Featured Drone: Berenika Schmitz '04
When I first entered The Signet Society I immediately gravitated to the Steinway, sat down and started to play. It was early before lunch and not many people were there yet, but I could still sense the atmosphere. The people past and present, creating something memorable and lasting, were washing over me through the sounds of the piano. The initiation ceremony of the Signet was the most exotic and special highlight of my undergraduate career. I have no words to describe the pride that I took in becoming a member.
As a musician member of The Signet, I felt it was my obligation to add musical programs to all of the teas I hosted, the most memorable being the Opera tea, and the Latin American tea where my fellow members would join me in music making. I did not fully grasp the magnitude of my musical contributions however, until I was honored as The Musician at the Annual Dinner. I felt the true force of The Signet in my musical life. My music had a new context as a result of The Signet and I found deeper meaning in what it meant to be an artist. I could fully grasp who I was and who I wanted to become.
I have since become a member of The Signet Society Alumni Board in order to foster this context for other alumni and undergraduates. I feel most creative when I can hear my music and speak about my music in an intellectual context with others who share my aesthetic and intellectual values. This is what The Signet provided me as an undergraduate, and it continues to do so today. Music is a force that has moved me through many places, and I am fortunate that it brought me to The Signet.
Born a performer, Berenika started piano at age 3, by 5 she already won her first piano competition and at 9 she performed as soloist with the Sault Symphony Orchestra. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School, Harvard University magna cum laude in both Music and Government, Christ Church, Oxford University and the Royal Academy of Music in London. She is Executive and Artistic Director of the Dana Point Symphony Orchestra.