Holly Bishop Funds Afghan Orphanage Sponsorship

Holly Bishop established a Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO) orphanage sponsorship for three young Afghan musicians: violinist Sunbol (basic needs), cellist Nazira (housing), and oboist Madina (healthcare). She and her husband raised the fund through their ensemble, Cuatro Puntos, a group of chamber musicians dedicated to global cooperation and peace through the writing and performance of new music worldwide. They are also sponsoring a violin program in Kabul.

Alex Miller’s 88 MPH for Magnetic Resonator Piano Premiered

Lecturer Alex Miller’s composition 88 MPH was premiered by Piano Sphere Satellite Series Pianist Nic Gerpe on the People Inside Electronics concert series in Pasadena last weekend.  The composition, inspired by the ‘Back to the Future’ movies, is for the Magnetic Resonator Piano. This instrument, invented by composer/engineer Andrew McPherson, uses electro-magnets inside a traditional grand piano to augment the timbral possibilities of the instrument and create numerous new effects.

Zanaida Robles Directs Resonant Witness

Alumna Zanaida Robles led the San Gabriel Valley Choral Company in “Resonant Witness,” a journey through grief, loss, and injustice, on the way to hope, healing, and reconciliation. Highlights included a rare performance of “Amazing Grace” written in the Cherokee language and involving Native American flute, and Zanaida’s arrangement of “Lift Ev’ry Voice,” the Black National Anthem, for solo and chorus, which was recently published by E.B. Mark Publishing for distribution by Hal Leonard.

Sarah Sandvig Sign 12-Book Deal

Alumna Sarah Sandvig, class of 2004 (MA Music Ed), signed with Kendall Hunt Publishing for her Music Theory for Singers book series (12 books total) in 2012.

Her books are available online and in stores, and are being developed into apps to be released next year. Since graduating, she taught music in Los Alamitos Unified for 7 years, released a cd of jazz standards, “Serendipity,” available on iTunes, and served as state chair for the MTAC voice program Certificate of Merit.

She is currently teaching a full studio, remains active with MTAC and NATS, and enjoys adjudicating, performing, and writing articles for multiple music journals.

Dave Gerhart Premieres Work for Solo Steelpan

Dave Gerhart was the featured soloist in a benefit concert for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Steel Orchestra Program at the University of Chicago. Dr. Gerhart premiered “Passageways” for solo steelpan and percussion ensemble by Baljinder Sekhon. The premiere was part of a consortium of 44 steel drum performers and educators that Dr. Gerhart organized.

Bluesettes Quintet Win Harmony Sweepstakes Los Angeles Regional

The Bluesettes Quintet with alumni Miko Shudo, Rachel St. Marseille, Katrina Kochevar, Ian Brekke (currently directing Jazz ‘N Tonic), and Riley Wilson are the 2015 Harmony Sweepstakes Los Angeles Regional Champions. The annual national competition draws from hundreds of vocal groups from around the country with regional competitions in eight cities. They and winning groups from each festival will be flown to perform in front of celebrity judges and a sold-out house of enthusiastic a cappella fans at the National Finals at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center.

Mandy Jo Smith Wins Graduate Student Paper Award

Mandy Jo Smith, musicology alumna now working towards her PhD at Case Western University, organized a session on rock drumming for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. The session was standing room only, attended by major scholars of popular music as well as graduate researchers. Mandy Jo won the Graduate Student Paper Award at this conference for her presentation.

Brandon Faber Executive Director Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony

Alumnus Brandon Faber (MM Conducting) was featured in “Spotlight on Small Business” as Executive Director, Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra. When asked, “What’s in store for the future?” Brandon answered, “…we will be increasing our concert programs and continuing the work of our educational programs. We offer four subscription concerts and six robust educational opportunities. In the coming years, we will move to a six concert subscription series plus a summer concert as well as increasing our educational reach. A larger state-based concerto competition, a countywide Teen Council mentor program, a high school and middle school side-by-side performance program, a young people’s concert, and an advanced program for the study of orchestral conducting are a sampling of the educational programs in our long-term plan. We’re a very busy group of people—and that’s one thing that won’t change in the future.”