From the Chair: Music@Webster

From the Chair of the Department of Music, Webster University in Saint Louis

Convocation 2016

We convoked our new school year today.

With 120+ students enrolled as music majors, and with 13 full-time faculty and over 70 contingent faculty, we are a mighty force this year.

The event: our annual Fall Convocation, on Thursday of the first week of classes, in Moore Auditorium.

Some of my comments welcomed new faculty and students:

In the last four weeks, Dr. Stuart Hill has moved to a new town, taken up his first full-time college teaching gig, successfully defended his dissertation, and had a big birthday with a zero at the end.  He joins us from Michigan State, where he was most recently a teacher and student completing his Doctor of Philosophy degree.  Dr. Hill will teach courses in choral music and music education.  

Prof. Carole Gaspar’s retirement left a big vacancy in the faculty, after her 40+ year tenure.  We are delighted to welcome Dr. Jacob Lassetter as Associate Professor of Voice.  Dr. Lassetter has most recently served, for ten years, on the faculty of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.  This summer he participated in an opera program in Robbiate, Italy.  His Doctor of Musical Arts is from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. 

We have welcomed this year four students in the new program in music-directing, the first-in-the-country Bachelor of Music in Music Direction for Musical Theatre.  These four students are each already busy in theatrical work in Saint Louis.

Along with the Songwriting degree, new last year, we now have ELEVEN possible degree tracks in the Department of Music.  And a 12th is on the way . . . .  As we open this year, we celebrate this growth — and the presence of new students from Illinois, Texas, Kansas, California, Louisiana, Georgia, Arizona, Arkansas and Missouri!!  

As usual, I had the camera out before the Convocation, and we did some beginning-of-year shots of students:

We also celebrated the recipients of our endowed scholarships:

16convo - 23

7 things

A great read, this!!


View story at

First Day

The first day of the new school year is here.  At 8.30 a.m., I’ve seen three faculty, hear one of them practicing, checked in with the visiting professor from Vienna, and not yet had my coffee.  Sometime today the march of students will hit my door.  I’m prepped for my noon class.

And I . . . we . . . Thompson House . . . this is all full of energy and light and laughter and music and happiness.

Here we go!!

New students

We met new students today at Orientation, got them laughing, learned a bit about them, and sent them on their way . . . .


Some of our new charges for Fall 2016.


The semester is starting!

Roles I play

I was thinking this week about the various roles I played in one particular day at the office.

Here’s the list, broadened to include the entire week:

  • gardener
  • human resources officer
  • career counselor
  • janitor
  • publicist
  • graphic designer
  • curriculum expert
  • whipping boy
  • budget manager
  • personnel director
  • hiring officer
  • resource specialist
  • proofreader
  • futures planning officer
  • composer
  • voice teacher
  • music director
  • accreditation specialist
  • cheerleader
  • recruiting officer

In the past week (my first at the office since June 30), I saw every one of my full-time faculty members save for the one who is still on holiday, plus a half-dozen contingent faculty members.

And I dealt with mounds of stuff that needed dealing!

It’s happening

Cromer - 19

From two weeks ago, by the North Sea in Cromer, UK. Holidays are over now . . . .

It’s happening.

Another school year.  It’s happening.

Yesterday I stopped by the apartment of a new faculty member as he moved to town.

And I dealt with computer needs for two new faculty members!

Today I see a new student who is starting one of our new majors.  Meanwhile, two other new students in this major are arriving in town to search for housing.

Faculty started showing up yesterday, as we take the August journey toward the first day of classes.  I saw or talked with or emailed back/forth with six of my colleagues yesterday.

Letters are going out this week to a number of Fall 2017 possible students — a testimony that the work of filling the classes never ends, and must in fact be a 365-day effort.

Today I’m reviewing enrollments, checking schedules of my advisees, dealing with some personnel matters, prepping for two meetings tomorrow, and trying to get through the 100+ emails I let build up whilst on holiday last month.

Another school year. It’s happening.

Two to NATS

Sicily and Brittany are headed to the national NATS competition. Take a look!

Jennifer Johnson Cano


We continue to marvel at the success of our alumna Jennifer Johnson Cano, BM ’06.  Her recital this past weekend at the Morgan Library in NYC won rave reviews from the New York Times.

I love following her career and seeing her go from strength to strength!

Here’s the  review in the Times.


The new Interdisciplinary Science Building is under construction.  The folks are saying one year from this summer and it’ll be done!

Take a look at an animated timeline:


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