School of Music News

KEEPING JAZZ ALIVE
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

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.

KSU Music Student Pursues Theater Dreams in New York after Being Discovered in Local Production

Originally published on AJC’s Atlanta Life and Culture Blog. Click here to view the original story

Story by Jewel Wicker | Atlanta Journal Constitution

Janna Graham finished her last semester at Kennesaw State University while working in New York.

Above: Janna Graham finished her last semester at Kennesaw State University while working in New York.

Atlanta, GA (December 14, 2016)–– The semester before a college student’s graduation is usually pretty hectic. With finals, filling out job applications and panicking about the future, there’s a lot to complete before receiving a diploma.

Kennesaw State University student Janna Graham’s last few months in college have certainly been hectic, but not in the traditional way. When a Kennesaw State faulty member recommended Graham to fill in as a drummer during a rehearsal for Alliance Theatre’s “The Prom,” the student impressed the crew so much that they decided to keep her in the show. The Stone Mountain native formed a relationship with “The Prom’s” musical director and conductor Mary-Mitchell Campbell, who invited her to move to New York to pursue her dreams.

Campbell, whose Broadway credits include “Finding Neverland”, “Sweeney Todd”, “Company” and “Tuck Everlasting”, offered her couch to Graham until she was able to get on her feet in the new city. “I have a history of taking interest in talent but this was the first time I’ve ever gone out of town and brought [someone] back to New York,” she said.

Shortly after moving, Graham began working as the drummer for The New Group’s off-Broadway production of “Sweet Charity” while working remotely to complete the work for her last semester in college. “It was really intense,” she said. “We would have 12-hour rehearsals for the show and I’d be doing statistics homework while I was in rehearsal.” Nearly two months later, Graham moved into an apartment of her own in Astoria, Queens. She graduates from Kennesaw State this month, but won’t be in town for the graduation.

Although Graham will visit her family for Christmas, she said she’s definitely planning to remain in New York after “Sweet Charity” ends in January. She is currently applying for teaching positions and on the lookout for upcoming productions. Graham said she is still adjusting to being away from her family, the weather and crowds, but admits the opportunities she’s received make it all worth it.
Janna Graham finished her last semester at Kennesaw State University while working in New York.

Originally published on AJC’s Atlanta Life and Culture Blog. Click here to view the original story

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