From the Chair: Music@Webster

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

Saying so long

Over nearly 30 years, I have taught hundreds of voice students.  

Today I said a loving ‘so long’ to two of the most delightful students . . . two of the sweetest guys I know . . . two remarkable actors who will leave Saint Louis for the last time while I’m away later this week.

So a farewell dinner at Pho Grand was in order.  And gelato.

Four years ago, I wrote:

“We faculty feel something just as powerful, but more nuanced, for we know that our job is teach, inspire, impart, and love these students for a while, then send them on to the next step in their journey. Our journey is filled with a cycle of welcome/goodbye, something that happens every year. That longer view doesn’t lessen the loss we feel when a special student, a keen and eager and talented young musician and scholar, crosses the stage for the last time at college. But the longer view does help with some perspective and clarity.

“That I still say prayers of thanksgiving by name for some of my high school and college teachers (and mentors) is a testament of the long view that they took years ago in imparting their knowledge and wisdom to me. They paid it forward. I trust that I’m doing the same.”

These two are special students, with a wondrous bright future ahead of them.  

And I’m keenly feeling the bittersweetness of this ‘so long.’


My favorite Webster food service employee has died.

I just said ‘hi’ to her on Thursday as I was passing through Marletto’s.

Mary used to keep a fruit bowl for me, and always scolded me if I was purchasing French fries.

Mary, may flights of angels sing you to paradise.

“The Webster community extends condolences to the family and friends of Mary Marchlewski, who passed away Saturday night. Mary was a long-time employee for Campus Dining Services, working in catering, at Marletto’s, and the Library Cafe. She was beloved by the many students, faculty and staff she served and worked with over the years, including at Busch Stadium where she was also an usher for her St. Louis Cardinals. A visitation service will be held Wednesday, May 10, 4-9 p.m. at Kutis Funeral Home in Affton. Funeral mass is Thursday, May 11, 10 a.m. at St. Ambrose on the Hill.”

Coaching from NYC

Madeline and Jacob are in FaceTime right now with my former student Chris York, who is now a successful voice teacher in New York City.  He’s giving them the ins and outs of voice lessons in NYC. 

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I love this new ad, created by our colleagues in Global Marketing and Communications!

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Faculty Composer Concert

Scenes from Sunday’s concert at Christ Church Cathedral:

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Broadway Sessions

Four of my Webster University voice students are featured on this compilation from (mostly) Webster University night at Broadway Sessions two weeks ago.

Look for Madeline, Chase, Austen, and Jacob!


Singing at Carnegie Hall

Webster University students — 53 in all — and three faculty members in the Department of Music performed on Sunday afternoon at one of the world’s most important performance venues: Carnegie Hall in New York City.


Soprano Heather McKenzie Patterson, mezzo-soprano Martha J. Hart (Director of Vocal Studies), and baritone Jacob Lassetter, Associate Professor were featured soloists in the Mass No. 5 in A-flat major by Franz Schubert.  The Webster choirs were prepared by Trent Patterson, Associate Professor.

Choirs from St. Louis Community College – Meramec and the University of Missouri – St. Louis joined the mass chorus, led by David Rayl of Michigan State University.

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I was able to take a few surreptitious rehearsal photos:

After the concert:

And some proud students with our two full-time voice faculty members, both soloists today at Carnegie Hall:

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