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EIU Department of Music

Fall 2014 Newsletter

Message from the Chair:

Shellie GregorichI would like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Shellie Gregorich and I joined the Department of Music last July. I was extremely honored to be selected for the position of Department Chair and to have the opportunity to work with such a talented group of faculty and dedicated students. Previously I served as a faculty member at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania for 16 years, the last six of those years serving as Music Department Chair. My academic background is in the areas of music theory and piano and I have been an active member of the College Music Society and the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association. Recently, I co-authored a textbook with my colleague Dr. Benjamin Moritz, entitled Keyboard Skills for Music Educators: Score Reading, published by Routledge.

The fall semester has begun with a flurry of activity. During the recent Family Weekend, several ensembles were featured in the first-ever Collage Concert that involved practically every student in the department. This spectacular concert was one of the first in a series of what I believe will be an outstanding year of ensemble, faculty, guest artist, and student recitals presented this year. The department is also in the final stages of adding a Bachelor of Arts to our array of degree offerings. This degree will provide an option for music students with professional aspirations outside of the areas of teaching and performance. This year we will also begin preparation for our National Association of Schools of Music reaccreditation visit in the Spring 2016. As a part of this process we will complete a self study concerning our department, facilities, and curricular offerings in order to best meet the educational needs of our student now and in the future. I hope that as alumni members of the Department of Music you can help us by completing a short survey later this fall. Your feedback, comments, and suggestions are essential to our ongoing assessment and we appreciate your contribution to our self-study process.

Shellie Gregorich, Chair

Departmental News

Fond Memories of Kent Conrad
We mourn the passing of our friend and colleague Dr. Kent Conrad who served on our faculty from 2007–2014. During his time at EIU, Kent contributed in a variety of ways, including collaborating with countless students in rehearsals, master classes, and divisional, general and degree recitals. Kent also presented numerous recitals with faculty both on and off campus. He led our students through class piano, and also taught courses in a variety of subjects including music history. Additionally, Dr. Conrad collaborated with numerous guest artists who visited our campus. Dr. Conrad had a rich and varied background of life experiences and he will be missed. Kent Conrad's memorial service in Urbana will be held in the Foellinger Great Hall, at the Krannert Center, at 2pm, on November 3, 2014. Please take a moment and read the remembrances from faculty and students who worked with him at EIU on the Department's Facebook page.

Piano Recital in Honor of Dr. Catherine Smith
Eastern Illinois University is hosting a piano recital on Saturday, October 18 at 7:30 p.m., in the Doudna Fine Arts Center's Dvorak Concert Hall. The recital will honor Dr. Catherine Smith for her many years of dedication to teaching and to celebrate her 90th birthday. Dr. Smith was a member of the piano faculty at Eastern from 1949-1986 and served as chair of the keyboard area for many years. Not only was she an exceptional teacher at Eastern, but she also was very involved in the Charleston community at large. For example, she served on the committee that planned and built the Newman Center. Since her retirement, she has lived in her hometown of Bloomington, Indiana, where she has remained active as a performer and lecturer. The Saturday evening recital is the centerpiece of a reunion weekend, which will bring over 20 of Dr. Smith's former students back to campus. EIU alumnus Ron Roberts from Huntsville, Alabama, will serve as emcee for the gala event. This entertaining program will feature solo performances, duets, two piano works, an eight-hand piece, and appearances from Dr. Smith's students and colleagues. The public is invited to attend, and there is no charge for admission.

The EIU Wind Symphony will present a "Gershwin Gala" Concert on Friday, March 27 at 7:30 pm in the Dvorak Concert Hall. The concert features the music of George Gershwin and highlights EIU Music Faculty pianist, Dr. Jonathan Bowman, on Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. This concert serves as the kick-off celebration for the "Dr. Earl Boyd Band Scholarship" campaign. Concert tickets can be purchased online by clicking here. The EIU Wind Symphony is also planning a two-day Arts Outreach Concert tour to the St. Louis metro area in February of 2015. The goal is to expose communities outside of the Charleston area to a variety of styles of band music, and also to familiarize potential future music majors with the EIU Music Program.

Patrick SchmidtThe NAfME Collegiate chapter continues to provide professional development opportunities to its members, and serves local music programs with outreach projects. Members have recently assisted at the Sullivan Marching Festival and the Shelbyville instrument sign-up night. Chapter members plan to attend IMEA in January, and have plans to start a ukulele club. Last spring, with the support of a Redden Grant, the chapter welcomed Dr. Cathy Benedict and Dr. Patrick Schmidt from the Florida International University. The professors presented a workshop on general music, and guests from University of Illinois joined us for a day of learning and collaboration. Click hereto peruse the EIU NAfME Collegiate Chapter's new web page.

EMC BandEastern Music Camp welcomed 260 middle and high school students to campus July 13-19, 2014. Students participated in choir, band, jazz instrumental, strings, or piano programs, and enjoyed a variety of evening social activities. Each area presented a final performance on the last day of camp. The 2015 camp session will be held July 12-18.


Jeff Zahos (Music Technology and Recording) is happy to announce thatexciting audio technology developments are taking place within the department during the Fall 2014 semester. The recording studio at Doudna is undergoing a major upgrade, with a new Mac Pro, Pro Tools 11, and Rednet, an integrated digital audio infrastructure. This upgrade will improve recording reliability and quality for music department performances and dramatically simplify and expedite workflows. Additionally, with support from the Doudna Fine Arts Center and a Redden grant, a mobile audio rack featuring a new digital mixer and all needed equipment for sound reinforcement and recording is being assembled. This compact, mobile audio unit will improve sound quality and audio workflows for performances in the Black Box, Tarble and elsewhere. Lastly, in the Recital Hall and Dvorak, CD recorders have been installed at stage level (in the off-stage manager panels) to allow faculty to easily record rehearsals for teaching and review.

This fall, Dr. Andrew Cheetham, Assistant Professor of Trumpet, is in the process of instituting a new collaborative model of practicing for the EIU Trumpet Studio. Building off techniques in Wiff Rudd's new book Collaborative Practice Concepts, EIU trumpeters are learning in lessons and in assignments how to tag-team practice with one another to improve concentration, aural skills, and to restrict themselves to 'healthy' fatigue. Members of the trumpet studio will be traveling this October to the Midwest Trumpet Festival in Pittsburg, Kansas to perform as soloists and in a trumpet choir setting. The trumpet choir will also be performing in several venues on the EIU campus this fall, including the Panther Marching Band Festival, and will be recording competition pieces to enter next spring's National Trumpet Competition. Trumpet students have also begun a major fundraising effort in an effort to send four students to the Exploring Brass in Greece seminar, held in Thessaloniki in January 2015. If you have any questions about the EIU trumpet studio or wish to contribute toward any of our efforts, please contact Dr. Cheetham at

Dr. Jemmie Robertson, Assistant Professor of Trombone and Euphonium, is organizing the inaugural Midwest Trombone Euphonium Conference to take place in the beautiful Doudna Fine Arts Center on the campus of Eastern Illinois University October 31st - November 2nd, 2014. More information on artists, schedule, registration, competitions, housing, and CPDU clinics can be found here. Featured artists include Brian Bowman (Euphonium), Chris Davis (Bass Trombone), Alex Iles (Trombone), and Yoko Yamada-Selvaggio, Piano. Numerous professional colleagues will also be presenting and performing, including: Gary Shaw, Millikin University, PROfessors Choir co-host; Andy Baker, University of Illinois at Chicago; Mark Babbitt, Illinois State University; Elliot Chasanov, University of Illinois; Dave Cron, Chicago Freelance Artist; Jason Ham, West Point US Army Band, Yamaha Artist; Catie Hickey, Chicago Freelance Artist; Tim Howe, University of Missouri; Bill Mann, Georgia State University; Gretchen McNamara, Wright State University; Timothy Riordan, Merit School and VanderCook College; Randy Mitchell, Indiana State University; Tim Pitchford, Illinois Wesleyan University; Gretchen Renshaw, Siena Heights University; Dan Stull, Capital City Brass Band; Zsolt Szabo, Western Carolina University. MTEC 2014 will also feature numerous ensembles, including the host ensemble the Eastern Crossbones Trombone Euphonium Ensemble, plus: Illinois State University Trombone Choir; The Illinois Trombone Consortium; Illinois Wesleyan Trombone Ensemble; Merit School of Music Trombone Ensemble; Millikin University Trombones; University of Illinois Jazz Trombone Ensemble; Wright State University Trombone Ensemble. The conference will also include two competitions for high school students: The Pete Taylor Memorial Trombone Scholarship Competition and The Brian Bowman Euphonium Masterclass Competition. CPDU Clinics will be available on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 1st and 2nd) for Music Educators. We hope to see you there!

You can follow news and events on the Music Department Facebook page or on our Twitter feed.

New Faculty Members in 2014–15

Timothy RennerTimothy M Renner (Voice; Director of Musical Theatre/Opera) a native of Northern Virginia, joined the voice faculty at Eastern Illinois in 2014. A man of many talents, Timothy is an active singer, pianist, vocal coach, pedagogue, and choral conductor. At EIU, he teaches applied voice, directs the University Mixed Chorus, and serves as director of musical theatre/opera. In 2009, He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC, with his Bachelor of Science degree in music education with emphases in piano, studying with Dr. Peter Davis, and choral conducting. His Master of Music in church music is also from BJU, where he studied voice with Jean Greer and Dr. Stanley Eby, and piano with David Lehman. As a graduate assistant at BJU, Timothy taught applied voice, accompanied the Lyric Choir, and directed opera choruses for Il Trovatore and Faust, for which he also served as rehearsal accompanist. Currently, Timothy is in the process of completing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in voice performance and literature at the University of Illinois, where he was the recipient of the prestigious Stotler Howard Fellowship for two consecutive years, as well as the Joseph W. Schlanger Memorial Opera Scholarship. Currently studying with Jerold Siena, he has been extremely active in the opera/lyric theatre department. Recent roles include the titles in Falstaff and Gianni Schicchi, Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, and Dulcamara in L'elisir d'amore. With his cognate in accompanying, he continues to enjoy vocal coaching and accompanying, playing for undergraduate and graduate recitals at UIUC and providing private coaching for colleagues and undergraduate students. Timothy is gradually making a name for himself as a professional performer, having sung the baritone solos for Carmina Burana with the Eastern Symphony Orchestra at Eastern Illinois University in April 2013, conducted by Dr. Richard Rossi. In March 2013 he sang the bass solos in St. Matthew Passion with the Sinfonia da Camera, conducted by Fred Stoltzfus. He has sung in various private recital settings in recent years as well, and already has an opera engagement to perform in South Carolina in 2016. He also greatly enjoys being involved in community theatre. Recently he has served as music director for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Mary Poppins with the Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company, and last summer he sang the role of Javert in Les Misérables. He is also instrumental in the music ministry at his church, First Baptist of Danville, IL, serving as choir director and leader of worship.

Faculty News

Anna Cromwell (Violin and Viola) gave string pedagogy presentations last spring at the Music Teachers National Association Conference, the American String Teachers Association National Conference, and at the Illinois Music Educators Conference. She taught and performed at the Tennessee Valley Music Festival in Huntsville, Alabama this summer. As of this fall she can be heard performing contemporary works for violin and cello on a newly released CD entitled "Metal Cicadas." The album features seven different composers from around the country including EIU's own Paul Johnston. The album is produced by Albany Records.

Brad Decker (Composition and Music Theory) performed his ongoing computer music live improvisation project "Basso Images" at renowned digital arts cooperative Harvestworks in Manhattan, New York City on June 4 and at the New York City Electronic Music Festival on June 5, with two performances with video artist Zlatko Cosic at Abrons Arts Center, Manhattan. This summer he worked with EIU communications professor Dr. David Gracon on a live movie score performance for his movie "Where the Cicadas Sing" (an edited compilation of amateur footage from the Asian internment camps in Nevada during World War II), performing at his screening at Figure 1 Gallery in Champaign, IL, May 29, 2014. He also has been accepted for a 2015 residency at Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (CCMAS) in Morelia, Mexico (date to be determined).

Stefan Eckert (Music Theory) presented a paper and participated in Session 2B: "Non-verbal Theories: Partimento and Craft Learning in the 18th and 19th Centuries," on Thursday, September 18 – Friday September 19, at the VIIIth EUROPEAN MUSIC ANALYSIS CONFERENCE, September 17 - 21, 2014, Leuven, Belgium and will present a paper at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society for Music Theory (SMT) co-sponsored with the American Musicological Society (AMS), Milwaukee, WI, November 6-9.

Rebecca Johnson (Flute) performed at the National Flute Association's annual convention in August of 2014 and was elected as Assistant Secretary/Secretary-Elect of the association for a 2014-2016 term. In the fall, she will be a guest at the Penn State Flute Day in October of 2014 and will give recitals and masterclasses at Bradley University and Ohio Northern University.

Paul Johnston (Jazz Studies and Jazz Piano) will perform this year in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois. He will also direct the IMEA District V Jazz Ensemble in November.

Danelle Larson (Instrumental Music Education) presented her research study "Why Students Continue to Play: A Survey Investigation" at the National Association for Music Education Research Conference, and "Integration of Self-Directed Learning Opportunities in Teacher Preparation Programs: From Band Rehearsals to Methods Classes" at the Symposium on Music Teacher Education. She also presented at the Iowa Music Educators Conference, and co-researcher Dr. Amy spears presented their joint work at the Giving Voice to Democracy in Music Education Conference. She is currently writing a book chapter for "A Century of Female Musicians," edited by Dr. Jill Sullivan.

Jemmie Robertson, Assistant Professor of Trombone and Euphonium, is proud of his students many recent achievements. The Eastern Crossbones Trombone Euphonium Ensemble has recently been invited to perform at the 2015 Illinois Music Educators Conference in Peoria, Illinois. (Mark your calendars: the performance will be on Friday, January 30, 2015, from 8:15 AM –9:30 AM in Peoria Civic Center Room 405/406). Also, several studio member were honored and received awards recently at our Spring 2014 Honors Recital and Reception, including: Aaron Eckert (voted Outstanding Music Student of the Year), Mark Rheaume, Michael Pond-Jones, Jaime Escatel, Greg Watson, and Tyler Harr. Dr. Jemmie Robertson, along with the Eastern Trombone Chapter, is organizing the inaugural Midwest Trombone Euphonium Conference to take place in the beautiful Doudna Fine Arts Center on the campus of Eastern Illinois University October 31st - November 2nd, 2014. More information on artists, schedule, registration, competitions, housing, and CPDU clinics can be found here. In Spring 2014, Dr. Robertson released a solo recording project: The Conditions of a Solitary Bird: A Solo CD and Digital Recording Project featuring unaccompanied works for trombone. The project was released digitally on March 19th, 2014, and released on CD on April 1st, 2014. The project features the world premiere recordings of works by Phil Snedecor and Lawrence Borden. In July 2014, Dr. Robertson published and article titled “Intonation in Brass Chamber Music” in The Brass Herald magazine. In Summer 2014, Dr. Robertson, performed with numerous orchestras, including his 14th season with the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra. Dr. Robertson also presented at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference, and participated in the Michael Mulcahy Summer Trombone Workshop at Northwestern University. In October 2014, Dr. Robertson will embark on a Trombone/Percussion Duo Tour with Jamie Ryan (EIU Assistant Professor of Percussion) tour six universities in Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas. Dr. Robertson continues to perform actively throughout Illinois with recent and upcoming engagements with numerous orchestras, including; The Prairie Ensemble, Peoria Symphony, Lake Forest Symphony, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, and other ensembles. Dr. Robertson has been invited to return as Principal Trombone of the Santo Domingo Music Festival Orchestra in March 2015 (a biennial international music festival held in the capitol city of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo).

Richard Robert Rossi (Orchestra and Choir) is working with a new publisher, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Music Series, on the final edits for his newest compositions entitled Psalms of Praise: Four Service Music Settings that he composed while on vacation in Cancun, Mexico. This is the first set of several settings Richard composed in Mexico that he hopes to publish within this series. This past summer He also composed a choral setting (SATB/piano) Shakespearian Trilogy of Love that will have its world premiere performance this Fall with the EIU Concert Choir. Additionally, he was invited to be the guest conductor in Pittsburgh, PA this spring 2015 for a District Festival where the Shakespearian Trilogy of Love will have its Pennsylvania premiere. He also composed an original setting for Christina Rossetti's famous poem, "Love Came Down at Christmas" that will premiered at the EIU Holiday Concert this fall with the Eastern Symphony Orchestra and Choirs. The SATB choral setting is composed with full orchestral accompaniment (strings and harp) or can also be performed with just harp with smaller choral ensembles. Both the Shakespearian Trilogy of Love and "Love Came Down at Christmas" Richard hopes to have published soon. Richard's other Shakespeare setting of "O Mistress Mine" published with Colla Voce Publications, was featured at the 2014 NM All State Choral Reading Session.

Jamie RyanJamie V. Ryan (Percussion) performed in a variety of musical contexts in 2014. In March, along with saxophonist Jenelle Orcherton, he played Tim Brady's "Circling" for vibraphone and saxophone at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference at the University of Illinois. Joliet Junior College featured Jamie as guest artist and clinician with their percussion ensemble. Jamie worked with percussion students in a master class, and rehearsed and performed with them on their spring concert. During the summer, Jamie played several weeks with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, as well as concerts with jazz pianist Tim Whalen. For the fifth consecutive year, Jamie taught at the International Music Camp (IMC) at the International Peace Gardens on the border of North Dakota and Manitoba. He taught concert percussion as well as music from Brazil and Cuba. At IMC's summer Festival of the Arts concert, Jamie was a featured performer with jazz violinist Randy Sabien (photo below, with Randy Sabien and the IMC Fiddlehead Band). This fall Jamie and EIU professor of trombone will embark on a tour of Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, performing duo music for trombone and percussion. In addition, Jamie remains active with the Africa->West percussion trio, a group which performs modern chamber music based in the culture of the African Diaspora. Africa->West is an ensemble-in-residence at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio."

Alumni News

Carol Jean (Turner) Greer Robinson '64, M.S. in '70, taught elementary music in the Martinsville School District for 26 years before remarrying and returning to her home turf, Springfield IL. Both her husbands are buried at Camp Butler National Cemetery. She did substitute teaching in the Chatham District for many years. While in Martinsville she sang in the Methodist choir and directed the children's choir. She has been a member of two choirs at Laurel United Methodist Church in Springfield since 1991 and also plays handbells there. The choir has performed in two different tours of Great Britain and is planning a tour of Ireland in 2015. She has given piano lessons to many students over the years and accompanied for various functions. Her daughter is an Accountant at a CPA firm in Madison WI. She has spent 45 years delving into family history—it is a wonderful pastime!

Gordon Bovinet '68, sung at the Municipal Opera in St. Louis, St. Louis Opera Theatre, Mark Hellinger Theater on Broadway and the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Austria.

Rick AmRhein '78 (Music Theory & Composition) MA '81 (Vocal Performance) has changed careers several times since graduation. After a number of years of performing and leading church and synagogue music programs in New York and New Jersey, he became a librarian and served at Rutgers University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale before becoming Dean of Library Services at Valparaiso University. After serving as a Dean for 11 years, Rick now serves as the President's Chief of Staff and Chief Information Officer at Valpo. Over the years, he has continued singing for non-profit organizations and benefit concerts, as well as in church. In 2012, Rick completed his Juris Doctor degree and intends to provide pro bono legal services for individuals with disabilities for the rest of his life.

Judy (Buehrer) Vasel '79, is currently teaching grade 5-8 band students at Trinity Lutheran School in Bloomington, IL, and serving as the Adult Choir Director for Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bloomington. She and her husband, Mark, have three daughters, who are all involved in music as well: Katie teaches instrumental and general music at Tri-City Schools in Buffalo, IL, Amy is the beginning and high school band director at Deer Creek Mackinaw, IL (also intermediate school general music & choir), and Meagan is a junior at ISU in music business. Mark, a financial planner for Thrivent Financial, continues to play his drums for church worship services, as well as recording work for Christian artist Rachel West Kramer, and free lances for The Diamonds whenever their tour brings them to the area.

Peter Alan Hussey'95, MA '97, is associate professor of music-percussion at Lewis and Clark Community College and was nominated for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) 2014 Outstanding Faculty Member Award. Hussey, who has been teaching at Lewis and Clark for seven years, also helped initiate and develop an innovative program at the college, "REMO-HealthRHYTHMS," a research-based group drumming protocol with biological and psycho-social benefits for participants. And he is the creator and director of the school's "Wind ODDsemble" which features musicians who perform unique, custom and entertaining arrangements for percussion, brass, woodwind, string, and vocal performance. A professional percussionist, Hussey gives regular music performances with LCCC faculty and community members at the college, in the St. Louis metro area and around the nation. He was given the honor of performing with Aretha Franklin for the grand reopening of the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis.

Ben Hall '09, is currently Associate Director of Bands and Percussion Coordinator for R.L. Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas. Since moving to Texas in 2010, he has served as a faculty member at Arlington Heights ('10-'11) and Western Hills ('11-'14) high schools, also in Fort Worth. Active as a clinician and adjudicator, Ben enjoys making the trek up to Illinois each summer to teach at the Smith-Walbridge Clinics, still held at EIU. He also frequently serves as an adjudicator around the north Texas region, as well as recently being honored to judge the Arizona state marching band finals. In their free time, Ben and his wife, Angela, spend lots of time around the Fort Worth art and cultural districts and with the Steer Fort Worth emerging leadership community.

Lyndsey Breymeyer (Palmer) '12, is now teaching 3-5 grade general music full time at Broadmeadow Elementary School in Rantoul. She plans to take classes soon to get an endorsement in Special Education as well.

Jamie Mauck '13, has been busy drumming with various groups around the mid-west since graduation. Some highlights were being featured in the March 2014 issue of DRUM! Magazine, opening for Kansas last summer, and playing drums on Matter of Days' debut album, which was released this past April. Jamie recently did a recording session in Minneapolis with Pamela Machala (also an alumni of EIU) and performed on a couple songs for her upcoming Sophomore album. To support himself, Jamie currently works and teaches at Skins N' Tins Drum Shop in Champaign, IL. Jamie is planning to move to Los Angeles in late 2015 with his fiancé and outstanding EIU music student, Chrissy Harmon.

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Music Department

Doudna Fine Arts Center
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

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