Emeri Farnam '19

  • Photo of Emeri FarnamMusic education major from Benton, Illinois

  • Speech team
  • Dean’s List
  • Band bass drum percussionist


Emeri Farnam '19 is ending her first year at McKendree in the spotlight, playing the title role of “Marilyn” in the McKendree Show Choir’s debut performance.

“We’ve worked so hard. If you see us, you will be able to see how hard we’ve worked. It’s going to be amazing and we are going to just blow people out of the water,” she predicted.

She explained how the new Show Choir compares to a more traditional concert choir. “It’s actually a lot different. It’s equally focused on singing and dancing. It’s a very big deal to do every bit of choreography the same as everyone on the team. There is lots of Broadway. It’s a mix of whatever our director feels is best for each song.” Musical selections range from Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” to “Ritzin’ Out,” a mix of “Puttin’ On the Ritz” and “Steppin’ Out With My Baby.”

Emeri has participated in musicals since the third grade but had no previous show choir experience when she arrived on campus last August. Being onstage has boosted her confidence.

“I love the way it makes me feel about myself,” she said. “Before I came to college I was a pretty unconfident person.” Show Choir Director Adam Pulver liked her voice so much, he cast her in the title role.

The group has bonded since its formation last fall. “It’s a team. We’re just a one big 43-person family. We didn’t know each other before. We had no prior experience together. We all have very different personalities. The commonalities of being in Show Choir together have helped us to grow and get along really well.”

Members have adopted a local fast food restaurant as their unofficial hangout. “The employees all know our names and half of them have tickets to our show,” Emeri said.

In addition to Show Choir, she competes in public speaking and interpretation for the university’s award-winning Speech Team. She also plays the bass drum in the Band and continues to improve on the snare drum, a passion she discovered three years ago.

Emeri paused to reflect on her freshman year. “It’s been kind of a wild ride. I’ve never been far away from my family ever, even though they only live an hour and a half away. The major I’m doing is something I never expected. Being here has given me such an opportunity I could never imagine having.”

Learn more about McKendree University and the Music Education program.