School of Music News

School of Music Alumnus Jefferson Doyle Named Woodstock Middle School Teacher of the Year

KSU Music News Jefferson Doyle 2019
Congratulations to KSU School of Music alumnus Jefferson Doyle for being named as Woodstock Middle School’s 2019 Teacher of the Year!

Jefferson Doyle graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education. He earned a master’s degree in Conducting from Reinhardt University in 2015. Doyle has taught multiple percussion ensembles since 1999 including Sequoyah High School, Reinhardt University marching percussion, Pariah Indoor Marching Percussion Theatre, and Woodstock High School. He is currently the Director of Band and Orchestra at Woodstock Middle School in Woodstock, Georgia and was recently awarded the honor of 2019 Teacher of the Year.


  • KENNESAW, Ga. (May 24, 2019) –– Leslie J. Blackwell has been appointed interim director of the School of Music at Kennesaw State University, effective July 1, 2019. Dr. Blackwell has been with the School of Music since 1998 as professor of Music and Music Education and director of Choral Activities. “I am confident that Dr. Blackwell’s experience as a collegiate educator, history with the School of Music, and record of artistic excellence as a conductor will ensure her success as the next leader of the School of Music at Kennesaw State University,” said Dr. Ivan Pulinkala, dean of the College of the Arts.

    Dr. Blackwell conducts the KSU Men’s Ensemble, KSU Chorale, and KSU Chamber Singers; she also teaches advanced choral conducting and literature. A native of Georgia, she received the Bachelor of Music in Music Education from West Georgia College (1984), Master of Music from Georgia State University (1991), and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Kentucky (2002). 

    Leslie BlackwellChoirs under Dr. Blackwell’s direction have performed at national, regional, and state conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) as well as numerous Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) state conventions. In 2010, Dr. Blackwell presented Songs of South America for ACDA with the KSU Chamber Singers, featuring music of South America based upon her choral research and work in Argentina. In October 2013, the KSU Chamber Singers were selected to perform at the National Collegiate Choral Organization fifth national conference. Most recently, the KSU Chamber Singers performed at the 2018 GMEA state convention and have been selected to sing at the ACDA Southern division conference in March 2020.

    Recognized for her work with men’s voices, Dr. Blackwell is sought after as a guest conductor for All-State Men’s Choirs. Conducting engagements include the 2013 Georgia All-State Men’s Chorus, 2016 Alabama All-State Men’s Chorus, 2017 Tennessee All-State Chorus, and in 2018, both the Kentucky and South Carolina Men’s All-State Choirs. Dr. Blackwell served six seasons as the Artistic Director of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, and at KSU established the annual KSU Male Chorus Day, bringing almost 200 high school students to campus. Under Dr. Blackwell’s direction, the KSU Men’s Ensemble, a non-auditioned ensemble, has achieved prestigious accomplishments locally, regionally, and nationally, appearing at the ACDA Southern Division Conference in 2014, 2016, and at the ACDA National Conference in Dallas, Texas, 2013.

    Influential musicians with whom Dr. Blackwell has worked include Robert Shaw, Ann Howard-Jones, Yoel Levi, Norma Raybon, John Haberlen, David Maslanka, Ola Gjeilo, Ethan Sperry, Brian Schmidt, and Jefferson Johnson. In addition to her commitments at Kennesaw State University, Dr. Blackwell is active as a clinician and adjudicator and holds memberships in MENC, GMEA, and ACDA. She has served as the Repertoire and Standards Chair for Men’s Choirs, Georgia ACDA. Currently, Dr. Blackwell is the artistic director and founding director of the Kennesaw State University Community & Alumni Choir. 

  • Each year, College sponsors of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) are given the opportunity to nominate their chapter to represent Georgia in the MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year selection. The MTNA@KSU chapter was selected as the 2018 Collegiate Chapter of the Year.

    KSU Music News Chapter of the Year

    MTNA@KSU student members hosted many events throughout the year and are planning for future growth and collaboration with other collegiate chapters. Below are some of the recent and upcoming events and goals for MTNA@KSU:

    • Hosted its first KSU Music Summer Camp for pre-college students in July.
    • Members presented three recitals for local students and community over the last year and a half.
    • Presented for the Cobb County MTA chapter with which MTNA@KSU closely affiliates.
    • Presented for the Georgia MTA 2018 State Conference at UGA.
    • Hosted the Cobb County MTA Chapter on KSU’s campus for their March 2018 meeting and presented a recital for the Cobb County MTA members.
    • Held multiple recruitment events on campus to build membership, which they hope will reach 30 by the end of the fiscal year.
    • Will be hosting another Summer Camp in June 2019 for local students.
    • Is planning on collaborating with other collegiate chapters in-state to build a stronger network for future music teachers in Georgia.
  • KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 3, 2018) — “Where are your eyes? Are they on the conductor?”

    Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster David Coucheron poses the question to a group of attentive Kennesaw State music students who are arrayed in front of him practicing a difficult section of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major in preparation for the KSU Symphony Orchestra’s concert on Oct. 4.

    Concertmaster in Residence - David Coucheron

    This is their first instruction by Coucheron, who is the School of Music’s Distinguished Artist in Residence for Orchestral Studies for the 2018-2019 academic year.

    “You already know how to play the piece, now you need to follow the conductor.”

    His admonition comes halfway through a two-hour coaching session in a recital hall on the Kennesaw Campus, where the charismatic virtuoso is engaged in a good-natured repartee with the orchestra’s first violin section.

    “His hearing sensitivity impressed me the most,” said Lisa Kawamura, a first-year violin performance major from Atlanta. “There were nine of us playing the same music, and he was able to hear each one of us and locate where each sound was coming from. He was able to specifically help us improve our way of playing. His sense of detail made me feel a lot more aware of the placement of the beat, and that is only possible because of his highly trained ear.”

    David Coucheron - Violin Virtuoso Coaches KSU Music Students


    By Robert S. Godlewski

    Photos by Lauren Kress

  • 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.”

    Kristin Houston became a jazz ambassador last year

    A Count Basie Orchestra performance featuring Grammy-award winning singer Carmen Bradford “solidified everything” in her pursuit of jazz.
    Houston 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.

    Kristin Houston became a jazz ambassador last year. Photo2“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.”

    Houston 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.”

    By Christy Rosell

  • 2018 Senior Researcher Award Acceptance Address: Open-Mindedness for ALL Available Research Data

    Dr. Harry Price
    Professor of Music and Music Education
    Kennesaw State University School of Music

    View original article from Journal of Research in Music Education


    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 colleague 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 thinking 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.

    Dr. Harry Price 2018 Senior Researcher Award Acceptance Address

    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. What would we do 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.

    Now, I would like to share with you some data that come from an examination of all the citations in Journal of Research in Music Education, from its beginning to 2015. Before going on, however, we need to remember that there are many researchers today who are making wonderful contributions and providing important professional service and excellent teaching.

    The most referenced author in JRME’s history—okay, prepare yourself for this surprise—is Clifford Madsen. His works have been cited more than 670 times going back to 1966. He is the most referenced individual in JRME, and he continues to be an important contributor. After him, there is John Geringer, with more than 390 citations. He also continues working with colleagues and pursuing his joy: research. Finally, the third most cited scholar in our field—and my mentor—is Cornelia Yarbrough, with more than 275 citations (Price & Hancock, 2017). What wonderful examples these three people are for us, as are many of you in this room! Obviously, these data are an indication of people pursuing knowledge; as Campbell stated, “following your bliss” (Campbell & Moyers, 1988).

    We need to continue growing and changing over time; if not, then we need to stop right now and refocus our perspectives or even our direction. This may be what Pat Flowers (2012) referred to when she said, “those who have engaged in doing research again and again are often humble in their knowledge and generous in mentoring others” (p. 247). Over time, I have come to realize how little I know that is research-based; however, in all honesty, I was an expert on so many things when I was younger!

    Sadly, the need for more research has not prevented people from going forward with facts that came from who knows where. So for those of you who have solutions but no research data to support them, please take some time to consider this and what it may say about the lack of data or your ideas. I am going to state this one more time: If you have solutions but no research data to support them, please take the occasion to consider this and what it may say about the lack of data or your unsupported conclusion.

    Some of the previous recipients of this award have said that they did not want to predict the future of our research world, and I agree, having had many long-range professional plans myself, none of which have ever been accurate. For example, I got my first Macintosh computer in 1984; it was the Fat Mac (512K memory). My prediction then was that there would be no difference among desktop computers in 5 years. Here we are almost 35 years later, and we still have not gotten to that point. So, I predict that in 5 more years … oh, never mind!

    I could talk about some of my own research in the areas of rehearsal atmosphere, feedback, pacing, conductor demeanor, conductor effect on performance assessment, rehearsal structure, verbal communication, content, aural modeling, conceptual teach- ing; or nonverbal issues, such as facial expression, eye contact, and gesture; or music appreciation, music preferences, content analyses; or examining researchers’ approaches; or virtual reality work; but, I am not addressing any of these today.

    Instead, let us consider the basic concept of questioning ideas. This approach is over 1,000 years old (Lorch, 2017). It was mentioned recently in the television show Cosmos, originally hosted in 1980 by Carl Sagan and more recently by Neil deGrasse Tyson (2014). The first thing we do is to consider conceptions that we believe might be real. Then, we need to examine these ideas with experiments and observations. Based on the results, we build on the ideas that are supported and reject the ones that fail. We develop concepts, create assessments to view whether they work or not, and then build on this information toward the attainment of knowledge-based results.

    The goal is to follow the evidence, not to build on what we believe. In the end, the key to all of this is to question everything, even if it is an idea that makes complete sense but has no data available to support it. So, after we produce philosophical research about a concept, we test it. With those results, we build on ideas that pass the test and reject the ones that fail. We question everything, and it leads us to the next experiment. With this approach, we continue following the results wherever they lead.

    Asking unbiased questions might be the most consequential issue of our work. Always do this! Do not just accept things because they seem logical, because someone said so in a speech, because we have read it somewhere, or because it has always been that way. If you accept this inquiry approach, there are five steps to follow:

    1. Test the idea.
    2. Build on the concepts that are supported.
    3. Reject the ones that fail.
    4. Continue following the evidence, wherever it leads.
    5. Finally, this will lead us to a clarified idea and the next research project.

    Some unsupported results from our work can be a challenge. It is possible that something we strongly believe in, even if it has been accepted for many years, may not be accurate in the context of current and more complete knowledge. Is it the truth? Well, for now it is, but that may also change in the future. It is a certainty for the moment.

    Whether one’s research interests are philosophical, qualitative, mixed methods, quantitative, or any other approaches, the key is to be open-minded. To employ a qualitative or quantitative approach, there are specific procedures that need to be pursued. Everyone has a bias—we are human. We cannot, however, allow those predispositions to guide how we do our work. For instance, when interviewing people, one can structure the process for the answer that is wanted since the correct response is already known; or one can structure the questions for an unbiased answer that allows people to provide a true and open reply. Using a more quantitative example, one can have people look at examples that will yield the correct answer wanted, or one can provide examples that are open enough so that individuals can reply in any direction. When carried out appropriately, one may well come to the end of the research with findings that indicate an initial perspective might have been correct or incorrect. Our goal is to understand that there are several possible results, and we must have the background to see them. It does not matter if we look at situations behaviorally, constructively, ecologically, cognitively, situationally, or most anyway. Our personal biases need to be avoided. In fact, if we are open to any possible response, this might be the strongest way to examine anything. Every approach lends an understanding to what we are investigating.

    There are differences in how we move forward. When operating in a qualitative mode, the involvement needs to be for an extensive period. This allows time to understand what you are looking at and its meaning to the people involved. In fact, as many of you know, normally we check with the people or group we are working with regarding our understanding of what we think we saw. Saying that “we observed something five times or spoke to five different people for an hour, and here is what we know” is not research of any kind. It might be a good thing for a newspaper or a public journal article. We can go from many results to theories or have theories that then can be examined. Regardless of the direction of the research, we must be open to any response, not just what we want to hear to reinforce our own belief. As I stated previously, in the end, all of us must be willing to admit that our perspectives or anticipated results may have been incorrect. Frankly, I find this approach is a huge challenge, but I continue to work on it. It is very personal, even though it is professional work, because these concepts may be things we have believed for quite a long period.

    Those of us who have been reviewers may well have seen papers that from beginning to end were headed to a specific result, which of course the authors found. The question would then be, could we have gotten different results from the research done in a different way? We must examine everything openly, with a willingness to change with new data. As the host of the new Cosmos program said, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe it” (Tepper, 2014). That is not always easy!

    Please do not make a transfer to our country’s politics today! However, we have a diversity of so many different publication sources. This variety is a good thing, although it also can be bad news depending on how we handle it. My concern is that in music education, we seem to be getting isolated. We may even present a study with almost all reference materials coming from one or two journals (Price & Hancock, 2017). Now, depending on what your work is, there might be a best source or two, but there are so many possibilities in and outside of music that may also be helpful. Until we look further for information, we may well be missing important findings. In my view, it is unfortunate that sometimes music educators and music psychologists do not know of or cite the research by other scholars. Honestly, I think music educators are a bit more open, but we all still need to expand our perspectives. For instance, there is one conference where music educators and music psychologists attend. Sadly, these two groups barely interact, except for some of the sessions they all attend. How silly!

    We need to try to read more broadly, go to a wider array of conferences, and expand the sources where we submit our works for presentation or publication. Breadth, for us, leads to greater knowledge, additional interests, and growth in many directions. I have no magic formula, but I can hope that, with time, the receptivity of colleagues in psychology, education, and music will increase, as will our knowledge. Why not?

    In my undergraduate days, our professor had us each read a research study and summarize its “essential point”; this task was also done with a graduate class. Even though as undergraduates we were not trained in research or statistical skills, the resultant brief summaries were excellent. With no research background, we were able to give correct and important summative points about the articles. Interestingly, these summaries were similar to those the graduate students produced. However, there was one difference: The graduates were more likely to turn in typewritten summaries versus handwritten reports.

    It is interesting that even today we have colleagues who say, “Research is too complicated for our undergraduates.” I would argue that there is no reason not to discuss research in many of our undergraduate classes, whether about elementary music, choral or instrumental techniques, class management, or conducting work. The key is that our undergraduates will start to understand that there is research they can learn from immediately. Those among you who are doing this, please encourage our wonderful colleagues to include findings in their undergraduate teaching. We can do this immediately.

    When I worked on my theses a long, long time ago, it was hand-typed. However, the analysis could be done either by hand or on a mainframe computer. Given that some of you have not ever dealt with this, I’ll give you an overview. You had to put everything on cards that were then read by the machine. Sometime later, you could go and get your analysis or find out that there were errors, fix them and resubmit, fix them and resubmit, fix them and resubmit until finally it was correct. A little while later, the dissertation could be typed into the computer, but you still needed cards to set up formatting, check spelling or whatever you needed done to the text, in addition to submitting- ting the cards for data and their analyses. The blue text that came out of the machine was even accepted for the final dissertation document. When everything was going on, I was also participating in research efforts with my major professor. In addition to all we learn from each other, having to get far into the data to understand our analyses and how the items function is tremendously instructive.

    I wonder if we have lost something by not having to do any qualitative or quantitative analysis by hand anywhere in our careers. There is a depth of understanding initially that, I think, comes from having to do the mathematics or analysis work, even if it is simple statistical analysis or labeling or seeing how data fit and affect the analyses. What happens if the means were different, or the shape of the data changed, or the standard deviation varied, or the probability level changed? Why do we pick p = .05? Why not .04 or .07? Are we really doing this because we have 5 or 10 fingers?

    Katherine Johnson, whose story was featured in the movie Hidden Figures, was recently interviewed. Johnson was one of the three African American women pioneer mathematicians who worked for NASA in the 1960s. She said, “First you learn how to work the problem, and then you can use the computer” (Lindsey, 2018). It is unbelievable the things we can do today, or have done for us, compared to 25 or even 5 years ago. But the question is, do we know the meaning of our analysis and why we have specific results or how we get the effect size and what it says? Regardless of how we get there, it is important to understand the basic factors in these analyses, not just definitions we get from textbooks or other situations that resulted in our findings. Yes, computers can do most of it, but what do these results really mean, and how did we get here?

    The position of music education research has sometimes been treated well and at other times not, but we need to continue being strong advocates for our field. Things have not changed since before I was involved forever ago. As an example, among NAfME’s online information for this meeting, they listed five “thought-provoking sessions in this year’s conference.” Among those big things there was not one mention of research—in our 2018 Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference. In fairness, maybe one of the five, “Mapping the Route to Publication: Advice from NAfME Journal Editors,” does relate to research, since a couple of the included editors are from our research-sourced journals (NAfME, 2018).

    Finally, as researchers, we know the value of our work and its relation to aspects of music education. Indeed, previously JRME and the other NAfME research journals had a page, written by Ella Wilcox, in Music Educators Journal that described some clear teaching possibilities from some of these journals’ articles. We do not know how well this section functioned, but work like that and other methods of making connections seem like an excellent idea. Of course, this was also the initial goal of Update: Applications of Research in Music Education. Indeed, the promotion of our discipline has happened in many ways, and we need to continue pursuing this activity.

    We now have the plan of combining our meeting with NAfME’s K–12 conferences. Interestingly, this is a return to a previous structure, for those among you who are not aware. It could be positive, if our research community, conference efforts, and successes are not hindered. Would it not be remarkable to be able to hear more music at a music educators conference? How about interacting with all our colleagues, including those who teach in pre-K through 12th grade? We could share the many things we have learned. This could also, more directly, provide the opportunity to learn and hear what our colleagues are focused on and what they would like to know more about. Just like all functional collaborations, everyone can learn, grow, and move forward if it is well organized and people do not try to get political or run the meetings in other directions for other purposes. Think of the chances for interactions that we could all have! The trick is to move with great care and thought about how everyone could benefit.

    When I was more involved with MENC, and now NAfME, promoting our work was (and still is) a lifelong feature that resulted in both good and bad reactions over the years. This, of course, is a personal choice, and the problems created were real, but so were the rewards; indeed, receiving the Senior Researcher Award is the most positive professional experience that I could ever have imagined. We need to promote research and its findings, in our field and other areas, to help people understand the importance of what we do, the foci, the values, and the relevancy.

    Again, I need to thank the previous recipients of this award. Several of them have said that we do research because we enjoy it (Geringer, 2000; Leblanc, 1992; Reimer, 2008; Sims, 2016). The pleasure that we get out of doing research is the single largest internal variable functioning for us (Leblanc & McCrary, 1990). Many of us are intellectually curious and want to further understand situations. The style or type of research is not the key! There is no point in talking about the correct theoretical, applied, or developing ideas, or quantitative or qualitative approaches, or whatever the nature of the work. Regardless of what we believe in, the key is the pleasure that the research approach gives us and the need for being open to many ideas. All research provides learning, understanding, and enlightenment. As one of my mentors, Cornella Yarbrough (personal communication, March 3, 2018), said, “Research is my performance medium.” How we go about it is our own personal choice.

    All of you here today are friends, colleagues, or interested individuals who care about music education and research. It does not matter where we work—all of us were or are teachers in general music; elementary, middle, or high school orchestras; band or choir directors; or teachers of music theory or appreciation. Everything in music education is consequential. You care about music and helping people learn about it, and that makes you special. My respect for you is immeasurable. There are so many other things in life that many of you could pursue, but instead, you are involved with teaching and learning music. Understanding how we can pursue this better through a knowledge of research findings is our goal. In this regard, I both thank you and admire you more than you can ever know.

    I will end with the measure conductor Jeremy Zander uses to know whether people are focused and enjoying themselves: It is by the number of folks whose eyes are shining. I hope some of you smiled or lit up at some point in this talk. We are all so fortunate for the music we love and what we get to do!

  • KSU Music 3rd Overall at 2018
    Kennesaw, GA (May 23, 2018)–– The Kennesaw State University School of Music was well-represented at the 2018 Southeast Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference (SERTEC) hosted by Florida State University in Tallahassee this May. The Kennesaw State Tuba/Euphonium quartet was invited to compete in SERTEC’s quartet competitions against students from Columbus State, Valdosta State, Southern Mississippi, Miami, Michigan, Florida, and Florida State Universities. Kennesaw State’s quartet won 3rd place overall, only placing behind the quartets from Miami and Florida State. The Kennesaw State Tuba/Euphonium Quartet features Andrew Berry (sophomore) and Mike Long (junior) on euphonium, and Nick Collins (freshman) and Kobe Greene (freshman) on tuba. In addition to the quartet’s success, Andrew Berry (sophomore) also won a finalist spot in the very competitive Euphonium Solo Artist Competition. Mr. Berry was one of six finalists in that category, which included graduate and undergraduate students from around the region.

    Next, the members of the KSU Tuba/Euphonium studio will compete to earn performance and semi-finalist spots at the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference next May in Iowa City, Iowa.


    Originally published by the National Association for Music Education at Click here to view the original story.

    KSU Music Dr. Harry Price Researcher Award 2018

    RESTON, VA (April 9, 2018)—The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is pleased to present Dr. Harry Price as the sixteenth recipient of the Senior Researcher Award. The award, which recognizes significant, long-term scholarship in music education, was given to Dr. Price at NAfME’s Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference, which took place in March in Atlanta, Georgia.

    “Harry joins a distinguished group of leaders in music education—leaders who produced, and in most cases continue to produce, significant scholarship over long periods of time,” said James L. Byo, Carl Prince Matthies Professor of Music at Louisiana State University, who introduced Price as the recipient of the Senior Researcher Award at the conference in Atlanta. “Harry’s record, spanning four decades, features research that is both rigorous and focused. It also features important service to the music education discipline that, if not unparalleled, is likely unsurpassed.”

    For 35 years, Dr. Price’s research has been published in several journals, including the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education (CRME); Psychology of Music; International Journal of Music Education (IJME); Research Studies in Music Education, and more. His first publication, “The Effect of Conductor Academic Task Presentation, Conductor Reinforcement, and Ensemble Practice on Performers’ Musical Achievement, Attentiveness, and Attitude,” was published in the Journal of Research in Music Education (JRME) in 1983. Since then, he has written 18 articles for that publication alone.

    Dr. Price has introduced his research more than 100 times in various venues, from NAfME’s own Music Research and Teacher Education National Conferences to the International Symposium for Research in Music Behavior. His research has taken him across the country and abroad, to countries including Spain, Portugal, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Finland, Canada, Argentina, Chile, and Australia.

    “It is likely that the course of research and learning through research in music education
    has been altered because of the scholarly contributions of Dr. Harry Price.”

    “Dr. Price’s writings span a range of research questions, yet never lose their focus on aiming to contribute to the improvement of teachers and teacher education,” said Michael J. Blakeslee, NAfME’s Executive Director and CEO. “Dr. Price’s findings have been a foundation for authors pursuing similar research, and his articles continue to influence today’s research in music education. We are delighted to present Dr. Price with this esteemed award, and hope his research continues to benefit generations of educators to come.”

    Dr. Price began his career as a high school band director in Chamblee, GA, before earning a Master’s Degree at Florida State University. He was then an Assistant Director of Bands at the University of South Carolina from 1976-1978, before earning his Doctorate at Syracuse University. Since 1981, he has been a professor of music education at various universities. Currently, he is Professor of Music History and Music Appreciation at Kennesaw State University’s School of Music. Dr. Price served as the editor of the JRME from 1994-2000; three terms on the Music Education Research Council of NAfME (then known as MENC); as editorial committee member for JRME; and as advisory committee member for CRME. Internationally, he held various leadership roles in ISME, and is a past and present member of the IJME editorial board. Dr. Price is currently working on the new journal development board for the Jazz Education Network.

    In “the words of another nominator, who sums it up well,” concluded Byo at the Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference, “‘although the totality of his influence and reach may never be known, it is likely that the course of research and learning through research in music education has been altered because of the scholarly contributions of Dr. Harry Price.’”


    National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers. The Association orchestrates success for millions of students nationwide and has supported music educators at all teaching levels for more than a century. With more than 60,000 members, the organization is the national voice of music education in the United States.


    Story by NAfME | April 9, 2018
    For information about becoming a KSU School of Music Student, please visit our website.

  • Originally published by ArtsATL at Click here to view the original story.


    On Monday evening, flutist Todd Skitch performed in a recital of music by Taffanel, C.P.E Bach, Gaubert, Reinecke and Liebermann with Robert Henry as collaborative pianist at Morgan Concert Hall, in Kennesaw State University’s Bailey Performance Center. Skitch, a flutist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, is an artist in residence at the university, and Henry is director of piano studies and assistant professor of music there. The free concert was simultaneously streamed live over the Internet.

    It proved a pleasantly enjoyable, emotionally positive concert for what had been an overcast, on-and-off drizzly day that couldn’t make up its mind about which season it was in, hanging on to a vestige of winter misery. But this recital brightened up that mood. Across its compass, Skitch’s playing exhibited a lower register with well-rounded tone that was not hollow, a vibrantly singing middle register and an upper register that was bright and clear but not in the least bit shrill.

    Skitch plays a mid-1980s solid silver flute made by renowned American flute-maker Jack Moore. His accomplice for the evening, Robert Henry, has long proven himself a fine collaborative pianist, and demonstrated well his skill at bringing important singing lines in his part to the fore without overshadowing Skitch’s flute.

    The mostly sunny repertoire list was like a connoisseur’s menu for flute fans. While the composers represented are overall not in the Who’s Who of names among more general classical music mavens, they are well-recognized hit-makers within the devoted inner circles of classical flutedom; all of the five works on the program are well-established within the core of flute repertoire.

    Skitch and Henry opened the program with “Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino” by 19th-century French flutist and composer Paul Taffanel. Taffanel was considered the foremost flutist of his time and is credited with founding the French school of flute playing, which was the dominant influence on composition and performance style for the instrument over much of the 20th century. “Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino” was written in 1907, the year before Taffanel’s death at age 64. He dedicated it to Philippe Gaubert, one of his students and another distinguished French flutist and composer of flute music, whose “Fantaisie” Skitch and Henry would play later to close the recital’s first half.

    In between, Skitch returned to the stage alone to play a piece for unaccompanied flute, the Sonata in A minor, H562, by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788). C.P.E. Bach, one of the many sons of J.S. Bach, is perhaps best known for his vast number of works for keyboard instruments, but he is also a favorite of flutists. His expansive catalog of works includes six extant flute concertos, another 10 lost to history, and 22 flute sonatas, many with “basso continuo” (keyboard and a bass instrument), but this one written for “flauto traverso solo senza basso” — unaccompanied. Unhurried in his performance, Skitch effectively brought out the moments of implied secondary voices in the music.

    After a brief intermission, Skitch and Henry opened the second half with the most substantial work on the program, the Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 167 (“Sonata Undine”) by Carl Reinecke, a Danish-born 19th-century German composer, conductor and pianist who was a contemporary of Taffanel. Although 20 years older, he outlived the French flutist by a couple of years. Reinecke is best remembered today for composing this sonata, but was overall a highly visible and influential musician and teacher in his day. Among his students were composers Edvard Grieg, Leoš Janáček, Isaac Albéniz and Max Bruch.

    Although inspired by the fairy-tale novella Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, about a water sprite, Reinecke’s sonata is not programmatic music, but he does capture a water-like character without the heavy deliberateness of tone painting. Skitch and Henry were able to render well that fluid quality in their performance.

    For the final work of the evening, Skitch turned to another unaccompanied work, this time by a living composer: Lowell Liebermann’s “Soliloquy for Solo Flute” (1993). Its opening theme imparted an initial feeling of mystery, and its overall character is one of refined lyricism. Liebermann is more of a traditionalist than innovator, but his music is appealing. It seems to also suit Skitch’s playing and temperament very well, with the final note of the work hanging peacefully in the air before dissolving into a calm, contemplative silence.


    Mark Gresham writes about classical and post-classical music. A composer and conductor as well as a journalist, he co-founded the monthly publication Chorus! in 1989 and edited it through 1995. A selection of his interviews from the magazine was published in 1997 as a book Choral Conversations. He has written for NewMusicBox, Where Atlanta and Creative Loafing, among others. In Gresham 2003 won an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award for music journalism.

    Story by Mark Gresham | March 28, 2018
    For information about the KSU School of Music, please visit our website.

  • KSU Music Dr. Laurence Sheer Featured on Performance Today
    A 2014 composition by Dr. Laurence Sherr, Kennesaw State University Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music, was featured on the October 3, 2017 broadcast of American Public Media’s program Performance Today. Dr. Sherr has dedicated his career to sharing the musical history of the Holocaust and is active as a composer of Holocaust remembrance music, lecturer on Holocaust music topics, producer of remembrance events, and Holocaust music educator.

    Dr. Sherr’s work most recently featured on Performance Today is 'Myr zaynen do!’ (We are here!), a sonata for cello and piano that borrows melodies from several Jewish resistance songs from the partisans, ghettos, and camps.

    The recording broadcast on October 3 was recorded at the Red Lodge Music Festival in Red Lodge, MT and features cellist Karen Becker and pianist Jay Mauchley.


    Click to listen



    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. 
  • From Atlanta Freedom Bands’ press release:

    “Roots & Branches” Concert to Celebrate African-American Culture in Music and Premiere a New Work

    Atlanta, GA (March 20, 2017)–– Exciting and interesting works fill the program of Atlanta Freedom Bands’ upcoming concert, “Roots & Branches”, as the musicians celebrate the influences of African-American culture in music. The program spans the decades from works from ragtime to the blues to jazz to classical to modern pieces. The evening even has a splash of Motown hits both for history and for fun!

    KSU Music Atanta Freedom Bands KSU Student Composer

    The concert, the second in Atlanta Freedom Bands’ 24th performance season, also features the premiere of a new work by Connor Sullivan, music student at Kennesaw State University. He is taking part in Atlanta Freedom Bands’ second Student Composer Residency in which the band invites local student composers to provide a work for the band to present to the public.

    “Roots & Branches” takes place Saturday, March 25, at 8 PM, at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, located at 1026 Ponce de Leon Ave NE.

    “The audience will experience a wide a variety of sounds, styles, and textures,” explained AFB Development Director Cliff Norris. “The concert features early African-American composers such as Scott Joplin and W.C. Handy who set new directions in American music. They are joined by great artists like Duke Ellington and William Grant Still who broke new ground in jazz and classical music. And, the concert has contemporary works by living composers who are still influencing music today.

    Tickets for the concert are $15 for general admission, $10 for students, and $5 for seniors and are available from AFB will also have interesting features on the composers and their works on its Facebook page in the days leading to the concert: A reception follows the concert.

    “Roots & Branches” is supported in part by the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. AFB has received funding from the city for all of its 23rd season performances. Funding for this program is also provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council.

    KSU-Music-Connor Sullivan-Freedom Bands
    Connor Sullivan

    Connor R. Sullivan is a Music Performance major at Kennesaw State University. As part of the Euphonium and Trombone studio, he studies under Dr. Paul Dickinson, Dr. Martin Cochran and Mr. Nathan Zgonc and has studied under Mr. Bernard H. Flythe for many years before college. Mr. Sullivan has performed with many professional and Semi-professional groups, including the Atlanta Wind Symphony, the Georgia Brass Band, the Symphony Without Borders, the Honor Band of America, and the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony, where he had the opportunity to perform at the renowned Carnegie Hall with guest soloist George Curran. At Kennesaw State University, Connor is an active participant of the Wind Ensemble, Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Trombone Choir, Euphonium Quartet and has also performed with the Symphony Orchestra on multiple occasions.

    Mr. Sullivan pursues composition as a musical hobby, writing music ever since the 7th grade. His compositions range from full Wind Ensemble to solo piano, brass ensemble, and various other ensembles. He is also an active arranger, having the opportunity to arrange music for various ensembles such as the KSU Marching Band Brass, the KSU Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, the KSU Euphonium Quartet, and many other groups. His piece, entitled Duphonium (for Euphonium duet and wind band), has been performed on multiple occasions with world- renowned Euphonium soloist Adam Frey, such as at the International Tuba-Euphonium Festival at Emory University and the annual University of Alabama Honor Band Festival. His brass quintet piece, entitled Race, won the GMEA composition competition in 2014 and was performed at the annual conference in Savannah, GA the same year. Mr. Sullivan has enjoyed performing and writing music for many years and looks forward to making it his career.

    About the Piece

    THE FINAL DESCENT is a piece of music that was written somewhat backwards. Typically, a composer has a reason to write a piece, with a title in mind, then finishes the compositional process. In this piece, that was not the case. When I was told around December 2016 about the Atlanta Freedom Band’s next concert (entitled Roots and Branches, dealing with African- American/African culture/composers) and their search for a student composer, I had two things in mind: heavy percussion and brass domination (as far as orchestration, that is). In my mind, music relating to the African style is very percussive and exciting (thus the brass) – I hope that is portrayed well in the music. When writing The Final Descent, I wanted to keep those two things consistent, while still having leeway to write music that was in my head. While keeping the compositional process to its purest form by not being “bound” by a title or theme, I was able to write naturally-inspired music. Since December 2016, it all came together quite easily and quickly, with very few edits to the music since the first draft. A title was added to the music in February and the final music was passed out to the musicians. With just a title and no story behind the title, I feel that the interpretation of the music is up to the listeners. That, I believe, is the purest form of music and is the best way for the audience to appreciate music. – Connor R. Sullivan

    About Atlanta Freedom Bands

    Atlanta Freedom Bands (AFB) represents Atlanta’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community through music. Atlanta Freedom Bands started in 1993 with a marching band, which has appeared in every Atlanta Pride parade since as well as numerous neighborhood festivals, community events, and pride events in other cities. AFB was also the first LGBT-identified group to perform in Atlanta’s “Salute to America” Independence Day Parade, as well as the first to perform during an Olympic event.

    AFB has expanded its mission over the years to include several different groups. The MetroGnomes jazz ensemble appears at fundraising events and other gatherings. The Atlanta Freedom Concert Band, now in its eleventh year, has professional direction from Dr. Kathleen Nicole Fallin, Ph.D. Music Education from the University of Georgia. AFB’s newest group, the Color Guard, adds panache to the band’s outdoor performances, parades and even concerts.

    AFB members have traveled the country and the world to perform in events with other LGBT musicians through the Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA). AFB has sent musicians to Gay Games events in Amsterdam, Sydney, Chicago and Cologne; the inauguration of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; the 2000 March for Equality on Washington; the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade; the Southern Decadence Parade and yearly LGBA conferences and gatherings. AFB hosted the 2013 LGBA annual conference, featuring the commissioning of a new work, a 200- piece massed-band concert with members of 32 different bands on stage, and the largest-ever marching unit to appear in the Atlanta Pride parade. AFB is a 501 c(3) non-profit arts organization.


    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.
  • Originally published in The Atlanta Journal Constitution and Click here to view the original story.

    KSU MUSIC largest music therapy Amber Weldon Stephens

    Fulton schools boast largest music therapy program in the nation

    Since founding Fulton County Schools’ music therapy program, Amber Weldon-Stephens has become the program director, internship director and president-elect of the American Music Therapy Association.

    Atlanta, GA (February 9, 2017)–– “Music is the thing that can make the difference,” said Amber Weldon-Stephens, who has made a career of using music to help special-needs students in Fulton County.

    Clayton County was the only school district in Georgia that offered music therapy when Weldon-Stephens, a 22-year-old University of Georgia graduate, finished her internship in 1990. She hoped to replicate in Fulton what existed in Clayton: two music therapists and an intern. In 1991, Fulton approved funding to start a music therapy program with Weldon-Stephens at the helm.

    For the first five years of the program, she was Fulton’s only music therapist, traveling to 13 schools a week. Today, Fulton has 15 music therapists and four interns, making it the largest music therapy program in the nation. About 1,500 students across 73 Fulton schools participate in music therapy each week.

    “Never did I have any kind of vision that we would get any bigger than hiring more than one other music therapist,” said Weldon-Stephens. “It does not look at all like I thought it was going to look.”

    In Fulton, music therapists serve students with intellectual disabilities, autism, physical disabilities, communicative disorders and behavioral disorders. They lead students in song, playing instruments and dancing to develop students’ social behavior, motor skills, academic performance and musicality. A student may work on gripping objects, reading facial expressions and solving equations in a single session.

    “We touch it all, that’s the joy,” said Weldon-Stephens. “We don’t land on any particular (therapeutic domain), we get to do all of them. Sweet!”

    Co-workers at Weldon-Stephens’ home school, Sweet Apple Elementary, call her “the little engine that could.” Since founding Fulton’s program, she has become the program director, internship director and president-elect of the American Music Therapy Association. On Monday nights, she teaches at Kennesaw State University. She has twice been her school’s Teacher of the Year and still works with students.

    “I still love singing with the kids,” she said. “I say all the time that I’m the most overeducated person who sits on the floor with a guitar.”

    Roy Joyner joined FCS as a music therapist in 1998. He travels to four schools a week, guitar in hand, and serves about 130 special-needs children. He loves seeing his students light up when he arrives.

    “I’m sure my dancing isn’t too good, but the kids don’t care,” said Joyner. “I’m just the guy bringing music to them.”

    Joyner has created a long list of instructional songs over his 19 years in Fulton. Some student favorites are “Days of the Week,” sung to The Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week,” and “Bust a Mood,” rapped to the melody of Young MC’s “Bust a Move.” During “Bust a Mood,” Joyner shows pictures of faces on an iPad to students and asks them to match expressions with moods: “happy” to a smiling face, for example.

    “Whatever it takes to reach them, that’s what I’m going to do,” said Joyner.

    Students in music therapy sessions run the gamut of physical, emotional and cognitive spectrums. Physically, students may use a wheelchair and be under the full-time care of a physician. Emotionally, students may be schizophrenic or bipolar. Cognitively, a goal for a student might be to simply stay awake during instruction. Each student’s severity of need varies widely, which means no two classes are alike. Weldon-Stephens thinks that’s half the fun.

    “Their little behaviors — the things they do and don’t do — they’re all such little pickles, and yet I love them,” she said.

    The music therapists take notes on every student, every session. Each student has personalized goals that a team of music therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists help them achieve. Some schools also offer adapted physical education and art classes.

    Three districts in Georgia, Fulton, Clayton and Atlanta Public Schools have a music therapist on staff, but Weldon-Stephens hopes more districts will adopt music therapy.

    Fulton County Schools has groomed more than 90 interns since adding the internship program in 1998. Internship hours are required for a music therapy license and often for music therapy degree programs.

    The uniqueness of special-needs students is why Fulton’s internship program is essential, Joyner said.

    Noting that there is no substitute for experience, he said, “You can’t role play kids.”

    Weldon-Stephens’ career as a music therapist has spanned almost three decades, and she’s seen a lot in that time. She’s been bitten, kicked and spat on. Once, a student even broke her jaw. But she says she wouldn’t do anything else.

    “I still really want to keep doing it. I’m still impressed by what music does.”

    For information about becoming a KSU School of Music Student, please visit our website.


    Story by Will Robinson | Atlanta Journal Constitution



    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.
  • KSU Music News Education Students Receive National Scholarships
    Atlanta, GA (February 9, 2017)–– Two Kennesaw State University School of Music students were selected by the Georgia American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) to receive national student scholarships to attend the 2017 National ACDA Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The two choral music education students, Christina Vehar and Marielle Reed, were selected from a very competitive pool by ACDA officers in four states. Christina is past president of the KSU student ACDA chapter and currently student teaching at Ford Elementary School. Marielle is the current president of the KSU ACDA chapter and a junior. Both award recipients are attending their first national conference and will be proudly representing the state of Georgia and Kennesaw State University.

    Click here for more information about Music Education at KSU

    Above: Christina Vehar (left) and Marielle Reed (right) each received national student scholarships to attend the 2017 National ACDA Conference.

  • KSU Music Student Pursues Theater-Dreams in-New York
    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.

    KSU Music Student Pursues Theater Dreams in New York 2
    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.


    Originally published on AJC’s Atlanta Life and Culture Blog. Click here to view the original story
    For information about becoming a KSU School of Music Student, please visit our website.

    Story by Jewel Wicker | Atlanta Journal Constitution

  • Atlanta, GA (September 26, 2016)–– Two Kennesaw State University School of Music students, Joshua Anderson and Foster Simmons, were recently named winners of Atlanta Steinway Society’s Annual Scholarships. On Sunday, September 18, 2016, the Atlanta Steinway Society held its annual Scholarship Award Recital in Kellett Chapel at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA featuring performances by each winner. Joshua performed J.S. Bach’s French Suite No. 5 in G Major (Gigue, BWV 816, VII) and Foster performed Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 3, No. 2.

    KSU Music Students Win Atlanta Steinway Society Scholarships
    KSU School of Music student and Atlanta Steinway Society scholarship award winner, Joshua Anderson.

    Joshua is a freshman enrolled in Kennesaw State University’s Dual Enrollment Honors Program studying Piano Performance with Dr. Robert Henry. Joshua began music lessons when he was five years old and has competed in and won several competitions since. Competition achievements include winner of the “Cherokee’s Got Talent” youth competition, second place in the “Cherokee’s Got Talent” adult competition, Outstanding Performer at the GMTA local and regional competition levels, and Honorable Mention at the GMTA state competition level. In addition to Piano Performance, Joshua plans to double-major in Electrical Engineering.

    KSU Music Foster Simmons Win Atlanta Steinway Society Scholarships

    KSU School of Music student and Atlanta Steinway Society scholarship award winner, Foster Simmons.

    Foster is the recipient of the 2016 Atlanta Steinway Society Endowed Scholarship and is currently a sophomore studying Music Education (Bachelor of Music) with Dr. Robert Henry, Artist-in-Residence in Piano and Steinway Artist. Foster has competed in and won several District and State piano competitions. In addition to piano, Foster is also a percussionist. Foster hopes to one day teach as a high school band director.

    Congratulations, Josh and Foster!

    For more information about the Atlanta Steinway Society, please visit their website.

  • 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.

    KSU Music Wind Ensemble Collaborates with Composers

    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.

    KSU Music Wind Ensemble Collaborates with Composers Photo 2

    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.
  • Kennesaw, GA (August 16, 2016)–– The KSU School of Music held its annual Fall semester student convocation today in Morgan Concert Hall welcoming students, faculty, and staff back to campus for the start the 2016-17 academic year.

    Following a welcome and introduction by School of Music Director Dr. Stephen Plate, today’s meeting kicked off with a special performance featuring Senior Music Education student Mark Fucito performing Rudolf Haken’s Serenade for a Flugelhorn and Piano accompanied by KSU collaborative pianist Judy Cole.

    As of the beginning of this semester, the School of Music is home to a total of 243 students, including 66 new music majors and 8 new music minors beginning school this semester. Of these students, 13% are pursuing Bachelor of Arts in Music (B.A.) degrees, 51% are pursuing Bachelor of Music in Music Education (B.M.) degrees, and 39% are pursuing Bachelor of Music Performance (B.M.) degrees.

    View the all the photos from the welcoming students, faculty, and staff back to campus for the start the 2016-17 academic year.

    In addition to new students, the School of Music also welcomes several new faculty and staff members beginning this academic year:

    • Stephanie Adrian, Part-Time Assistant Professor of Voice
    • Andrew Brady, Artist-in-Residence in Bassoon
    • Anna Dodd, Artist-in-Residence in Horn
    • Tyrone Jackson, Lecturer in Jazz Piano
    • Rob Opitz, Artist-in-Residence in Jazz Trumpet
    • Cecilia Price, Part-time Assistant Professor of Music
    • Christopher Thibdeau, Limited Term Assistant Professor of Music Education
    • Luke Weathington, Artist-in-Residence in Saxophone
    • Nathan Zgonc, Artist-in-Residence in Trombone
    • Erik Kosman, Technical Coordinator
    • Shawn Rieschl Johnson, Operations Manager

    In an exciting announcement, Professor John Lawless (Director of Percussion Studies) unveiled a new set of Adams Timpani. Lawless described this exciting addition to the School of Music’s instrument inventory saying “These timpani would be at home on stage with the world’s greatest orchestras, and now we have a set. These drums will fundementally change the sound of each performing ensemble using them!” The School of Music will also be upgrading several practice rooms with the addition of seven new Boston upright pianos.


    Kennesaw, GA (August 6, 2016)–– The National String Project Consortium has received a $4,250 grant award from the The D'Addario Foundation that will go towards supporting the Kennesaw State University String Project. This most recent grant award continue’s the D’Addario Foundation’s support of the KSU String Project who previously awarded the KSU program a $10,000 grant in 2015.

    The KSU String Project also recently announced that Mr. Christopher Thibdeau, KSU School of Music Interim Assistant Professor of Music Education, will take over the KSU String Project as director for the 2016-17 school year.

    For more information about the KSU String Project, visit the KSU String Project website.

    About the KSU String Project

    The Kennesaw State University String Project began in the Fall of 2012. The program, a member of the National String Project Consortium, is sponsored by the KSU School of Music and provides an opportunity for 4th and 5th grade students to receive instruction on the violin, viola, cello, or double bass. In addition, the String Project provides KSU’s undergraduate music education students the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on teaching experience under the supervision of a master teacher and their university professor.

    The KSU String Project currently serves two host sites: Pitner Elementary School in Acworth, Georgia and the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics, a Marietta City Schools magnet school for grades 3-5.  The KSU String Project now serves nearly 110 students and with 14 KSU String Education majors gaining experience as teachers and teacher assistants.

    About the National String Project Consortium

    The National String Project Consortium (NSPC) is a coalition of String Project sites based at colleges and universities across the United States. The NSPC is dedicated to increasing the number of children playing stringed instruments and addressing the critical shortage of string teachers in the US. The NSPC is affiliated with businesses, foundations, professional music organizations, and individuals who support these goals.

    The NSPC supports the creation and growth of String Projects at universities across the country. These String Projects provide practical hands-on training for undergraduate string education majors during their college years, and give children the opportunity to study a stringed instrument.

    The Consortium was originally formed in 1998 under the auspices of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). It is now an independent non-profit organization working together with ASTA and other music organizations to serve string education and string development across the United States.

  • Album titled “Chinese Rap” includes commissioned piece commemorating KSU professor’s tenure

    KSU-MusicAlbum-titled-Chinese Rap-Composer-Chen Yi
    Kennesaw, GA (June 16, 2016)–– The Kennesaw State University School of Music has released an album featuring music by Chinese composer Chen Yi performed by Kennesaw State students and faculty. Officially released on June 10, 2016 by classical music label Centaur Records, the album was recorded on campus in Morgan Concert Hall and is the first commercial recording released by the School of Music. In partnership with the School of Music, the KSU Confucius Institute, an organization that aims to promote Chinese language, education, and cultural exchanges, provided significant support for producing the album.

    The project began in 2014 when Chen Yi made a special visit to KSU as the featured guest composer for the School of Music’s annual Kennesaw State Festival of New Music. During her visit, the composer participated in master classes and seminars and spent time working with students, including coaching rehearsals with student ensembles performing her compositions.

    Born in China in 1953, Chen Yi studied music composition at the Central Conservatory in Beijing before earning her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Columbia University in New York. Currently serving as Distinguished Professor of Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Dr. Chen is known internationally as a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions transcending cultural and musical boundaries.

    The name of the album, Chinese Rap, is taken from the title of the disc’s opening track featuring Helen Kim, associate professor of violin, as soloist with the KSU Symphony Orchestra. This special piece, officially titled “Chinese Rap for Violin and Orchestra,” was commissioned by the KSU School of Music to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Kim joining the faculty at Kennesaw State.

    Describing the piece, Dr. Chen says, “The work is inspired by Chinese folk musical story telling, Quyi, in a form of mixed reciting and singing style, with interludes played by percussion and plucking instruments in accompaniment… The melodies are delicate and leisurely, and the rhythmic parts are energetic, vivid and lively. There are big contrasts between sections, which are juxtaposed and connected smoothly and congenially.”

    In addition to the commissioned piece, the album also features works performed by student ensembles and faculty. The KSU Chamber Singers perform selections from the composer’s 1994 work “A Set of Chinese Folksongs, Vol. 1” including Fengyang Song, Flowing Stream, and Diu Diu Deng. Violinist Helen Kim is featured again later on the album performing “Romance & Dance for Violin and Piano” along with Robert Henry, KSU pianist and artist-in-residence. The next track features Chen Yi’s exciting work “Tu for Wind Ensemble” which was originally written in 2002 for symphony orchestra but was arranged for band in 2004 and performed by the KSU Wind Ensemble for this release. Closing the album is a live recording of Dr. Chen’s 1998 orchestral work Momentum performed by the KSU Symphony Orchestra.

    The album is now available for digital purchase and streaming from most major online music services, including Apple iTunes. Physical copies of the album on CD are available from most major online retainers, including HB Direct (, ArkivMusic (, and Amazon (


    KSU Music Composer Laurence Sherr Tours New Zealand for Sonata Premiere
    Kennesaw, GA (May 20, 2016)–– In April and May 2016, Dr. Laurence Sherr, Kennesaw State University School of Music Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music, travelled to several cities in New Zealand and Australia for the Australasian premieres of his work Sonata for Cello and Piano–Mir zaynen do! (“We are here”). The premiered work integrates Holocaust songs from the partisans, ghettos, and camps with newly composed material.

    Performances of Sherr’s sonata were held at St Andrew’s on The Terrace in Wellington, NZ, University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music in Hamilton, NZ, Dilworth School and Auckland Hebrew Congregation in Auckland, NZ, and the Nickson Room at the University of Queensland School of Music Brisbane, Australia.

    In addition to these performances, Dr. Sherr’s visit also included several guest lecture presentations. Sherr’s lecture topics included “Remembering the Silenced Voices of Holocaust Song Creators: Weaving Songs of Resistance and Survival into a New Cello Sonata,” “Music at Auschwitz: Aid to Survival or Dehumanizing Degradation?,” and “Suppressed Music and Art during the Nazi Era.” His lectures and presentations took place at the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand, the New Zealand School of Music, and the locations above.

    LISTEN: Dr. Sherr discusses the sonata premieres and lectures on Radio New Zealand’s Upbeat program

    Sherr is active as a composer of Holocaust remembrance music, lecturer on Holocaust music topics, producer of remembrance events, and Holocaust music educator. In addition to his visit to New Zealand, past performances and lectures have been given in the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, England, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and North America.

    For more information about the work of Dr. Laurence Sherr, visit his website at


    KSU Music Men’s Ensemble Performs at American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Conference

    Kennesaw, GA (March 30, 2016)–– In a highly competitive process, the KSU School of Music’s Men’s Ensemble was recently chosen to perform at the American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Conference (ACDA) from March 9-11, in Chattanooga, Tenn. This invitation marks the fourth conference performance for the KSU Men’s Ensemble at National, Divisional, and State ACDA since 2013, including performances in Texas, Georgia, and Florida. 

    Leslie J. Blackwell, Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music and Music Education at the School of Music, conducts the Men’s Ensemble. Recognized for her work with men’s voices, Dr. Blackwell served six seasons as the Artistic Director of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, established the annual KSU Male Chorus Day at Kennesaw State University, and is a sought-after conductor for All-State Men’s Chorus throughout the Southeast.

    Stephen Plate, Director of the School of Music, recognized the profound opportunity for the Men’s Ensemble to participate in the ACDA conference. “That the Men’s Ensemble has been selected to perform has created a stir and a sense of accomplishment for all involved. Under the astute leadership of Dr. Blackwell… our choral program continues to grow and expand as we continue to train musical leaders of tomorrow,” he said.

    At the conference in Tennessee, the KSU Men’s Ensemble performed music by Estonian nationalistic composer Veljo Tormis, including Kaksikpuhendus (Diptychon) from Diptych (Double Dedication), Ühte laulu tahaks laulda (I’d Like To Sing A Song), and Meestelaulud (Men’s Songs) including Meeste laul (Men’s Song), Teomehe-laul (Serf’s Song), and Tantsulaul (Dancing Song). “These songs represent a proud musical expression of the Estonian people based on runosongs, an age-old traditional song repertoire, dating back thousands of years,” said Blackwell. Other works performed were Dirait-on by Morten Lauridsen.  Newly published contemporary works by Paul John Rudoi, Cantus, Yonder Come Day and Brian Schmidt’s Kyrie and Gloria from Mass of a Troubled Time concluded the program.

    The 42-member KSU Men’s Ensemble regularly performs an intense concert schedule focusing on a cappella works in a jazz vocal style as well as standard classical literature for men’s voices.  A non-auditioned choir, the Men’s Ensemble is open to all men at KSU.

  • KSU Music Wind Ensemble Performs at Southern Division College Band Directors National Conference
    Kennesaw, GA (March 5, 2016)–– In February 2016, the School of Music’s Wind Ensemble performed at the Southern Division College Band Directors National Conference Convention in Charleston, South Carolina. The Ensemble worked with Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Joseph Schwantner and a new, young composer from the University of Texas at Austin, Andrew Boss.

    The Ensemble was also chosen among eight university wind ensembles from the Southeast United States to perform at this prestigious Conference at the Gaillard Concert Hall in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.  In addition, they were selected to perform as a residence ensemble for a conducting session for the participants of the Conference.

    Director of Bands and Professor of Music, Dr. David Kehler, enjoyed seeing his students work with these composers (Schwantner being a Pulitzer Prize winner).

    “To have one of the world’s most renowned and important living composers, along with a young composer just starting his career, sharing their talents and energy with our students was wonderful. We got to see how those guys interact together and with the students.  The students were magnificent and represented Kennesaw State University well.”

    Schwantner previously served as an in-residence composer for the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic as well as a faculty member at the Eastman School of Music.  KSU music students got the chance to work with Schwantner, who was in-residence at KSU’s School of Music to prepare and premier his piece Luminosity, “Concerto for Wind Ensemble” at the CBDNA Conference in Charleston.

    The Ensemble also premiered Andrew Boss’s piece, entitled Tetelestai, “A Symphony for Wind Ensemble.”  Boss is a Texas composer and a recruitment fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.

    Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at KSU, Dr. Debra Traficante, was a guest conductor for the Wind Ensemble, conducting the students in Rocky Point Holiday, composed by Ron Nelson.  Traficante appreciates the opportunity students had to travel and work with Schwantner and Boss.

    “It’s accurate to say that moments like this are truly once in a lifetime for all parties involved… I am thrilled for the ensemble members that they were granted this well-deserved opportunity, and humbled that I was able to witness and contribute to their growth through the process.”

    In addition to the Southern Division CBDNA, the Wind Ensemble also performed at the John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta, GA and the Bobby Bailey and Family Performance Center on the KSU campus.


    KSU Music Trey Wright Releases Third Album - Songs from Oak Ave
    Kennesaw, GA (March 1, 2016)–– School of Music jazz instructor Trey Wright recently released his third album titled Songs from Oak Avenue. Wright spent nine months co-producing the album with Marlon Patton, who also plays drums on the album.

    “This album came together fairly quickly. It actually happened out of a recital I did here at KSU. I had written several tunes that were acoustic in nature and my trio did a recital of that material. The drummer, Marlon Patton, pulled me aside afterwards and said ‘It would be really cool for you to record these.’ So we did.”

    Recorded at Blue Canoe Records, Marlon’s studio in Tucker, Songs from Oak Avenue draws from an array of inspirations. Each track showcases a different style of jazz, all of which reflect Wright’s diversity as an artist.

    “Everything I’ve done draws from a wide range of things. I’ve always loved all styles of jazz, from traditional to modern to everything in between. I don’t have a desire to put out an album of just your typical jazz standards. I feel like I found a voice as a writer with this project.”

    Although he spent a considerable amount of time perfecting each song, selecting the musicians to feature was simple. Marc Miller and Marlon Patton, who play upright bass and drums on the album, have jammed with Wright since the 1990’s. Sam Skelton, director of Jazz Studies at KSU, and Mace Hibbard, who collaborated with Wright on their jazz group The Hibbard/Wright Project, are both close friends to Wright.

    It is his connection to Kennesaw State University’s School of Music that Wright credits with giving him creative freedom to pursue projects like Songs from Oak Avenue. In addition to teaching and composing on a regular basis, Wright also assisted with KSU’s Jazz Festival on April 30th.

    “The faculty throughout the College of the Arts is all so talented and we all get along. Even as we’ve grown, that sense of community has continued. The enthusiasm that I feel for the music I’ve written carries over into my teaching. I encourage my students to write their own music and to develop their own voice. I think one of the best ways we can instruct our students is through modeling.”

  • KSU School of Music Graduate Earns Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship Award
    Kennesaw, GA (July 7, 2015)–– Katelyn King is already a world traveler, but her recent selection as a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright award will send the Kennesaw State graduate packing for a yearlong study abroad to earn her second master’s degree this fall.

    King is among more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2015-16 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

    In addition to Katelyn, another Kennesaw State graduate, Alyssa Varhol, has been selected to receive the award to study abroad during the 2015-16 academic year. “It’s gratifying to have multiple student Fulbright scholars for the first time in the history of Kennesaw State University,” said Michelle Miles, the honors scholarship advisor in the Honors College.“A single Fulbright recipient is in itself a distinct honor, but for KSU to have two alumnae join next year’s elite scholarship cohort speaks volumes, not only to the students’ respective characters and achievements, but to the dedication of faculty members who have nurtured them along their academic journeys.“

    Recipients of the Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

    King, 23, of Kennesaw, will travel to Bern, Switzerland to study composition and theory in theatrical music at Hochschule derKünste.

    “I hope to become a stage director, someone who can put musical events together on stage to create really unique concert experiences, and be able to insert other art forms into a musical production,” said King, who earned her first master’s degree in music performance from McGill University in Montreal in May.

    Since graduating from Kennesaw State in music performance (percussion) in 2013, King has created a repertoire duo that blends poetry with percussion and projection, or stage performance.

    “This type of performance really means anything as long as there is a considerable amount of speaking involved, in any language, while musical things happen,” she said. “Right now, we are working with a San Diego-based composer who finished writing us a new piece based on Russian futurist poetry.”

    King also created a theatrical trio, Dressage Percussion, which performs historical works in an effort to encourage composers to keep writing within this style. The trio has a mini tour scheduled in China later this summer.

    “The Fulbright gives me enormous confidence to experiment and explore the different avenues that will be available to me once I am in Switzerland,” King said.

    “KSU has laid all the groundwork for my musicianship, performance abilities and dream brainstorming,” King said. “The faculty has always pushed me to do better. They have always supported my dreams, and I’ve always felt able to achieve anything because of my time at KSU.”

    "The Fulbright is one of the most prestigious of international scholarships,” Miles added. “Alyssa and Katelyn are stellar examples of the quality of our students and their considerable potential, particularly when their gifts are met with excellent academic support. We celebrate their success and look forward to their continued accomplishments.”

  • KSU Music Opera star Sherrill Milnes Visits Kennesaw State for Lecture and Masterclass
    Kennesaw, GA (February 27, 2015)–– World-renowned opera performer Sherrill Milnes visited Kennesaw State University on Friday, February 27, 2015 for a public lecture presentation and a master class with KSU School of Music vocal students. This exciting opportunity was possible due to the School of Music’s ongoing partnership with The Atlanta Opera, a goal of which is to bring world-class talent to campus to interact with current music students in educational and performance settings.

    In his public lecture presentation, Milnes shared insights into his life and extensive career. Following the lecture presentation was be a master class for students. Milnes instructed vocal students on a piece of prepared repertoire to improve technique, expression, and other aspects of operatic performance. Milnes’s appearance is part of The Atlanta Opera’s celebration of 35 years of live performances. The Atlanta Opera opened its inaugural season at the Fox Theatre on March 14, 1980 with the first of two performances of The Seagull, by Thomas Pasatieri and based on Anton Chekhov’s 1896 play of the same name. Milnes closed the season with a recital that included some of his most famous work.

    KSU Music Opera star Sherrill Milnes Visits Kennesaw State for Lecture and Masterclass-2
    Widely regarded as being the foremost operatic baritone of his generation, Milnes is the most recorded American opera singer of his time. He boasts a repertoire of over 70 operas with a distinct performance style marked by his powerful voice, commanding stage presence, and rugged handsomeness. He has performed on the world’s most prestigious stages including performances with the major American and European orchestras and has also performed for the past six U.S. presidents.

    In addition to his vast on-stage experience, Milnes has also devoted extensive time to teaching and working with young singers. His academic experience includes 14 years on the Yale School of Music faculty and frequent master classes. He founded the Sherrill Milnes VOICExperience, a non-profit foundation designed to train and mentor young singers through concerts, fully staged operas, educational presentations, and community outreach.

    KSU Music Opera star Sherrill Milnes Visits Kennesaw State for Lecture and Masterclass-3
    About The Atlanta Opera: Founded in 1979, The Atlanta Opera is one of the finest regional opera companies in the nation. By producing live, mainstage performances of the highest quality and impactful community engagement experiences, The Atlanta Opera enriches lives through the power of opera. The Opera strives to attract the finest international, national, and regional singers, conductors, stage directors, and designers. Each season, The Atlanta Opera presents three productions at the Cobb Energy Centre, drawing audiences from the entire metropolitan Atlanta area as well as from the Southeast region.

  • KSU Music Internationally-acclaimed Violinist Midori Visits KSU-4
    Kennesaw, GA (February 20, 2015)–– Internationally-acclaimed violinist Midori visited the Kennesaw State University School of Music today to give a masterclass for School of Music students. Today’s masterclass featured three current undergraduate violin students who prepared pieces of standard repertoire and received instruction and demonstration from Midori on how to improve their performance.

    Widely regarded as one of today’s greatest violinists, Midori gave her debut performance with the New York Philharmonic at the age of 11 and has since developed an extraordinary career as performer, educator, and community engagement activist. Midori is currently visiting Atlanta for a series of concerts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra on February 19 and 21. This exciting opportunity is possible due to an ongoing partnership with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, a goal of which is to bring world-class talent to campus to interact with current music students in educational and performance settings.

    KSU Music Internationally-acclaimed Violinist Midori Visits KSU-2
    KSU Music Internationally-acclaimed Violinist Midori Visits KSU-3
    KSU Music Internationally-acclaimed Violinist Midori Visits KSU-4