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January 2018

Letter from the Director Dear Alumni and Friends of the School of Music, Happy New Year! I hope this finds you healthy and well. I’m very excited about our third issue of Notes. The stories featured in this edition are quite varied and primarily highlight news and events that took place during the 2017 calendar year. The issue also includes several alumni profiles as well as features on three international exchange programs. Similar to last year, 2018 brings many new and exciting opportunities for our students and faculty. On February 15th the Women’s Chorus will perform at the ACDA Central and North Central Division Conference in Chicago. The concert will take place at the Harris Theatre at Millenium Park. The chorus was 1 of 16 choirs selected by audition from 10 states.

College of Fine Arts

Robert A. Kvam, dean Michael O’Hara, associate dean

School of Music Administration

Ryan Hourigan, director Rebecca Braun, assistant to the director Linda Pohly, coordinator of graduate programs in music Kevin Gerrity, coordinator of undergraduate programs in music Keith Sweger, coordinator of undergraduate admissions and scholarships

Advisory Board

Richard Baker Ayriole Frost Michael Gagliardo Craig Gigax Jeffrey Green David Helms Timothy Lautzenheiser Erwin & Barbara Mueller Michelle Oyler Matthew Rooney Cover Photo: In February 2017 the School of Music made its debut at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. The Ball State Symphony Orchestra, combined choirs, and the Indianapolis Children’s Chorus performed Carmina Burana.


On April 8th the School of Music’s Jazz Lab Ensemble and Wind Ensemble will perform alongside the world-renowned brass quintet Canadian Brass at Fort Wayne’s historic Embassy Theatre. We are fortunate to have received support for this concert from Conn-Selmer, the George and Frances Ball Foundation, and Sweetwater and Mynett Music. As a result, student, youth, and alumni tickets are only $5 while adult tickets are $10. We hope many of you will join us for this special event. At the end of July, Ball State will host the 50th International Horn Symposium. Spearheaded by Gene Berger, associate professor of horn, the symposium will feature some of the finest horn players from around the world presenting master classes and recitals in Sursa Performance Hall. The symposium will conclude with a performance by the U.S. Army Field Band in Emens Auditorium. For additional information about the conference, please visit During the 2018-19 academic year the University will celebrate its centennial. As part of the centennial celebration, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will come to campus for two performances on the evening of Saturday, October 13th. The following day will be comprised of a public master class and Q&A session in Sursa Performance Hall. It was wonderful to see so many alumni turn out for our annual IMEA reception in Fort Wayne this past January. We are in the beginning stages of putting together an Alumni Society to help us stay connected with alumni and to offer more networking and professional development opportunities. We will send out an update about the society as it starts to come together. If you have questions or would like to get involved, please email Rebecca Braun at I hope you will continue to stay in touch. All my best wishes for a fruitful and healthy 2018. Sincerely,

Ryan Hourigan Director, School of Music Ball State University

Table of Contents 03 04 05 07 08 09 11

Music Media Production Virtual Instrument Design Japanese Exchange Program Alumnus Spotlight

Wind Ensemble at CBDNA Conference Relfections on a week in Germany Photo Spread

Training in the Feldenkrais Method

13 14 15 17 19 20 21

Advisory Board Spotlight Sutton Foster Records with BSSO Costa Rica Exchange

New Faculty Profiles

Student News

Faculty News

Alumni News


MMP Virtual Instrument Design Class By Christoph Thompson

The virtual instrument design class is a new initiative for Music Media Production students. It is a response to a constantly evolving market, a demonstration of cutting edge production, and a maneuver into a real world market that is fully in line with the Ball State entrepreneurial ideals. Music is just one part of modern music production, and with a focus on products it is important to widen our scope beyond traditional studio production. Virtual instruments are an omnipresent element of current music production. What began in the analog age with the Mellotron has since evolved into stunningly accurate reproductions of acoustic and electronic instruments that are competing in a billion dollar market place. Virtual instruments are used anywhere from large scale film music productions, to residential home studios. The basis of the success of these sample based instruments is manifold: The quality has improved so much that they offer a solid alternative when the real instrument is not handy during pre-production or orchestral mock-ups. The immense growth of residential studios that have near professional digital equipment but lack access to the spaces and logistics to create large acoustic productions. Lastly, the sheer convenience and endless flexibility of digital reproductions of especially keyboard instruments for live performance and practicing. The virtual instrument initiative is an entrepreneurial response to all of these trends. The Ball State School of Music Studios house equipment that is either identical to or better than what is used in the development of commercially available instruments. In combination with our students’ great creative potential and expert guidance, the class offers an experience in which the skills they have acquired in other classes come full circle. Students explore the acoustic properties of instruments, make musical considerations, and because of their ensemble requirements are able to critically judge the quality of their creations.


With the class being divided into smaller production teams, the students can delegate the roles in the development of their instruments according to strengths and interests: Coding, physics, recording, editing, performance, quality control. This is an essential experience and skill for outgoing students. Very much in line with the entrepreneurial trends that are pursued by Ball State University and in our department, the students explore the current market, find niches, and offer their products for download at all the major exchange sites.

This foray into a real world application of skills offers not only opportunities for students. The focus of the virtual instruments is very Ball State centric: A virtual version of the Sursa organ, grand pianos, harps, and string sections. The instruments come equipped with high end convolution reverb that uses the authentic impulse responses of our own Sursa Hall, Choral Hall, and Studio 1. The online marketplace can thus be used in many ways: It is a distribution tool for our work, but much more so a platform to showcase things that are unique about our school: The quality of instruments, performance spaces, and cutting edge technology. The internet allows the students to reach millions of consumers and gauge the quality of their instruments through user reviews and download numbers. The next step will be to create virtual instruments in collaboration with Ball State signature ensembles and performance faculty that will showcase both the creative potential of MMP students, and the quality of our ensembles, faculty, and facilities. The potential of the class has attracted students from the computer sciences and we are excited about this interdepartmental collaboration. Christoph Thompson is co-director of the Music Media Production program and is a Ball State alumnus.

Jace Wittig, the fall 2015 recipient of the Alumni Achievement Citation Award, conducting the Chamber and Concert Choirs. Photo Credit: Larry Douthitt

Japanese Exchange Program By Victoria Buffkin The Mukogawa Concerto Competition Exchange Program is an exciting partnership between Ball State University and Mukogawa Women’s University in Nishinomiya, Japan whereby the first place winner of the School of Music’s annual Undergraduate Solo/Concerto Competition wins a trip to Japan. There, he/she stays with a host family, experiences Japanese culture, and performs in several concerts.

Japanese student stays with a host family in Muncie and performs at the School of Music’s General Recital Hour, a required class for all undergraduate music majors. Soprano Ria Oue, the most recent exchange student from Japan, wanted to see an American musical theatre production and was taken to a BSU Theatre and Dance department production and a School of Music opera rehearsal.

The program began with Ball State Symphony Orchestra director emeritus Leonard Atherton. His former international Japanese student, Tom Masuko, obtained a job at the Mukogawa Women’s University. Leonard had the idea to give the winner of the undergraduate competition an opportunity to visit Japan and approached Tom with the idea of an exchange program. After applying for and receiving grant money, the program took off.

Yoko’s goal for the future is to get more people involved in the program. She would love to incorporate the language department to help with translating and even making it part of a graduate assistantship to help the students and show them around.

Yoko Shimazaki-Kilburn is the current director of the program and started out hosting a dinner at her home for the Japanese student. When Leonard retired she took over the full responsibilities of the project. The exchange program gives both participating students some exciting opportunities. The

Yoko is extremely thankful for the support from Dr. Hourigan. She appreciates that he sees the value in not only giving our students the opportunity to experience the music and culture of Japan, but also giving our sister school in Mukogawa the chance to come over here. Having moved from Japan herself, Yoko feels it is so important to travel and be able to associate with people of other cultures and backgrounds. She hopes that the program can continue after her and Dr. Kilburn retire. Victoria Buffkin is a second year master’s degree candidate in clarinet performance.


alumnus spotlight


In the spring of 2017 Ryan Muncy and several of his colleagues from the International Contemporary Ensemble were artists-in-residence for the 2nd annual Entrepreneurial Artist Residency. Q: How did it feel to return to the School of Music this spring as a guest artist for our Entrepreneurial Artist Residency? Were you surprised by anything? A: The School of Music looks much different than during my days as a student! I must admit: I found myself in a constant state of jaw-dropped wonder. From the incredible concert hall, to the rehearsals spaces, to the recording studios which would make any industry professional envious, the school has grown in ways which underscore a deep commitment to music performance and education in the 21st century. It was a privilege to share several days with the music students and faculty. I remember being a student—soaking up the wisdom of visiting artists, hungry for intellectual and artistic challenges. Returning to BSU as a guest artist was a bit surreal in that regard, and I learned a great deal from the students and faculty during our time together. Q: What sparked your interest in contemporary music? Did you perform new music while you were a student at Ball State?

A: My professors George Wolfe (saxophone) and Caroline Hartig (clarinet) were—and still are!—major proponents of contemporary music. I remember playing music by living composers in my lessons and ensembles, and that I didn’t need much convincing to take the leap of faith in exploring new kinds of music. Looking back, I see that my teachers were committed to fostering an environment that rewarded curiosity and creative thinking—and this greatly influenced my trajectory as a young artist. I was a junior at Ball State the first time I gave the world premiere of a new work. Bringing a new work into the world and sharing it with others was an immensely powerful experience, and to this day remains at the core of my practice. Q: What inspired and led you to become involved with ICE? A: I first crossed paths with ICE when I moved to Chicago in 2007 to start my doctorate at Northwestern University. I developed deep friendships with the band members, which ran parallel to my admiration for their astounding work. In 2011, I had my first opportunity to perform with ICE. I suppose the rest is history! It’s a truly remarkable and brilliant family of people who care for each other as artists and friends; we implicitly trust each other’s instincts, and I’m honored to call them my colleagues. Q: What is your favorite thing about performing with ICE? Any favorite memories? A: Having the opportunity to travel around the world and develop deeply collaborative relationships with composers and performers of my generation is immensely rewarding. Through my work at ICE, I have been able to develop a new body of solo and chamber repertoire for my instrument, and I hope these efforts continue to steer the instrument into becoming an essential voice in the music of our time. In the 21st century—when musical communities are defined less by orchestras and operas, and more by modular ensembles, self-governed artist collectives, and a breakdown of the binaries between composer and performer and producer—I imagine a musical landscape in which it would be unconscionable for an ensemble or collective to be without saxophonist. Continued on the next page


Q: What are some of the challenges you face working with ICE? A: Balance can be difficult. Our travel and performance schedule is incredibly demanding, and the ensemble’s administrative work is carried out by a lean ten-member staff. While home in NYC. we hold regular office hours, but, on the road, we work in airports, dressing rooms, cramped backstage quarters, and coffee shops—and it takes some extra attention to focus amidst an ever-changing landscape of workspaces and daily schedules. Balance is something that needs continual maintenance—I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I am making progress! Q: As the Director of Institutional Giving and Co-Director of OpenICE, what are some of your responsibilities? A: As the Director of Institutional Giving, I’m responsible for raising about $500k in grants from private foundations and government agencies each year. I write proposals, reports, steward relationships, and manage a robust calendar of important deadlines. These grants range in size from $1,500 to $450,000, and constitute a large percentage of our operating budget. OpenICE is a special initiative to develop, engage, and sustain new listeners through adventurous artist-driven programming that is free and open to the public. The program is inspired by the institution of the public library, with its enduring commitment to the social value of public access to knowledge. Our libraries provide a variety of entry points for people with different backgrounds and levels of education and experience. Similarly, the OpenICE model removes the velvet rope associated with classical music and offers a no-barrier-to-entry experience for diverse new listeners. As a co-director of this program, I help organize approximately 50 concerts a year and steer the vision of a program which underscores our commitment to radical inclusion and access. Q: What are some of your most fond memories of being a Ball State student?

A. I will never forget the music history courses I took with Dr. Heather Platt. She is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. I like to think she armed me with a deep musicological understanding that would back up my artistic risk-taking after leaving BSU. Anecdotally, I have a vague memory that, during my senior years, BSU’s football team had the longest losing streak in the country. The losing streak became such an issue that David Letterman sent his crew to hang out and shoot the 2002 homecoming week festivities. We won that homecoming game in 2002—the first victory in several years, I believe—and that ended up being a fun day. Q: Do you have any adivce for graduating students who are entering the professional music field? A. Professional musicians today can do everything. In addition to being performers, we are also organizers, producers, managers, fundraisers, marketers, writers, and advocates for our own work. While a theoretical training is valuable and necessary, the only way to build those skills is to get your feet dirty and do the work. That’s to say: don’t wait for permission. - Dream up a project and make it happen. - Collaborate with your friends. - Recruit an audience for your performance. - Watch as your audience becomes your com-munity, rallying behind your work. - Take risks and try to be your truest self. - Be socially conscious; make sure the music you perform (or your group of collaborators) represents the diversity of the world around you. And don’t be afraid to advocate for people that come from underserved or underprivileged groups.


Wind Ensemble at CBDNA Conference By Victoria Buffkin

In March 2017, the Ball State University Wind Ensemble had the privilege of traveling to Kansas City, Missouri to perform at the College Band Directors National Association 2017 National Conference. It was such an honor to not only perform alongside my colleagues in a gorgeous concert hall, but to also perform for some of the biggest names among college band directors and composers.

Almost everyone, if not the entire ensemble, ate barbecue at some point on the trip, and it most definitely lived up to the hype. Being able to explore the city and hang out with my fellow band members gave me and many others the opportunity to get to know people we hadn’t talked to much and become closer friends with many wonderful people in the ensemble.

The road to the CBDNA conference was a challenging one, but in that process we made great strides as an ensemble in both musicality and sense of community. Every rehearsal and performance presented an opportunity for musical growth, and I could hear the difference in every concert we played throughout the semester. The extra rehearsals, outside practice time, and many performances were all worth it when I heard how much we were maturing as an ensemble.

Out of everything this trip entailed, I think the greatest experience was the feeling of being on stage in front of hundreds of band directors and composers who all knew and loved music so much that they were taking time to see us perform while they were there. From the moment I walked out on stage until the last bit of applause, I had never experienced such an electrifying atmosphere.

The night we arrived, we attended a concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The backside of the lobby was one giant window, allowing a beautiful view of the Kansas City skyline and creating two completely different but equally incredible atmospheres during both day and night. The performance hall was also gorgeous to see. The coolest part about it was how the stage was broken up in various sections that could be raised and lowered to allow instruments to be wheeled on with ease and create the level and number of risers needed for each ensemble. The next day, we had our turn performing at this beautiful concert hall in front of many college band directors and composers. Most people in the audience had not yet heard some of the pieces we played, such as Paul Dooley’s "Mavericks," the premiere of BSU professor Patrick Chan’s "Falling Stars," or David Maslanka’s Piano Concerto No. 3 featuring professor James Helton, which was only just premiered a couple weeks prior. It was a little nerve-wracking performing wellknown wind band literature such as Ernst Toch’s "Spiel" or Holst’s mighty First Suite in Eb, but there was also something incredibly exciting about playing for people who knew those pieces so well. One of the most exciting parts of the trip was the traveling. Kansas City was a vibrant city, and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to explore a little bit. It was fun to walk around the city with friends and find a new restaurant, coffee shop, or public artwork display.


Performing with the Wind Ensemble at CBDNA was absolutely one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences of my musical career. Victoria Buffkin is a second year master’s degree candidate in clarinet performance.

Reflections on a Week in Germany By Jeremy Nevil

In April 2017, the School of Music hosted the inaugural Spring Shout Songwriting Competition. The finalists all performed live at Be Here Now in front of an audience and jury. As the competition winner, I traveled to Mannheim, Germany and attended the Popakademie International Summer Camp for free.

The day after I arrived, I got to attend Popakademie’s final concert of the summer semester at a venue called Capitol Music Hall. The acts were all students, and their musical professionalism was outstanding. The stage was active with lights and movement, the crowd was energetic, and I felt like I was in the company of friends even though I knew no one. The performance featured various musical acts that spanned many genres, all of which were extremely entertaining. The following day, when the camp started, I met two students from Columbia University, one from Philadelphia, many German students, some of whom attended the Popakademie, and others from various parts of Europe. The students as well as teachers were very friendly and welcoming. The bandmates I was matched with consisted of two other songwriters, a drummer, electric guitarist, and bassist. When my band first met, we just grooved and played whatever music came into our heads, hoping to create an original song, which was the primary goal of the camp (in addition to playing some more songs for the final concert). I started by humming a melody, then the

musicians joined along and “filled in” the other musical parts which created a song. The other songwriters and I developed lyrics together. Being in a band setting was great because it stretched my abilities to grow individually by being able to observe how group work happens, personally navigate the challenges of collaboration, and work together to present a final product (our 4-song set list with 1 original) in light of a deadline (the concert date). Outside the band setting, students could sign up for various instrumental, vocal, and songwriting lessons. I signed up for songwriting coaching with Michelle Leonard, and throughout our one-on-one sessions we dissected my songs’ lyrics and melodies, which was something I had not done on my own. It was invaluable to have another songwriter’s perspective and opinion on my lyrical and musical choices, especially that of Ms. Leonard’s caliber. My experience in Germany ended similarly to how it started – with a wonderful concert. Everyone presented their band’s set, and it was great to support one another, all while the audience enjoyed themselves just as much as we did. But, unlike the first concert in Mannheim, I knew I was surrounded by good friends.

Jeremy Nevil is a senior General Studies major with a minor in voice.








1. Alumnus Chris Taylor bows after conducting Mack Wilberg’s arrangement of “Anthem of Peace” at the 6th Annual School of Music Showcase concert. Taylor was presented with the Alumni Achievement Citation Award. 2. Members of the newly formed Music Media Production Studio Band performed at Canan Commons in downtown Muncie for the city’s annual ArtsWalk event. 3. The St. Lawrence String Quartet performed on the 2017-18 Arts Alive Concert Series and gave a masterclass where they worked with three School of Music string ensembles. 4. Mark Buselli, director of jazz studies, and colleague

Brent Wallarab were the recipients of the Indianapolis Jazz Hall of Fame award. Together they lead the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra. 5. The School of Music hosted the second Sursa American Organ Competition in September 2017. Pictured above are the judges Raúl Prieto Ramírez, David, Higgs, Cherry Rhodes, and Huw Lewis; volunteers Dick Grill and Roxie Pierson; and finalists Aaron Tan, Wesley Hall, and Hansol Kim. 6. The Ball State Symphony Orchestra presented a sensory friendly concert in December 2017 for local students with exceptionalities. Featured above is flutist Lydia Perry showing her instrument to students following the concert.







1. Mark Rabideau, director of the 21st-Century Musician Initiative at DePauw University, was the 2017 Entrepreneurial Guest Artist Lecturer. Pictured above are Mark and Ball State students and faculty after his workshop “Calling All Leaders: Emerging Musicians Making a Difference.�

annual event hosted by Second Helpings in Indianapolis. The event is a fundraiser for the organization which addresses food insecurity in central Indiana. Members of the MMP Studio Band performed at the event and numerous students and alumni worked on sound and setup.

2. In July 2017, the Ball State Jazz Lab Ensemble toured Switzerland and France and performed at the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival.

5. The Pride of Mid-America Marching Band performed with the acclaimed brass quintet Canadian Brass as part of Band Day in September 2017.

3. United Sound, an organization partnering men and women with disabilities with a Ball State student to learn instruments and play in Ball State ensembles, was awarded Outstanding Community Partner by Hillcroft Services, Inc.

6. Grammy Award-winning and Metropolitan Opera mezzosoprano Isabel Leonard kicked off the 2017-18 Arts Alive Concert Series with a solo recital of all Bernstein. The next morning, she gave a masterclass to School of Music voice students. Artist diploma student Anna Buck and Ms. Leonard are pictured above.

4. The School of Music was a stage sponsor for Tonic Ball, an



Bassoonist Alex Toenniges completed her Master’s degree in May 2017 while training in the Feldenkrais method and traveling to and from New York City. She is now a certified Awareness Through Movement teacher and has relocated to Bloomington, Indiana where she offers private and group instruction. We asked her about what attracted her to the method and the benefits for musicians. Q: How did you become interested in the Feldenkrais Method®?

A: I was introduced to the Feldenkrais Method at Bay View Music Festival. They offered a class, and it seemed like it might be beneficial, so I started taking it and really liked it. I was always a little interested in how music related to other disciplines. When I went back to school at Arizona State in the fall [for undergraduate studies], I saw that the dance department offered a Feldenkrais class, so I enrolled and ended up taking it for four semesters. The more I got into Feldenkrais, the more I liked it, and the more I realized how much there was to learn and how much of a difference it could make. It was like falling down the rabbit hole. By the time I finished my undergrad, I knew I just had to continue and train to be a practitioner. Feldenkrais had made too much of a difference in my life to stop. Q: Can you explain how Feldenkrais helps musicians? A: The biggest thing I’ve heard from other musicians who do Feldenkrais is that it changes the way they hear the music. By putting musicians more in touch with their kinesthetic sense of themselves, it helps quiet some of the “noise” going on in the nervous system, which results in the ability to hear a lot more of the details in the music and for music to be not just an intellectual experience, but to feel it throughout the body. Hearing music then utilizes the entire nervous system, which is located throughout the whole body, not just the part of the nervous system in the skull. Feldenkrais can also help musicians reduce pain, pre-


vent and recover from injury, improve technique, and provide the musician access to parts of herself that she wasn’t aware of. For me, it really helped with my vibrato—to be able to locate the muscles used for vibrato and to learn to control them. Q: How do you apply the Feldenkrais Method to your teaching and playing? A: Learning about neuroplasticity and other principles behind Feldenkrais has really furthered my interest in how learning takes place. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we optimize the conditions for learning when teaching a Feldenkrais lesson, and how I can transfer that to my teaching and practicing bassoon. This question could be (and is ) a whole article in itself, but these are basic ideas I’ve distilled it down to: •encouraging small, slow, easy movements so the student can feel what she is doing •making sure the student feels safe, comfortable, and empowered to set her own boundaries, have those boundaries respected, and rest when she needs to rest •maintaining the student’s interest and attention, and nurturing her curiosity •providing new information or creating constraints to help the student feel or think about something in a new way and then make her own decisions •asking the student to do only what is easy rather than asking for something that requires willpower •respecting the fact that learning takes time and can’t be rushed These ideas are the same when applied to oneself in the practice room. Q: Have your philosophies and ideas of teaching changed since using the Feldenkrais Method? A: Absolutely. The biggest thing is that I’ve spent a lot of time questioning how I’ve been taught, how other teachers teach, and how I want to teach, rather than assuming that there’s not much to it and that if a person is a good player, she’s a good teacher. Q: I’ve noticed that Feldenkrais is an option for many people who suffer from chronic pain, but many times these people are afraid to try something new and unfamiliar. How would you encourage someone who is nervous about trying Feldenkrais?

Check out Alex’s website at alextoenniges. com

Alex leads a Feldenkrais class for the Ball State MTNA Chapter. Photo Credit: Victoria Buffkin

A: Well, the first thing is to ask yourself why you’re nervous. A lot of times it’s because the process is going to involve change and the person isn’t sure what that will look like or where they’ll end up. To this, I would suggest that you trust yourself and your ability to know yourself and decide what’s right for you. No one can make you change in a way that you don’t want to or make you change before you’re ready. The thing you’re afraid about losing—either you don’t really want it in the first place, or you’re not going to lose it and it will probably improve. Another thing that happens is people become desperate, especially if they’re in pain or their career is at risk, and they try everything without really investing in anything. There are a lot of different methods and therapies, and each has their value. If you try to learn Feldenkrais and Alexander technique and Reiki and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction all at the same time, you’re going to end up overwhelmed, stretched thin, and not get anything out of it. Pick one thing that’s easy for you—that feels good and that feels like a good fit for you—and stick with it for a little while. If it doesn’t work for you, then move on to something different, but just try one thing at a time. Feldenkrais is often less accessible than other methods or therapies, but it’s very often the thing that works when nothing else does. I’ve found it can be a big investment, but it’s an investment in oneself, and it pays off ten-fold.

Q: How has your life changed since studying Feldenkrais? A: It’s overwhelming, really, how much it’s done for me. It’s changed how I relate to myself and the world around me. I feel better about myself—more secure, sure of myself, and empowered, and less stressed and anxious. I have better interpersonal relationships with my friends and colleagues, and especially with my family and my significant other. I relate to school and to music differently, which is allowing me to feel less pressure, become a better musician and a better student, and not burn out so much. I have a better sense of what I want and I what I need. Plus, it’s opened up a whole new possibility for my career. Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add? A: Being at Ball State and studying with Dr. Sweger has really allowed all of this to happen. It’s been a lot to do a master’s degree and Feldenkrais training at the same time, and I’m grateful for all of the support. Not every teacher would have encouraged me to experiment with these ideas the way Dr. Sweger has. I appreciate all of the teachers who have been understanding of my absences, everyone who’s given me an opportunity to teach Feldenkrais, and my friends who have given me rides to the airport and covered for me in ensembles.


MICHELLE OYLER Michelle Oyler is a member of the School of Music's advisory board and serves as Director of Bands at Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate & Junior High School in Fishers, Indiana. Q: How long have you been teaching? A: I started in teaching in the fall of 1990. Q: What do you find most rewarding about your job? A: Sharing my love of music with my students, watching them grow as musicians, and seeing that music making brings joy to their lives is the most rewarding part of my job. Q: How has the teaching landscape changed since you first entered the profession? A: We didn’t have the internet when I first started teaching! When I first started teaching, there wasn’t as much pressure placed on teachers in regards to Standardized testing, documentation, and teacher “effectiveness.” Educators were allowed to teach with much less pressure. My students hadn’t grown up with “devices” that molded them into needing constant stimulation. They didn’t expect instant gratification, and it seemed they were willing to devote more time to home practice. Today, the world is moving at a much faster pace, and it is more challenging to hold the attention of my students. I am not suggesting that all of these changes are bad; just different. One aspect of the landscape that hasn’t changed is most of my students are amazing people who give me confidence in believing that our future is in good hands. Q: What advice do you have for students that are training to be music educators? A: There will always be a need for music education, but the process will likely change over time. As long as we music educators are willing to be flexible and change with the times, there will always be a place for us. Education is not about politics, policies, procedures, testing, rules, etc. It is about students.


Music education isn’t merely about music. It is about students. Always make your teaching student centered, and even when they are not at their best, love them anyway. Q: What are some of your fondest memories from your years at Ball State? A: I loved being a Cardinal! I would highly recommend Ball State to anyone pursuing a music education degree. My fondest memories were those I made with amazing friends playing in the various music ensembles, and the time I spent with my sisters in SAI. Q: Who was your most influential teacher? A: Answering this question is the same as naming my favorite song; impossible! If I narrow this question to who was my most influential BSU teacher, I still can’t name only one! Here is a list of BSU professors who changed my life for the better: Dr. Joseph Scagnoli (band director, role model), Dr. Fred Ehnes (horn teacher!), David Foley (he is the reason I made it through music theory), Dr. Erwin Mueller (my junior high percussionists benefit from the time I spent with this amazing teacher), Susan Finger (cooperating teacher, she is the reason I have survived 26 years of teaching junior high). In all honesty, this list should include all of my BSU professors. They inspired, taught, and nudged me along my path to becoming a music educator. I couldn’t have done without them! Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time? A: In addition to playing my horn and making music in my free time, I enjoy biking, hiking, kayaking, camping, gardening, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

SUTTON FOSTER RECORDS WITH THE BSSO In November, award-winning singer, actress, and dancer, Sutton Foster recorded several tracks of her latest album with the Ball State Symphony Orchestra. Award-winning arranger and musical director Michael Rafter also flew in for the project. We spoke with a student and faculty member who participated in the recording sessions to get their perspectives. Katrin Meidell (assistant professor of viola) It has been a lot of fun to rehearse and record with my students. The first day of the recording session it was super cold in the hall, and one of my students had one of those little heat packs— usually used for ski boots or mittens— that she passed around to all of us. While we were all freezing, it was a fun bonding experience. During the second session, temperatures were normal, and it was a bit less exciting than the first day since we knew how the day would go, but it was still a great experience for me to play with my students. They’re a wonderful group, and I am fortunate to be able to share my own knowledge and experience with students that are so eager to learn and improve.

This opportunity is a taste of the real world. It’s one aspect of what it’s like to be a professional musician. It is an Immersive Learning project in the truest sense of the expression! Ariya Marr (double bass student) It’s been super cool to rehearse and record with my professor. He had me sit first chair for these sessions, so it was fun getting to have him turn pages for me! I also found myself trying a lot harder to make sure he was proud of the work I was doing. It’s been a crazy awesome motivator. It was the first time I recorded with an orchestra. It was a tad stressful, just because I was trying to be the most in-tune I’ve ever been; when I could tell I was a few cents off, it was frustrating. This is about how I expected it to go though, although, it’s been a little smoother than anticipated. I can definitely take away the feeling of trying your absolute hardest, and preparing meticulously. I normally practice very hard on my pieces, but something about being in this recording orchestra pushed me that extra step. I also will definitely take away the feeling of bliss that accompanies something so important as this.


Costa CostaRica RicaEx By Nathan Bogert, assistant professor of music performance (saxophone), and a Ball State alumnus.

Pictured above are Dr. Helton, Dr. Bogert, and Kaleigh Wilder with members of the Costa Rican community school.


In January of 2017 I traveled with Dr. Jim Helton and then senior performance major Kaleigh Wilder (now at Michigan) to Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica. We taught at a community music school called La Escuela de Musica Sinfonica de Perez Zeledon. La Escuela is a community school that is funded by both the National University of Costa Rica (UNA) and the city of Perez Zeledon. The school provides private lessons, music theory classes, music history classes, and the opportunity for the students to perform in wind bands, orchestras, jazz bands, and choirs. The students who attend the school range in age from 5 years old until they graduate high school.

During the 2017 trip, Kaleigh, Jim and I taught the saxophone and piano classes at the schools summer camp. Each day consisted of private lessons for every student, master classes covering various topics, and group pedagogy classes. In addition to these classes, we helped the ensembles during rehearsals. There was also a recital in which Dr. Helton, Kaleigh and myself played a full program in front of the students and their families. In October of 2017, Ball State hosted 5 students from Perez Zeledon and a faculty member from the school. These 5 students stayed on campus for a full week. They attended academic classes, sat-in on rehearsals, had private lessons with BSU faculty members, attended concerts and even attended two football games and tailgated with Kevin Gerrity! All in all the trip was a great success and it was such a pleasure watching them answer questions for their peers at the summer camp in January of 2018.

xchange In January of 2018, the Escuela in Perez Zeledon again hosted members of the School of Music faculty and student body. This year I was accompanied by Dr. Caroline Hand and graduate students Gabriel Sanchez (sax), Angie Bolivar (viola), and Gerardo Sanchez Pastrana (cello). Dr. Hand conducted the elementary and senior concert bands, held a daily conducting seminar for the faculty at La Escuela, and performed chamber music on both the Ball State recital and the recital of renowned clarinetist Sabine Grofmeier (who was also teaching at this year's summer camp). The graduate students from BSU taught individual lessons, master classes, helped lead ensemble rehearsals, and performed on a recital that featured the BSU faculty and students. I gave master classes, lessons, helped direct the two big bands, and performed on the BSU recital. This year's camp was another success and another step in the right direction of establishing a lasting relationship between the BSU School of Music and La Escuela de Musica Sinfonica de Perez Zeledon!

School of Music students lead a class at the community school in January 2018.


New Faculty The School of Music welcomed three new tenure-track faculty members this fall. To get to know them better, we asked them several questions. CHRIS VAN HOF,

assistant professor of music performance (trombone)

What sparked your interest in music?

My mother was an organist, so from the time I was in utero I have been around music. My earliest memory is from when I was about 4 or 5 and I would sit on the organ bench with my Mom while she was playing at church. At the end of a hymn, she would point to a pedal on the organ’s pedal board and I would get to stomp on it—the root of the chord for the last chord of whatever hymn. That life of growing up around music was what I think sealed my fate.

Why did you choose to apply to Ball State?

I took the job at Ball State for a few very specific reasons, many of which I did not fully perceive until after I visited for my interview. I sensed that the quality of all the studios was high, that the faculty were dedicated and highly talented, and that both the classical and jazz side of things were strong (important for building a trombone studio). I also sensed that I would be well-supported in my creative and teaching endeavors here at Ball State. That has all been proven true to me, and the fact that it allowed my wife and I to live closer to our family in Michigan has been the cherry on top.

What have you enjoyed most about teaching at Ball State so far?


The students here are eager to play and willing to try new things. I put a high priority on preparing for a 21st-century career in music, which means being very flexible and versatile while still maintaining a core focus on your key passion. My trombone students have proven that they are eager to adopt this mindset, and have been more than welcoming as I get settled.

What are some of your hobbies outside of music?

I love all things related to food and drink. I love to cook at home, and am continually trying to build my repertoire of dishes and cocktails I can make consistently without a recipe. More than anything, though—and it’s not really a hobby—is my wife and two young boys, ages five and two. Those three people are the center of my universe, and I like doing things with them (and baking them pizza from scratch!).


associate professor of music performance ( oboe)

What sparked your interest in music?

I began playing the oboe in fourth grade in a public school music program and was lucky enough to get private lessons outside of school from fifth grade on. In high school, I was accepted into Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. Playing chamber music and orchestral music got me hooked!

Why did you choose to apply to Ball State?

Originally, I heard about the opening from a colleague in New York City. I jumped at the opportunity because

Profiles of the excellent reputation of the School of Music, the vibrant community, and the chance to build a strong oboe studio.

What have you enjoyed most about teaching at Ball State so far?

The students. My best day at Ball State so far was last Thursday. Two of my students played for a scholarship donor in the morning and later in the afternoon, when I was walking down I noticed two of my freshman were making reeds together in the reed room and another was practicing the Britten Six Metamorphosis (a challenging piece for solo oboe!). I was so happy to know that the students were inspired! It was a good day . . .

What are some of your hobbies outside of music?

I enjoy watching movies, taking care of my plants, traveling, cooking, visiting libraries with vast music collections and archives, walking on the Cardinal Greenway with my husband, and discovering all the new places that Indiana has to offer.


assistant professor of music education

What got you into music education?

Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. I can’t remember wanting to be anything else. I had many positive ensemble-based experiences in middle school and high school, so wanting to become a music educator was a natural extension my original aspirations.

Why did you choose to apply to Ball State?

Ball State has an excellent reputation. The School of Music is widely known and respected in the music education community. I was excited to see a position open and was hopeful that I could become part of the strong program here.

What have you enjoyed about teaching at Ball State so far?

The faculty here are not only wonderful teachers but also wonderful people. I have felt welcomed as part of a team of music educators working toward a common purpose.

What do you enjoy most about doing research in the field of education?

I enjoy engaging in the cycle of curiosity, investigation, and interpretation. It is exciting to not only wonder about the areas of music making and music perception that fascinate me, but also to specify my own research questions, develop my own methods of inquiry, and interpret my findings. These findings may provide insights into my original question and also generate more curiosities. In this way, the cycle of curiosity and inquiry continues, and it is gratifying to direct my own progress through it.

What are some of your hobbies outside of music?

I enjoy exploring state and national parks. In particular, I seek out places to go hiking, boating, swimming, and to engage in activities that allow me to be on, in, or near the water.


Student News ent s The Ball State Viola Choir was 1 of 3 collegiate viola ensembles nationally selected to perform at the 2018 American Viola Society Festival in Los Angeles in June 2018.

The 2017-18 Graduate Solo Concert Competition winners were clarinetist Darius Bennett (student of Elizabeth Crawford) and soprano Anna Buck (student of Beth Truitt). Honorable mentions were given to pianist Alvise Pascucci (student of Robert Palmer) and to tenor Rory Wallace (student of Jon Truitt). The winners of the Undergraduate Solo/Concerto Competition were violist Julie Stuckert (student of Katrin Meidell) and pianist Meghan Walls (student of Jim Helton). Clarinetist Rachel Jordan (student of Elizabeth Crawford) received an honorable mention. Tenor Victor Cardamone (student of Jon Truitt) was one of the winners of the Indiana District Metropolitan Opera Competition. He was one of six singers to advance out of eighteen participants and will compete at the regional competition in Chicago. Katherine Deitch, a sophomore harp performance major (student of Elizabeth Richter), was awarded 3rd place in the Advanced 1 division of the Midwest Harp Festival Solo Competition this past July. Doctoral candidate Hilary Janysek (student of Mihoko Watanabe) was awarded an internship with the College Music Society to assist with and attend the GenNext Program as part of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show. She was also awarded the President’s Innovation Award, a scholarship to attend the event. Annie King, current DA harp performance student (student of Elizabeth Richter), performed with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and Opera Orchestra this past summer.


Mezzo-soprano Maegan Pollonais (student of Mei Zhong) was artist-in-residence at SUNY

Plattsburgh in December 2017. As an artist-inresidence, Maegan presented a public presentation entitled “The Unapologetic Other: The Importance of Diversity in an American Society.” She also gave a voice master class, sang the alto solo with Champlain Valley Voices in a performance of Handel’s Messiah, and performed several works for the vocal students followed by a Q&A session. Lauren Walker, a doctoral candidate in voice (student of Mei Zhong), was named the winner of The American Prize in Vocal Performance – The Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award in the 2017-18 women’s college/ university art song division. MMP student Ashley Willey produced an album entitled “Love. Peace. Charlotte Reece.” with local songwriter Cari Cambridge. The album is a fundraiser for Cari’s 4-year old daughter who is fighting liver cancer. Lydia Wiseheart, a sophomore harp performance major (student of Elizabeth Richter), was the first prize winner in the Pennington National Harp Scholarship Competition in January 2017.

Faculty News Mark Buselli, director of jazz studies, was inducted into the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation’s Hall of Fame in September, 2017. Read more. Douglas Droste, director of orchestras, had guest conducting engagements with Kansas City Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Mansfield Symphony, and Disney’s All-American Orchestra Alumni Reunion. He conducted the all-state orchestras in Minnesota and Oklahoma, as well as the Music For All Summer Symposium Orchestra. He also guest conducted the Carmel Middle School Orchestra at the 2017 Midwest Clinic. Kerry Glann, associate director of choral activities, returned to the Bigfork Summer Playhouse in Bigfork, Montana, this past summer as the musical director for “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” In addition, he was appointed conductor of the Evansville Philharmonic Chorus, a 100-voice ensemble that performs with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra throughout the concert season. Katrin Meidell, assistant professor of music performance (viola), was selected to teach a collegiate-level master class at the International Viola Congress in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in November 2018. Heather Platt, professor of music, had “Amalie Joachin’s 1892 American Tour” published in The American Brahms Society Newsletter 25/1 (spring 2017):1-8. She also presented “Small Songs, Big Data: A Preliminary Study of Lieder in American Concert Life,” at the North American Conference of Nineteenth Century Music held at Vanderbilt University. In addition, she gave the pre-concert “Classics in Context” lectures for the Classical Series at the Palladium in Carmel, IN. Michael Pounds, professor of music theory and composition, had his work “Breathing 2: Re/Inspiration” published on the Society of Composers, Inc. CD entitled Ascend. This was published by Navona Records/PARMA Recordings and was released on July 14.

The Scott Routenberg Trio (comprised of faculty members Scott Routenberg, Nick Tucker and Cassius Goens) released its debut album Every End is a Beginning on Summit Records. The album reached #65 on the JazzWeek charts, #33 on the Roots Music Report Top 50 Jazz Albums, and was called an “early candidate for Jazz Record of the Year” by host of The Creative Source, Dr. Brad Stone. Scott Routenberg, assistant professor of jazz piano, performed at the world famous Green Mill Jazz Club in Chicago with Grammy-winner Howard Levy. He also received the SONIC award for Best Arrangement at the International Society of Jazz Composers and Arrangers Symposium in Tampa, FL. As the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation/Symphonic Jazz Orchestra Commission, Routenberg had his new symphonic jazz work entitled “The Anthropocene (The Human Age)” premiered at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, California by the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Mitch Glickman. Keith Sweger, professor of music performance (bassoon), performed the David Concertino for Bassoon and Orchestra, Op. 12 on the opening night concert of the 2017 International Double Reed Society (IDRS) conference, held in June on the campus of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. In September 2017, Dr. Sweger performed a solo recital and gave a master class at the Brazilian Double Reed Society (ABPD) in João Pessoa, Brazil. At the end of 2017, Dr. Sweger completed a second two-year term as President of the International Double Reed Society (IDRS). He will continue serving on the IDRS Executive Committee as Past President. Jon Truitt, associate professor of voice and director of opera, was named a semi-finalist in The American Prize in Stage Direction competition for the 2015-16 Ball State Opera Theatre productions. In addition, Dr. Truitt directed Indianapolis Opera’s recent productions of La Traviata and Il Barbiere di Siviglia.


Alumni News Kiersten Alcorn (BM ‘17) completed internships with the Chicago Symphony and 5th House Ensemble and has accepted a position with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as Community Engagement Coordinator.

Bassoonists Andrew Gott (BM ’98) and Vincent Karamanov (’07), both members of the St. Louis Symphony, were awarded the School of Music’s Alumni Achievement Citation Award in the fall of 2017.

Johann Buis (MA ‘83; DA ‘91) received the School of Music’s Outstanding Alumnus Award in April 2017 and was honored at the 2017 Honors Convocation in Sursa Performance Hall. Johann is an associate professor of musicology at Wheaton College in Illinois and a frequent guest speaker for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Candi Granlund (BS ‘95) received the Middle School/ Junior High Educator of the Year award at the 2017 Indiana Music Education Association Professional Development Conference. Kathryn Harms (BM ‘13) was appointed to the faculty of the Rocky Mountain Springs Summer Harp Program. Katie performs regularly with orchestras in Colorado and New Mexico, and recently successfully auditioned for the San Diego Symphony substitute list.

L to R: Yu-Fang Chen (assistant professor of violin), Nelly Vuksic (MA ‘75), Duilio Dobrin (MM ‘79; DA ‘81), Geoffrey McGillen (BS ‘74; MM ‘77; DA ‘88), Barbara Hobbs (BS ‘75; MM ‘76), Kathryn Grile (BS ‘75; MM ‘78), Kimm Hollis (DA ‘81), and Rebecca Burkart (BS ‘78; MM ‘81) performed and organized a memorial concert in honor of emerita piano faculty member Pia Sebastiani in September 2017. Mary McGillen (BS ‘82) also helped coordinate the event. Geoffrey McGillen unexpectedly passed away in December 2017. The School of Music extends its deepest condolences to Geoffrey’s family and friends.


Jennifer Hedberg (BM ‘89) performed holiday harp music at the White House this December. This was a return engagement for Jennifer after her first appearance there in December 2016. Jooyoung Kim (DA ‘11) currently serves on the piano faculty at Indiana University East and Indiana University Kokomo. In early October, she released her debut piano album on the MSR Classics label company. It is now for sale on Amazon and on the MSR Classics website. Carter Rice’s (DA ‘17) composition “Flat Circle” for electronics and saxophone was selected for the next CD from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US. Rice currently works as a visiting adjunct professor of music at Western Michigan University. Aaron Riegle (MM ‘09) was named the 2017 High School Educator of the Year by IMEA. Elizabeth Robinson (DA ‘11) joined the faculty of Missouri Southern State University in the fall of 2017 where she teaches flute and music history. She holds the Diana Osterhout piccolo chair in the Topeka Symphony. She currently serves as president of the Oklahoma Flute Society and vice president of the Flute New Music Consortium, an organization dedicated to commissioning new music for the flute. Eric Salazar (BM ‘13) was the recipient of the Robert D. Beckmann Jr. Emerging Artist Fellowship which provides financial aid and mentorship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis to people within the first three years of their career. Eric’s proposed project was a concert tour through Fort Wayne, Indianapolis,

and Bloomington where he could collaborate with other chamber musicians, present his own original compositions as a soloist, and handle the administrative responsibilities of managing an ensemble on tour. He is the founder of Forward Motion, an ensemble that brings new music performance and collaboration to Indianapolis and beyond and has been partially funded by Eric’s Arts Council of Indianapolis fellowship. Jen Siukola’s (MM ‘12; DA ‘15) debut CD Lighthouse Reverie reached #2 on the Roots Music chart. Lisa Sullivan was named the 2017 Elementary Music Teacher of the Year by IMEA. Chris Taylor (BS ‘00) received the School of Music’s Alumni Achievement Citation Award in the fall of 2017 and guest conducted the Wind Ensemble, Chamber Choir, and Concert Choir at the sixth annual Showcase concert. Chris is currently serving as president of the Indiana Music Education Association (IMEA) and is the band director at Pendleton Heights High School. Jaclyn Wappel (DA ‘16) joined the faculty of James Madison University in Virginia. This past spring she traveled to Chennai, India, to perform and to introduce the harp to Indian composers who had never had the chance to work with a harpist before. Josh Weirich (BS ‘01) received the Outstanding Middle School Teacher award at the 2018 IMEA Professional Development Conference in Fort Wayne, IN.


Ball State University Showcase Concert featuring the

CANADIAN BRASS with Jazz Lab Ensemble and Wind Ensemble Sunday, April 8, 2018 at 3 p.m. Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, IN

A free lecture demonstration with the Canadian Brass will be held at 1:15 p.m. for area music students.

Featuring Fort Wayne’s • own North Side HS Jazz Ensemble (concert opener).

Also featuring broadway singer and Ball State alumna Kayla Davion with the Jazz Lab Ensemble.

Tickets: STAR Bank box office at the Embassy,, and 800-745-3000 $10 for adults $7 for groups of 10+ $5 for students, youth, and alumni

Sponsored by: Conn-Selmer Co. The George and Frances Ball Foundation Sweetwater and Mynett Music

Follow and connect with us! @ballstatemusic

Ball State University School of Music Newsletter, January 2018  
Ball State University School of Music Newsletter, January 2018