Archives

Brandon Faber ’07

Brandon is the new director of community engagement at the Grosse Pointe (Mich.) War Memorial Association. Prior to taking this new position, Brandon was executive director of the Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra. He earned a bachelor of arts in music and psychology from Kalamazoo College and a master of music in instrumental conducting from the Cole Conservatory of the California State University Long Beach.

David Torresen ’87

David moved to Portland, Maine, in January 2015 after 25 years in Washington, D.C., where he worked for 11 years at the Center for Advancing Health, a nonprofit organization focused on patient engagement, and 12 years at the Washington Blade, a weekly LGBT newspaper. In Portland he works as senior operations associate for the Maine office of AARP. He continues to serve as editor for the official website of singer Peggy Lee, and earlier this year he served as co-producer and contributed liner notes for the two-CD Peggy Lee set “At Last: The Lost Radio Recordings.” He welcomes the chance to meet other K alums in Maine and can be reached at peggyfan@earthlink.net

Siu-Lan Tan, Professor of Psychology

Siu-Lan is a co-author of the paper,”The Influence of Literacy on Representation of Time in Music: An Exploratory Cross-Cultural Study in the UK, Japan, and Papua New Guinea,” published in the November 2015 issue of the journal Psychology of Music. The research was funded by the Onasssis Foundation in Greece and involved fieldwork in various sites in the United Kingdom, Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto), and Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby and a remote region in the Eastern Highlands). The origin of this 2015 study has a distinct Kalamazoo College root–a 2004 study titled “Graphic Representations of Short Music Compositions” published in Psychology of Music. That paper was co-authored by Siu-Lan and K alumna Megan (Bartlett) Kelly ’01, a double-major in political science and human development and social relations. She contributed 250 hours of coding during the summer of her junior year. Also involved in the 2004 research was Professor of Music Tom Evans, who coded a sample of participant responses to check reliability; six K research assistants (Amy Seipel, Sandy Levine, Bradley Miner, Erin Rumery, Angela Kovalak and Christy Peaslee) and the 60 study participants, all of whom were K students. Fast forward some 10 years. “George Athanasopoulos at the University of Edinburgh read our 2004 study and was inspired to extend it to a cross-cultural study,” said Siu-Lan. “He invited me to join the project, and it was exciting to take part in research involving participants in five sites throughout the world.”

Siu-Lan Tan, Professor of Psychology

NYU/Steinhardt is celebrating its 125th anniversary by inviting speakers from around the world to participate in year-round events. One of those speakers will be Siu-Lan. In March she will give a short talk titled “Why Movies Move Us: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Film Music.” She also will be one of a four-member panel that will discuss the topic with the audience. In addition to Siu-Lan (a psychologist), the panel includes a film composer, a neuroscientist and a music theorist.

Alice Lynette (Spath) Blanchard

Alice, who went by her middle name of Lynette, died on March 13, 2014. She taught flute for 30 years at Kalamazoo College. At an early age, she became a flutist with the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra, rapidly advancing to first chair. She graduated from the School of Music at the University of Michigan in 1943. During her college summers she taught flute at the renowned Interlochen Music Camp. In 1943 she married Raywood Helmer Blanchard, who after his military service as a pilot in the Army Air Corps, enjoyed a career as an international patent attorney. Lynette served as principle flutist with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra for 25 years. When the couple retired to McAllen, Texas, she was the first chair flutist and president of the McAllen Town Band. She was an avid golfer and active in the Methodist Church. You could find her playing the piano for her Sunday school class on any Sunday when she wasn’t fishing with her son in Rockport, Texas.

Matt Lund ’99

Matt performed a free concert in Hinton Music Hall at Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro). He performed originals and covers on vocals and electric guitar with members of his bands. Yes, that’s plural. Matt is a member of three: Rescued Souls, Axe of God, and The Time Raiders. Matt majored in music at K. He earned a Master of Arts in Jazz Studies from MTSU. Since then he has been a highly sought after sideman for performances and recording sessions, and is also active in The Lund McVey Group. He directs the MTSU Commercial Music Ensembles and teaches jazz guitar private instruction and the MTSU course “Introduction to Music.” He also serves as an instructor of guitar lessons and camps at the Middle Tennessee Arts Academy in Smyrna and Gene Ford Music in Brentwood.

Five-Tooler

Andy Miller shows his Campbell’s soup scar

Welcome home, Andy Miller! The proud Kalamazoo College alumnus—class of 1999, English major, music minor, creative writing concentrator, Michigan-certified secondary school teacher (English and music), and K intramural softball phenom—has returned to his alma mater. He’s worked here before. Following graduation he was associate director of LandSea, a program he loved as both participant and patrol leader. He also worked to help the Stryker Center liaison with the greater Kalamazoo business community. Former K president Jimmy Jones recognized great talent, and when he became president of Trinity College (Hartford, Conn.) in 2004 he convinced Andy to go east for a decade. At Trinity, Andy created the Quest Program, which became that college’s outdoor orientation program for first-year students. Simultaneously Andy worked for Trinity’s advancement office—in major gifts, planned giving, alumni relations, and parent giving, making him one of the great five-tool players (think whatever corresponds to speed, power, contact, glove work, and a cannon arm) in the world of advancement. Andy and alumna Mary-Katherine Thompson ’06 married in 2009. They first met on LandSea. This past August Andy came back to K to serve as the College’s executive director of development. Why the return? “It’s a perfect fit,” he says. “It’s coming home.” And we think it’s great to have him home!

And now his answers to the questions we’ve all been eager to know.

What’s the best song every recorded?

“Apologies to the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Petty, Guns N’ Roses, and especially Springsteen’s ’Jungleland,’ which comes in second, but I’m going to have to go with ’Layla’ by Derek and the Dominos.

He coulda been a rock star--Andy Miller, sophomore year, in front of Harmon Hall

What’s your favorite childhood fairy tale or story?

“’Peter Rabbit’ by Beatrix Potter.”

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

“’You did a good job down there.’”

What’s your favorite word?

“Irrefragable.”

What’s your least favorite word?

“Irregardless. People use it all the time, but IT’S NOT A WORD!”

What turns you on?

“Autonomy…challenge…the opportunity to create things…and, of course, my wife.”

What turns you off?

“Hate, prejudice, and close-mindedness.”

What sound do you love?

“The electric guitar. Specifically, a Fender telecaster coming through a Vox amp.”

What sound do you hate?

“I absolutely love dogs…but I have two at home who bark like maniacs every time another dog is being walked outside our house, which is regularly. Training remains a work in progress!”

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

“Professional rock and roll songwriter.”

What profession would you not like to participate in?

“Accounting. My lack of interest would pretty much assure my uselessness…and vice versa.”

What’s been a GREAT MOMENT in your liberal arts learning?

“There are two, both of which happened spring of my senior year and involved synthesizing my previous three-and-a-half-years worth of learning and developing.  My Senior Individualized Project gave me the opportunity to do a deep dive into every ‘art’ I had any competency in–a manuscript worth of poems (thanks Diane Seuss), a related series of photographs (thanks Richard Koenig), and an album’s worth of music (thanks Tom Evans).  On the more traditionally academic side, my English Comprehensive Exams required me to, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a Saturday, write essays on three different questions, with each essay using three literary references drawn from a list of texts read over the course of my entire time at K.  Handing in my SIP and my ’comps,’ admittedly at the absolute last minute in both cases, was so fulfilling to me because they truly served as twin capstone projects of my liberal arts learning.”

Who’s the person (living or dead) with whom you’d most like to spend a lunch hour?

“Neither is famous. It would either be my paternal grandfather, who died when I was very young, or my maternal grandmother, who died before I was born.”

What memory from childhood still surprises you?

“I remember very well burning my arm on the stove at the age of two on Valentine’s Day when I was reaching for some Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup my mom was making for me. Somehow, despite being so young, I had managed to get my arm on top of the stove. My mom has never forgiven herself because she was out of the room preparing for a date with my dad to celebrate the birth of my cousin on that very day.”

What is your favorite curse word?

“Curses!”

What is your favorite hobby?

“Songwriting and recording in my basement.”

What is your favorite comedy movie?

Blues Brothers is a pretty solid go-to. I use the phrases ‘We’re getting the band back together’ and ‘We’re on a mission from God’ regularly.”

What local, regional, national, or world event has affected you most?

“Probably 9/11. I may remember it so distinctly because it happened when we were on LandSea in Ontario. Tom Breznau got a call from President Jones and we went to the one TV at the nearest one-street town to learn what was going on, which was unbelievable. And we had to figure out how to inform all the patrol leaders and participants scattered throughout Killarney. Then to live in the east for 10 years…9/11 has shaped a lot of what New York is like today.”

If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose?

“Absolutely, unless she was drinking orange juice.”

 

Sharon Stohrer ’77

Sharon is delighted to announce publication of her new book, The Performer’s Companion. Bringing a wealth of experience in performance anxiety coaching to bear on the subject, Sharon has written an essential text for both instrumentalists and singers. The book approaches building performance confidence and overcoming stage fright from many angles: physical preparation, mental strategies, nurturing the artist within, optimum practicing, backstage tips, and the benefit of body work, especially the Alexander Technique.

Susan Fletcher Lyle ’73

Susan joined her sister, Kristine Fletcher Joubert, for a special recital of music for voice and viola at Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria, Louisiana. Susan is an associate professor of voice at the Petrie School of Music at Converse College in South Carolina. Susan earned her B.A. in music from K and received her Master of Music degree in vocal performance and opera from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Maryland. She earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance and conducting at the University of Oregon. She has many performances to her credit throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, with such organizations as the Baltimore Opera, the Handel Choir of Baltimore, the Vancouver Island Music Festival, the Calgary Canada Bach Festival Society, the Long Bay Symphony, Hilton Head Choral Society, South Carolina Opera, and the Bach Consortium in Germany. She is also a master teacher of the functional voice building method and has presented papers on the topic at numerous conferences. She also works with individuals who have injured voices to restore their vocal health. In 1999, Susan had the distinction as the first ever female conductor for the Hungarian Radio Chorus, as part of a live radio broadcast concert.

Jon Grier ’75

Jon was recently cited with two awards: an Artist Fellowship in Music Composition (bestowed by the South Carolina Arts Commission) and the Carl Blair Award for Commitment to Arts Education (given by the Greenville Metropolitan Arts Council). Jon has been teaching music theory and history at the Greenville Fine Arts Center, a magnet high school of the arts, since 1988. And he sends a hearty shout out to the class of ’75!