Class Notes

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Leonidas Lagrimas, '01, In Fall 2018 Leonidas accepted a new position as Assistant Professor of Piano at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. He is also the coordinator for the secondary piano program and teach Piano Pedagogy and applied lessons for non-majors. Life post-William and Mary has taken many twists and turns--He relocated to New York City and taught public school music after receiving his masters at NYU, before moving to Florida State University for his Ph.D. in music education and piano pedagogy.

Music has remained at the center of what Leonidas does for a living, and his time at W&M was a huge influence. His four years in Ewell was a time to explore his passion for music but also to become as well-rounded in so many other areas of study. The decision to double major in Music and English was a smart one--it helped made his doctoral work at FSU and the dissertation writing process so much smoother.

Megan Grady, '11, After completing her studies at William & Mary under the tutelage of Patti Carlson, Megan attended the Florida State University College of Music, where she earned her Master of Music in Clarinet Performance. Since graduation, she has worked at several institutions of higher education across a range of fields from alumni relations to music and admission. She currently serves as the Music Recruitment Coordinator and Assistant Director of Admission at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Megan credits her experience as music assistant at William & Mary as the nexus for the beginning of her career in music admission. Outside of the office, Megan is an active performer and pedagogue. She performs with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Wind Symphony, while maintaining a small studio of clarinet and piano students in the greater Tacoma-Seattle area. She has been a featured performer with the Pacific Lutheran University Wind Ensemble during their international tour in 2017, as well as the Washington Wind Symphony. She can be found online at or on Instagram as @pnwclarinetist. (9/13/18)

Bryan Wright, '05, Pianist and musicologist Bryan S. Wright (B.A.: W&M, '05 / Ph.D.: University of Pittsburgh, '16) has been nominated for a Grammy Award by the Recording Academy for his liner notes accompanying the 3-CD set "The Complete Piano Works of Scott Joplin" played by pianist Richard Dowling (Rivermont Records). Scott Joplin (b. 1867/8–d. 1917) was an American composer, notable for his many piano rags, waltzes, marches, and for his two operas. Wright and Dowling co-produced the new recording in celebration of this year's 150th anniversary of Scott Joplin's birth. This is the second Grammy nomination for Wright's Rivermont label. The 2018 Grammy Award winners will be announced at a televised ceremony from New York's Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018. (11/30/17)

Laura Ettabbakh, is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State currently stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. As a Public Diplomacy-coned officer, her interests include facilitating international educational and cultural exchange programs. After graduating from William and Mary, Laura spent two years living in Spain as part of a Fulbright research grant to study music as a tool for social integration among North African immigrants in southern Spain. She holds an M.A. in Arts Management from American University and spent seven years working in the arts in Washington, D.C. prior to joining the Foreign Service. Laura has worked as Participant Coordinator of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Box Office Manager of GALA Hispanic Theatre, Artistic Administrator of The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and Operations Manager for Classical Movements, an international tour agency for professional choirs and orchestras. She credits William and Mary with fostering and expanding her interests in language, exploration, cross-cultural communication, and the arts. (9/2/2017)

Daniel Maxey, '02 has accepted an appointment as Chief of Staff to President Laurie Nichols at the University of Wyoming. (8/19/2017)

Christy Lynn Wilson, '91 had accepted a job as the Director of Marketing and PR at the College of Coastal Georgia. She is loving living on the beautiful St. Simons Island and is so excited about the new position. Christy hopes all of her W&M friends, especially the InterVarsity are doing well and would love to get back to Williamsburg for a visit! (7/25/2017)

Erin Wagner, '13, Since completing her studies at William and Mary, Erin continued her studies, earning a Master of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Graduate Degree in Innovation and Organization of Culture and the Arts from the University of Bologna, Italy in May of 2016. Now, she work full time as the Center for Philanthropy Associate with The Pittsburgh Foundation, a $1 billion community foundation that is a major player in the southwestern Pennsylvania philanthropic community. In this role, she prepares research and proposals to connect donors to nonprofits and initiatives throughout the region. Erin is so thankful for the well-rounded and comprehensive education she received at William and Mary, especially through the Department of Music. (11/9/2016)

Kristi Lee, Ph.D., ’09 earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Seattle University. (5/20/2016)

John Anderson, '14 After completing the Ad Sales/Group Sales internship at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts during the summer after graduating William & Mary, John was hired full-time as the newest Program Assitant for internships & Community Programs. Under this position, John is responsible for managing the nationally recognizaed program and providing a variety of administrative support for the Foundation's educational initiatives. (12/4/2014)

Ro-Derrick Branch, '14 I formed a band with some fellow Tribe members Christian Weber '14 (guitar/vox), Chris Pickett '14 (bass), Kieran Ryan '15 (drums). I play keys for the band, and we released our debut EP, "From The Grave" on July 8th. It also features Gianna Baiges Parrilla '14 (vox) and Ben Weissman '14 and Walker Brough '15 (trumpet). The EP is available to stream and download. 

We also received a stellar review from The Deli Magazin-DC area where we have also been nominated for artist of the month. (8/22/2014)

Sarah McClure, '07 After earning an MM in Choral Conducting at East Carolina University ('10), I spent two years at Montgomery County Community College outside Philadelphia, PA teaching music history and conducting a small choir. Before getting married this past spring, I moved to Kansas City, MO to join my husband. I am now Director of Music at an American Baptist Church in Kansas and am Assistant Conductor of the Midwest Chamber Ensemble, an orchestra started in 2012 by my husband and me. I am thinking about a DMA in Choral Conducting or a PhD in Musicology depending on the direction life takes us. I continue to sing in several choirs and often think very fondly of singing in Women's Chorus and Botetourts with Dr. Bartlett. Since I was a band kid in high school, I'm forever grateful for all the great music we sang at W&M! (10/23/2013)

Anna Grau, '03 I finished my PhD in musicology in 2010 and have been teaching classes at DePaul University and the University of Illinois, Chicago. I live in Chicago with my husband, Thomas Schmidt ('03) and our daughter Charlotte. (5/24/2013)

Justin Hazelgrove, '06 After graduating from W&M, I completed both the MM and DMA in Choral Conducting at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro's School of Music, Theater, and Dance. While a graduate student, I served as assistant conductor of the University Chamber Singers, conductor of the Men's Glee Club, and instructor of undergraduate choral conducting. In a professional capacity, I have served as Interim Director of Choral Music at the 4500-member Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, NC, Director of Choral Music at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC, Assistant Conductor of the Triad region's premier choral ensemble, the Bel Canto Company, Assistant Conductor of the Greensboro Choral Society, and Choir Director at Konnoak Hills Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, NC. Driven by a deep interest in Swedish choral tradition and pedagogy, I relocated to Sweden in Summer 2012. During my time as a music major at the College, I was a member of the Choir, the Botetourt Chamber Singers, the Opera Workshop, and Delta Omicron.  I studied voice with Mary Fletcher and Ryan Fletcher and piano with Judy Zwelling.  These experiences left me well-prepared to pursue graduate work in music.  (3/26/2013)

Jay Chadwick, '93   I am balancing a full time legal career with an active schedule as a freelance French horn player in the Washington, DC and northern Virginia. I perform regularly with three orchestras, a brass quintet, and a wind quintet, and spend a week each summer performing with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. I live in Reston, VA, with my wife and two kids. (02/11/13)

Sheyna Burt, '98  I'm in the NOVA/DC area trying to balance running a law firm with having a satisfying amateur musical career .... I work with a stack of nonprofit arts organizations and if any W&M folks land in my part of the world and are looking for opportunities to do some chamber and/or orchestral playing, they should shoot me a message! (10/30/12)

Christina Bianchi, '09  I started an MBA program at Georgetown University this fall and am working at the Transportation Security Administration. (10/15/12)

Katie Reilly, '08 Hi W&M music department! I am now working as the marketing manager at Darlington Arts Center, a non-profit, community arts center outside of Philadelphia. We provide classes, workshops, and events in music, dance, drama, & art for people of all ages. If you are ever in the area (we are located in Delaware County, about 20 miles South of Philly), please feel free to stop by! Hope to see you soon! - Katie Reilly  (10/15/12)

Sue Reese Glasco, '59  So glad to hear that improvements have been made to Ewell Hall. I spent many hours in that building as a music major and also member of the William and Mary Choir. I also worked for Pappy Fehr while a student at W&M and so Ewell Hall was like my "home away from home." (10/15/12)

Jonathan Weiss, '10  Studying music therapy at NYU! (10/10/12)

Katie Hidalgo Pierce, '09  I am currently the Choral Director at Westfield High School in Fairfax County, VA. After graduating from W&M, I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received my Masters of Arts in Teaching in Music Education. I moved back up to Northern Va, got married in 2011, and for two years taught Middle School Chorus as well as Music to Pre-K Special Education students. I moved to Westfield High School for the 2012 - 2013 school year, and I'm loving every minute of it! It's wonderful being able to reassure kids that there are places out there like W&M where you can pursue various interests while participating fully in the music department. (10/10/12)

Wanda Graybeal Melchers, 88'  Our daughter has just begun her days at W&M this fall as a member of the class of 2016. She is thrilled to be singing under Dr. Armstrong in the choir. We plan to be there for the Homecoming concert. (10/10/12)

Benjamin Hedin, '01 I have recently started a podcast series; one can find the first episode and subscribe here. The forum is writers and musicians talking about other writers and musicians. There should be lots of great guests forthcoming. (10/10/12)

Richard Lauw, '02 I currently reside back home in Vienna, Austria where I opened my own audio post- production studio working as a film composer and sounddesigner. My work is featured worldwide in over 60 TV shows and feature films including primetime shows such as American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, The Sing Off, as well as various documentary shows on The Discovery Channel, History Channel, TLC, etc. My trailer music appears regularly on most major US & European TV networks, including NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, BBC. Together with my team, I also provide audio solutions for commercials and businesses. Clients include, Red Bull, TNT Parcel Service, The City of Vienna, etc. I have a 3-year-old daughter who does not like it when I play the piano. For more information, feel free to visit my website   (8/28/12)

Nichole Francisco, '05  While at William and Mary, I was involved with the Opera Ensemble while taking voice lessons with Ryan Fletcher. I also really enjoyed a great class with Anne Rasmussen. Since leaving William and Mary in 2005, I have completed an MBA in 2007 and gone on to work as Finance Director of a nonprofit. I really love my job, and I still sing from time to time with hopes to record a vocal album in the near future. I hope to connect with the Music Department at one of the homecomings in the future. I had a great time at William and Mary! (5/10/12)

Blake Velde,  '80  Happy to report that I'm still playing Bb/Eb Clarinet with the Capital Pride Symphonic Band in Washington DC and marching with the DC's Different Drummers. We also have a clarinet quartet called "La Reeda Loca" that performs at various venues throughout the area, most recently at the Atlas Theater arts festival. I also recently switched singing gigs and am singing with the Alexandria Choral Society where we recently just performed the Mozart Requiem with the Alexandria Symphony (and got to hear Richard Stohltzman perform the Mozart Clarinet concerto). The ACS director used to teach at VA Tech so there are a lot of his former students but several W&M alums too! I'm still working for USDA for my day job although in addition to hazmat/oilspill response duties I'm also acting chief for Safety/Workers compensation for the Department - can't wait to retire in less than 2 yrs!  (4/05/12)

Phyllis Atwood Gauker, '62  I taught choral music for 5 years, Highland Springs High, Richmond and Charlotte Amalie High, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands. After running around the world and having two babies overseas, losing my husband in a plane crash, I pursued my master of music. Earned it at age 50. Sang in operas and chorales. In my early years was a soprano soloist and later, alto. Currently direct a women's group, Auburn Music Club Singers who perform about 10 times a year. Most of the music that I know is so old that it is permanently out of print, so I buy music from estate sales on Ebay, and reduce SATB arrangements into SSAA ones. I love it. Still singing but not soloing very often. Am coordinating the entertainment for our high school 55th reunion by sending music to our old madrigal group of 13 out of a class of 777 at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Va. Love that! All the music is still in my brain at age 71, but I'm starting not to be able to hear ALL the parts when I run something through my head. That's just a forewarning for you as you age, if you notice something like that, tell yourself it must be normal. (4/03/12)

Sarah Balcom, '98  I live in Annapolis, MD with my husband and 3 kitties. I currently teach full time at the University of MD at College Park in the Animal Sciences Department, and practice as a veterinarian in small animal medicine in the summers. This May, my husband and I are expecting our first child. I continue to sing in the area, and once in a while I dust off my clarinet to play a little Klezmer or do some duets with past WM music friends in the area. (3/15/12)

Eric Peterson, '85  I live and work in New York City, and am concentrating on conducting. Last fall I MD'd a wonderful production of "A Funny Thing... Forum" with Blue Hill Troupe. I'm now in rehearsal for "The Mikado" with Troupers Light Opera (Stamford, CT) and will be conducting the Savoynet Performing Group's "The Sorcerer" at the International G&S Festival in Buxton, England this summer.  (3/12/12)

Leslie Ann Lunsford Dunn, '90   Leslie Ann Lunsford Dunn is a practicing attorney and an online professor and is still playing French Horn. She plays in the Georgia Philharmonic with her husband Jason (another horn player.) The Georgia Philharmonic will be playing an all Mahler concert on March 17, including Mahler 1. (3/06/12)

Margie Marbella, '99  After teaching choir for eight years with Fairfax County Public Schools, I am currently in a central office position as the choral music resource teacher for FCPS. I have two lovely little girls and a rockstar husband, and I am also working on building a massage therapy practice. :) Love to W&M Music. (3/06/12)

Susan Anderson, '80  I have relocated from Maryland, where I worked for the Baltimore Symphony, to California where I am now with the Santa Barbara Symphony as Director of Operations and Artistic Administrator. (3/05/12)

Linda Johnson Morris, '66  Since graduation, I have continually sung in choral groups throughout the years. Currently, I am singing with an exciting auditioned group in Charlottesville, VA., The VA. Consort. Singing is like breathing. Necessary for me!! (3/05/12)

Derek Power, '05  In addition to the day-to-day survival routine, I've been working on a two-prong creative career in both music and film. On the music side, I initiated and maintained a music project called The Spangle Maker. The style is eclectic as it reflects various moods and tastes. On the film side, I've written three scripts for a loose trilogy called "The Relationship Triptych" where each film focuses on a couple living in the Boston area. The individual films are: On Nights Like This, All That We Are and Walk in Silence. More things cooking and simmering at the moment. (3/05/12)

Lauren Estes, '09  I'm currently in my first year of my Master's degree program in choral conducting at Syracuse University and loving it! (3/05/12)

Matthew Gattuso, '11 Hey all, I am currently over halfway through doing a year of service in Little Rock Arkansas with a national education non-profit called City Year. City Year focuses on providing academic and behavior interventions through concentrated tutoring sessions with a select group of at risk students. I work in a third grade class at Mabelvale Elementary in Southwest Little Rock. In addition to the tutoring, we run both a morning and afterschool program for the kids. The 10 hour days are strenuous, but overall it is a very formative experience. Unfortunately, music has fallen to the wayside a bit at the current moment. My viola still sees some love when I get the chance though! After this program is over, I'm planning on taking next year to fully dedicate my time to preparing for grad school in music composition with the intention of going in Fall of 2013. I really hope to take some extended time to visit WM when I'm back in Virginia. I'm definitely missing my alma mater. Thanks to everyone in the music department who contributed to my experience there! Hope all is well in Williamsburg and all the best. (2/20/12)

Lillie Gordon, '02   I'm currently busy wrapping up my Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at UC Santa Barbara. Since moving out here in 2003, I've continued pursuing Middle Eastern music, an interest I discovered while playing in the William and Mary Middle Eastern Music Ensemble with Prof. Anne Rasmussen. I'm an active member of the ensemble here at UCSB, and have traveled to Egypt multiple times for my dissertation research (once on a Fulbright-Hays fellowship). My dissertation deals with the role of violin players in different periods of Arab Art music in Egypt throughout the twentieth century. I'm also happy to be playing more Scottish and Irish music again, although these days I normally don't wear a bonnet while doing so (as I did during my stint in the CW taverns). (2/7/12)

Deborah Justice, '02  Since graduating from William and Mary, I have been pursuing my doctoral degree in ethnomusicology. I first spent six months living and working in Cairo, Egypt. Upon returning to the States, I earned my masters in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University where I wrote a thesis on hammered dulcimer scenes on the US East coast under the supervision of Mark Slobin. Then, I enrolled in the doctoral program at Indiana University. After finishing my coursework and fieldwork (in Nashville, TN), I moved to Germany to join my husband, who was finishing his degree in laser physics. In addition to learning German, teaching English part-time, and playing lots of hammered dulcimer with local folk musicians, I'm currently in the final stages of my dissertation revisions. (2/7/12)

Chandler Moore, '06  After graduating from William & Mary, I taught in a public high school in Richmond for four years, and then worked for a year as a job coach with VCU. In September 2011 I moved to the Big Easy to begin a master's degree in musicology at Tulane University, with an emphasis on the music of New Orleans. I absolutely love being immersed in the music and culture of New Orleans - it is a must-see, must-experience city for any music lover! Along the way I have kept up and played with members of the Middle Eastern Music and Southern Appalachian Ensembles. (2/6/12)

Jeremy Wacksman, '07  I am in India for a year of public health technology-related field work. Prior to that I spent almost four years working as a researcher for the Navy. While living in DC I was able to nurture my musical side by teaching beginning piano at a local arts center and occassionally meeting up and playing with other musicians I know from W&M's Middle Eastern Music Ensemble. Hopefully India will provide ample opportunity to exercise the ethnomusicology skills I gained in the music department! I am planning to return to Virginia in 2013 to continue pursuing a career in public health research. (2/6/12)

Phil Hernandez, '10  After graduation, I moved to Washington D.C., and began working in the White House Domestic Policy Council with the energy and climate change team. It's been an incredible experience thus far and I've had the good fortune of being able to work on a wide range of issues, including the Administration's new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, regulations that reduce air pollution and protect public health, and policies that support clean energy technologies. I should also note that my music degree often comes in handy - last year, President Obama named the legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins as one of the 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees. I volunteered to staff Sonny during the ceremony and we bonded immediately over jazz music. At 81, he's still pretty hip (he wore pink sunglasses in front of the President and looked cool doing so) and I was very pleased that my background in music helped me to make a connection. (2/6/12)

Jake Nelson, '11  Since graduation, I've been working in Washington in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. I cover a wide variety of issues including coordination with Europe in the United Nations; human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons; Congressionally mandated reporting on human rights, trafficking in persons, and religious freedom; and the rights of national minorities. It's been a big shift from spending dozens of hours each week in singing rehearsals, but I've loved the opportunity to apply the skills I learned in analysis and area studies at William & Mary (including in the music department) to a completely different field. I hope to return to the world of academia in the fall before continuing a career in foreign policy. (2/3/12)

Tes Siominski, '96 After finishing my Ph.D. in music at New York University in 2010 and spending a year as a postdoc at Smith College, I have returned to the DC area to be closer to the southern contingent of my biological and chosen family. Here, I'm teaching Irish fiddle lessons, playing gigs, working on my book about music and gender in early twentieth-century Ireland, and doing a host of odd jobs, including editing and assisting other scholars with research. In addition to the things I call work, I'm delighted to have a bit of spare time now to pursue new and old interests: Indian cooking, increasing my knowledge of baroque repertoire and style, learning to play the electric guitar, reading American modernist poetry, and finally making my way through the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (1/25/12)

Sunni Fass, '97  We're back East again! After a 4-year stint at the new Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix (which is a must-do pilgrimmage for global music lovers), my husband Robert and I shifted gears to pursue his grad-school aspirations. So we're now enjoying the Green Mountains of Vermont....where I was fortunate enough to land a wonderful new gig as the Executive Director of Pentangle Arts Council in Woodstock, Vermont. It's a beautiful town, and I'm excited about managing a program which includes music, visual arts, education, film, and theater, as well as community arts engagement and an historic venue. Vermont is quite a (welcome) change from the desert Southwest and urban sprawl, and we're thoroughly enjoying the change of seasons, the lush landscapes, and quiet village life lived on a much more personal level. Can't wait to settle in! (1/17/12)

Jacob Charron, '09  I am a third-year student at the University of Connecticut School of Law in Hartford, CT, and I expect to graduate in May 2012. I have explored various fields of law and am working currently as a Tax Law Clerk for Valassis Communications, Inc. in Windsor, CT. Despite veering away from music in my professional life, I still play piano and read (ethno)musicology publications whenever I have the chance. (1/13/12)

Megan Grady, '11  Megan currently resides in Tallahassee, FL and attends the College of Music at Florida State University where she is pursuing her master's degree in clarinet performance. Beyond her time as a clarinetist, Megan is an active piano teacher, church pianist and vocal accompanist in the Tallahassee area, and is interested in pursuing a piano pedagogy certificate during her time at FSU (pending acceptance into the program). Megan also pursues her academic desires by taking ethnomusicology and arts administration courses when viable. She is looking forward to an upcoming audition with the U.S. Navy Ceremonial/Concert Band in Washington D.C. at the end of January. Megan lives with her fiance, Will, and their cat, Oscar. (1/11/12)

Sarah Glosson, '98 For several years before graduate school, I taught music and conducted the orchestras at a Governor's School for Arts & Tech. Currently I'm working to complete the PhD in American Studies at W&M. As always, I continue to freelance on cello, baroque cello, and viola da gamba. I am also on faculty in the Music Dept. at W&M, teaching viola da gamba. (1/10/12)

Megan Banner Sutherland, '10 After completing an internship at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and working in Washington, DC, Megan finds herself back in academia persuing a master's degree in ethnomusicology at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada. (1/10/12)

Laura Smith, '07  After spending two years in Spain following graduation from William and Mary, Laura moved to DC in 2009 and recently completed her M.A. in Arts Management with a focus on Cultural Policy at American University. This past fall she took a few months "off" and traveled around Europe and North Africa: a month in Morocco, two months in France, and a month in Spain. She is looking forward to beginning her yearly work at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Laura hopes to see some fellow WMers there. Go Tribe! (1/10/12)

James Newton, ’93  I have relocated to Seattle and  have found a superb choir here. One that reminds me of my days with the W&M choir: the Seattle Choral Company.  Coincidentally, and surprisingly, I have discovered a couple other W&M choir alums in this choir as well, Elizabeth Johnson '89 and Trileigh Tucker '77! Given the distance, I find that incredibly heartening. (1/01/09)

Brett Stamps, '70 I've recently released a jazz CD for Victoria Company entitled "In Your Own Sweet Way" (trombone, guitar, bass, drums). For more information check out my website: (12/14/2007)

Lisa Jo Sagolla, '80 I wrote a book, The Girl Who Fell Down: A Biography of Joan McCracken (Northeastern University Press, 2003) which was a finalist for the Theatre Library Association's George Freedley Memorial Award for best book in the area of theatre and live performance. I live in New York City, where I write a weekly column on "Dance and Movement" and am a dance and theatre critic for Back Stage magazine. I teach dance courses at Columbia Univeresity, Marymount Manhattan College, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. I earned a doctoral degree in Art Education from Columbia University's Teachers College. (11/28/2007)

Ken Krantz, '77 I'm singing in the chorus of the Virginia Opera production of "Pirates of Penzance." We will be performing in Norfolk, Richmond, and Fairfax in November 2007. (11/8/2007)