GCSU Keynotes

...notes and musings from the Department of Music

Georgia College & State University

Issue 7 | June 5, 2023

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, co-editor

Jennifer Flory, co-editor, layout and design coordinator

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Passionate. Personalized. GCSU Music.

Georgia College & State University Department of Music

Note from the editors…

Sending spring greetings to all of our parents, alumni, Friends of Music, fellow faculty, students, community partners, and other loyal supporters. We are pleased to bring to you the seventh issue of Keynotes, the official Georgia College Department of Music Newsletter. So far this has been a year of great successes for all who call Porter Hall their second home.

The GCSU Saxophone Choir and The Imposter Trio, an ensemble featuring Mary Mead on saxophone, Jacob Hammock on percussion, and Ellie Deener on piano, gave performances at the North American Saxophone Alliance’s National Biennial Conference. The Department of Music was well represented at GCSU’s inaugural Research Day in March, with a whopping twenty-three students participating, three from The Imposter Trio and twenty from Max Noah Singers.

Closer to home, the String Quintet impressed a large audience in the Magnolia Ballroom at the CoAS Celebration of Academic Excellence in April. We were excited to welcome a multi-generational group of jazz band alumni to Jazz Fest this year where they gave a concert narrated by Emeritus Professor of History (and jazz aficionado) Bob Wilson.

While we sit back and think about our many accomplishments over the past year we are reminded that none of this would be possible were it not for your continuing support of our program and all of our musical and academic endeavors. We wish you all a pleasant and peaceful summer and look forward to welcoming you back for our exciting roster of events this coming fall.

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak & Jennifer Flory

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Message from the Chair

As we end the spring 2023 semester, the Department of Music has thrived in our post-Covid reality. While we have returned to full capacity for our in-person concerts, we are still offering a live-streaming option for many concerts and events to maintain a strong relationship with our audience. As the summer months progress with preparing for the next academic year, we will be monitoring and adjusting to our revised protocols with USG/GCSU policies to maintain a safe environment.

Our music faculty have remained actively pursuing their research and various creative projects, and many have received invitations and awards during the Spring 2023 semester. Andrew Allen was awarded a GCSU Journeys Mini-Grant to take students to the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference as an undergraduate research project. Dana Gorzelany-Mostak and Jennifer Flory were awarded the Hampson Education Fellowship in American Song as part of the Trax on the Trail’s current project “Songs of Political Persuasion.” Small research grants from Academic Affairs were awarded to Andrew Allen for his project “Sigurd Raschèr in the United States: 1940-1945 and Laurie Peebles with Stephanie Jett, from Psychological Science for their project “Sights and Sounds of Veteran Identity: The Use of Photovoice Technique and Lyric Analysis in a Community-Based Participatory Action Research Framework.” Elise Allen was invited to present at Mid-West Band Conference in Chicago in December 2023. Gabrielle Banzon received a Student Technology Funding (STF) Grant for the Music Therapy program and had an article published that was co-written with Hakeem Leonard from Shenandoah University entitled Genre-Bending: A Discourse on Globalization and Culture with Implications for Music Therapy. Our music therapy faculty, students, and alumni presented at the SER-AMTA conference in Chattanooga (TN) along with the GCSU’s Music Therapy Society. Nicole Young received the Spirit Award and the Internship Scholarship Award.

The Department of Music has continued to host concerts, recitals, and workshops led by both our own faculty and guest artists. Laurie Peebles hosted the Graduate Seminar weekend in January with guest speaker Lori Gooding, President of AMTA, and Bryan Hall hosted several workshops and performances in March with pianist Mikael Adon Darmanie (from Warp Trio in Fall 2022). Our 2022–23 concert series finished with over 30 performances (live-streamed and in-person) for the Spring 2023 semester. The Music Theatre Scenes performance, Out to Sea, featured talented students and a faculty pit orchestra under the direction of Gorzelany-Mostak. The orchestra pit in Russell Auditorium was even partially opened for the performance—a first for many of us! This year’s Music at the Mansion featured a host of our small and large ensembles on a beautiful spring evening. JazzFest 2023 featured six high school and middle school groups and included an appearance from guest artist/clinician Mace Hibbard with the GCSU Jazz Band and Combo, directed by Chris Enghauser (adjunct bass instructor), and the return of the GCSU Alumni Jazz Band. We had eleven junior and senior recitals this semester from late March through mid-April which were in person and live-streamed via Facebook. Stay tuned for the 2023–24 concert series and events on our website.

We have continued to pursue community outreach opportunities. On March 5, the GCSU Wind Symphony, with director Cliff Towner, presented a series of side-by-side workshops for the Baldwin County High School band program as part of the 2022–2023 GCSU Journeys Community-based Engaged Learning (CbEL) Mini-grant entitled Baldwin County Extravabandza. Music therapy students presented the Creative Expression concert, The Great Adventure, at the Life Enrichment Center. Don Parker and Ms. Mia Eaton hosted the 5th annual GCSU Day of Percussion with clinicians Dr. Kurt Gartner and Chris Ryles (Baldwin County H.S) and Double Take for a day of in-person workshops, clinics, and performances featuring solo and percussion ensembles from Georgia and North Carolina. The Center for Music Education, under the direction of Tina Holmes-Davis, continued its offerings with workshops by Chantae Pittman (Adjunct Music Education instructor) on Representation in Choral Programming, Andrew Allen presenting a clinic titled Woodwind Refresher, and Jay Davis (GCSU Alumnus) on Programming for Concert and Contest. On 29 March, GCSU Research Day featured a variety of music projects from education, therapy and performance with funding assistance from MURACE/GCSU Journeys.

We are finishing a few of our current initiatives and preparing for the future. We have completed our Departmental Strategic Plan, and we are making plans for the implementation of the first-year action items this fall. A big thanks goes out to this committee for their year-long work on this project (Kyle Ricks, Eric Griffis, Cameron Hamby, Allison Ryder, Laurie Peebles, and committee chair Cliff Towner). We received re-accreditation approval from NASM in December 2022 after submitting our optional response to the commission in November. This renewed accreditation allows us to move forward with the AMTA re-approval for submission by June 2023. We received notice in April that the Regents approved the construction of a new music practice facility to replace the McComb Building. The new facility will include 7000 square feet of space to accommodate individual and group rehearsal areas for GCSU’s wind symphony, orchestra, and jazz bands. The building is designed so that a matching wing could be added in the future as funds are available to provide for a large choral rehearsal area. We expect construction to get underway in the coming months and completion before next summer. We will have three weeks of in-person summer orientations in June and July and will continue with our monthly Zoom-in meetings for prospective students in coordination with the Office of Admissions starting September 2023. Lastly, we have two faculty departures: Gregory Wascoe (Lecturer in Voice and Aural Skills) and Jimmy Helms (PT Music Therapy Lecturer). We wish them the best in their future endeavors.

This newsletter provides a brief look at the numerous achievements of our students and faculty. We look forward to strengthening our connection with all of our students, alumni, and Friends of Music. Please stay in touch, stay safe, and enjoy your summer.

Don N. Parker

Chair, Department of Music

Professor of Music

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Music Therapy Events

Welcome Orientation: August 24, 6 pm, Peabody Auditorium

Graduate Seminar Weekend: September 8–9 pm, Location TBA

Creative Expressions: November 16, 6 pm, New City Church

End of Semester Seminar: November 17, 2–5 pm, Peabody Auditorium

Baldwin County Performance: December 1, 9 am, Oak Hill Middle School



The Wind Symphony was awarded a $1,000 Community-based Engaged Learning (CbEL) Grant this past semester. They used this award to work with both the Baldwin High School Band of the Braves and the 7th and 8th grade Oak Hill bands. These work sessions were held on two Saturdays about a month apart with the overall goal of helping these three ensembles prepare for their LGPE performances. The Wind Symphony quickly learned all nine compositions being prepared and then engaged in sectionals, side-by-side rehearsals, and some one-on-one sessions as needed, over a total of twelve hours of collaboration. This win-win opportunity not only helped the three ensembles heading to LGPE but also allowed the students in the Wind Symphony to apply knowledge and skills acquired in their own rehearsals. Overall feedback from the experience was extremely positive, and one college student even decided to change their major to music education. The GCSU Wind Symphony would like to thank the Baldwin and Oak Hill educator team, James McMillan, Chris Ryles, Trent Henderson, and Elise Allen, for all their help in this project.


Max Noah Singers (MNS) began the semester with a performance at the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) Composition Contest Winners Recital at the annual GMEA In-Service Conference in Athens, GA. “Oh My Soul” was composed by Houston County Veteran’s High School student Sam Neary; this piece also won the GCSU Composition Contest. MNS also performed its annual concert, Valentine’s Day Rendezvous, in February. In March, MNS collaborated with Dana Gorzelany-Mostak and her Trax on the Trail VIP (vertically-integrated project) team to present “Hearing Music on the 19th Century Campaign Trail” for the 2023 GCSU Research Day.

Women’s Ensemble (WE), University Chorus (UC), and MNS combined to present “Music of Our Time,” a concert consisting of music by living composers. The concert concluded with the world premiere of David Hamilton’s “Whakarongo Mai!” Hamilton, an award-winning composer from New Zealand, worked with the choirs in the week prior to the concert and attended the premiere.

MNS continued collaborating with Dr. Gorzelany-Mostak in a recording project for “Songs of Political Persuasion: Hearing Music on the US Presidential Campaign Trail, 1840–1918,” a research project which was awarded a GCSU Academic Affairs Small Grant and the Hampsong Education Fellowship in American Song from the Society for American Music. Work continues on the project to bring a website to life with professionally recorded campaign songs performed by MNS, engraved performance editions of the music, program notes, lesson plans, and digital lectures.

Finally, the choral ensembles were all represented at the annual departmental concert, “Music at the Mansion.” MNS and WE performed a number of pieces and a select ensemble of sixteen singers from UC performed a piece each under the direction of junior music education majors, Tyler Harris and Hallie Thompson. Big congratulations on graduation and her new job and thanks for her dedication go to Allison Ryder, assistant director of UC and MNS. Thanks also to WE rehearsal assistants, Rachel Jenkins and Savannah Greene. We would also like to thank the team at GCSU Production Services, led by Keith Bergeron, for all of their work live-streaming our events.

Jazz Combos

The GCSU Combo continued to perform on and off campus during the Spring 2023 semester with The McComb Combo (Zeke Nichols, piano; Elizabeth Galloway, bass; Alex Burch, trumpet; and Jacob Hammock, drums; with Chris Enghauser, director). The groups performed at a variety of events, including the monthly Jazz Jams, Music at The Mansion, the Spring Chamber Ensemble Concert, and Jazzfest.


On April 29, the annual JazzFest, with support from Allied Arts, was presented on front campus with the GCSU Jazz Band, featuring guest artist Mace Hibbard (saxophone), under the direction of Georgia College Double Bass Instructor Chris Enghauser in Dr. Towner’s absence. We had Putnam High School, Baldwin High School, and Luella High School returning, and Rusk Deer Middle School, Colquitt County High School, and Apalachee High School joining us for the first time. We also welcomed the GCSU Alumni Jazz Band to the stage with their emcee, Bob Wilson. Due to inclement weather between groups, the GCSU Jazz Band performance with Mace Hibbard and an abbreviated jam session hosted by members of the GCSU Faculty Jazz combo (Chris Enghauser, Andrew Allen, Mia Eaton, and Don Parker) moved from front campus to Magnolia Ballroom to finish out the evening with a very welcoming audience.

Music History

For the second year in a row, students in Music History II successfully completed a study and analysis of 19th- and 20th-century American songbooks, which this semester included government-issued songbooks distributed to US soldiers during WWI and WWII, community songbooks, patriotic songbooks, and (most fun of all) college songbooks. During the last two weeks of the semester, each student gave a conference-style presentation and received feedback from their classmates. This experience encouraged students to move beyond a composer/work centric model of understanding music history, and instead learn about it through the material objects that every day people used in their music making. The students look forward to carrying forward what they learned from this research project into their future work as music therapists, performers, educators, and arts advocates. In Music History II, the students consistently sought out connections between their future professions and the history of music as they discussed and debated current events occurring within the classical music world and beyond.

Music Theatre Scenes

In April, the Music Theatre Scenes class presented a performance titled Out to Sea, featuring scenes from The Little Mermaid, Anything Goes, and Titanic. With generous support from music chair Don Parker, the students were able to perform the scenes with a seven-piece orchestra, including Lev Ryabinin on piano, Bryan Hall on violin, David Johnson on viola, Elise Allen on flute, Sheryl Parker on trumpet, Chris Enghauser on bass, and Mia Eaton on percussion. David Johnson created the show-stopping arrangements.

Music Therapy

The students and faculty of the music therapy program have had an incredibly busy semester performing, presenting, and participating in training and conferences! Several students, including Sara Carr, Nicole Young, and Austin Butts, along with three faculty, Susan Craig, Katie Whipple, and Robert Stewart, attended the International Training Institute in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) March 10–13. Students and faculty learned from pioneers in the field of NMT and connected with fellow GCSU alumni, including Christopher Karow, Kenzi Taylor, and Sara Whitten.

We are incredibly proud to announce that the Music Therapy Society of Georgia College was awarded the prestigious Student Spirit Award at the 2023 Southeastern Region Music Therapy Conference, held in Chattanooga, TN, March 23–25. The Spirit Award is bestowed upon a student music therapy organization that demonstrates outstanding service to the community, involvement at regional and state conferences, and membership in the American Music Therapy Association. The Music Therapy Society was only one of two schools recognized across ten southeastern states and two US territories (Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands). Sixteen current music therapy students attended, from 2nd-year students to seniors completing their music therapy internships. Further, several music therapy faculty, including Laurie Peebles, Robert Stewart, and Gabrielle Banzon, several GCSU alumni, and students presented concurrent sessions and poster sessions, sharing their scholarly and clinical work with professionals and other students. We are also proud to announce that Nicole Young, a graduate equivalency music therapy student, was awarded the internship award for the region!

This spring semester practicum students completed another whopping 675 clinical hours in our local community, providing services to adults across eight different locations, including Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin Skilled Nursing Unit, Chaplinwood Health & Rehabilitation, Fellowship Home at Meriwether, Green Acres Health & Rehabilitation, Georgia War Veterans Home, The Cottages of Milledgeville at Woodland Terrace, The Glen at Lake Oconee, and the Life Enrichment Center. Thank you so much to our community partners for allowing our students to learn from you and those you serve. The students shared the methods and results of their clinical work at the End-of-Semester Music Therapy Seminar, and senior music therapy students presented on The Art of Self Care. Several students took home awards for their outstanding work.

The semester concluded with a bittersweet goodbye to Mr. Jimmy Helms, who after working with GCSU’s music therapy program since 1993, has decided to retire this May. Students and faculty, decked in their plaid and flannel shirts, surprised Mr. Helms with the “Most Awesome-est Professor Award” and a special song by Ms. Banzon. Further, Katie Whipple presented Mr. Helms with a guitar-shaped word cloud with words provided by students and fellow faculty. Some of the most often cited words used to describe Mr. Helms included caring, talented, kind, wise, compassionate, and a “rock star.” You will be missed Jimmy, and we appreciate all of your contributions to the music therapy program at Georgia College and the time, effort, and energy you put into the training of many generations of MTs.

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Music Therapy Internships

A big congratulations to AK Alford, Brianna Burnley, Nicki Dail, Laura Fennell, Meghan Jennings, Zoe Reddick, Jillian Truchan, and Cassidy Weber for completing their music therapy internships this spring or summer!

And a big congrats to the following students who have recently accepted internship positions across the southeast, from Florida to Virginia!

Laura Lee Bailey, Fulton County School System, Atlanta, GA, starting September 2023

Sara Carr, The Life Enrichment Center, Milledgeville, GA, starting June 2023

Macy Ellis, Florida State Hospital, Chattahoochee, FL, starting August 2023

Lila Finke, Therabeat, Inc., Woodstock, GA, starting June 2023

Noya Levy, Fulton County School System, Atlanta, GA, starting September 2023

Taylor Luiz, Perfect Harmony Health, Roswell, GA, starting August 2023

Chloe McDargh, Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, Augusta, GA, starting June 2023

Mallory McDonald, Therabeat, Inc., Woodstock, GA, starting June 2023

Tori Palazzo, Gulf Coast Music Therapy, starting August 2023

Moriah Treadwell, Central State Hospital, Milledgeville, GA, starting June 2023

Nicole Young, Four Seasons Hospice, TBD

Lina Williams, A Place to Be, Middleburg, VA, starting July 2023


Dr. Kurt Gartner, Associate Director of the Music Program and Professor of Percussion at Kansas State University, served as the featured clinician for GCSU Percussion Day on 18 February. He teaches applied percussion and percussion methods and directs the Percussion Ensemble, Keyboard Percussion Quartets, and Latin Jazz Ensemble at KSU. He has also provided instruction and performances in Afro-Cuban music and applications of technology in music in a variety of educational settings.

The focus of this year’s Percussion Day was solo and ensemble performances. There were students performing from Hoke County High School (Raeford, NC), Valdosta State University, Georgia Military College, and Baldwin County High School. Each student or group was provided with comments on their performance from our guest clinician. There were additional clinics presented by Mia Eaton (GCSU Adjunct Percussion Instructor) on Music Theatre Performance Practices, Chris Ryles (Director of Percussion–Baldwin County School System and GCSU Alumnus-–BME 2006 and MME 2008) on Musicality in the Percussion Ensemble, and Double Take (Don Parker–Percussion, and Sheryl Linch-Parker–Trumpet) on Developing a Chamber Music Attitude.

Senior BA percussion major Jacob Hammock was very busy with a variety of performances. On 30 March, as the concerto competition winner for the 22–23 academic year, Jacob gave an outstanding performance of the first movement of Concerto No. 2 for Marimba and Wind Ensemble (2008) by David Gillingham with the GCSU Wind Symphony. He continued on 11 April, presenting his senior recital, which featured performances on marimba (Gordon Stout, Two Mexican Dances), vibraphone (Bill Molenhof, Music of the Day), and timpani (John Willmarth, Bushido: The Way of the Warrior). He continued his recital with three selections requiring accompaniment with Chakalaka (Francisco Perez), Night Sounds with the Imposter Trio, and Stonewall (a jazz vibraphone transcription) with the GCSU student jazz combo.. Jacob graduated with his BA in music. He will be pursuing a MM in Performance from the University of Louisville with a graduate assistantship in Fall 2023. Jacob will truly be missed by the GCSU Music Department, and we wish him the best with his educational pursuits in Kentucky.
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The piano studio stepped up and met expectations amid the challenges and distractions that the spring semester often presents to our music students. We were well-represented with three piano majors playing skillfully in the returning music major scholarship auditions. Our graduating seniors both went over and above: Presser Award winner Ellie Deener with a huge senior recital program and Nicki Dail doing a busy music therapy internship in Florida in a hospice setting. Music minor and piano studio alumna Ella Velimirovich worked behind the scenes with Dr. Lovell as an intern to help set up the upcoming Fall ‘23 iteration of our Bobcat Keys after-school outreach piano program with Wilkinson County Elementary School. The start of that program dovetails with the conclusion of our elective Piano Pedagogy course, which just finished. Our students had the opportunity to learn about teaching beginning piano students and starting a teaching studio from several guest lecturers, and a weekly teaching practicum with five-year-old Remi and eight-year-old Madisyn. Many of the GCSU students in this class will go on to become volunteer teachers for Bobcat Keys. In February, BMT piano student Lynsey Blevins and BA Ellie Deener had the opportunity to perform for Dr. Jasmin Arakawa (head of the piano area at the University of Florida) in a masterclass, following their fantastic recital at GCSU. Dr. Lovell tried an interdisciplinary approach to a traditional piano recital with his March performances of a program entitled, “Oh, the Humanity!” which featured GCSU poetry professor (and recent winner of the Changes Book Prize), Laura Newbern and creative writing professor, Kerry Neville. The performance in Max Noah Recital Hall was intense, well-attended by the campus and surrounding community, and embodied the liberal arts experience in a unique way.

During winter break, our new Steinway D in the hall had some work done on its action, and then full concert preparation by Erik Diehl, head concert technician for the Steinway factory in New York City. Our enthusiastic staff technician, Brian McClure, and Dr. Lovell spent a couple of days with Mr. Diehl as he checked, refined, and tweaked this expensive and sensitive instrument to the nth degree. The changes were immediately apparent to everyone who used the piano in the spring semester. We thank our friends at Turner’s Keyboards of Augusta and Steinway and Sons for stepping up and providing an exceptional level of service to Georgia College, proudly an All-Steinway School.

As has become a tradition for the piano studio, we are constantly planning ahead, and trying to do fun co-curricular and extracurricular activities with current, former, and incoming students. This semester, we brought two groups of students to see some of the top pianists in the world perform solo recitals at Spivey Hall. And then we capped off the semester by getting together at the local roller rink (don’t worry, parents – everyones’ wrists escaped unscathed)! Finally, we look ahead to the challenge of the fall semester Piano Studio Recital. This coming year’s theme will be music by women composers, a topic that will challenge all of us to learn repertoire by composers we might not know. This program will be a mix of living composers and others who have gained the notoriety they rightly deserve, posthumously. Finally, and most of all, Dr. Lovell wishes to recognize the improvement in every student in his studio—juries over the past year were a pleasure and testament to the discipline and desire each piano student has. It is the reason these students will be successful, and a huge motivation for the faculty who teach them.


The saxophone studio had an active Spring, both on and off campus! In January, the GCSU Saxophone Choir presented a lobby recital at the GMEA Conference at the Classic Center in Athens. In addition, two student ensembles were accepted to present recitals at the North American Saxophone Alliance’s National Biennial Conference, hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi. The GCSU Saxophone Choir presented a recital featuring a performance of Brian Israel’s Concertino. Meanwhile, The Imposter Trio presented a recital featuring the world premiere of Rainbowfish, a work penned for them by Ian T. Jones, an undergraduate composer at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Preston Raburn (BA ‘25) was co-winner of the GCSU Concerto Competition (with Riley Greer), and will be performing with the Wind Symphony in the 2023–2024 school year.


This year marked some exciting projects for the GCSU Orchestra. First, a run-out concert to the Academy for Classical Education in Macon in September 2022, featuring Youngmi Kim singing a Vivaldi motet. We also incorporated baroque bows to enhance a period instrument pedagogical approach and brought them to the schools we visited.

We invited the Academy for Classical Education middle and high school orchestras, the GCSU Dance Department, and the four and five-year-old violin students from the Early Learning Center violin class in Baldwin County to join us at our October concert. The Dance Department performed tangos with us, the fifty ACE students sat side-by-side with college students, the ELC students, who have been taught by our music education college students, performed tangos, Dr. Kim sang a motet, Sarah Davis (our cello instructor and GCSU alum) performed a solo, Helen Rose Whitacre performed a Haydn piano concerto, percussion students joined us for Pirates of Caribbean, and we performed the exciting Peter Boyer Aries. Thank you to our dedicated GCSU students (Moriah Treadwell, Taylor Doyle, and Lizzy Galloway) who teach the preschool violin class at the ELC in Baldwin County.

We transitioned to a genre-busting collaboration concert in November with the world-renowned WARP Trio which combines classical, jazz, rap, rock, blues, and R&B for their exciting social justice concert titled Black Voices. This program featured Emcee Fabien Mickens LiKWUiD who performed spoken word with our GCSU orchestra, the WARP Trio, and forty high school students from Davidson Fine Arts Academy in Augusta. The trio did several performances and improvisation workshops at GCSU, the Early Learning Center, Baldwin High School, and Midway Hills Academy in Milledgeville. This residency was graciously supported by grants from Baldwin County Allied Arts and Arts Unlimited and GCSU guest artist funds.

Our Holiday concert featured graduating seniors Nicholas Koebert and Sara Carr playing Vivaldi’s double violin concerto. Our spring concert featured world-renowned piano concerto soloist Mikael Darmanie playing a beautiful Mozart concerto. We also featured a student conductor, Lizzy Galloway, who conducted Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances. Our instrumental and choral conducting students participated in a live conducting masterclass with Robert Franz (conductor of Windsor Symphony).

This summer, music minor/computer science major Kylie Dallas will play JC Bach’s Casadesus Concerto in C minor and BA music major Taylor Doyle will play JS Bach’s Concerto in A minor as soloists with the professional Boise Baroque Orchestra in the Boise Baroque Orchestra Soloist/Conductor Workshop. Taylor Doyle will continue on in the orchestral festival titled Idaho Orchestral Institute held in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. Last summer, both Taylor Doyle and Lizzy Galloway attended the Idaho Orchestral Institute. Lizzy was supported by Heritage Funds from the Office of Provost. Lizzy was also presented with the prestigious Presser Scholar Award this year. We wish Nicholas Koebert, who graduated this year with his BA, future success and happiness.

This year, Bryan Hall was the winner of the 31st International Conductors Workshop and Competition (ICWC) in Atlanta in January. He performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto as a soloist with a professional orchestra in Texas. This summer and the academic year he will continue his creative activities, performing in the violin sections of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. He will also be teaching at the Idaho Orchestral Institute, Boise Baroque Soloist/Conductor Workshop, and Honolulu Suzuki Institute. He was a clinician at the 2023 Catawba Valley Honor Orchestra Performance in Hickory, North Carolina in January.

Next semester (Fall 2023) the GCSU orchestra will feature the concertmaster of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Calin Lupanu, as soloist for the Mendelssohn Concerto in D Minor.


The voice area has continued to grow in quality. In January, we welcomed the duo Whistling Hens which was founded by our former voice faculty member, Jennifer Piazza-Pick, and the clarinetist Natalie Groom. They presented a variety of music, ranging from dramatic settings to jazz, using just two instruments, voice and clarinet. The Spring Voice Honors Recital took place in February, and eleven students performed for a packed house. Additionally, all voice faculty members, along with Lev Ryabinin and Hue Jang, resumed the annual voice faculty recital, which had not been held since 2019. Each singer performed two operatic arias—one that was familiar and approachable to the students, and one that was less familiar.

Congratulations to Lina Williams, Taylor Luiz, Campbell Ransom, Oliver Sanchez, Allison Ryder, and Rachel Jenkins, six voice students who gave senior or junior recitals this semester. This marks the highest number of student recitals we have had since 2019. Well done to all of these talented students on their achievements! We are delighted to announce the upcoming Department Honors Recital which will be held on 20 October. This event will feature performances from talented music students, including seven voice students.


Amici Jazz Jam Sessions

We had four successful GCSU Jazz Jams at Amici this semester with something unique on each one. Beginning in January, the group became a sextet by adding Cliff Towner on trumpet. The new lineup features Cliff Towner (trumpet), Andrew Allen (tenor saxophone), Robert Stewart (guitar), Don Parker (vibes), Chris Enghauser (bass), and Mia Eaton (drums). At the January session, student bassist Lizzy Galloway filled in on bass, and in February, senior drummer, Jacob Hammock, filled in on drums. Both Lizzy and Jacob also did a great job leading the GCSU Jazz Combo at each jam. This group also featured senior Alex Burch on trumpet and Zeke Nichols on piano. Students from the Improvisation class were featured at each jam as we have done in the past, but this time we tried something new as each student performed a solo transcription of their choice.

Creative Expressions

Creative Expressions, a 20+ year partnership between the Music Therapy program and the Life Enrichment Center, hosted its biannual concert at New City Church on 18 April. The concert, titled The Great Adventure, featured twenty-five of Georgia College’s music therapy students and over forty performers with disAbilities from the Life Enrichment Center. Performances included the many different integrated groups—the Harmonettes Vocal Choir, the Men’s Vocal Percussion group, Good Vibrations, the Bell Tones, Step in Time, Music in Motion, the Music Makers, and the Jungle Royales. Some of the hits from the night included renditions of “Life is a Highway,” “Walking on Sunshine,” and “True Colors,” just to name a few. Creative Expressions is founded on the principle that “We are more alike than different,” and each performance provides a platform for sharing that meaningful message. For more information about Creative Expressions, click here.
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Faculty Outreach

Andrew J. Allen presented saxophone clinics at Swainsboro Middle School and High School, Washington County High School, Warner Robins, Veterans, Lake Oconee Academy, Houston County, Baldwin, and Locust Grove High Schools this Spring. Reach out if you’d like a sectional or clinic at your school (andrew.allen@gcsu.edu)!
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Music Therapy Clinic

The Music Therapy Clinic at Georgia College aims to support and enrich the lives of individuals and groups in the central Georgia area through music therapy services and community music experiences. This semester, we welcomed Erin Lamb (MT-BC) as our new graduate assistant! She quickly learned the ropes and has been supporting the clinic through facilitating sessions and collaborating on various projects, one of these being our biannual performance in collaboration with the Baldwin County School District.

On 21 April, approximately eighty K–12 students were featured in a morning concert of songs from movies titled Our Film Favorites. The students assisted in choosing performance pieces from movies such as Shrek and Trolls, and even re-wrote the classic theme song from The Addams Family. In addition to rehearsing these pieces every week, they engaged in singing, improvisation, and music games, with support from our MT clinic therapists and GCSU music therapy students to develop their social, emotional, and communication skills.

This summer, we will be hosting our first-ever Songwriting Camp for grades 6–12. It will be held on campus July 17–21. Sign-ups can be found here. Spread the word!

For more information about individual music therapy services or becoming a community partner with the Music Therapy Clinic at Georgia College, click here. To keep up to date, check out our new social media pages on Instagram and Facebook.


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Faculty Spotlight: Youngmi Kim

Where are you from?

I am originally from Korea and came to the US in 2001 to pursue a master of music and doctorate of musical arts degrees at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. After completing my studies, I taught at Radford University in Virginia for four years before joining the faculty at Georgia College in 2017.

Why did you choose Music as a career?

I chose music as a career because I have always loved singing and writing songs since I was a child when I would hum them. When I joined the children’s choir at the age of ten, I discovered my passion for music and singing. However, I didn’t realize I had a talent for it until my high school choir teacher encouraged me to pursue further studies in music. I was interested in becoming a college music professor, as I wanted to share my knowledge and love for music with others and help them discover their own musical abilities. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with the students.

What attracted you to the Department of Music at Georgia College and how long have you been here?

I was attracted to the Department of Music at Georgia College when I came for an interview in 2016. I was impressed by the talented students and younger colleagues, and the music department seemed very well-organized. I felt this place could be my next workplace and home. I have just finished my sixth year of teaching at Georgia College.

What is your favorite class to teach and why?

I enjoy teaching every class, but my favorite is applied voice for major and non-major students. Working with individual students is very rewarding, and I find it enjoyable to adjust and adapt to each student’s needs. I also love teaching the opera scenes class, where students learn how to pronounce foreign language pieces and how to perform assigned pieces. Seeing students make progress and gain confidence is very fulfilling, and it makes me happy to guide them to success. As an educator, I hope to impart not only musical knowledge, but also life lessons to my students through their classes.

What is your applied and/or research area?

My applied area of interest is exploring art songs and chamber music as an ensemble, and I try to introduce approachable repertoire for my students in my annual recital. In terms of research, I am particularly interested in embellishments in Baroque and Classical vocal music.

What words of advice would you give to students thinking about coming to Georgia College to major in music/music therapy?

Music and music therapy students at Georgia College receive individual attention from faculty members. In a world where we often interact with technology more than people, Georgia College offers a caring and personalized environment where students can thrive.

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Current Faculty Research and Creative Activity

Andrew J. Allen

  • “Another American Voice: William Grant Still and the Saxophone,” Saxophone Symposium 45 (2022): 94–111.
  • Recording Review of Four Shades of French by Joseph Lulloff, Saxophone Symposium 45 (2022): 159–60.
  • Recording Review of word]plays by Emily Koh, Saxophone Symposium 45 (2022): 155–56.
  • Recording Review of Second Flight by Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, Saxophone Symposium 45 (2022): 152–53.
  • Recording Review of Fairy Tales by Kyle Horch, Saxophone Symposium 45 (2022): 151–52.
  • Recording Review of In This Broad Earth by Steven Bryant, Saxophone Symposium 45 (2022): 149–50.
  • Lecture, “The Red Saxophone: Hanns Eisler and ‘Applied Music’ in Interwar Berlin,” International Conference for Saxophone Pedagogy & Performance, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (Virtual), February 24, 2023.
  • Lecture, “The Red Saxophone: Hanns Eisler and ‘Applied Music’ in Weimar Berlin,” 43rd United States Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, Fairfax, VA, January 13, 2023.
  • Lecture, “The Red Saxophone: Hanns Eisler and ‘Applied Music’ in Weimar Berlin,” 2023 North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, Hattiesburg, MI, April 1, 2023.
  • Andrew J. Allen and Gordon Hicken. Recital by Rogue Two, 43rd United States Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, Rogue Two Recital, Fairfax, VA, January 13, 2023.
  • Andrew J. Allen, Matthew Castner, Sheldon Johnson, and Clifford Leaman. Recital by the Palmetto Saxophone Quartet, 43rd United States Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, Fairfax, VA, January 14, 2023.
  • Andrew J. Allen, Matthew Castner, Sheldon Johnson, and Clifford Leaman. Recital by the Palmetto Saxophone Quartet, North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, Hattiesburg, MI, April 2, 2023.
  • Andrew J. Allen, Gregory Dewhirst, Matthew Tracy, and Andy Wright. Recital by the SAGA Saxophone Quartet, North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, Hattiesburg, MI, March 30, 2023.
  • Andrew J. Allen, Kurt Bertels, Sarah Hetrick, Adrianne Honnold, and Holly Hubbs. Panel Discussion, “Contemporary Perspectives on the Legacy of Elise Hall,” North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, Hattiesburg, MI, April 1, 2023.

Gabrielle Banzon

  • Review of the book Toward a Sociology of Music Therapy: Musicking as a Cultural Immunogen, by E. Ruud, Music Therapy Approaches (2023).
  • Review of the book Sociocultural identities in Music Therapy, by S. Hadley, Music Therapy Perspectives 41, no. 1 (2023), https://doi.org/10.1093/mtp/miac029.
  • Gabrielle Banzon and Hakeem Leonard. “Genre-Bending: A Discourse on Globalization and Culture with Implications for Music Therapy,” Music Therapy Perspectives (2023), https://doi.org/10.1093/mtp/miad004.
  • Gabrielle Banzon. “Music Therapy Resource Development,” Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA, April 6, 2023.
  • Gabrielle Banzon, ezequiel bautista, Susan Hadley, Joyu Lee, Mary Rose Nelson, Freddy Perkins, Carly Poloskey, kei slaughter, Marianela Cordoba. “Self-Reflexivity of the Therapist: Understanding How Identity Impacts the Work,” SER-AMTA Regional Conference, Chattanooga, TN, March 25, 2023.
  • Gabrielle Banzon, Robert Stewart, Chris Millett, and Andrew Chapman. “TECH NOOK Presents: Understanding Music Technology in Post-Pandemic Practice,” SER-AMTA Regional Conference, Chattanooga, TN, March 24, 2023.

Chris Enghauser

  • Section Bassist, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, “Greig, Sibelius, Mahler,” Miller Theatre, Augusta GA, January 7, 2023.
  • Bassist, “A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline,” starring Gail Bliss, Alhambra Theatre, Jacksonville, FL, January 20–February 5, 2023.
  • Section Bassist, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, “Tchaikovsky Symphony 4,” Miller Theatre, Augusta, GA, February 18, 2023.
  • Section Bassist, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, “Dance to the Movies,” Miller Theatre, Augusta, GA, March 2, 2023.
  • Principal Bass, Toccoa Symphony Orchestra, “Spring Concert,” Toccoa, GA, March 5, 2023.
  • Principal Bassist, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, “Schumann Symphony 2, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with Geneva Lewis,” Destin, FL, March 11, 2023.
  • Section Bassist, Augusta Symphony Orchestra, “Vaughan Williams and Mozart 38,” Miller Theatre, Augusta, GA, March 27, 2023.
  • Section Bass, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, “Give Me Space,” Moody Concert Hall, Tuscaloosa, AL, March 27, 2023.
  • Bassist, “Crazy for Patsy Cline,” starring Katie Deal, Newbury Opera House, Newbury, SC, March 30, 2023.
  • Bassist, “Crazy for Patsy Cline,” starring Katie Deal, Suffolk Center for the Cultural Arts, Suffolk, VA, April 1, 2023.
  • Bassist, Carrollton Jazz Orchestra, “Jazz at the Amp,” The Amp, Carrollton GA, April, 22, 2023.
  • Section Bass, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, “Symphonie Fantastique, Haydn Cello Concerto with Allison Yoshie Eldredge,” Moody Concert Hall, Tuscaloosa, AL, March 24, 2023.
  • Principal Bass, Toccoa Symphony Orchestra, “Music & Movie Magic,” Toccoa, GA, April 7, 2023.

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak

  • “From Dope to Nope: How Barack Obama and Kamala Harris Found a Hip Hop Strategy.” Black Studies Month Lecture, Georgia College & State University, February 20, 2023.
  • “MTG Meets D.R.E,” Pop Culture Panel, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Liberal Studies, Georgia College & State University, April 19, 2023.
  • Tracks on the Trail: Popular Music, Race, and the US Presidency, University of Michigan Press, forthcoming November 2023.
  • Women in Music Panel, Province Weekend, Sigma Alpha Iota, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, January 14, 2023.
  • “Women, Music, and Drug Advertising, 1906–1918,” Women’s and Gender Studies Symposium, Georgia College & State University, March 29, 2023.

Don N. Parker
  • Extra Percussionist, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, “We Town: Gullah Traditions In the Holy City,” First Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island, SC, February 5–6, 2023.

Don N. Parker and Sheryl Linch-Parker

  • Lecture Recital and Masterclasses by Double Take, Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL, February 27–28, 2023.
  • Lecture Recital and Masterclasses by Double Take, University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), Oxford, MS, March 1–2, 2023.
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Current Faculty Awards and Achievements

Andrew J. Allen is serving as President-Elect of the North American Saxophone Alliance, and is co-chair of their Professional Development and Engagement Committee. He has recently been awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Music at GCSU, effective July 1.

Jennifer Flory completed the GCSU Women’s Leadership Faculty Fellows Program (2022–2023) and passed the gavel as University Senate Presiding Officer (April 2023).

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak and Jennifer M. Flory received the Hampsong Education Fellowship in American Song from the Hampsong Foundation in 2023 for their project “Songs of Political Persuasion: Hearing Music on the US Presidential Campaign Trail, 1840–1918.” This grant will support the creation of a recording and educational website devoted to 19th- and early 20th-century US presidential campaign music.


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Student Spotlight: Lizzy Galloway

Where are you from?

I am from Kennesaw, Georgia.

Why did you choose music as a major?

I have always enjoyed playing music since middle school while I was in orchestra, however, I didn’t decide that I wanted to pursue music as a career until I was able to teach through United Sound, which is an organization that allows students with special needs to participate in music through peer mentorship outside of the classroom.

What attracted you to the music program at Georgia College and how long have you been here?

I have been here since Fall 2020. The BA/MAT program led me to audition for the school, and the faculty were kind and helpful and led me to make the decision to attend Georgia College.

What has been one of your favorite musical experiences in your time here?

As a bass player, I don’t often get to perform solo repertoire, so performing in the NASM recital was special for me because I was able to play for my friends and family.

What is your applied area and how have you progressed since you started lessons here?

I play the double bass, and I have progressed significantly in the contemporary field, because Mr. Enghauser pushes his students past the threshold of classical music. I have been able to experience different styles, and concertos, and perform in many instrumental ensembles, including the Wind Symphony, choral ensembles, and jazz ensembles.

What are your plans for after you graduate?

I plan to continue with the MAT program through Georgia College, then find a full-time teaching job. I would also like to perform in different orchestras and ensembles in the future.

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Student Research and Creative Activity

  • Jacob Bryson, Austin Butts, Kelsey Carpenter, Cole Flowers, Maxwell Harley, Savannah McDowell, Mary Mead, Preston Raburn, and Joel Saucedo (Georgia College & State University Saxophone Choir). Concertino by Brian Israel, North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, Hattiesburg, MI, April 1, 2023.
  • Jacob Bryson, Austin Butts, Kelsey Carpenter, Cole Flowers, Maxwell Harley, Savannah McDowell, Mary Mead, Preston Raburn, and Joel Saucedo (Georgia College & State University Saxophone Choir). Lobby Performance, Georgia Music Educators Association Conference, Athens, GA, January 28, 2023.
  • Caroline Cole, Victoriyah Friend, Riley Greer. Vertically Integrated Project: Trax on the Trail, ongoing.
  • Elizabeth Deener, Jacob Hammock, and Mary Mead. Night Sounds by Robert Palmer; world premiere, Rainbowfish by Ian T. Jones, North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference, Hattiesburg, MI, April 1, 2023.
  • Elizabeth Deener, Jacob Hammock, and Mary Mead (The Imposter Trio), Presentation, Research Day, Georgia College & State University, March 29, 2023.
  • Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, Jennifer Flory, Victoriyah Friend, Riley Greer, Savannah Greene, Anna Ogletree, Allison Ryder, Addison Resh, Kylie Dallas, Emmaline Wellborn, Ethan Chase, Aidan Fortenberry, Tyler Harris, Ben McPherson, Preston Rayburn, Jack Grimes, Richard Guyton, Joey Johnson, Michael Marcinko and Liam Mueller. “Hearing Music on the 19th-Century Campaign Trail,” Lecture and Concert, Research Day, Georgia College & State University, March 29, 2023.
  • Mary Mead, Senior Saxophone Recital, Georgia College & State University, April 12, 2023.
  • SoYun Park, “Case Study of the Little Caterpillars Development Center,” Poster Presentation, Research Day, Georgia College & State University, March 29, 2023.
  • Allison Ryder, assistant director, Max Noah Singers and University Chorus, Spring 2023.
  • Helen Whitacre, “Case Study: Doin’ Music with D,” Poster Presentation, Research Day, Georgia College & State University, March 29, 2023.

Student Awards and New Positions

  • Music Therapy Society, 2023 Spirit Award, Southeastern Regional American Music Therapy Conference

  • Emily Backus (MME ‘23), Excellence in Arts Education Award, Mary Lin Elementary School, Atlanta Public Schools; concert with Mom Friend at The Earl, East Atlanta Village, Atlanta, GA
  • Brianna Burnley (BMT ‘23), full-time music therapy position, Peachford Hospital, Dunwoody, GA
  • MaCayla Cook (MMT ‘23), GCSU Outstanding Music Therapy Equivalency Student
  • Madison Golden (BA ‘22; MAT ‘23), choral director, Woodland Middle School, Cartersville, GA
  • Chantilly Hinton (MAT ‘23), elementary music teacher, Lake Joy Elementary, Warner Robins, GA
  • Rachel Jenkins (BMT), GCSU Excellence in Research, Music Therapy
  • Nick Koebert (BA ‘23), attending a six-month internship in a school of missions through the University of the Nations, Kona, HI
  • Erin Lamb (MMT), GCSU Outstanding Masters of Music Therapy Student; music therapy position at Small Steps Music, LLC
  • Noya Levy (MMT), GCSU Excellence in Clinical Service, Music Therapy
  • Taylor Luiz (BMT), GCSU Outstanding Practicum Student, Music Therapy
  • Chloe McDargh (BMT), GCSU Outstanding Music Therapy Major
  • Mary Mead (BA ‘23), GCSU College of Arts & Sciences Medallion, Division of Arts & Communication
  • Anna Ogletree (BMT), GCSU Outstanding Pre-Practicum Student, Music Therapy
  • Megan Ostrat (BA ‘22; MAT ‘23), Golden Apple Award, Baldwin High School, Milledgeville, GA
  • Allison Ryder (BA ‘23), choral and drama director, Lamar County High School, Barnesville, GA
  • Cassidy Weber (BMT ‘23), Creative Expressive Arts Therapist, J. Iverson Riddle Development Center, Morganton, NC
  • Lina Williams (BMT), GCSU Excellence in Songwriting, Music Therapy
  • Nicole Young (MMT), GCSU Excellence in Leadership, Music Therapy; Southeastern Region of the American Music Therapy Association, Internship Scholarship
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2023-2024 Returning Music Major Scholarships

Aeolian Singers Scholarship

Tyler Harris (rising senior BA+MAT voice major)

Alberta Goff Scholarship

Helen Whitacre (senior BMT piano major)

Boss Family Scholarship

Brooklyn Wucher (rising junior BA+MAT euphonium major)

Preston Raburn (rising junior BA+MAT saxophone major)

Concerto Competition Winners

Riley Greer (rising junior BA+MAT voice major)

Preston Raburn (rising junior BA+MAT saxophone major)

Dr. Anne Patterson Scholarship

Addison Resh (junior BA+MAT voice major)

Dr. Maidana Nunn Scholarship

MacK Arrington (rising junior BMT voice major)

Megan Atcheson (rising junior BMT trombone major)

Meghan Bennett (rising sophomore BA+MAT voice major)

Aidan Fortenberry (rising senior BA voice major)

Savannah Greene (rising junior BA+MAT voice major)

Rachel Jenkins (senior BMT voice major)

Helen Whitacre (senior BMT piano major)

Jackie Becton Bell Scholarship

Lynsey Blevins (rising sophomore BMT piano major)

Joseph Johnson (sophomore BA voice major)

Anna Ogletree (rising junior BMT voice major)

Addison Resh (junior BA+MAT voice major)

James and Nan Dowlen Lee Music Scholarship

Riley Greer (rising junior BA+MAT voice major)

Lois Bradley Akins Legacy Annual Scholarship for Excellence in Music Education

Lily Butler (rising sophomore BA+MAT violin major)

Lucy Lynn Underwood Scholarship

Riley Greer (rising junior BA+MAT voice major)

Max Noah Scholarship

MacK Arrington (rising junior BMT voice major)

Riley Greer (rising junior BA+MAT voice major)

Tyler Harris (rising senior BA+MAT voice major)

Liam Mueller (rising sophomore BA voice major)

Anna Ogletree (rising junior BMT voice major)

Preston Raburn (rising junior BA+MAT saxophone major)

Oliver Sanchez (rising senior BMT voice major)

Pauline Farr Echols Music Scholarship

Tyler Harris (rising senior BA+MAT voice major)

Shani Thompson (rising junior BMT voice major)

Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award

Lizzy Galloway (rising senior BA+MAT bass major)

Sandra McCall Rosseter Scholarship

Lynsey Blevins (rising sophomore BMT piano major)

Steven and Ethel Boyle Scholarship

Preston Raburn (rising junior BA+MAT saxophone major)

Thomas Fredric and Mrs. Tallulah Kinney Schepis Scholarship

MacK Arrington (rising junior BMT voice major)

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Graduating Students - May and August 2023

Bachelor of Arts in Music

Elizabeth M. Deener

*Jacob W. Hammock

*Nicholas J. Koebert

Mary C. Mead

*Allison Ryder

*Music Precertification Minor

Bachelor of Music Therapy

Anna Kate Alford

Brianna N. Burnley

Ashley Nicki Dail

Laura C. Fennell

Meghan H. Jennings

Jillian M. Truchan

Aliyah D. Walker

Cassidy R. Weber

Master of Arts in Teaching: Music Education

Madison E. Golden

Robert Madison Graham

Chantilly Hinton

Ishmael McKinstry

Robyn S. Meeks

Kelley L. Monahan

Megan N. Ostrat

Tiffany N. Reed

Jonathan Luke Ross

Master of Music Education

Emily Backus

Emily Boswell

Maya Broadwater

Lauren G. Davis

Peter Downey

Shantoria Enocher

Heather M. Farr

Hannah Jackson

Noah C. Jackson

Jerald S. Lancaster

James Lowry

Jeremy Ragan

Sarah B. Shiver

Jaris Tobler

John Zach Williams

Master of Music Therapy

MaCayla J. Hodges

Zoe A. Reddick


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Alumni Spotlight: Brianna Riley Barnett

What year did you graduate and what degree did you receive?

I graduated from Georgia College as an undergraduate in 2015 with a Bachelor of Music Education. After teaching for five years, I returned to Georgia College via the online MME program and graduated in 2022 with my Master of Music Education.

What have you been up to since your graduation from Georgia College?

After five fantastic years of teaching middle school chorus in Coweta County, GA, my husband and I took a year hiatus where we traveled around the country. I decided it was an excellent opportunity to start working on my master’s degree and completed the online MME program. When we finished our travels, we moved to Charleston, SC. I was able to jump back into teaching and am currently finishing up my sixth year of teaching middle school chorus. I’m also presently singing with the Charleston Symphony Chorus.

What is your fondest memory from your time at Georgia College?

At Georgia College, I made many lifelong friends with whom I am still very close today. The friendships I formed with my three close friends in the music department have been some of the most meaningful relationships of my life. We sang together in the All-College Chorus, took nearly every class together, and also had the opportunity to travel to New York City for a choir tour, which was an unforgettable experience. Those trips allowed us to bond even more and create memories that will last a lifetime.

In what ways did your time at Georgia College prepare you to achieve your professional goals?

Georgia College gave me hands-on experience working with students, which helped me prepare for my career in the chorus classroom. My student teaching experience combined with the experience of being a student conductor in the Max Noah Singers and University Chorus helped prepare me immensely.

What advice would you give to current music students?

If you are a current music student, I would say start engaging with the community, be it students or patients, now. The more you experience what your day-to-day life will look like, the more prepared you will feel. That student teaching experience is absolutely invaluable, and the practicums help you get a feel for the different strategies you can use. If you are going into music education, make a plan to shadow or assist an LGPE judge, so you can observe different strategies for performance and sight reading. Seek out performing opportunities and use them to help you maintain your own professional musicianship and love of music alive and well.

Alumni Updates

  • Sammi Acconcio (BMT ‘19), April Therapist of the Month, Dynamic Music Therapy, Inc., Indianapolis, IN

  • Rosie (Riquelme) Antunez (BME ‘10), Orchestra Director, Decatur High School

  • Christina Bailey (BME '2015, MME '16), Music Teacher, Daughtry Elementary, Butts County; in Doctor of Music Education program at Liberty University

  • Emily Beggs (BMT ‘17, MMT ‘20), music therapy position, behavioral health hospital, Aliso Viejo, CA

  • Brooke (Vankempen) Bong (MME ‘22) accepted into Education Specialist (EdS) in Music Education degree program at Auburn University, AL

  • Laura Branan (BME ‘85) opened own tax office, 2023; director of Harmony Sound Waves Women’s Barbershop Chorus, New Smyrna Beach, FL, 2022; Director of Music at a UMC church, 2012–2021; Praise Team accompanist and singer in South Daytona, 2020–2021; joined Celebrate Recovery leadership team, 2020; MBA in Financial Accounting, 2010

  • Josh Brandon (MME ‘12), Teacher of the Year, Loganville High School, GA

  • Laura Bryan (BMT ‘14), Learning Coordinator for the Project ECHO Program, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, GA

  • Greg Burns (BME ‘08) accepted into Master of Music Education program at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA

  • Sarah (Fender) Carden (BME ‘12) leaving teaching for the foreseeable future to be a stay at home mom

  • Dennis Chalker (BMT ‘81) retired

  • Robert Davidson (MME ‘21) with Josey Jimenez (MME ‘21), “The Modern Middle School Band Director: Striking a Balance,” GMEA In-Service Conference, Athens, GA (2023)
  • Maddie Eads (BMT ‘20), Therapist at Pasadena Villa Outpatient in Charlotte, NC
  • Sarah Griffin (BME ‘21), MM Orchestral Saxophone Performance, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA; 2023 Dean’s Award Recipient with FLAX Ensemble in GSU School of Music Honors Recital, Atlanta, GA

  • Lauren (Harbor) Hargrove (BME ‘13), director, Houston County 5th Grade Honor Choir, Warner Robins, GA (2023)

  • Sophia Harlan (MME ‘20) in DA in Music with an emphasis in Music Education program, William Carey University

  • Charles Hernandez (BM ‘96, MME ‘08, EdS ‘11), March Teacher of the Month, Mary Persons High School, Forsyth, GA

  • Lita (Rogers) Holloway (BME ‘79; Master of Education ‘88) retiring from Middle Georgia State University, Macon, GA, after 25 years; in 45th year as accompanist and organist, Ruth Baptist Church, Cochran, GA

  • Barbara (Dame) Houze (BME ‘60), director, Verena Voices at my retirement home, Raleigh, NC

  • Calia Howse (BMT ‘16), Outstanding Community Service Award, College of Education and Human Development, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

  • Andy Irwin (BS Sociology ‘83), “Hours and Hours of Andy Offutt Irwin” (handsomely-packaged USB drive with sixteen hours of material); multiple performances across the country including St Simons Island (GA), Swan Valley (ID), Bozeman (MT), Selma (AL), Morehead (KY), New York (NY); August 2021 and 2022: directing/writing sketch theatre presentations for orientation at Oxford College of Emory University, serving as Artist-in-Just-Passing-Through; Narrator “John Gower” in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Atlanta Shakespeare Company, March 2023

  • Josey Jimenez (MME ‘21) with Robert Davidson (MME ‘21), “ Modern Middle School Band Director: Striking a Balance,” GMEA In-Service Conference, Athens, GA (2023)

  • Ryan Johnson (BME ‘17), “Future Classics: Modern Works for the Classical Saxophone,” Middle Georgia State University, Macon, GA (April 2023)

  • Dr. Erin Jones (MMT), Creative Arts Therapist, Charlie Health

  • Jimmy Jucks (MME ‘22), Assistant Band Director, New Manchester High School Fine Arts Magnet Education, Douglasville, GA

  • Christopher Karow (MMT ‘22), contract music therapist, Perfect Harmony Health (Roswell, GA), Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health (Kennesaw, GA), ReClif Center (Peachtree Corners, GA); ongoing research: The Music Therapy Assessment of Automatic Thoughts, Music Attention Control Training through Percussion-Based Neurologic Music Therapy, Devereux Radio: A Study of Programmed Music in an Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Facility on Client Development While On-Unit, Psychosocial Re-Development Through “Unpitched” Tone-Based Grooves and Development of Music Therapy and Equine Assisted Learning: Advancement of Two Fields

  • Devon Kitchens (BME ‘14) accepted into Master of Music Education program at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA

  • Michael Kobito (MME ‘22), director, GMEA District IV 11–12 Honor Band; Keynote Speaker, “Better, Not Better Than…, The Music Education Mass Exodus,” Berry College Wind Ensemble Guest Conductor (GMEA In-Service Conference, Athens, GA, 2023)

  • Rachel Legrand (MME ‘20), Chorus Director, Little Mill Middle School, Forsyth County
  • Christopher Libby (MME ‘20), Doctor of Music Education, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA
  • Sarah (Freyaldenhoven) Lo (BMT ‘17) enrolled in MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, Palo Alto University; ongoing research: Part of Multi Site Study in NICU: Music Therapy with Infants Experiencing Opioid Withdrawal; Music Therapy in the NICU: Past and Present, Utah Association of Music Therapy Conference (Spring 2022 )
  • Sara (Demlow) McDonald (BMT ‘20) accepted Music Therapy position at Perfect Harmony Health
  • James McMillan (BME ‘07), Golden Apple Award, Baldwin High School, Milledgeville, GA
  • Anna (Chandler) Meyers (BME ‘19), April Employee of the Month, Barnett Shoals Elementary School, Clarke County School District
  • Mary (Cullen) Miller (BME ‘89), Master of Science in Education, Walden University, 2009

  • Mitchell Moore (BME ‘15), Director, Farragut High School Advanced Mixed Choir Performance, 64th Annual Tennessee Music Educator Association Music Education Conference, Nashville; Farragut High School Alumni Choir (100+ alumni), Knoxville, TN

  • Casey O’Neal (BA ‘21), MM in Composition, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

  • Brendan Pitts (MAT ‘21) in DME program at Liberty University; ongoing research: new music educator burnout post COVID-19; rural vs urban areas; quarterfinalist, 2023 Music Educator Grammy Award

  • Jan Serpan (BA ‘17, MAT ‘21) in Master of Education: Curriculum and Instruction program, College Student Affairs, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

  • Bethany Severance (BME ‘21), Theatre Director, T.J. Elder Middle School, Sandersville, GA

  • Aubrey Simmons (MME ‘22), School Level Teacher of the Year (2022–2023), STAR Teacher (2023), Bradwell Institute, Hinesville, GA

  • Joel Singleton (BME ‘00), DME, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA; Choral Director, Monroe Area High School

  • Rachael Smith (MME ‘15), side-by-side performance with GCSU Orchestra, Academy for Classical Education, Macon, GA (2022); side-by-side performance at GCSU with ACE 7–12 grade orchestra students, Milledgeville, GA

  • Haley Strassburger (BME ‘21), MA Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA; Graduate Thesis (published Spring 2023): “(Para)Normalizing the Patriarchy: How Supernatural Pregnancy Storylines Shape Perceptions of Motherhood and Bodily Autonomy for Women in Angel, 1999–2004”; Diane L. Fowlkes Research Award; Outstanding Graduate Student Award

  • Blair (Janzen) Thompson (BME ‘10), Georgia Department of Education Fine Arts Consumables and Equipment (FACE) Grant

  • Tabatha Bowles Tillman (BMT ‘17) accepted into ME with a Major in Counselor Education, Augusta University, Augusta, GA

  • Ariel Vissepo (BMT ‘01), 22 years music therapy services, Hospice, Fort Myers, FL

  • Elizabeth Yorker (BME ‘14), Pursuit of Excellence Award, Lakeview Academy, Baldwin County Schools, Milledgeville, GA

Are you a GCSU alum with professional achievements or milestones that you would like to share? If so, we want to hear about it! Send your news to musicnewsletter@gcsu.edu and fill out this form: Class Notes. Are you a GCSU alum who is not receiving communication from Georgia College? If so, please fill out this form to update your contact information: Update Your Contact Info.

TIMEHOP: Aeolian Singers, 1971

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Friends of Music Spotlight: Eliza Nesmith

Why did you first give to Friends of Music?

Several years ago I read in the Connection magazine that the choral department was touring and needed help offsetting expenses for the students. I always had such a great time touring and wanted to help some students have the same wonderful experience.

What interests you most about the Department of Music?

I enjoy seeing how much it has grown, and I like to hear about the choral performing groups.

What do you tell others about our Department of Music?

I have always felt that I received the best music education in the state in the mid-1970s. We had fairly small class sizes and received individualized attention from outstanding professors!

Why does this organization matter to you?

My husband and I feel that it's important to support both of our alma maters where we had such positive experiences. Hopefully, the current students are able to excel and enjoy their experiences. For me the four years I spent at Georgia College prepared me for a lifetime of music and almost fifty years later I am still enjoying it to its fullest.

Who are our Friends of Music?

Friends of Music are alumni, members of the community, faculty, staff, and music lovers from all walks of life who generously support the Department of Music.

Are you interested in joining our Friends of Music?

Your gift to the Department of Music allows us to offer our students scholarships, fund tours for our ensemble members, and support outreach efforts, such as the Bobcat Keys After-School Piano program.

If you would like to make an online donation, please click here. Once there, choose “Other” in the designation drop-down menu and type whichever designated music area(s) you prefer in the “Other” box.

If you would like to discuss ways your gift might support our endeavors, please feel free to schedule an appointment with us via email (music@gcsu.edu) or by phone at 478-445-8289.


Degrees, Minors, and Programs

Undergraduate Degrees

Bachelor of Arts in Music

Bachelor of Music Therapy

Graduate Degrees

Master of Arts in Teaching: Music Education

Master of Music Education

Master of Music Therapy


Creative Music Media Minor

Music Minor

Music Precertification Minor

Non-Degree Programs

Music Therapy Degree Equivalency Program

To learn more about the degrees, programs, and minors offered by the Department of Music, please visit our website.


To learn more about auditions for the Department of Music at Georgia College, please visit our website.

GCSU Keynotes Past Issues

GCSU Department of Music

202 Porter Hall | Campus Box 66

Milledgeville, GA 31061

Phone: (478) 445-8289

Fax: (478) 445-1633