JMU School of Music November 2018 alumni newsletter



Happy Fall, Alumni! We hope that those who began a new marching band season, a new school year, or just a new season are all doing well! This is our first edition of the Alumni Newsletter for the 2018-2019 school year. To those of you receiving this for the first time, our goal is to keep all James Madison University School of Music alumni up to date with events at JMU, feature former faculty members, and cover information regarding streaming concerts and other events that may be of interest to you, your colleagues, or your students.

We want this newsletter to reflect some 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! We have a dedicated Music Alumni email that you can use to contact us: musicalum@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!


Holidayfest: Selections from Handel’s Messiah

Join JMU’s choral ensembles, soloists, and Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the holidays with works for orchestra and choir, featuring selections from Handel’s masterwork, Messiah. We will also be featuring a special holiday reading by a local Harrisonburg celebrity. Before the Sunday matinee, children can enjoy crafts, cookies, and cider in the Grand Lobby of the Forbes Performing Arts center!

Sat. Dec. 8 @ 8PM

Sun. Dec. 9 @ 2PM

Find ticketing info on the JMU Forbes Center Website: www.jmuforbescenter.com

Brass Band Invited to Perform at Virginia Music Educators Association Conference

The James Madison University Brass Band, under the direction of Kevin Stees, has been invited to perform at the Virginia Music Educators Association Conference at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA. The Brass Band has performed at VMEA two times before. Good luck to the JMU Brass Band as they represent JMU at VMEA!

Madison Singers Invited to Perform at the All-Virginia Honors Choir

The Madison Singers of JMU were invited to perform for the Virginia Music Educators Association Senior Honors Choir this year on Friday, November 16th at the Holiday Inn in Staunton, Virginia. The Honors Choir is a prestigious 132-voice choir made up of high school seniors from across the Commonwealth. Many of these students will be pursuing music at the collegiate level, including some at JMU! The concert, entitled “Always Something Sings,” features the works of Orban, Larsen, Hundley, Paärt, Todd, and Elberdin.

James Madison University Parade of Champions Band Competition

The Marching Royal Dukes hosted the 41st Annual Parade of Champions on Saturday, October 20th. This year, 54 bands competed in the all-day event, with two MRD performances and two award shows, in which Pat & Glenda Rooney helped hand out awards for the participating bands. Great job to the MRDs and the high school bands that competed!


The James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes will be spending Thanksgiving 2018 in New York City as they make their fourth appearance in the 92nd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Marching Royal Dukes were selected from 100 applicants, marking a special occasion as no other band in the last 40 years has been selected to perform four times.

At the 2017 JMU vs. Maine football game, the Creative Director of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Mr. Wesley Whatley, officially announced the participation of the Marching Royal Dukes. “The 450 member James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes deliver high-energy, crowd pleasing performances each week to football fans every season,” said Wesley Whatley. “The Macy’s Band Selection Committee is proud to welcome back the incredibly talented students of James Madison University to the Big Apple for the fourth time, and we look forward to the energy and spectacle they will bring to the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!”

The Marching Royal Dukes will perform for approximately 3.5 million spectators in New York City, with approximately 50 million people watching at home on television across the country.

For more information on the Macy’s Parade, please visit www.macys.com/parade or call the Parade hotline at (212) 494-4495.


Dr. John T. Lyon, Jr.

From Dr. Lyon:

I came to Madison College in June 1965, after teaching in two high schools and two colleges. Madison was a teachers’ college, with 2,000 students, all women but for a handful of local male students. Soon the college started admitting more male students, and I started the Chorale, a co-ed chorus. Over the years, I taught music education classes, supervised student teachers, and taught music in the Anthony-Seeger Campus School across the street until that school closed. I have taught voice, baroque music, choral literature, music appreciation, graduate courses in music research, and Principles of Music Education. I was advisor for our MENC chapter, and was part of the college’s Freshman Orientation team of advisors, with students in various majors through their first year.

I was guest conductor for area and state choral festivals, and was chair of the College Section of the Virginia Music Educators Association; I also was a tenor soloist, giving faculty recitals and performing in this area. In addition, for some time I was chairman of the Graduate Faculty of the University, making decisions on graduate programs and course additions and changes, as well as acceptance of Graduate Faculty status. I was also for many years head of the faculty Artists and Lectures Committee, presenting yearly programs of music, drama, art, and dance. The Royal Shakespeare Company, two symphony orchestras, NEA-backed dance residencies, speakers such as Vincent Price – a wide variety of arts were brought here each year.

I listed these various roles a faculty member could play in the early years: it is a completely different world today, with a large School of Music, highly regarded Masters and Doctoral programs, a greatly increased faculty, new buildings, etc. I was a ‘Jack of (at least) Many Trades’ – many others of the music faculty also were required to do many things. In 1965, one man taught all the woodwinds, another brass and percussion, and so on. Today, our fine faculty are highly specialized, with a demanding performance schedule, and wide recognition of their artistry.

I retired in June 1992. Now, 22 years later, I still teach at home: piano and voice. There also is always something to do, with a large house and lot. I also was a pianist and choral director of my church for forty years. We once enjoyed quite a lot of international travel, partly connected with my work in genealogy as we visited the places our ancestors lived in the US and abroad.

We have stopped our international travel, but drive (flying only rarely) to see (and hear) our children and grandchildren, who are spread over the country. Several are professional musicians, another a director in theatre – so we can go to hear and see them. And here, my wife and I have for years read the local newspaper at WMRA with Valley Voice for the Blind, and are active in church. Over the years, I have served at the Free Clinic, on the board for Valley AIDS Network, assisted many refugees along with our small group in our church, driving people to and from Dulles airport, UCA hospital, soccer and basketball practice, doctors’ offices, etc. Many need help with English, counting, American money, filling out forms, etc. In a nutshell: Madison/JMU years were fine. Life is still beautiful, even though I now am much older. My wife and I still enjoy children as piano students, children in our church, and live our lives through our proxies – our wonderful children and grandchildren.


Dr. Jamison Walker

Dr. Jamison Walker

From the moment I arrived on campus for my interview, I fell in love with James Madison. I was struck by the beauty of the campus, the immaculately kept grounds and bluestone buildings framed by freshly fallen snow. But what drew me to choose JMU as my home was her students and the new friend-colleagues I made while I visited. Having recently returned to the US from Beijing, China, where I was teaching, I knew Harrisonburg would be a major shift for me and my family. But without hesitation I know that this is the place I am supposed to be.

My life path has been an eclectic amalgamation of professional singing, collegiate teaching, and service as both a counterintelligence agent and vocal soloist in the US Army. Mixed into that has been 21 years of marriage to my incredible wife, Kristi, and the raising of two of the greatest women I know, our two daughters, Taylor and Kelly.

I am an active performer in opera, concert and recital, both in the US and abroad. I love the intimate communication of soul to soul that the stage and concert hall provide for me. But I must admit, that which I enjoy most is teaching. The voice is such a personal thing, and our primary means of communication. Physiologically it is capable of such incredible expression. I am grateful be able to work in this medium.

When a student has that “Ah ha!” moment, for me, there are few things more satisfying. I work to encourage my students to discover and define themselves as artists and most importantly, as human beings. We no longer live in a “one size fits all” place, and as society has discovered, the world is much more beautiful as a tapestry that embraces all of our differences and similarities, all of our gifts and graces, and all that we have to offer, both beautiful and base. That is the world I hope to prepare the students of JMU for. It is an honor to watch them discover their own unique paths.


Bobby Carlson

Major: Piano Performance and Mathematics (double major)

Bobby Carlson

My name is Bobby Carlson, and I am a Piano Performance and Mathematics Double Major, with a Minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies. I’m originally from the small town of Rustburg, Virginia.

During my time here at JMU, I have had numerous priceless opportunities and experiences. I’ve had the privilege of playing in the Wind Symphony and Opera Orchestra on piano, celesta, and synthesizer. This year, I have been the rehearsal pianist for JMU’s production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking - it is a valuable learning experience to be so thoroughly engaged with such a massive work.

Academically, I have been so lucky to study music analysis with Dr. John Peterson and Dr. Eric Guinivan. With Dr. Peterson, I studied Sonata form, Musical Narrative, and Schenkerian Analysis, with a focus on the music of Beethoven. I am currently enrolled in a particularly challenging theory seminar with Dr. Guinivan, in which we are researching contemporary music of our choice - due to my involvement with the opera, I have been analyzing selected scenes from Dead Man Walking.

I am so thankful for my incredible teacher, Dr. Paulo Steinberg, for his persistent and demanding guidance, which goes without mentioning the uncountable additional hours he has dedicated to help me prepare for whatever recital, competition, or audition I am working towards.

Earlier this fall, I was graced with the opportunity to give an opening performance for the Madison Vision Series Lecture by David Rubinstein, one of the most prominent and integral patrons of the arts in the United States. It was both reassuring and energizing to see, firsthand, the value that is still placed on the arts by one of our country’s leading intellectuals.

Mr. Carlson is a recipient of the Walford Scholarship given annually to a deserving JMU music student

Created By
Eric Guinivan

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