As hard as it is for me to believe – I feel like I just wrote my first post about coming to school here – my time at Rutgers has come to an end. The last three years have been an incredible learning experience, and I have found a new family of friends, mentors, and colleagues that I will forever hold dear. To conclude my time by singing at the 250th Rutgers Commencement in the presence of President Obama is an experience I will never forget. I have been gifted with the opportunity to study with and work alongside Patrick Gardner for these three years, and I shall remain forever grateful for his dedication to his students, his commitment to excellence, and the love of reading and lifelong studying he instills in each of us. The seriousness with which he approaches his craft is inspiring, and the opportunities I was given to conduct his choirs were invaluable and formative.
A single blog post cannot encapsulate all of the memories contained in these three years, but some of my favorite experiences came through working with the extraordinary undergraduate students at Rutgers in the Kirkpatrick Choir, the University Choir, the Glee Club, and in my conducting and methods classes. I have been tremendously fortunate to work with some incredible musicians in my career, but the freshness and energy that the students at Rutgers brought to every facet of their studies and performances were tremendous sources of pride and joy for the department. I have been and continue to be moved and inspired by their generosity, humility, humor, and talent, and am grateful to have taught, accompanied, conducted, and sung alongside these gifted individuals.
It will be strange not making the trip to New Brunswick 5-7 times a week, and leaving the home I have found in Mortensen Hall is definitely one of the hardest departures I can remember. I am grateful to be staying in the area for the next year, and look forward to maintaining the professional and personal relationships I have built during my time here. Two of the kindest, most generous, and hilarious friends I have gained are my fellow graduate students, John Wilson and Hingrid Kujawinski, with whom I was honored to receive my degree this week. They have been unending sources of joy, laughter, and compassion, and they are both incredibly gifted and intelligent teachers and conductors. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for both of these dear friends.
I’m someone who does not believe in goodbyes, especially in the small world we share in the arts. I am grateful that technology has made this world even smaller, and I look forward to see what the next adventure holds for all of us.