Faculty Highlight: Dr William Green – Dean of Lee’s School Of Music

Q:  Tell us a little about yourself – Such as where you are from, your educational background, musical experience, etc!

A: I am originally from the Atlanta GA area. I lived in the metro Atlanta area most of my life until I went away to college. I graduated from Lee College in 1981 with a degree in music education but when right into local church ministry rather than teaching in the public school system. During my first church job in Buford GA, I started a masters program at Georgia State University in choral conducting.  Also while in Buford, I started singing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and was later a member of the ASOC Chamber Choir. I was able to work with Robert Shaw, one of the most revered choral conductors of the last century. Later in my doctoral work at the University of Kentucky I did my dissertation on Mr. Shaw’s choral techniques.

Q: What brought you to Lee University, and what classes do you teach here?

A: I came to Lee after completing the coursework for my DMA in Choral Conducting from the University of Kentucky.  While in Kentucky I had the privilege of working with Dr. Jefferson Johnson. The idea of coming back to Lee had always been in the back of my mind. After completing my master’s degree at Georgia State, I did some part-time teaching at Lee and fell in love with teaching at the university level.

Q: How does being a Christian musician impact your life?

A: Being a Christian impacts every facet of your life, but especially music, in that it is so personal, and closely tied to us emotionally. Since I am a choral musician much of the material available to me is from the canon of sacred choral literature. Then not only do you have the artistic side of music but also the religious foundation of scripture or other religious writings. Of course, there are many other styles and options in choral music, and I enjoy them as well. I see excellence in music of any genre to be an expression of who I am in Christ.

Q: This is your 10th year as Dean of Lee’s School of Music, what have you seen change over that time? What are your hopes for the school’s future?

“One of the first projects I got to be a part of was the building of the stone chapel at Lee.  As a matter of fact, I have a photo of the chapel in my office to remind me of those first years.”

– Dr William Green

A: One of the first projects I got to be a part of was the building of the stone chapel at Lee. As a matter of fact, I have a photo of the chapel in my office to remind me of those first years. As I came directly from the faculty to this position, the learning curve was steep and I was so thankful for a supportive and forgiving faculty that let me learn on the job. Over the ten years we have seen expansion of our facilities and expansion of our programs. Now, it feels that we have become more balanced, increasing our student majors in music and worship and music business specifically. Music business and commercial music, in my opinion, will be a significant path for growth in the School of Music over the next 5 years. With the opening of the recording studio in August, I see great opportunities.

Q: What would you say (or what advice would you give) to a prospective student who is looking to audition for our music school?

A: Take a careful look at the requirements for auditioning on your instrument/voice on our website http://www.leeumusicconnect.com. It is important to pick selections that can help the faculty accurately evaluate your skill level and project a plan of study for you. If you have questions about this, reach out to Nick Tomasello for clarification or ask him to connect you with a faculty member in your area that can help you decide on appropriate selections for the audition. A few lessons with a private teacher before your audition can do wonders for your confidence and preparation. This might be a high school band director, orchestra director, or choir teacher. They can help you polish up your pieces to be most prepared for the audition.

Q: Any favorite memories of your music career?

A: There have been many, but I must say leading the Lee University Festival Choir at the inauguration of the President of the United States in 2013 is a memory I will never forget.

Dr. Green is now in his 10th year of being the Dean of our School Of Music and life wouldn’t be the same without him! The school’s community has been constantly cultivated to steward excellence under his leadership and there has been so much growth. Thank you, Dr Green for all you have poured into our department!

Student Spotlight: Noah Constance

Noah Constance: Music Composition major.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I am from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It’s about 90 minutes north of Cleveland and very close to the Knoxville area.

Q: What brought you to Lee?

A: What brought me to Lee was the orchestra program. Back when I toured Lee, I got the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal for an upcoming concert and was very impressed by the talent and musicianship of everyone in there- I had to be a part of it! 

Q: There are so many instruments out there, what made you decide to play the Viola? What do you like about it?

A: My decision to take up Viola is interesting: It all started back in the 4th grade when two women held an assembly to convince us fourth graders to join the orchestra program in the winter. I told my mom I wanted to do it, and so come January, I was enrolled. The women handed out sheets of paper containing the instruments (violin, viola, cello, bass) to choose from. So, I looked over my options. The violin, I thought, would be “too common” (all my friends were choosing it!); the cello and bass looked far too expensive for me… and then I saw the Viola. I had never heard of this instrument before, and I thought the name sounded cool, so I chose it! I love playing Viola; it has a beautiful sound, some great melodic and harmonic passages in plenty of pieces, and it’s essentially a portable cello! What’s not to love?

Q: Tell us about some of your favorite classes you’ve taken in the S.O.M.!

A: This is a hard question, but I think if I had to choose, it would be Theory IV. It taught me about the world of atonality, and it really helped me grow in my taste in music and as a composer; as it turns out, pushing the boundaries of tonality can lead to some beautiful, powerful works!

Q: If you had to list one, what is your favorite thing about the School of Music? What makes it so special?

A: The greatest thing about the School of Music is the community. Everyone here is very nice and supportive; you can make a lot of friends here!

Q: What is music to you? (i.e. what does it mean to you, why do you love it, how is it impactful…? etc)

A: Music is a huge part of my life. Since I am a composer, I am always listening to music to find inspiration for another piece I will work on. Being able to sit down and listen to a symphony or other work is very satisfying- I love hearing all the small details that go into a work.

Q: What would you tell a prospective student who is looking into Lee’s School of Music?

A: If I were to speak to a potential music major coming to Lee, I would tell them that they would be welcome with open arms. The community is great, the teachers care about you and are willing to help you, as well as push you academically. It’s a college you will not regret attending.