University Choir and Orchestra (UCO) president, student worker, musical vocal performance major or busy bee of the Collingsworth School of Music Building.
All these things could describe Russell Shelton but the real person behind this champion multi-tasker started long before he came to California Baptist University.
Shelton, now in his fifth year at CBU, holds many jobs and has a good number of responsibilities on campus. At times, he finds it difficult to separate his work life from his home life. However, this Las Vegas native knew CBU was the place for him while he was still in high school.
“I didn’t really shop around in schools,” Shelton said. “So maybe it was one of things you just kinda know. Like the Holy Spirit was calling me to it.”
The Collinsworth School of Music visited his hometown and that was when the personality of Gary Bonner, dean of music, ultimately sealed CBU as his future home.
“My sister, who is three years older than me, played the cello in UCO and Bonner brought the group to Vegas, where I’m from,” Shelton said. “I just remember I liked how he interacted with the audience and that really hooked me into coming.”
Shelton was drawn to Bonner’s personality because he was reminded of his middle school band teacher, who he credits for his love of music. Bonner’s resemblance to Shelton’s teacher helped make his decision to join UCO and move to California.
Finding jobs on campus was no problem for him because positions in the admissions office and the theater program were available.
This year, however, he manages to have room for three jobs around campus, giving him the title of this self- proclaimed “professional multi-tasker.”
These jobs include working on small tasks in the theater program, UCO President (or “Doc’s Assistant,” as he calls it) and Undergraduate Assistant for the School of Music.
“I work about 19 hours a week, which just includes office hours for the School of Music,” he said. “There is no set description for that job. There are so many things that I do and I have to find time to do it all.”
His presidency sometimes crosses over to his other music job. He does things for UCO but mainly he is there to help all of the choirs in different ways, such as putting together new garment bags when people need them.
“Dr. King, who is a professor here, says I’m there to ‘put out the fires.’”
Since school keeps him so busy, he finds it difficult to maintain friendships and relationships. So much so, that according to his Facebook, he is in a relationship with “CBU UCO.”
“This is my relationship,” Shelton said. “I devote my time and energy to the choir and to Doc. I envy the people that have all this free time, but then I look at the benefits of what this job is gaining me and I’m not sorry for my decision and I don’t think I would go back and do it differently.”
With his college career coming to a close and what he wants to do with the rest of his life in mind, he continues to work in an effort to make a great experience for his fellow choir members.
“I try to use humor and be willing to meet and talk to the new freshman,” he said. “If any student were to come to my desk or see me in the hall, I try to be there and listen.”