Colorado native uses music to adapt to life at OU

Kylie Wieand has been singing “since forever.”

“I remember putting on singing competitions when I was a little girl in my living room,” said Wieand, a freshman member of the Oakland University Jazz Singers.

The OU Jazz Singers is a group directed by Scott Gwinnell, who is a composer and pianist from Detroit. He began playing professionally in the early ’90s and is a professor at OU in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

The group’s last performance was on Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Varner Recital Hall. 

“We put a ton of hard work into each performance,” Wieand said. “It’s tough but it’s also a ton of fun with my Jazz Family.”

Wieand is a new addition to the Jazz Singers group. She moved from Colorado to Michigan to attend OU.

“As a freshman, the transition has been a little rocky,” Wieand said. “My major’s currently undecided, but I’m interested in pursuing musical theatre next year.”

In spite of the rocky transition, she’s grateful that OU “gives me so many opportunities and experiences.”

The Jazz Singers perform multiple times a year. Their next performance will be Sunday, March 31, 2019 in Varner Hall with the Oakland University Jazz Quartet.

Wieand has a passion for performing and is greatly inspired by Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Keala Settle.

“I look up to them a lot,” she said. “They’re all incredibly driven and it’s impacted my work ethic.”

When Wieand isn’t performing with the Jazz Group, she is also a part of the Oakland University Chorus, which is a nationally recognized singing group conducted by Michael Mitchell.

The University Chorus will be performing with the Symphony Orchestra at the Max M. Fisher Center in Detroit on March 29. Tickets are on sale now at They are $12 for OU students and $22 for the general public.

“Before every show I blast music and just smile and seriously try to be happy,” Wieand said. “I also take a minute for myself and acknowledge how hard I work to get where I am.”

Wieand plans to continue her musical career at OU. Her main goal in the years to come is centered around growth.

“I want to grow as a person and as a performer. I have a lot of long term goals, but at the end of the day, I just want to be the best performer I can be.”

Oakland offers a range of clubs for students interested in music and performance. In addition to the Jazz Singers and OU Chorus, students can join the Glee Club, Gold Vibrations A Capella and Opera Club.

“Music is something everyone can relate to,” Wieand said. “I can’t think of anything that puts a smile on my face faster than performing.”