As a little girl, Kristina Knutson loved to sing. She still does. A 2012 graduate of Centralia College and current senior at Pacific Lutheran University, Kristina is pursuing a degree in K-12 general music education with a concentration in secondary choral music. She wants to share her passion for choral music with middle and high school students.
Nurtured by a family that valued music and encouraged her talent, Kristina shares, “My love for music stems from my parents.” With a background in music education and a passion for music, Kristina’s mom made music a priority. “She carried that love into our family.” At a very young age, Kristina’s parents signed her up for music lessons. She started piano in third grade and singing even before that. She joined the Lewis County Singers when she was only four years old and continued through high school.
Throughout the years, Kristina has performed at the Southwest Washington Fair and has also been highly involved with the Centralia High School Choir. “I’ve always been involved in music,” Kristina says. She was selected for the Washington All State Choir three years in a row and also competed at the State Solo and Ensemble Contest her senior year.
A natural leader, Kristina’s public speaking skills, organization, and confidence are the result of years of training. In addition to music lessons, her parents encouraged her to join the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, a leadership and community service youth organization for girls ages 11-20. She joined when she was 11. Motivated and dedicated, Kristina gained valuable skills in public speaking, planning events, properly presiding over meetings, and leadership. Soon she was asked to serve as the Worthy Advisor (club president) for the Centralia assembly. Eventually she was elected to the position of Grand Worthy Advisor (regional president) for the entire Washington-Idaho region.
Kristina counts her time in the organization as instrumental in shaping who she is today. “Rainbow helped shape every aspect of my being, and showed me how much I enjoy helping others.” Giving back to the program that invested in her, today Kristina serves as an adult advisor for an assembly near PLU. In her mentor role, she plans and chaperones events and provides leadership training for the next generation of girls, something she plans to continue doing after graduation.
Growing up with excellent music and leadership training, Kristina entered college well-equipped to pursue her interest in music education. Her three years at Centralia College provided even more valuable opportunities for her to grow. She was very involved in the Centralia College Choir for three years, serving as president for two.
“I really enjoyed my time at CC. It was a good next step after high school and before university.” One of the music faculty made a lasting impression. “Dr. Donna Huffman was such an inspiration and huge influence on me during my time there. She really encouraged me to keep working hard and still supports me today.” Huffman came to Kristina’s senior recital at PLU, cheering on her former student.
Kristina currently serves as the Music Education Club president at PLU. After graduation, she hopes to get a job as a middle school or high school choir director where she can develop a challenging and inspirational music program available to all students. Continuing her personal love for singing, Kristina plans to participate in community singing organizations and also hopes to be an advocate for music education in her community and state. Lastly, Kristina looks forward to another new chapter in her life with her soon-to-be husband in the summer of 2016.
With her love of music, gift of leadership, and willingness to serve others, there is no doubt that Centralia College alumna Kristina Knutson will make a positive impact wherever she goes.