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FSU Music in the News

Countdown to Graduation

We are so proud of our College of Music students and would like to take a moment here to shine the spotlight on just a few of the of the 200 plus students graduating this spring!

Jabari Lewis is a tenor voice performance major with a minor in Italian, from Kissimmee, Florida. After graduation, Jabari will pursue a master’s degree in voice performance at the University of Michigan.

Jabari’s honors and awards include placing at the National Association of Teachers of Singing competition, winning the most recent Florida Federation of Music Clubs competition, and receiving the Hannah Beaulieu award for opera.

Jabari’s advice to incoming students: “Email professors before the semester starts so that you can get into an opera chorus audition before it [the school year] starts.” Expanding upon opera chorus, Jabari said, “It’s where you want to be… the opera chorus is so fun. Also, practice – and do what your teacher says.”

From his time at Florida State, Jabari has most valued his experiences in “really high-quality opera productions” and how they have prepared him for his career and further studies as well as the relationships he has made with fellow students along the way.

Kyle Brown, a composition major from McDonough, Georgia, earned the B.M. in Composition from the University of South Carolina and his M.M. in Composition from University of South Florida.

During his time at FSU, Kyle has been a Graduate Assistant in the Theory & Composition area, served as President of FSU’s chapter of Society of Composers, Inc., served as Associate Director of the Music Living Learning Community, and was a member of Tallahassee Winds.

Kyle plans to seek positions in higher education and continue to compose and work with high school band programs.

“My time here at FSU has been highlighted by an enthusiastic spirit of collaboration,” said Kyle. “I’ve been fortunate to work with the band department have works performed by Concert Band, Campus Band, and Tallahassee Winds, along with being featured on the PRISM concerts. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with guest artists like the Unheard-of//Ensemble and the International Contemporary Ensemble,” Kyle continued, “and to have lessons with guest composers John Mackey and Ellen Zwilich. It’s been a joy have works performed by Polymorphia New Music Ensemble, and to collaborate with my fellow students on their own recitals.”

Kyle sites working with Duo Ferula and Cheng-MacLean Duo on their joint program “Project Synthesis” (featured at Weil Recital Hall, at Carnegie Hall) as a highlight of his time here at FSU.

“I’ll miss FSU dearly,” Kyle concluded, “but eagerly await what comes next!”

Aubrey Williams is a music therapy and communication science and disorders double major from Clermont, Florida. After graduation, she will complete her clinical music therapy internship in Tampa, Florida, where she will primarily serve veterans with traumatic brain injury as well as those in hospice care.

Aubrey’s long-term career goals are to continue working with either traumatic brain injury patients or children with language delays. “I’ll move back to Central Florida and either open my own private practice or be a private contractor for various different locations in that area,” said Aubrey.

In addition to her coursework, Aubrey has served on the College of Music Board of Advisors, as the performance director for AcaBelles, as receptions chair for Sigma Alpha Iota, and as the Relay for Life chair for the National Students Speech Language and Hearing Association. She is also an active member of Level Dance Company and the music therapy organization Alpha Mu Alpha.

Aubrey’s advice to incoming students: “Never limit yourself to what you think is the easiest or the most possible. Always take that extra step. Think about all of the things that you may be…interested in and go towards all of those things instead of limiting yourself – there [are] so many opportunities to focus in on something you never knew you actually had a huge passion for.”

From her time at Florida State University, Aubrey said she will take with her “…the community that I’ve built and become a part of at FSU. The wonderful people that I know, we’ve created incredible connections…they are life-long and definitely relationships that have made me a better person.”

Ashley Hernandez-Salinas is from Newnan, Georgia and earned the B.A. in Music from Columbus State University.

While at FSU, Ashley has taken advantage of many internship opportunities. She was a Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra intern for two years and became involved with a variety of music organizations across the country; this involvement led to opportunities to work with the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming and to work with the Sphinx Organization in Michigan.

Ashley will be begin working as the Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s Artistic and Community Coordinator this summer. She’s looking forward to working with their musicians, engaging with the community, and expanding her understanding of the choral world.

“I will be forever grateful for the network of support I have had while at FSU,” said Ashley. “Not only professors and staff but also my peers. I don’t think I could have accomplished what I have without their encouragement. These are relationships I will cherish for a long time.”

Jenna Bachmann is a string performance major from Manassas, Virginia. After graduation, she will pursue a master’s degree in cello performance at the University of Maryland.

Jenna is one of two recipients of the College of Music’s Brautlecht Scholarship for 2022-2023, an honor awarded based upon “scholarship, performance and/or composition, musical and academic excellence, and outstanding promise for success in the music profession.”

Jenna’s advice to incoming students: “Step outside your comfort zone. Don’t let [your] insecurities get in your way.”

From her time at Florida State University, Jenna said she will take with her “…the connections I’ve made with people and the sense of community here [in the College of Music].

Justin Hamann is a trombonist graduating with the M.M. in Brass Performance.

Justin is from South Lyon, Michigan, and received the Bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University.

During his time in Tallahassee, he has been a Graduate Teaching Assistant and a freelance teacher and performer, most notably as the principal trombonist of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra.

Following graduation, Justin will stay in Tallahassee to begin working toward a D.M. from FSU with another teaching assistantship.

“The amount I’ve learned from not only the faculty, but from the other graduate and undergraduate students is really amazing,” said Justin. “I’ve become a better musician and person in every way from my time here and I can’t wait for 3 more years and another degree at FSU!”

Renzo DeCarlo is a woodwind performance major from Orlando, Florida. As he reminisced, Renzo said, “I would not be the person I am without FSU.”

In addition to the B.M. in Woodwind Performance, Renzo has earned a minor in economics and a certificate in entrepreneurial studies. Outside of his coursework, Renzo has been a Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra intern, is the president of FSU’s Studio Orchestra, has presented two chamber recitals, and is the first undergraduate clarinetist in the University Symphony Orchestra in over 20 years.

After graduation, Renzo will pursue a master’s degree at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. When discussing his future goals Renzo said, “I have a dream of having a chamber music collective and performing really, really cool programs, bring[ing] the symphonic sound off of the stage and into the community.”

Renzo’s advice to incoming students: “Take advantage of the resources we have. It’s kind of a cliché thing to say, but it definitely pays off…there’s so much that you can accomplish with [College of Music faculty, staff, administrators, libraries, ensembles, and your peers] on your side. Really all it takes is just asking for the help or reaching out.”

Nicole Davis, from Lake City, Florida, earned the M.M.E. from Florida State University in 2013 and graduates this year with her Ph.D. in Music Education – Choral Conducting. Nicole has served as a graduate assistant for University Singers, Tallahassee Community Chorus, Undergraduate Choral Conducting, and Choral Methods.

During her time in Tallahassee, Nicole has been very involved in the community. She has completed service projects with Neighborly and Cru Inner City Tallahassee, was the assistant conductor of Festival Singers of Florida, participated in several community theatre shows in Leon County, and conducted the Santa Rosa All-County Middle School Honor Choir.

Nicole’s work has been published in the Journal of Research in Music Education and she has presented or lectured 17 times at conferences in the state, region, and around the nation. She has also been an active clinician for collegiate and high school choirs across Florida.

Following graduation, Nicole will begin her role as the Assistant Professor of Music, Choral Conducting and Choral Music Education at the University of Arizona. In this role, she will conduct two collegiate choirs and teach undergraduate conducting, choral methods, and graduate choral conducting lessons.

“I am forever grateful for all the ways the College of Music invested in my growth as a teacher, conductor, and researcher,” said Nicole. “I was challenged, supported, and loved. I feel well-prepared for my career, and I look forward to representing the FSU College of Music in Arizona.”

Congratulations to you all, Class of 2023; we wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors!

See all of these spotlights and more on our social media: @musicFSU

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