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.

LeeU Composer’s Forum – Devoted to the expression of creative musical ideas

More than just a club, LeeU Composer’s Forum (LUCF) is a community of creatives that gather to share and critique their art. If you join one of their meetings, you’ll find an environment welcoming anyone to come and grow as a musician – fostering a safe place for the growth of creativity.

Designed to be a resource for composers, songwriters, and lovers of music, LUCF is a respectful space to exchange and cultivate creative ideas. When asked to describe the club Caleb Hinton, who is the president of the Forum, said:

“Our goal is to provide our members the opportunities to deepen their knowledge and love for music all kinds, as well as to showcase and receive constructive feedback on their own compositions.”

The Composer’s Forum will be hosting an event next week with Dr. Wykoff in their masterclass. Dr Wykoff will be presenting two new contrasting musical compositions which will include:

“The Virtuous Soul” – a song to be performed by Nathaniel Olson and Jonathan Jung &

“Petite Picaresque”

After these songs, he will do a workshop with a couple of students and will wrap up the evening in a Q & A time with the audience.  The event will be on February 24, 2021 at 7 p.m. in room 118 of the music building and is free for anyone who wishes to attend.

Anyone interested in learning more or getting involved can follow the LeeU Composer’s Form instagram account and/or email Hinton @ chinto00@leeu.edu

A Masterclass with Dr Wykoff:

February 24th @ 7p.m.

Faculty Highlight: Dr. ChoEun Lee

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

A: I am from Ulsan, South Korea (Ulsan is where Hyundai started their first car production). I finished my undergraduate in Korea and obtained a solo piano degree. I came to the States in 2005 to pursue a Master’s degree in collaborative piano from the University of Cincinnati. Afterwards I went to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for my doctoral degree. I taught at California State University San Bernardino for 4 years, then I finally arrived to Lee in 2016. In the meantime, I have engaged in several prestigious music festivals such as Tanglewood Music Festival and also the Aspen Music Festival where I worked with renowned musicians including Stephanie Blythe, Jake Heggie, Martin Katz, Anne Sofie von Otter, Christine Schäffer, Dawn Upshaw, and Linda Watson, and performed in Korea, the United States, Austria, Australia, Italy, Taiwan, and New Zealand.

Q: How did you hear about Lee University, and what classes do you teach here?

A: When I found Lee University was seeking applicants for assistant professor of collaborative piano and vocal coaching, I liked the name because my last name is also Lee, so I thought perhaps this my destination!

I teach Collaborative Piano, Vocal Coaching, Chamber Music, Applied Piano, Opera courses, and I also play for Lee Chorale.

Q: In regards to the Collab Music event… Can you tell us a little more about it and what it means to you?

A: LeeU Collab Music is a day-long workshop focusing on musical collaboration. We aim to 1) encourage and guide young musicians who are interested in collaboration, 2) enrich their knowledge related to the collaborative arts field, and 3) empower their skills to become successful collaborators in making music together. We welcome all musicians (pianists, vocalists, and instrumentalists) from pre-collegiate, collegiate, and teaching professionals.

Through this LeeU Collect music, there are a few things I wish to accomplish. One is promoting a culture in the university of musical collaboration. Specifically we seek to encourage young musicians to collaborate with their partners while developing their instrument techniques since their music is intertwined with their partners.

I also hope to have more people made aware of how active and vibrant our music program is here at Lee University. We had two successful events in the fall and spring with 60-70 participants joining us for each event from 14 different states and Canada, and had our own faculty and visiting faculty from other schools providing lectures and workshops via Zoom. After the Covid situation improves, we plan to host a live event on our campus (or hybrid) and continue this collaboration journey.

Q: How does your religion impact your life in the industry?

A: I was born and raised Catholic and with two nuns in my family. My mother’s hope was that I would learn to play beautiful music during Mass, and that expectation worked out well for me! One of the Christian virtues I learned is loving and helping others which forms a big part of my faith and music. It is also helpful in being a collaborative pianist because, if one wishes to be a good collaborator, they must be willing to love and support others.

Q: Any favorite memories of your music career?

A: There are a lot! But there are two in particular: Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, MA, and my Carnegie Hall debut in 2015. When you are invited to the Tanglewood Music Festival (summer home of Boston Symphony Orchestra), they provide everything you need to focus on music-making. I was so fortunate to attend the event for 2 summers, and I worked with great musicians from the world. Every day we would talk about music and, for a musician, it was like heaven.

Performing in Carnegie Hall is the dream for many musicians, and one of my aspirations since I was young. I made my Carnegie debut in Weill Recital Hall and I was alongside my two dear friends, a soprano and saxophonist. We gave a recital including a few commissioned pieces written for us. My parents flew out from Korea to attend my concert and it was very special and memorable.

Q: Do you have any advice to pass along to music students? 

A: When I was a student, I didn’t recognize how important practicing was in music-making and in developing my musicality. Good practice is building up the right muscle memory with critical thinking; so when musicians get on stage for a concert, they can fully engage in the music and communicate with the audience.

I would also like to emphasize the importance of good time-management. Organizing a schedule, prioritizing tasks, and allocating time for each task is important; it is crucial to balance between study and practice. Also, utilizing a 15-minute time slot for several activities including breaks provides a great opportunity to accomplish a lot of things.

Lastly, I really want to encourage students to take challenges that push them outside of their comfort zones and explore new musical experiences. (Probably after Covid) attending live concerts, participating in the national and international music festivals, and connecting with musicians outside of Lee will help in expanding one’s perspectives in music and enrich their lives.

Student Spotlight: April Richmond

Meet our February Spotlight: April Richmond!

Q: Introduce yourself! Where are you from, and what are you studying here at Lee?

A: Hi, my name’s April Richmond! I’m from Cleveland, TN and I am double majoring in Music Education and Music Business!

Q: So, what brought you to Lee?

A: I came to Lee because I felt drawn to the atmosphere of the campus! I had offers to other schools, and as I was contemplating and praying about where God wanted me, I knew deep down this was where I was meant to be! I knew I could obtain the right education I needed to succeed, but more importantly to grow in Christ! 

Q: What ensembles are you involved in?

A: I’m involved in Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and Small Jazz Ensemble! 

Q: If you had to list just one thing, what would be your favorite things about the School of Music?

A: My favorite thing about the school of music is hearing the variety of talent among students! Everyone presents something different to the table! 

Q: Any advice for prospective students who are auditioning for the school?

A: My advice for future flames who are auditioning would be to stay authentic and enjoy the moments between you and the music during the audition! One of the best things you can do is be yourself and be one with the music. Regardless of who’s in the room, just know it’s your time to shine!