School of Music News

New vocal jazz program adds class offerings
By Christy Rosell

KEEPING JAZZ ALIVE Kristin Houston KSU jazz ambassador - Header Photo

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.
KEEPING JAZZ ALIVE Kristin Houston KSU jazz ambassador - Photo page body-1Houston 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.”

KEEPING JAZZ ALIVE Kristin Houston KSU jazz ambassador - page photo-2Houston 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.”


KSU_Music Harry Price 2018 Senior Researcher Award
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 too short.

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.

Download the full article here.

Wind Ensemble Collaborates with Composers, Premieres New Works

Kennesaw, GA (September 6, 2016)–– On September 12, 2016, the KSU Wind Ensemble will present its first performance of the 2016-17 concert season featuring the Georgia premieres of two recently composed works: The High Songs by Carter Pann and Michael Markowski’s Embers.

Taking advantage of installed video and audio technology in the School of Music’s Brooker Rehearsal Hall, Wind Ensemble hosted special Skype sessions with each composer over the past two weeks. In each session, the ensemble performed the composers’ work and received valuable feedback directly from the composers for how to best perform the various intricacies of their works.


Last week, Wind Ensemble rehearsed with composer Carter Pann. Pann was recently named a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in music, one of the most prestigious awards in the classical music world. Wind Ensemble’s performance of Pann’s 2015 composition The High Songs will feature KSU Artist-in-Residence in Cello Charae Krueger as soloist playing amplified cello. KSU Wind Ensemble was a commissioning partner for this piece along with 10 other universities led by the University of Central Oklahoma.

The next Georgia premiere on the September 12 program is Michael Markowski’s 2015 work Embers. Having visited KSU as part of the 2013 Kennesaw State Festival of New Music, Michael Markowski is no stranger to KSU Wind Ensemble’s and joined their rehearsal via Skype the previous week to rehearse his 2015 composition with the students.


Upcoming Wind Ensemble concerts during the 2016-17 concert season will feature additional premieres and special performances including the Georgia premiere of Steven Bryant’s Broad Earth (October 17 performance), the world premiere of a new work titled ROCKS from composer Geoffrey Gordon and commissioned by a KSU-led consortium (November 14 performance), the Georgia premiere of Millennial Inception by Andrew Boss (March 9 performance), and the Georgia premiere of There are no words by visiting guest composer James Stephenson (March 9 performance).

For more information about the KSU Wind Ensemble, visit

Top photo: KSU Wind Ensemble with composer Carter Pann. Photo by Erik Kosman.
Bottom photo: KSU Wind Ensemble with composer Michael Markowski. Photo by David Kehler.

Purchase tickets for the September 12 performance ($10-15)


Monday, September 12, 2016 | 8 p.m.
Morgan Concert Hall, Bailey Performance Center
Kennesaw State University Wind Ensemble
David T. Kehler, conductor

Michael Gandolfi (b. 1956)
Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme (2010) 

Carter Pann (b. 1972)
The High Songs (2015) *GEORGIA PREMIERE*
Charae Krueger, amplified cello
I. Nepenthe
II. Moto Perpetuo
III. Passacaglias
IV. Adjusting the Torque
V. Song for Heidi

Michael Markowski (b. 1986)
Embers (2015) *GEORGIA PREMIERE*

Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987)
Symphony No. 6 for Band, Op. 69 (1956)
I. Adagio; Allegro
II. Adagio, sostenuto
III. Allegretto
IV. Vivace