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 - August 2017

Judith Beale

  • Judith Beale presented two two-hour sessions at a Preschool Training Conference on August 4th in Marietta.

Edward Eanes

  • Edward Eanes was selected as the COTA representative to the KSU Faculty workshop on sustainability in Otzenhausen, Germany.

Kayleen Justus

  • Played tenor pan on Pan Rocks! album and documentary film project recorded at Ocean Studios, in Burbank, California in May 2017. This most recent Pan Rocks! project was produced by Tracy Thornton and Matt Starr (Mr. Big) and featured drummer Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros, The Panic Chanel), guitarist Tracii Guns (Guns N’ Roses, L.A. Guns, Quiet Riot, Brides of Destruction), and bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, UFO, The Winery Dogs), as well as two dozen pan players and steel band directors from around the US and Canada. The album and documentary, both of which feature several covers/arrangements of heavy metal classics as well as original tunes by Thornton, are set to release in early 2018.
  • Traveled to Laborie, St. Lucia from July 8 – 16th to rehearse and compete with the Laborie Steel Band for the 2017 St. Lucia Panorama Competition. Kayleen joined more than 20 other foreign players from throughout the Caribbean and North America who were personally invited to compete with the band. The Laborie Steel Band is directed by Quill Barthelmy, band captain Joshua Mathurin, and arranger Andrius Edwide and is comprised of several dozen Lucian players. The band earned second place in the 2017 Panorama competition on July 14th after performing an arrangement of the 2003 Invader soca tune, “Beh Le Lesh.”

Brian Hecht

  • Featured Artist at the 2017 Jinbao International Music Festival in Tianjin, China.

Douglas Lindsey

  • Led the KSU Summer Music Intensive
  • Attended the International Festival of Collaborators, Composers, and Conductors (IFC3) at Indiana University, PA
  • Participated in the first annual World Adult Wind Orchestra Project at the Mid-Europe Festival in Schladming, Austria.
  • Worked as a trumpet tech at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp - Session 3
  • Ran two well attended KSU Trumpet camps. 

Laurence Sherr

  • Sherr was the featured composer on the July 7 Performance Today national radio program. Host Fred Child profiled Sherr’s work, the performance of Sherr’s cello sonata from the Red Lodge Music Festival was broadcast, and Sherr is the pictured musician at the PT website for that show.
  • Forfest Festival, Kromeriz, Czech Republic
    • June 18: European premiere of Nocturne for piano
    • June 19: World premiere of new work for bassoon and cello
    • June 20 lecture: “International Engagement Through Holocaust Remembrance Events”
    • Hudební rozhledy, the Czech national music magazine, highlighted Sherr’s participation, and features a photo of him with Czech pianist Sare Medková
  • July: a dozen broadcasts and YouTube posting of the hour-long AIB TV program produced from Sherr’s 2017 KSU concert “Songs Not Silenced: Music Forbidden in the Holocaust.” Featured KSU performers are soprano Jana Young, bass-baritone Oral Moses, and pianist Judy Cole, with commentary by Sherr and David Green, grandson of forbidden composer Ignatz Waghalter.
  • Late June-July: music research at Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and at Auschwitz camp locations, Poland

Paula Thomas-Lee

  • Paula Thomas-Lee completed the ORFF Post Level III Masterclass for Orff-Schulwerk Training this summer. 

Debra Traficante

  • Taught at 4 international Yamaha conferences (1 month) and conducted 2 concerts in Germany, France, and Italy with Yamaha Bläsorchester
  • Taught 320 high school and college students at Smith Walbridge Drum Major Clinic for 8 days in Charleston, Illinois
  • Nominated for and won National Outstanding Collegiate Band Director Award, in the name of Paula Crider, for Tau Beta Sigma at the Biennium National Conference

Ben Wadsworth

  • Presented at the Pedagogy into Practice conference at Lee University in Cleveland, TN on June 2.
  • Article “Schenkerian Analysis for the Beginner” was accepted for the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, and should be in print by September. The article covers the steps toward making an analytical graph, as well as special consideration for teaching Schenker to undergraduates. It originated in my teaching at KSU. I’m appreciative of Stephen’s support in helping defray the costs of getting permissions from publishers.
  • Music Theory Online gave the go-ahead to review an upcoming textbook on Schenker by David Damschroder. This review will still need to pass peer review.
  • The conference paper, “Perceiving the Mosaic: Form in the Mashups of DJ Earworm,” has been accepted at the Popular Music Interest Group meeting at the Society for Music Theory (Jeff Yunek is the principal author; Simon Needle, a BA Theory major, is the third author). 
  • The South-Central Society for Music Theory now has a new and improved website ( thanks to the efforts of Trevor Declercq, who teaches at Middle Tennessee State.  
  • Had a fun time teaching at the SAI. I taught high schoolers how to create their own variations on a tune and harmonic skeleton. Some of them then performed the variations. 
  • Form and Analysis was offered this summer for the first time. Everyone in the course made it through with at least a B and admitted that they enjoy summer classes.
  • Spent a lot of time in May (and now in August) substituting for different organists and choir directors. An especially enjoyable church to play at was St. Luke’s Presbyterian church in Dunwoody.

Jeff Yunek

  • This summer, Jeff spent three weeks in Moscow studying Scriabin’s manuscripts and compositional notebooks at the Glinka Museum of Music’s archives and teaching a summer abroad course on Russian music.
  • In conjunction with Ben Wadsworth and Simon Needle (KSU student), my research on form in the mashups of DJ Earworm was accepted to both a national and international conference (Society for Music Theory and Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie respectively).
  • A separate, musicology-focused paper on mashups was accepted for the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society for American Music.