JMU School of Music winter 2020 alumni newsletter



Happy Winter, Alumni! This is our second edition of the Alumni Newsletter for the 2019-2020 school year. To those of you receiving this for the first time, our goal is to keep James Madison University School of Music alumni up to date with events at JMU, feature faculty members & students, and cover information that may be of interest to you, your colleagues, or your students.

We want this newsletter to reflect aspects in which you as alumni are interested. If you have an idea of different features or information you’d like to receive, let us know! You can contact Sarah Macomber at macombse@jmu.edu.

Help us reach other alumni by encouraging those not connected to us via social media to visit the "Update Your Info" and “Send Us Your Story” links below!

JMU Brass Band Performs with World-Class Cory Band

The James Madison University Brass Band had the tremendous opportunity to perform onstage with the Cory Band, the world’s top brass band ensemble, in a concert on Friday, November 1, 2019 at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts.

This performance marks the third time the JMU Brass Band has played onstage with Cory Band at the Forbes Center. The two bands have performed onstage together two other times: at the 2017 Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) Brass Band Festival in Manchester, England, and during a concert tour of England and Wales by the JMU Brass Band in 2008. The South Wales-based Cory Band played at the Forbes Center in February 2016, when the JMU Brass Band had an opportunity to work with them.

The JMU Brass Band is the university’s premier brass ensemble. Directed by professor of music Kevin Stees, it is one of only a few collegiate brass bands in the United States. Formed in the fall of 2000, the band has twice been named the North American Brass Band Association Honors Section Champion (2005, 2004) and was the 2019, 2010, 2007 and 2006 NABBA Championship Section Runner-up.

"The World of Visual & Performing Artists" Event Brings Back CVPA Alumni

On Monday, February 3rd, the College of Visual & Performing Arts in conjunction with Career & Academic Planning and the Office of Alumni Relations will be welcoming back a panel of highly accomplished young alumni from the schools of the CVPA to discuss their careers in the visual & performing arts.

Panelists include:

Evan Duffy (2012 SOM) - LA-Based Film & TV Composer

Moira Gallagher (2010 SADAH) - Research Associate in American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sarah Gosselin (2008 STAD) - Dance Medicine Physical Therapist at Sentara RMH and adjunct faculty with JMU Dance department

Shannon Kingett (2010 SOM) - Director of Content and Special Projects for the Tony Award®-winning stage production and 8th story in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Deanna Kennett (2006 SOM) - Senior Manager of Education for Ensemble Connect at Carnegie Hall in NYC

Lina Lee (2015 STAD) - Professional Actor, recently closed A Chorus Line at Signature Theatre in D.C., largest credit is Miss Saigon on Broadway

Danielle O'Brien (2015 SADAH) - Interdisciplinary artist in residence at Baltimore Clayworks

Josh Smead (2012 SADAH) - Associate Lead for Crawford Architects Honolulu Branch in Honolulu, Hawaii overseeing the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) project

Music Updates

JMU Composition Showcase

The JMU Composition Area now has a website featuring large ensemble, chamber works, and solo works by JMU composition students and recent alumni! Check out the website below to hear the tremendous talents we have at JMU!

JMU SoundCloud

Did you know that the JMU School of Music has a SoundCloud? We have over 200 tracks featuring our faculty, students, and ensembles! You can listen to these tracks for free!

JMU Symphony Orchestra to Collaborate with The Governor's School for the Arts

On Friday, March 27, the JMU Symphony Orchestra will be performing a concert in the Forbes Center Concert Hall with The Governor's School for the Arts from Norfolk, VA.

Additionally, the two groups will perform together at 4:00PM on Sunday March 29 at the Ferguson Center on the campus of Christopher Newport University. The concert is free and no ticket is required; however, donations are encouraged on concert day.

In Memory: Dr. John S. Hilliard

October 29, 1947 - November 15, 2019

Dr. John S. Hilliard recently retired from JMU after 25 years as Professor of Music and Resident Composer teaching music theory and composition. He will be dearly missed.

Dr. Hilliard was a Fulbright Scholar who worked in Hong Kong, Japan, and in Germany to finish Mozart's Unfinished Symphony. He was commissioned by President-Elect Bill Clinton (who was a childhood friend and band mate) to write the Procession and Fanfare music for the inaugural day ceremonies of his first administration. He will be remembered by many, including the JMU alumni that had the privilege of working with him.

Student Spotlight

Joel Clemens, voice

Vocal Performance

Joel Clemens

My name is Joel Clemens and I am a senior vocal performance major from Ashburn, VA. Music has been central to my life since I was a child, and I always joined music clubs and took band and choir in school. At some point during high school I decided that music was more than just a hobby for me, and I decided to apply to music schools.

Many of my family members attended JMU including my parents and one of my brothers, so I I’ve been familiar with the campus for a while. The beauty and the friendly atmosphere drew me in immediately. Another huge factor that drew me in was the annual Choralfest held by the JMU vocal area. I remember feeling so cool working with guest conductors and interacting with current JMU music students.

Since my first year, the JMU School of Music has been a great place for me to learn in a safe, non-judgmental environment. While expectations are high, I feel like there is room to make mistakes and grow from them rather than being expected to be perfect at all times. My favorite thing about JMU is the amount of musical opportunities available to students. I am a part of the JMU Opera Theater, the Madison Singers, The Overtones acapella group, and the college chorale singers at Otterbein UMC. Last semester I even took harp lessons from a friend who was taking a harp pedagogy class. I’m hoping to earn a master’s degree in opera performance and sing and teach professionally as a full-time career.

Alumni Feature

Alex Righter (BM '10 in Music Industry) is currently serving as an Audio Engineer with The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own."

Alex Righter was a Music Industry Major with a concentration in Tuba at James Madison University. He graduated in 2010 and is doing great things with The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own." Click below to read his whole interview.

Thanks for supporting the JMU School of Music!

Please click the buttons below to see the upcoming events in the School of Music and College of Visual & Performing Arts at JMU!

Created By
Sarah Macomber