Career pathways abound for singer, songwriter, broadcaster Alex Eddinger 

In this issue’s Spotlight, meet Alexander Eddinger, a dual major in a broadcasting and mass communication and in music with a voice concentration. As the “self-reliant” senior moves toward graduation, he keeps his grandfather’s wisdom close to heart.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I’m from Hall. It’s about eight miles outside of Geneva. It’s very small. Unless you’re going somewhere on (Route) 14A, you’re not going to hit it.

Q. What led you to SUNY Oswego?
A. Coming out of high school I was really interested in sports broadcasting, so I developed a short list of schools—Ithaca, Marist and Oswego. I visited all three. Coming from a small town, this had a little more of a small-town vibe and was only about an hour and a half from home. And it had a great broadcasting program. Also, my grandfather went here back in 1934 when this was the Oswego Normal School.

Q. Why did you choose your majors?
A. I did a lot of music theater and choir in high school. So singing was always a passion. When I came here, I found out you could take voice lessons if you audition. On spending a semester with my voice instructor, Todd Graber in the music department, I found that it was feasible to add the music major to my broadcast major so that I could study something I was passionate about while also applying myself to a field that was more realistic in the job market. I did a radio internship this summer at 95X in Syracuse and the goal there, like anywhere, is you have to work your way up. But if I went into radio, I’d want to be on-air talent, perhaps as the host of a morning show or maybe a later evening program.

Q. Have you given thought to a music career?
A. Yes, that’s actually the goal, to be an independent musician, being able to write, record and produce my own material. That’s why I’m taking recording technology here, so I can learn how to record at home, so I don’t have to rely on the music industry to get myself out there. That’s what really makes me happy, is performing. On the other side of that, a more realistic path I haven’t totally eliminated is the thought of grad school for music education.

Q. Where and when have you performed?
A. I’ve been in Oswego State Singers, which is a select choir, traditionally 15 to 20 people doing six or seven concerts a year. For departmental recitals, I’ve been a soloist, which happens two to three times a semester. This year, as a senior music student, I’ll be having my senior capstone recital, which will be about 35 minutes’ solo voice repertoire.

Q. What do you love about SUNY Oswego?
A. The biggest thing is getting involved. It sounds cliché, but it’s very true—you can pretty much do whatever you want when you come here. I played club baseball for two and a half years, I joined the History Club for a time. Everyone is very, very open. You get immediately folded in and it’s like you were always supposed to be there.

Q. What do you think about your fellow Oswego students?
A. It’s a melting pot of a campus. I was surprised being from Upstate New York at the amount of people from Downstate that I met here. The fact that I’ve been able to make friends with people from all around the state and even some people from out of state is something I appreciate, because now I’ve got places to stay. (Laughs.) If I go anywhere from Buffalo to New York City, I can probably find somebody’s house to crash at. It’s big enough that you can always meet someone new every day, but at the same time you can keep in touch with everybody you have met. That’s the beautiful thing.

Q. What about SUNY Oswego professors?
A. I think you get way more than you bargained for coming in, with the skillsets and the quality of faculty. In broadcasting, because I want to be on air, one person who sticks out is Michael Riecke, because he was on air for 10 or 15 years. I was always amazed at the credentials of people in the music department and how they ended up teaching here, like Rob Auler, Eric Schmitz, Todd Graber and Mihoko Tsutsumi. I’ve always been impressed.

Q. What are some of your non-academic interests?
A. I write music. To go along with that I practice piano. With the theory I’ve taken, I can now write more music than I can actually play. I’d like to catch up so I can play my compositions. I’m a big believer in self-reliance. I was an only child, so I was used to doing a lot of things by myself. I also read. I study history a lot. I go to the gym a lot. I also work at the fitness centers.

Q. What kinds of music do you like to write?
A. It’s mostly piano. It’s mostly in older forms, like a piano concerto in sonata form, because we walked through it so baby-steppy in music theory that it was easy to figure out. I’m working on a couple of music theater-type pieces. I write really sappy love poetry—that’s a holdover from middle school. I have a lot of lyrics that I’ve been trying to set to music.

Q. What’s something about you that only those close to you know?
A. My grandfather was a carpenter. He passed away when I was in ninth grade. We were very, very close. The biggest thing I learned from him, and I still struggle with it, is patience, to be patient with people. He was a woodworker for 75 years, so he had the ultimate level of patience. One time when I was a child, I pulled up all the carrots in his garden by the top. He never yelled at me, he never even raised his voice. He just explained to me why it was improper to pull up the carrots. He has just made me look at myself every day and ask, “Am I the type of person I want to be? Would he be OK with who I am?”

Q. What else can you tell us about your family?
A. Both my parents are (retired) schoolteachers. My father taught special ed, my mother taught phys ed. They taught in the school I went to, Marcus Whitman Central School in the metropolis that is Rushville. My mom was my phys ed teacher from kindergarten through 5th grade. I went to the same building as my father from sixth to 12th grades. My father was my baseball coach. We take care of my grandmother, down the road. She’s 96 now and still in the house my grandfather built back in the ‘30s. I try to spend time with her while I can and see what info leaks out that I didn’t know before. I actually found my grandfather’s notebook from when he was at Oswego. It’s got all his notes, his fraternity members, the pledges. That was so cool for me to find.