Where Are They Now?

October 12, 2022
Isabel Randall

The premier women's chamber choir, Bella Voce, presented a Bella Voce Alumni Weekend Concert in September. The concert celebrated more than 10 years of music under founding director, Dr. Lynne Gackle, Mary Gibbs Jones Chair in Music, director of choral activities, and chair of the ensemble division. More than 100 Bella Voce singers returned to campus to perform a selection of works by Stroope, Gjeilo, and Hagenberg.

Hannah Becker (B.M.E. '21) was awarded Rookie of the Year at Bear Ranch Junior High in the Magnolia ISD.

Hayden Coie (M.M. '18, piano pedagogy and performance), presented a session titled "Engaging the Mind and Heart" at the 2023 Texas Music Teachers Association state conference in June.

Barbara B. Elliott (M.M. '03, music education, B.M.E. '97, voice), who, in January of 2022, after 10 years of esteemed teaching at Texas State University (and prior to that, a teaching career at the elementary level), began a new career with McGraw Hill Education. She is an academic designer working on digital music curriculum. She is thrilled to use her teaching experience in a new and challenging way.

Jason Nitsch (B.M.E. '95) recently had his first choral piece recorded by the Cape Town Youth Choir. Written during the height of the pandemic in 2020, Jason said he sat down one day after watching the news and wrote, "Too Many Angels in the Heavens Tonight" on the top of a yellow pad. He said it was not an in-memoriam piece, but rather an expression of the grief and loss collectively felt during this time period. In November of 2021, his father passed away suddenly and he changed the ending to include a solo that brings the piece to a close. Jason also has been named director of fine arts in Red Oak ISD.

Isabel Randall (B.A. '19, church music) was selected to be an apprentice artist for Des Moines Metro Opera's (DMMO) Frank R. Brownell III Apprentice Artist Program this past summer. She covered the roles of Annie (Gershwin's Porgy and Bess), and study-cover the roles of Maria (Gershwin's Porgy and Bess) and Hippolyta (Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream). For DMMO's scenes concert, Isabel performed in select scenes from Dead Man Walking (Heggie), Faust, and Rigoletto.

Angela Ripley (M.M., church music) accepted the position of Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Blair Williams (B.M., viola) joined the American String Teachers Association as Director of Professional Development in July. Dr. Williams has served the string education community within public education, higher education, and in the private string studio for over 20 years. She has presented workshops, teacher in-services, conference educational sessions, research, and served as clinician, conductor, and adjudicator across the United States.

Several School of Music Woodwind Alumni represented Baylor well with stellar performances, masterclasses and lectures throughout the five-day International Double Reed Society Conference held in Boulder in July:

Kelly Vaneman, Babcock Professor of Oboe at Converse College
Brittany Bonner, Greeley Philharmonic principal oboe, and other Colorado orchestras
Abby Yeakle Held, The Ohio State University, Marigaux liaison to USA (oboe)
Fernando Zuniga, Bassoon Professor, University of Costa Rica
Rachel Fredericksen, recently appointed faculty, University of Alabama (bassoon)
Michael Garza, principal bassoon, Guangzhou Symphony, 2001-21; now Pan Pacific Ensemble

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