This music education student plans to change lives through song

Watching Amelia Lathem sing is something few forget.

The junior Ƶ music education major has no trouble capturing her audience’s attention with her elegant ethereal voice.

“One thing I love about music is how I feel when I’m singing with other people,” Lathem said. “All of the drama and chaos in your life goes away. You can put everything in life aside and worry about one thing.”

As she moves closer to graduation, Lathem can’t help but remember where her dreams started.
Growing up, Lathem always knew how to sing, even though none of her family members shared the same talent.

She’ll never forget the first time she performed in front of a live audience as a kid. Standing before her family and church, a missing piece fell into place.

“Right when I got up there, all of my nerves just went away,” she recounted.

Lathem continued to follow her love of music by taking chorus in elementary, middle and high school. She even went on to win a regional talent show in high school, which she said today is still one of her favorite performances.

Lathem set her sights on a music career after meeting the one teacher who changed her life — Lindsay Patten, the choral director for Habersham High School.

“She’s important in my musical journey, and honestly, I don’t think I’d want to be a music teacher without her,” Lathem said. “She taught me why music mattered to everyone, not just people who are pursuing it.”

Seeing the effect Patten has on her students, Lathem became inspired to follow the same path and become a high school chorus teacher.

“Every time you go into her classroom, you know you can learn something from her, even as a college student now,” she said. “Music really made a big impact on me as a student. I just know it would be cool to be a music teacher who makes an impact on students.”

Lathem regularly performs at Ƶ events and ceremonies, and sings for churches, including her own. The junior is particularly drawn toward singing “slow, pretty opera,” oftentimes in different languages.

“Ƶ has given me a more personal experience than if I decided to go to a bigger college. I know it’s cliché and is used a lot, but I feel like I wouldn’t be seen as much if I went somewhere else. I have a bigger chance of getting that experience, especially for a solo.”