compiled by Katharine Arnold
Commencement photos by Robert A. Lisak
On Sunday, May 20, the ISM presented its newest graduates with their ISM certificates at a banquet at the New Haven Lawn Club. Many of them accepted our invitation to reflect on their experience at the Institute, and their plans and hopes for the future.
Katharine Arnold (MDiv) graduates with great appreciation for “the ways my love of music, theology, and the arts was shaped in the ISM, and for the innumerable opportunities for enrichment with fellow students, faculty members and administration.” She won’t be going far, however—Katharine is excited to remain a part of the ISM community next year, as a newly appointed outreach and publicity assistant (see Notes on the Staff). She also looks forward to marrying ISM graduate Micah Luce (S.T.M. '08) in August, applying to Ph.D. programs in theology and the arts, and “maybe even learning how to play the ukelele!”
Samuel Backman (MM) entered the ISM with the intention of developing a career as a church musician, composer, and concert organist. He found the “abundant resources” of the ISM to be profoundly helpful preparation in this pursuit. Little did he know, however, that he was also being prepared for a completely different path. Though Sam had diligently studied music for several years, he suspected at an early age that he might have a vocation to priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. During his early adult years, his ardent love of music prevented him from pursuing this vocation. At the ISM, he gained a fresh perspective on the integral role of music and the arts in worship, illuminating a new application for his musical abilities as a clergyman.
Kyle Brooks (MDiv) enjoyed many aspects of his ISM experience, but reports that one of the most remarkable was his time spent in Greece and Turkey as a part of the 2012 study trip. “Ascending rocky steps to centuries-old monasteries, beholding the seaside views of Thessaloniki, cruising between the European and Asian shores of Istanbul along the Bosphorus River...those shared moments, and the brilliant, talented people who populated them, will resonate throughout my coming work as a Ph.D. student and eventual professor/practitioner of religion and the arts.” The ISM was “a crystallizing place for my desire to weave together worlds of experience and interest through collaborative work among colleagues.”
Miles Canaday (MM) says that throughout his time at the ISM, he learned the most from singing in and conducting the Camerata Chamber Chorus and the Yale Glee Club. The feedback he received and the processes he observed were invaluable for his education as an artist.
Frank Dodd (MM) will be returning to his home state of Pennsylvania in the fall to search for full-time employment. In the meantime, Frank will be organizing the second annual music camp in July at Christ Episcopal Church of Guilford, CT. The fondest memories of his time at the ISM include “singing under the direction of Marguerite Brooks in the Yale Camerata, having hours of practice time on some of the greatest organs in the world, building lifelong friendships with classmates, and taking my first-ever trip abroad on the Turkey-Greece study tour.” Frank would like to thank Thomas Murray, his principal teacher, for his continuous patience, encouraging words, and belief in him over the course of the past two years. Frank also thanks the ISM, his colleagues, and his family for their support.
Next fall, Emily Floyd (MAR) will begin the PhD program at Tulane University's joint program in Latin American studies and Art History. She is excited to continue her research in material cultures of the religion in the Andes. Her time here at the ISM has been “a wonderful experience in interdisciplinary study, which has provided me with a strong foundation for doctoral work in my field.” She is grateful to ISM professors Sally M. Promey and Vasileios Marinis for their guidance and support.
Benjamin Groth (MDiv) will be moving with his wife Chloe to Milwaukee, WI to pursue ordination in the ELCA Lutheran Church. There, he will serve as the vicar at All Peoples Gathering Lutheran Church, a multicultural congregation full of energy, music, and joy. He will deeply miss the “creative and brilliant students and faculty” at the ISM.
Olivia Hillmer (MAR) is in the job-search process, seeking a position in a museum or gallery. This will build on the exhibition work she had the opportunity to do for the ISM gallery space. Meeting artists, building shows, and hanging artwork complemented Olivia's interests in art history, giving her practical experience alongside academic research. She is particularly appreciative to the support and guidance she received from the faculty, administration, and friends of the ISM throughout her time there.
Noah Horn (MM) will return to the ISM in the fall to start the MMA program in Choral Conducting.
Blenda Im (MAR) will move to Philadelphia to begin her doctoral studies in ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania. Through her scholarship, she hopes to continue exploring the intersections of music, worship, and identity. Blenda is grateful for her three years at the ISM, both for the extraordinary community of colleagues, mentors, and friends she has had the pleasure of knowing, and for the unique research opportunities she was enabled to pursue at the Institute. She will miss the “terrific conversations and friendly faces,” and wishes a “long and healthy life to the ISM!”
Simon Jacobs (MM) has greatly enjoyed his two years at the ISM, learning and growing as a conductor and organist. He is particularly grateful to Marguerite Brooks and Martin Jean for their inspiration and guidance, and to all his friends and colleagues for fun and shared experiences. “Particular highlights include directing the choir at Battell Chapel, singing with Schola Cantorum, and enjoying the opportunity to interact with a variety of minds through interdisciplinary study.” Simon’s appointment as organist and choirmaster at St. Thomas Church in New Haven was effective July 1.
Kai Hoffman-Krull (MAR) is moving to Waldron Island after graduation where he will be building a cabin and starting a small blueberry farm. He is currently working on a book of poems about the homesteading project. Kai is also starting a web based micro-documentary of daily experience called Aroran. Aroran receives submissions of one-minute video clips from people's day and publishes one clip every twenty-four hours. The documentary is at www.aroran.com.
Brett Judson (MM) has accepted the position of director of music at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Manchester, CT, where he will conduct all choirs and ensembles and play weekly services. In addition, Brett will serve as artistic director of Friends of Music at Emanuel. The multifaceted series comprises Emanuel’s early music ensemble-in-residence, Sebastian Chamber Players, vocal and choral ensembles, wind ensembles, piano recitals, and organ recitals. Among Emanuel’s instruments are a 3-manual Casavant (Opus 3500), a Zuckermann double harpsichord, and a 9-foot Model D Concert Steinway (1893; fully restored in 2005). Brett also serves on the board for the New Haven chapter of the AGO, and has a number of upcoming performances. His website is at www.brettjudson.net
Michael Madden (MAR) considers his time within the ISM as “a privileged life experience, with the Greece/Turkey study trip the highlight of the program.” He is returning to his career in the feature film industry as a set designer based in Toronto. Michael is grateful to both of his faculty advisors, Profs. Vasileios Marinis and Sally M. Promey, for their caring mentorship. He will take the coming year to decide whether to pursue doctoral studies. He will also be involved with liturgical space design.
Sara Marks (MM) reflects on her time at the ISM, saying, “one of the most wonderful things about the ISM is that it gives you the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from musicians, theologians, artists, historians, and more. It is important to develop these positive relationships and communication between musicians and clergy, and the more we can learn about each other's crafts, the more we can foster a positive worship community together in whatever parish we choose.”
Kenneth Miller (MM) plans to spend his summer reading, writing, practicing, and playing concerts, including one at the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Nashville as an AGO Rising Star. He will return to the ISM in the fall as a student in the MMA program, researching seventeenth century German keyboard music in open score and its influence on the late keyboard works of J.S. Bach. He would like to thank his teacher, Thomas Murray, and the faculty and staff of the ISM for their kindness and guidance during the past two years.
After 4 years at the ISM, Benjamin Straley (MM; MDiv) is currently looking forward to working as an organist and choirmaster while he continues discerning a call to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. During Commencement weekend, Benjamin received the Thomas Philips Award from Berkeley Divinity School, which is presented to graduating seniors who show "exceptional achievement and further promise in the study and practice of Anglican liturgy." In addition to the wonderful friendships forged, he is most grateful for the support and encouragement of his teachers and advisers, especially Martin Jean and Bryan Spinks.
Ian Tomesch (MM) is continuing on at Yale after graduation, pursuing the MMA and hopefully DMA degrees. He writes, “The ISM has proved a valuable hub for forming connections (personal, professional, and intellectual) with other musicians and scholars of both religion and the arts. The broad education offered there has opened a new dimension to my craft and my vocation as a church musician.”
Taylor Ward (MM) has decided that two years at Yale is simply not enough. “Like a pot roast, I require further oven time before being popped out and wholly enjoyed, and Yale's MMA program will serve admirably as an iron vessel in which, for the next year, I will take on the juices of all-surrounding vegetables!” Over the summer, Taylor will undertake a research trip to northern Alabama, where he will study the performance practice of shape note music; he will then return to Brainerd, Minnesota for his fourth season as co-founder, assistant director, and “baritone extraordinaire” of the Lakes Area Music Festival (lakesareamusic.org).
Other 2012 graduates: Matthew Cortese (MAR), Anna de Bakker (MAR), Steven Hobbs (MAR), James Lee (STM), Amy Muñoz (MM), Jessica Petrus (MM), Elizabeth Rodrick (MAR), Steven Soph (MM), Joshua Stafford (MM), Brett Terry (MM), and Michael Wisdom (MM).
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