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Bright Future for UST Music Majors Now Technological Pioneers for Classical Music Culture

University of St. Thomas – Houston gives a massive shoutout to the Music Department’s May 2021 graduates of voice, highlighting four who are heading for their master’s degrees. All rose above in an unprecedented year of challenges.

Remarkable Resilience, Flexibility and Creativity

UST Associate Professor and Chair of Music Dr. Brady Knapp said, “The UST music faculty and I are always very proud of every graduating class. However, the music majors who finished degrees this year amidst the strain and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic have been a remarkably resilient, flexible and creative group of student musicians.”

During an extraordinary 15 months, making music on the collegiate level as a UST music major has been very complicated and truly difficult at every turn. To give successful degree recitals via online platforms, students have had to work extra hard and be creative.

“Our music students and faculty deserve a medal of honor for their ingenuity, positive forward motion and daily determination,” Knapp said. “Singing successfully through Zoom in the studio, opera workshop and choir have been particularly complicated, but our students persevered through it and willingly became technological pioneers for classical music culture.”

According to Knapp, producing a fairly straightforward, 3-minute song by Franz Schubert, or a 4-minute aria by Handel, can require five to seven hours of a student’s time to record, edit and audit—with multiple reviews and audio and video discussions between faculty, student, student workers, the music office, and, in some instances, outside recording engineers.

Knapp describes these graduates as “truly part of a very strong generation.”

The Graduates and What They Say About UST

Rose Sullivan, B.A. ’21 in Music/Vocal Performance, joins the Master of Music program at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, where she has received a graduate teaching assistantship. “My UST education opened up my mind and heart to the innumerable dreams I never thought of or dared to dream,” Sullivan said.

Claire Mullan, B.A. ’21 in Music/Vocal Performance, is pursuing a Master of Sacred Music at UST and plans to start teaching voice and “see where God takes me.” Mullan said, “Voice lessons and choir with Dr. Knapp have helped me grow in confidence and skill as a singer so much. My dream of being a professional singer and making a living with music became a concrete reality since coming to UST. I also want to thank Dr. Allouache for her excellent diction and vocal pedagogy courses!”

Laura Strickland, B.A. ’21 in Music/Vocal Performance, moves to Chicago to earn her Master of Music in classical vocal performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She aims to realize her vision of one day joining an international opera company. “Both my music classes and core classes at UST gave me the confidence I needed when I transferred in,” Strickland said. “It’s an amazing feeling to study under professors who really believe in you and your talent.”

Chase Duffin, B.A. ’21 in Music/Vocal Performance, will seek his master’s at Syracuse University to discover whether he wants to pursue music production and recording, composing and writing music, or performing. Duffin said, “I have learned a lot from my UST teachers and would recommend them in an instant. They taught me how to rise above my own expectations and to think critically.”

Prepared for a Brave New World

Dr. Knapp expresses his excellent feeling about the latest grads. “We’re exceedingly proud of these students, and I feel confident that they now go into the world stronger for their amazing efforts as young artists who are overcoming the tumult of ‘corona-tide.’ The future is bright indeed.”