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Alex Smith

March 1, 2016

            Participation in music ensembles at Drexel University has easily been one of the most rewarding and engaging aspects of my time at Drexel so far. I have been involved with the Concert Band, Jazz Orchestra, and University Orchestra since my freshman year, and have really enjoyed the opportunity to play in a group of students that is as diverse as our ensembles are. While I am often exhausted by the time rehearsals start in the evening, I still look forward to getting to the rehearsal room and playing. Being able to go from Finance and Business classes to a rehearsal is a really nice change for me and is a great way to de-stress after a long day.

            When I was initially doing the college search back in High school, I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to pursue a music degree or a business degree. When I eventually made my decision to attend Drexel in the spring of my senior year, one of the first things I did was look up the music department, since I knew that even though I wanted to be a business major, I still wanted to participate in music as much as possible. I reached out to Dr. Starks and Dr. Moss and came to audition for them. I was very pleased that I was not only asked to participate in Jazz Orchestra and concert band respectively, but I had also received scholarships for my participation in both of these ensembles.  I was also really glad to learn that Drexel does offer music minors, and I added two minors to my degree program very early in my academic career at Drexel, as this allowed me to continue to pursue music while also majoring in Business.

            It was a big shock and very sad that I did not have the chance to work with Dr. Moss closely since he passed away suddenly over the summer before I began at Drexel.  I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work with and learn from all of the directors of the ensembles here at Drexel. My appreciation for and knowledge of jazz has grown tremendously having worked with Dr. Starks for the past few years in his Jazz Orchestra. Dr. Broadnax has exposed me to quite a bit of new compositions for Concert Band that are exciting to play and I otherwise wouldn’t have been aware of. I have also enjoyed working with Ms. Erwin and the Drexel University Orchestra, which has been performing lots of great orchestral repertoire. All three directors that I work with are very committed to the success of the ensembles and each individual musician. I certainly feel that my musicianship has grown during my time in their ensembles.

            I am also very fortunate to participate in the ensembles which such a wide array of students from all disciplines university-wide. While none of us are music majors, we all share a love of music, and all participate in ensembles because of that passion. The Drexel Music Ensembles afford me the chance to interact with people from outside of my business classes, many of who have become great friends. I truly enjoy the chance to participate in Drexel’s ensembles, and often find myself wishing I had more time to participate in some of the other ensembles here at Drexel. While the Music Program at Drexel is not widely known, I have found that it has significantly enriched my experience here, and would absolutely recommend anyone interested in music to join an ensemble.  

I couldn’t find a recent picture of me playing trombone, so I’ve included one from my term abroad in Fall 2014, when I studied in Germany. This was taken outside the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany. One of the things I missed most about the US when I was there was not playing in band, jazz and orchestra!