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 - February 2017


Tau Beta Sigma - Iota Psi Chapter

  • Debra Traficante wanted to share that our very own TBS chapter is one of 13 finalists for the National Chapter Award. This is a tremendous honor that chapters work for each biennium - to even be considered. The fact that our chapter is being considered for this in the first opportunity to even be thought of (we started these chapters when I arrived here during this biennium), is absolutely incredible and unthinkable. Most chapters go years and years and years, and never get selected for this! KSU will go against some very large, very prestigious, very historied programs at the national convention this year. This is a huge step in our efforts to continue making KSU bands a strong national presence.

Jazz Combo I

  • In late January, Jazz Combo I (Patrick Arthur, Michael Opitz, Brandon Radaker, Brandon Boone and Jonathan Pace) recorded seven original compositions at Murray Sound Lab for an upcoming release produced by Joseph Greenway and Trey Wright.

Samuel Boeger

  • Samuel Boeger has been named a finalist for the International Trombone Association’s George Roberts Bass Trombone Competition. He will be competing in June against 2 Juilliard students for the grand prize of a brand-new M&W bass trombone!

Robert Boone – Alumni

  • Robert Boone has accepted a full-time position with the Count Basie Big Band as their drummer. This is a huge honor and speaks volumes for the talent that comes from our school of music and jazz studies program.


Stephanie Adrian

  • Stephanie Adrian’s review of Atlanta Opera’s production of Kevin Puts opera, “Silent Night” was published in the February issue of Opera News Magazine.

Judith Beale

  • Judith Beale was one of the choral clinicians for the GMEA District XII Elementary School Large Group Performance Evaluation February 16 and 17.

Judy Cole

  • Accompanied duo trumpet recital with Dr. Doug Lindsey and Dr. Davey DeArmond here on campus.
  • Accompanied Atlanta Boy Choir at the State Capitol for MLK observance.
  • Accompanied The Temple Singers/Ebenezer Baptist Church Choir in MLK service at The Temple, including playing for Mrs. Mary Gurley, who sang the same hymn she sang at Dr. Martin Luther King’s funeral.
  • Played two pieces in Collage Concerts, also played at reception in between concerts.
  • Judged two Shuler High School Musical shows.
  • Played two different recitals with Dr. Doug Lindsey in Baltimore and Annapolis, at Washington College and the Catholic University.
  • Served on Piano search committee.
  • Played with Allatoona High School Orchestra for LPGE and in concert at KSU.
  • Accompanied North Paulding Honor Choir with Dr. Leslie Blackwell directing.
  • Accompanied Liederabend Faculty Voice recital February 21.
  • Adjudicated for Governor’s Honors auditions and for Georgia Independent School Association Regional Competition.

David Daly

  • David Daly is a panelist for a session at the 2017 Performing Arts Managers Conference titled “Future Industry Leaders,” a panel discussion on career growth, supervising and developing talent, organizational dynamics, and leadership in the performing arts. The conference, presented by the International Association of Venue Managers, will be held in Chicago, IL on February 26 - March 1.

Edward Eanes

  • Edward Eanes was selected by the COTA awards committee to represent the college at the “Perspectives on Global Issues Workshop - Sustainability” in May 2017 at the European Academy of Otzenhausen, Germany.

Alison Mann

  • LGPE Clinic with the choirs of Walton High School, Marietta.
  • Two LGPE Clinics with the choirs of Johns Creek High School, Johns Creek.
  • Hosted/organized a workshop for Lake Nona Middle School Choir, Orlando, Florida, with outreach opportunities for the choral music education majors.
  • Performance adjudicator for District 12 Elementary LGPE.

Angee McKee

  • Angee McKee served as accompanist for Acworth Elementary, Pickett’s Mill Elementary, and Vaughan Elementary School choruses at the GMEA District XII Large Group Performance Evaluations on February 16th & 17th.

Christopher Thibdeau

  • Christopher Thibdeau was invited to be an orchestra conducting judge for the GMEA LGPE. He also led the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra in the second concert of their season titled “Music in Motion” featuring a collaboration with Full Radius Dance, a group consisting of fully abled and disabled members.

Ben Wadsworth

  • South-Central Society of Music Theory program now set for March 17–18 at University of Memphis. Two theory majors (Simon Needle and Madison Coffey) have funding to attend conference and graduate student workshop on Schubert.
  • Paper accepted on Schenker undergraduate pedagogy at Pedagogy into Practice conference (Lee University, TN, June 1–4, 2017).

Trey Wright

  • In late January, Jazz Combo I (Patrick Arthur, Michael Opitz, Brandon Radaker, Brandon Boone and Jonathan Pace) recorded seven original compositions at Murray Sound Lab for an upcoming release produced by Joseph Greenway and Trey Wright.