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.

Student, Faculty, and Staff Accomplishments - January 2017


Eric Ramos and Jakari Rush

  • Composition majors Eric Ramos and Jakari Rush wrote music segments for the latest KSU promotional video, Kennesaw State University: The Wise Choice, and are duly acknowledged in the credits. Click here to watch the video

Students of Doug Lindsey

  • Performed at the Trumpet Festival of the Southeast
  • Ensemble selected to the competitive semi-final round at the National Trumpet Competition

Nicole Hamel

  • Nicole Hamel was accepted to present at the 31st Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of Memphis, April 6-8, 2017. Her presentation is called “The Hero of Hyrule: Musical Topics in the Legend of Zelda,” which examines how the interaction of musical topics correlates to the hero’s journey described in Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). She was selected amongst over 4,000 submissions.


Charles Jackson

  • In March, Charles Jackson will serve as an organizing chairman for the Music for All/ Bands of America National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, IN. 
  • Also in March, he will serve as the Brass Adjudicator for all Middle School Bands at the GMEA District 12 LGPE. 
  • June 26 through July 1, he will serve as a guest speaker/clinician for the directors track at the Music for All Summer Symposium at Ball State University. 
  • July 9 through 12, will serve as a guest speaker/clinician for the directors track at the Western Carolina University Summer Symposium. 
  • In November 2017, has been invited to serve as the conductor of the Buncombe County Middle School All County Honor Band in North Carolina.

Doug Lindsey

  • Doug Lindsey was recently elected president of the Georgia Brass Band. Will perform Duo Recital in Maryland - will also give several masterclasses in the region’s Performance at the Maryland Music Educators Association.
  • Will adjudicate the graduate solo division at the National Trumpet Competition

Cory Meals

  • December 2016:
    • Along with Anita Kumar (University of Washington), Cory presented a clinic entitled “It CAN Be Done: edTPA, Performing Ensembles, and YOU!” at the 70th Annual Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, Illinois. The Midwest Clinic is an international conference for instrumental music education that routinely hosts over 17,000 teachers, conductors, students, professional musicians, and industry professionals representing all 50 states and over 30 countries.
    • Cory’s peer-reviewed article, “Autonomy without Anarchy: Peer Interaction, Learning, and Musical Growth in the School Ensemble” was published in Vol. 2, No. 1 of Praxis: The Electronic Journal of the Sam Houston State University Center for Music Education. Click here to read the article
  • January 2017
    • Along with Anita Kumar (University of Washington), Cory presented a session entitled, “It CAN Be Done: edTPA, Performing Ensembles, and YOU!” at the 2017 Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference in Athens, GA.

Leah Partridge

  • Leah Partridge sang the title role in L'arbore di Diana by Spanish composer Martin y Soler with the Minnesota Opera. This was the American premiere of a piece written in 1787 with a libretto by the famous Mozart librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte.
  • Leah Partridge presented a vocal masterclass to students at the University of Minnesota on January 24.

Laurence Sherr

  • Laurence Sherr’s Sonata for Cello and Piano–Mir zaynen do! has been performed in several international events thus far this season.
    • Kristallnacht Holocaust Commemoration Concert, Wellington, New Zealand, November 2016.
    • The Best of Chamber Music - The Cello in Song, Eden-Tamir Music Center, Jerusalem, Israel, December 2016.
    • The Music of Resistance and Survival Project, Lecture by Dr. Sherr with a live performance of the sonata, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, Jerusalem, Israel, December 2016
  • While in Israel, Sherr also pursued research in archives at Yad Vashem and the Ghetto Fighters House Museum.
  • Sherr and his Sonata were featured on the January 13 radio program Performance Today, the most widely heard classical radio program in the US. The broadcast can be played directly from the PT page until 13 February 2017. (Click here to listen - Hour 2, Sherr profile and composition information: 14:13–15:26 and 39:20–40:01; Cello sonata performance: 15:27–39:20)

Christopher Thibdeau

  • Christopher Thibdeau has been invited as a Master Teacher with the Atlanta Music Project (AMP). As a Master Teacher, Christopher will work with select AMP teaching faculty to address specific aspects of their teaching and/or conducting. This professional development opportunity is made possible by a PlayUSA grant from Carnegie Hall.

Debra Traficante

  • Kansas State University Concert Band Clinic Conductor
  • Guest conducted KSU Wind Ensemble, Alpharetta High School 
  • Music Major Clinic at GMEA 
  • Guest conducted KSU Wind Ensemble, GMEA

Ben Wadsworth

  • Played organ at Ascension Lutheran Church on Sunday, January 1.
  • Developed new course: Theory Seminar. It focuses on theory pedagogy; all 9 students will go into theory II and Aural Skills II courses this semester and team-teach.
  • Began research with Josh Little on Michael Giacchino’s film scores (Leitmotivs).
  • Recruited faculty to present at South Central Theory Society meeting in March.
  • Helped develop a graduate student workshop on Schubert for the South Central Society annual meeting.
  • Recruited Theory IV students for a summer section of Form and Analysis for 2017.
  • Lined up three high schools to teach theory and recruit.
  • Taught an AP Theory class on form at Sequoiah High School in Canton (1/17).
  • Recruited for Music BA at Woodland HS.
  • Taught an ear training lesson and recruited at Wheeler HS.
  • Taught a lesson on form and recruited at Sequoiah HS.
  • Redesigned placement guidelines for written theory on KSU’s website.