Michigan native Amanda Egerer is a performing folk musician and New Evangelization student at JPCatholic. She shares the release of her new album and her experiences with God’s calling in her life.
Amanda was coincidentally passing through Escondido while on a spring break trip to the San Diego Zoo when she discovered JPCatholic. The 23-year-old expressed, “It was kind of crazy, everything happened so quickly.” After spotting the university on the Cardinal Newman Guide, her love of performing arts and media led her directly to JPCatholic. “I had never experienced something that had worked out so well. It was serendipity.”
After graduating from high school in 2012, Egerer, originally pursuing classical music, studied for two years at a community college before deciding to take some time off from school. Amanda shares that she discerned the religious life for this period of time. “In discerning religious life, I eventually had to let go of my pride and realize I was called to marriage.” During this time off, Amanda also continued to search for what she was called to do artistically. “I discovered folk music through listening to the Avett Brothers. I loved it so much I began to look up female folk musicians and Joan Baez came up. After hearing her songs- which I found to be so beautiful- it was like home, exactly what I had been looking for.”
In addition to singing, Amanda continued to improve in her skills with the guitar and the traditional folk instrument, the mountain dulcimer. She began her musical journey performing in the northern Michigan area, near her hometown of Traverse City. This included many open mic nights and several gigs at wineries and breweries.
The opportunity of a lifetime began with a tweet of admiration to one of her favorite musicians, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, David Mayfield. “I had tweeted him, ‘Great job on the album, gonna have to have you produce one of my albums, one day!’ He retweets it and later that night I get an email from him and he tells me he looked at my music and would love to make a record for me.” Amanda expresses she could not believe it was real. “I thought for sure I was being punk’d at first.”
The title of her album was inspired by the first songbook she ever transcribed, Folk Songs of Many People. All the songs on the album are traditional public domain songs that she has revived from recordings and songs. She says, “It’s almost this fun archaeology digging up these songs that you can’t find anywhere.”
Mayfield contacted Amanda again in November when she began her crowdfunding for her album. These funds covered a portion of the cost of the project while her personal savings went towards the rest. Throughout a period of six months, Mayfield brought in musicians for Amanda to work with in the recording studio. “Usually I record by myself, but they were all fantastic musicians with a lot of experience.” Following the release of her first album, Amanda spent her days touring at house shows. “I loved playing house shows. They are always very community-oriented, especially for traditional folk music, it’s really honest to the type of music that it is. You get to connect with people a lot more. It’s a really cool experience.”
Amanda will be saying goodbye to JPCatholic after spring quarter, but she is thankful for the many friendships and experiences made in her time here. She plans to continue pursuing folk music and potentially a career in religious education. Amanda shares that she is not sure where her life will lead her but she is hopeful for the future. “My time at JPCatholic has been truly wonderful due to the community of students and the professors. My faith has been nourished greatly by the theology and philosophy classes here. I’m in a different chapter currently and I’m trying to figure out what that is.”