalism with a PR concentration plus being an actress, singer and PR coordinator.

“I’m just a music theater major,”Dettloff said. “I’m involved in University Theater kind of by default. I’ve worked on a few shows and on the crew. It would take too long to list them all, but I’ve done a lot of shows.”

Dettloff has been a cast member in many University Theatre productions over the past year, in productions such as “Shrek: The Musical,” “The Other Project” and many more.

Dettloff, left, performing in CMU’s 2018 production of Shrek: The Musical.

In addition to being an actress, Dettloff has played piano for dance shows, was in the “pit” for the Marvelous Wonderettes and was in a production called “Project 586” last spring.

“It’s difficult because my focus and my time is split between two programs,” Dettloff said. “I take a lot of skills classes and have to do work outside of class. And there are some days where I just want to be a PR person, I just want to be in all these clubs and do all this stuff.”

Dettloff currently serves as an editor for the Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity, gives campus tours as a Campus Ambassador and sings soprano for the a cappella group On The Rox.

Dettloff, center, performing with On The Rox.

Although she took a year off from On The Rox, Dettloff rejoined the group this year. A cappella is a different kind of music that wasn’t normally included in Dettloff’s day-to-day class schedule.

“I sing in the choir here on campus; it’s [a cappella] a fun, different kind of outlet and it’s really great training for my ear as well,” Dettloff said. “It just makes me a better musician because when you’re singing a cappella, you have to be really conscious about your pitch centers and making sure that you’re in the key, that you’re not modulating up or down and that you’re listening to everyone around you to make sure your part isn’t too loud or too soft.”

If that wasn’t already a lot of activities, Dettloff is currently working on writing her own musical for her honor’s capstone project to be presented next year.

“I love to write; I call myself a writer,” Dettloff said. “I write poetry in my free time and short stories, songs and stuff. I thought writing a musical would be the perfect way to culminate everything I’ve learned here over the last three years.”

Although Dettloff piles so much into her already busy schedule, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: self-improvement.

“Everything that I do, I see purpose behind it,” Dettloff said. “I try to prioritize and make sure that I’m involved in things that will make me better.

Being a part of projects and organizations that change other’s perspectives and help Dettloff hone her skills only encourages her love for what she does, and makes balancing everything worth it.