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  • Arreon Harley
    Director of Music and Operations, Cathedral Choir School

    Arreon Harley's (MM Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance, 2012) first encounter with Dr. Paul Head and the UD Chorale was during 2010 at a performance in Philadelphia. He didn't know then how the lessons he learned at UD would impact his career path, but he's incredibly grateful for the time he spent here, and students at the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware, where Harley has been director of music and operations since 2013, reap the benefits as well.

    Harley values the hands-on experience he had here, with opportunities to fully run rehearsals and podium time with our choirs, but he says the best lesson was actually as much psychological as musical. Working with Dr. Head, Harley learned that, "Getting people to buy in and understand that the reason people want to join choirs is more than music." The communal experience of choral singing is a vital aspect to Harley's work at the Choir School.

    The Cathedral Choir School of Delaware began in 1883 in the tradition of Anglican choir schools: a choir of prepubescent boys singing sacred choral works for services at the Cathedral Church of St. John. Eventually, the choir expanded to include adult men and women as well as girls, and in the 1990s the directors began reaching out to the local community, inviting neighborhood kids to join the choir and offering them music lessons. In 2007, they implemented the Mentoring Academy, enriching the whole child through homework help in math, reading and study skills.

    In 2012, the Choir School moved to the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew, and when Harley came on board in 2013 he began expanding the programming and more fully integrating the music, academic support and mentoring. Currently, more than 100 students receive support in lessons, tutoring and even transportation, and about 50 of them sing regularly with the choir, which still includes adult members. Prior to the 2012 move, the choir sang exclusively for church services. Under Harley's leadership, the choir now performs every week at venues throughout the area and has expanded their repertoire to include secular works and pieces from diverse cultures and traditions.

    These weekly performances have increased the Choir School's visibility, but also serve as an additional growth opportunity for the students. "You only know what you know," Harley says. "Travel is transformative. I want the students to see what is possible for them outside of their own neighborhood." Some of the choir students have never left Wilmington, and Harley has taken them on their first visit to Philadelphia, or the beach – an experience they would never have had if not for the Cathedral Choir School.

    Find out more and see the <a href="http://www.ccsde.org" target="_blank">performance schedule</a>.

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  • Diane Jones
    Composer and Radio Host

    By the time Diane Jones (BM Composition ’06) started her undergraduate program at UD she had already enjoyed career success in the business world. By the time she left, she knew that no matter what happened next, any future job had to be musically related.

    Jones completed a MM from Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University, where she was awarded a Billy Joel Fellowship in Composition, and then she began working for WCNY radio, part of central New York’s public broadcasting system. At first, Jones worked part-time filling in when another host was out, which allowed her to learn all about radio – different time slots and different areas. During these years she also spent time composing and performing whenever she could.

    Jones wanted to create her own show, something at WCNY, but also something that could go beyond and eventually be syndicated to public radio stations around the country, and Feminine Fusion was born. Feminine Fusion explores women in classical music. According to Jones, the ‘fusion’ comes not from a blend of musical styles, but from the many ways women influence music. “It is what women do and how they influence – how the create, perform and inspire.”

    Jones grew up with a houseful of brothers, and in her first career had learned to stand up for herself and not be afraid to ask difficult questions and dig deep to find answers, so she didn’t immediately concern herself with gender bias in the music world.  “Ten years ago I paid no heed to bias,” Jones says, “but the farther I got into classic music the more I saw the need for a show like this.” She explains that as recently as 2013 Vasily Petrenko of the National Youth Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic said that, “a cute girl on a podium means that musicians think about other things,” and in 2014 Finnish conductor Jorma Panula claimed that women can only conduct “feminine” music like Debussy or Ravel.

    Since the program’s debut this fall, episodes have focused on female composers such as Clara Schuman and Julia Wolfe; teachers like Nadia Boulanger; young female composers; music written by men to honor the women in their lives; and all-female chamber groups. Feminine Fusions airs on Sunday afternoons on WCNY, and can be live streamed from their website www.wcny.org.

    Find out more about Diane Jones, including her compositions and upcoming performances, on her Facebook Page, Pet Dragon Music.

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  • Natasha Stollmack

    ​Natasha Stollmack recently completed her first year of studies at SUNY Stony Brook toward a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance. She currently serves on the faculties of Joyous Music School (Hicksville, NY), Grace Music School at Steinway and Sons (Melville, NY) and Herald Music School (Flushing, NY). This summer, she will serve as faculty for the 4th Jiafeng International Summer Music Course in New York, ending with a solo performance at Carnegie Hall. Natasha will also perform at the Festival Internacional de Guaranda in Quito, Ecuador.

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  • Department of Music
  • Amy E. du Pont Music Building
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-2578
  • ud-music@udel.edu