JMU School of Music November 2017 Alumni Newsletter

Alumni News - Fall 2017


Here it is, the first Alumni newsletter of the new era! We hope that you will enjoy receiving this on a periodic basis. We hope to keep you up to date with events at the JMU School of Music, spotlights on former faculty members, information on streaming concerts and other events that may be of interest to you, your colleagues and your students.

We would also like this newsletter to reflect some of the aspects you are interested in reading about. Have an idea? We have a dedicated Music Alumni email that you can use to contact us! Let us know your thoughts, questions or just plain saying hello at musicalum@jmu.edu.

As this is a new venture for us, we are trying to reach out to as many former Music students as we can. You can help us in this goal by reaching out to alums that you know. Many are not connected to us by social media, so a quick phone call or email will bring an old friend together with the folks already connected.

We would also like to encourage you to take a moment and “Send Us Your Story”! We’d love to hear what you have been up to since you left JMU, some fond memories, some funny memories or even how the School of Music has impacted your life.

School of Music Updates

Concert Livestreaming

Many of our concerts are now being streamed from the Concert Hall at the Forbes Center. You can access these concerts by visiting this page. We have had four concerts this semester that have been available via the internet, and there is one remaining, December 5, 8pm - Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Band. Come back to a concert though technology! Spring streamed concerts will be announced in January.

Marching Royal Dukes

In case you have not heard, the Marching Royal Dukes have been invited back to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for a fourth time in 2018. Mark your calendar to either be in New York to see the MRDs live or watch them on TV.

Music Educators Conference

For those of you in music education please plan to stop by the JMU School of Music booth at either the Virginia Music Educator’s Conference (Nov. 16-18, 2017) or the Maryland Spring Music Educator’s Conference (Mar. 9-10, 2018). Also, please plan to catch the concert at VMEA given by the Madison Singers, under the direction of Dr. Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy (see story below).

National Presbyterian Church Concert

Over the past few years the School of Music has been presenting a concert at the beautiful National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. The Madison Singers, the Chorale and the Symphony Orchestra have all performed in this neo-gothic cathedral to enthusiastic audiences. We will once again be performing this concert on Sunday, February 18th at 4pm. If you live in the Washington Metropolitan area or are within an afternoon’s driving distance please plan on joining us in this concert put on by our outstanding young musicians.

Junior Audition Day

For several years now the School of Music has hosted a free Junior Audition Day, giving current sophomores and juniors (freshmen are welcome too!) a chance to do a live, mock audition for our faculty. This experience helps to lessen the normal anxiety that goes along with an audition for entry into a university music program, or any audition for placement. Our faculty will do masterclasses covering topic such as auditioning, what to expect as a music major and general skills questions. Auditionees will learn what techniques/concepts they may wish to focus on in order to be successful. While we would be thrilled to have all of these young musicians elect to come to JMU, this audition is purely for the experience, and will be helpful to the student no matter what school they choose to attend. The date for this year’s Junior Audition Day is March 24, 2018. Pass it on!


Carol Kniebusch Noe

When did you retire?


Where are you living?

North of Grottoes on 11 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.

What are you doing now?

I've bred and shown Pekingese dogs for many years and was persuaded by a friend to go into judging for the American Kennel Club. I am approved for the Toy and the Non-Sporting groups (41 dogs), Junior Showmanship and Best in Show. I've judged in many states as well as in Korea, France, Scotland and England. Yes, I've been on TV several times too! I remain very busy and travel often.

What are you best memories of teaching at JMU?

There are so many wonderful memories it's difficult to list the "best". I remember writing the "Flute Flash" a newsletter I mailed every few months to band directors and private teachers about the flute ---then the "Flute Fling" a day of seminars and playing when high school students visited the campus. The JMU Flute Club was the main organizer of the Flute Fling and was one of the oldest university flute clubs in the country. I also organized The JMU Flute Choir and it eventually became a credit ensemble and performed often on and off campus. Because there was a lack of original compositions for flute choir, I began the JMU Flute Choir Composition Competition in 1984 and over the years we added many fine original compositions to the flute choir repertoire. The reputation of the JMU Flute Choir grew as we performed in many cities and states at national flute and music conventions. We were also the first flute choir to travel and perform a tour in England and we recorded two CD's called "Sounds and Colors." In 1987 the Chinese government invited 20 flutists to teach and perform and I was chosen to be part of that group and spent a month traveling, teaching and performing in China---the Soviet Union invited the same group for a month in 1989. Also in 1989 I received the Distinguished Teaching Award from JMU. In 1996 I wrote "A Guidebook to Flute Choir Literature" which was published by Kendall Hunt. In 2001 President James Madison was 250 years old. To celebrate Madison's birthday, JMU made arrangements to bring his crystal flute made in Paris to campus via armored car with escorts from The Library of Congress and I was honored to play a recital on his flute which was a gift from Napoleon and delivered to Madison by Lafayette.

What advice or words of wisdom do you have for alums?

This is difficult to answer--they could probably give me some advice! Perhaps I can share what my flute teacher in graduate school told me: "Always strive to maintain a balance between confidence and humility". If it becomes unbalanced, the other trait will take over and problems will result. I'd like to close by saying also that I have always considered my students, "my family" and I continue to enjoy seeing and talking with them--so, let me know when you can come for a visit!


Thursday, November 16, 2017 – 2:00 pm

As always, as our JMU TMS alums know, it’s been an exciting and busy semester thus far for THE MADISON SINGERS! In addition to our regular curricular concerts, we had the honor of singing in an amazing coaching session with the renowned Canadian composer, Dr. Kelly-Marie Murphy. We received beautiful feedback on our presentation of her gorgeous work, Miserere, as well as sage and inspiring wisdom about the profession of music. Dr. Murphy talked about the difference between a job, a career and your passion; counseling TMS to make their passion their careers, for each of us have gifts that only we can bring! It was an inspiring and uplifting session with a humble, generous and gifted composer! Thank you, Dr. Murphy, for all your gifts during the JMU Contemporary Music Festival!

Of course, everything thus far has been leading up to our trip to Hot Springs, Virginia, to sing at our state VMEA Conference! Our final selection will focus on the words of Albert Einstein, “There are only two ways to live your life.” The Trent Worthington setting of this witticism is stunning, and forms the interconnecting thread (dare we say “throughline?!”) for our VMEA performance. In preparation for that wonderful concert, we will be doing a ‘mini-tour’ to Stuart and Waynesboro High Schools, and look forward to sharing our program with the choral students in these wonderful programs!

Featured on the VMEA program will be the amazing Kaipo Lan our newest DMA percussion student from Taipei, Taiwan. He will be joining us in Don Macdonald’s, Selene’s Boat, an atmospheric and achingly beautiful tale of the seafaring goddess Selene, and her power to harness the moon's influence over the tides. (Ask us about ‘lunar nectar’!) Kaipo will be accompanying us on a G mixolydian HAPI drum (If you have never heard of this instrument, drop by our event and hear it!). After VMEA, we still have two more concerts, including appearances at our annual JMU Holiday Fest concerts, and of course, our annual celebration of Nine Lessons and Carols, held this year on Sunday, December 10th at 8:00 pm at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Harrisonburg. So much music to share! We hope you will join us at one of our upcoming events!

Student Spotlight

Laura Ruple

Oboe Double Major: Music Performance and Justice Studies

Laura Ruple

Homegrown from Harrisonburg, Virginia, Laura Ruple grew up with close ties to JMU. Her dad, Dr. Eric Ruple, is a faculty pianist who had been her accompanist through her senior year of high school—first for the violin and then for the oboe. Laura is now a sophomore at JMU double majoring in oboe performance and justice studies. “I think I was created to be a professional musician, and I feel like I need to become more educated in how I can help the world,” says Laura of her two majors.

Scholarship support was a ‘big reason’ Laura decided to come to James Madison, along with new oboe professor Dr. Jeanette Zyko.

During our short interview, Laura had these thoughts to share: “So far I have had numerous ‘favorite’ musical experiences at JMU. In my first concert with the symphony orchestra we played Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, which has some of the most famous oboe solos of all time in it. Performing such an incredible piece of music like that is something I'll never forget.

My favorite guest artist experience I've had so far was working with David Maslanka on ‘A Child's Garden of Dreams.’ This work was so complex, being able to work with the composer gave us a whole new understanding. Being able to see and watch how Maslanka hears his music was an amazing experience.

I've been given more solo opportunities with the ensembles at JMU than I could've dreamed of. I'm so grateful I get to play in the wind symphony, symphony orchestra and the opera orchestra, as most members of bigger studios only play in one ensemble. Although it can be more work, as a performance major getting to learn more repertoire is great experience.”

Created By
Eric Guinivan

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