School of Music News
KEEPING JAZZ ALIVE
New vocal jazz program adds class offerings
By Christy Rosell
Kristin Houston became a jazz ambassador last year. She started college with dreams of writing film scores. But everything changed during a Kennesaw State University trip to Italy with Steve Dancz, a music instructor.
“He introduced me to jazz,” she remembered. “I fell in love with the art.”
A Count Basie Orchestra performance featuring Grammy-award winning singer Carmen Bradford
“solidified everything” in her pursuit of jazz.
Houston will be among the first to graduate from KSU with a degree in Jazz Voice in 2019. She studies under Karla Harris, who helped launch the program last year and is offering a new vocal jazz combo class in fall 2018.
“This class will be an opportunity to work as a group to practice elements of singing jazz,” said Harris, a vocal jazz instructor. “Students will learn the importance of musical conversation.”
Harris has an extensive background as a jazz vocalist, working with some of the best
musicians in the thriving jazz scenes of St. Louis, Missouri, and Portland, Oregon.
In 2012, she began performing across the Southeast. She released an album in 2015
featuring songs by jazz legends Dave and Iola Brubeck.
Now, she shares her lessons in performance and music entrepreneurship, preparing students to carry on the legacy of jazz.
The significance is not lost on Houston.
“It’s important to American culture to keep this art form alive,” Houston said. “It’s one of the only art forms that is originally ours.”
Houston said Harris is a great example of the teacher she hopes to become herself. “She’s an amazing performer and educator; her instruction will help me get to that point one day, as well,” she said.
Houston takes solo vocal lessons and expects the new vocal jazz combo class to teach her to collaborate with other vocalists. While Houston is focused on preparing for graduation next spring, her instructor predicts a bright future.
“Kristin will do what she's setting out to do,” Harris said. “Her time at KSU has
obviously developed her skills and character.”
Harris lights up when she thinks about KSU’s jazz vocal students, “I look out and I just see possibilities. There’s so much potential. The spirit and the energy at KSU are very real.”
Harry E. Price
Beethoven is credited with saying “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and
philosophy.” With that, we could stop right now, but that would make this talk a bit
It is important to begin by recognizing some important people. I appreciate the National Executive Board of NAfME, the Music Education Research Council and its Executive Committee, as well as all the members of the Society for Research in Music Education for supporting my nomination. I especially want to thank my skilled col-league and friend Deborah Confredo. She wrote a remarkable nomination letter for this award. It is an honor for me to be named among this award’s previous recipients.
As an undergraduate in the early 1970s, I assisted a doctoral student, Michael Wagner. My job was as a “technology” aide to him. At that time, our job was mostly to make sure that the stereos were hooked up and the power cords were plugged in. Yes, this was the time of phonograph players, a little machine that was about this size that turned around and around, on which you placed a vinyl disk, and a needle sat on it to transfer the waveforms through an amplifier to speakers. We also made sure that the equipment was turned on, a problem many times. Mike helped me to begin think-ing about music education and how it does or does not function. Along with this work, I also helped some other doctoral students with technology in their research.
In my master’s work, Clifford Madsen directed the thesis. Later, after teaching a
bit, I was fortunate to work with Cornelia Yarbrough on my doctorate and beyond; strangely,
I assisted her with some technology when she worked on her dissertation. Cornelia
taught me a great deal about education, research, and life in general. She is responsible
for so many good things that have happened to me. without our wonderful mentors? As
for the not-so-successful things that have occurred in my career, those are due to
my continued stubbornness.
My colleagues over the years have been so helpful. At Virginia Tech, I was able to further develop my research skills—even as the marching band director. By the way, Jere Humphreys (2006) stated that the ancient Romans fielded marching bands, so I guess I was doing historical research when I was there. Of course, there were the many positive years at the University of Alabama, which was incredibly supportive of my research. Finally, there were many wonderful undergraduate and graduate students in my almost 40 years of teaching. How rewarding it has been for the students and me to share working on papers together! Interestingly, I worked quite a while ago with one of my students, Evelyn K. Orman, and now am assisting her fine research on virtual reality, efforts that she has pursued for more than 18 years (Orman, Whitaker, Price, & Confredo, 2017). In this case, the teacher can also become the student.
Read more about Harry Price in the Journal of Research in Music Education.
Opera star Sherrill Milnes Visits Kennesaw State for Lecture and Masterclass
Kennesaw, GA (February 27, 2015)–– World-renowned opera performer Sherrill Milnes visited Kennesaw State University on Friday, February 27, 2015 for a public lecture presentation and a master class with KSU School of Music vocal students. This exciting opportunity was possible due to the School of Music’s ongoing partnership with The Atlanta Opera, a goal of which is to bring world-class talent to campus to interact with current music students in educational and performance settings.
In his public lecture presentation, Milnes shared insights into his life and extensive career. Following the lecture presentation was be a master class for students. Milnes instructed vocal students on a piece of prepared repertoire to improve technique, expression, and other aspects of operatic performance. Milnes’s appearance is part of The Atlanta Opera’s celebration of 35 years of live performances. The Atlanta Opera opened its inaugural season at the Fox Theatre on March 14, 1980 with the first of two performances of The Seagull, by Thomas Pasatieri and based on Anton Chekhov’s 1896 play of the same name. Milnes closed the season with a recital that included some of his most famous work.
Widely regarded as being the foremost operatic baritone of his generation, Milnes is the most recorded American opera singer of his time. He boasts a repertoire of over 70 operas with a distinct performance style marked by his powerful voice, commanding stage presence, and rugged handsomeness. He has performed on the world’s most prestigious stages including performances with the major American and European orchestras and has also performed for the past six U.S. presidents.
In addition to his vast on-stage experience, Milnes has also devoted extensive time to teaching and working with young singers. His academic experience includes 14 years on the Yale School of Music faculty and frequent master classes. He founded the Sherrill Milnes VOICExperience, a non-profit foundation designed to train and mentor young singers through concerts, fully staged operas, educational presentations, and community outreach.
About The Atlanta Opera: Founded in 1979, The Atlanta Opera is one of the finest regional opera companies in the nation. By producing live, mainstage performances of the highest quality and impactful community engagement experiences, The Atlanta Opera enriches lives through the power of opera. The Opera strives to attract the finest international, national, and regional singers, conductors, stage directors, and designers. Each season, The Atlanta Opera presents three productions at the Cobb Energy Centre, drawing audiences from the entire metropolitan Atlanta area as well as from the Southeast region.