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Meet Longy Queer Student Union President, Will Aldenberg

By April 19, 2024News

Friday, April 19, 2024 

Without his experience in the Longy Queer Student Union (QSU), Will Aldenberg (MM ’24) says he might not be the musician he is today. 

“I would say the QSU and Longy have helped me recognize that there is no separating who I am from the music I make, regardless of what that music is.” 

After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a degree in music history and vocal performance, Will joined the QSU as social media chair. 

Early on, he was excited to meet new people who reflected the diversity of the Longy community. “We have a unique body of students and faculty because they come from so many different walks of life. They’re perfect examples of how a music career is not linear.”

When it came time to take on a larger role within the organization, he fully embraced his presidency, turning the QSU into a space that inspires members to live their fullest, best lives.  

For Will, the organization quickly became a feel-good outlet where he invested just as much heart and energy as he would devote to one of his courses. In return, he found solidarity and a more authentic sense of self than he ever expected—something he hopes to be able to give to the next generation of Longy students. 

“There’s a lot of support throughout Longy. People want a queer student union. It’s just a matter of finding people to help run it.” 

Beyond the QSU’s regular meetings, or “Tea Times,” Will sought out additional opportunities to introduce queer students to new friends and faculty members at Longy they could turn to for support and inspiration. 

He began by securing a partnership with vocal studies professor Tyler Reece’s Gender-Benders and Trend-Disruptors course. With funds from the organization’s budget, members helped decorate, promote, and prepare for three concerts based on gender-bending German art. 

Will recalls how glad he and other students were to be involved, especially in an activity that added another commitment to their schedules. “You don’t realize you’re not getting class credit for it. You’re doing all these things, and you love it all. Last year, I was equating QSU to a class because both made me feel great about the stuff that I was creating while doing them.” 

He also helped organize a panel with two other faculty members—historical performance and vocal studies professor Libor Dudas and Dean Emeritus Wayman Chin—who shared their experiences as queer musicians with the group. 

“With that conversation, we had the best turnout I’ve seen at a QSU event.” 

Students felt empowered by the opportunity to see themselves reflected not just in music, but closer to home in their own community at Longy.  

While Will graduates this spring, he will return to Longy in the fall to pursue his graduate performance diploma. 

With commencement on the horizon, even Will’s graduating student recital reflects the confidence he gained from the QSU. “My recital centers more on queer identity than I think me of two years ago would have even been comfortable talking about.” 

Focusing on Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und-Leben, a cycle written for the female voice, Will plans to rewrite the text from a male perspective, singing to another man. 

He credits the QSU and his peers and faculty mentors with encouraging him to be bolder and more honest as an artist: “I think if I hadn’t gone to Longy, I probably would have changed parts of it.” 

“Because I have the support system that I have through the QSU, through the faculty, through students and people I’ve met, I’m able to do it confidently without worrying about what could happen or what people might think.”