Current Residence: Rensselaer, IN
What are you doing now?
I am the Director of Bands for the Rensselaer Central School Corporation. I teach instrumental music to sixth, seventh, and eighth grade bands at Rensselaer Central Middle School and to high school students at Rensselaer Central High School. I also teach an elective open to all students called Music Theory and Composition at Rensselaer Central High School, where we examine music fundamentals and compose music based on what we learn.
Why did you choose SJC?
I chose SJC because I visited campus, met my professors, and never wanted to leave. I knew the second I set foot on campus that it was the place for me. The grounds are kept in a beautiful state, and the professors constantly challenged me to be my best.
How were the faculty members in your department helpful to you?
The Music faculty is so incredible in both their talents and their dedication to their students. I had full support and mentorship from professors Kelly Ford and Robb Thiel when I took my job before I had even finished student teaching. They helped me wade the waters in those first trivial months, and I owe them a lot for preparing me for it and keeping me going.
What experiences did you appreciate most in the SJC Department of Music?
I most appreciated the relationships I had with my professors. I wasn't just a number or another student. They genuinely cared for me and wanted me to succeed, and it's because of them that I have. Thank you, Professor Robb Thiel, Professor Kelly Ford, and Dr. John B. Egan. I also loved being part of band and choir because we participated in so many of the on-campus events, such as football and basketball games, pep rallies, and singing for special masses and other events. On top of that, we did our own shows and concerts, so we were constantly performing and staying involved.
My most memorable time, however, was the summer of 2011. Krishanna Baker ‘12 and I worked alongside professors Kelly Ford and Robb Thiel to renovate the Department of Music. This was one of my prouder moments of being involved with Music on campus because I was able to invest time and interest in the betterment of the program.
What was your experience like at SJC?
I was involved so heavily in Music ensembles and clubs that I had almost no free time, and I loved every minute of it. During my senior year, I was president of band, captain of the drumline, president of our collegiate chapter of NAfME (National Association for Music Education), vice president of choir, and director of the Puma Pounders Percussion Ensemble. I also worked part-time for the Department of Music. At some point in my college career, I was also treasurer for band and NAfME, vice president of band, and president of choir, as well as a regular attender of PAC (Puma Activities Council). I also participated in every Music ensemble on campus, except for the String Orchestra and the Barbershop Quartet. This included Marching Band, Pep Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and the Men of Saint Joe.
How prepared did you feel for employment after graduation?
I felt extremely prepared for my employment, which came immediately after graduation. I was already working as an interim band director but was offered the full-time job following the end of the school year. SJC was a great help. I wouldn't have gotten the job had I not been given the opportunity by the community and all of my professors, including the Education Division, who helped me finish my student teaching while working as an intern.
How did SJC prepare you for the “real world”?
I felt like I was very prepared to jump in and communicate effectively with the “real world.” Probably the biggest help to me was having a very friendly and supportive community of students and professors who helped me break out of my shell. I was pretty shy and quiet all through high school, and now I am one of the most outgoing people at my workplace and with my friends.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in Music at SJC?
Music at SJC is so involving that even if you want to be lazy, you just can't be. Being on such a small campus, the Department of Music relies on everyone to take part in things, and that creates a great sense of unity in the department. At SJC, you can jump in right away with all the activities. It was so easy for me to get involved at SJC and so much fun at the same time. I would easily recommend SJC to anyone who is seriously considering Music as a major. My advice would be to stop looking because you've found a real gem here in Rensselaer. I couldn't have asked for a better experience or education without the professors at SJC, particularly in the Department of Music. I'm sure that you will find you fit here as well. I can't think of anyone who doesn't.
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