Photo of the UM-Flint Wind Symphony

UM-Flint Symphony Performed Concert in Mayville

The University of Michigan - Flint Wind Symphony, under the direction of Dr. Christopher Heidenreich, performed at Mayville Community Schools HS Auditorium, on Thursday, November 3, to a near full-house. The concert was so well received that Dr. Heidenreich said he would look forward to future engagements in mid-Michigan. 

Photo of the UM-Flint Opera Workshop Members

UM-Flint Receives Grants To Perform Two American Operas

UM-Flint Opera Workshop has been awarded several grants to support the upcoming season of opera outreach. Dr. Joshua May, director of the program, secured funding through the James A. Welch Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and University Outreach. These funds continue the Outreach program of music performance and education opportunities to the community, while students participate in service learning with the opera outreach season. The opera season will include two American operas, Seymour Barab's Little Red Riding Hood & John Duke's Captain Lovelock. The MainStage full production performances will be in February on campus, which will include music education experiences for elementary students in our M-Theater! We will be working with a variety of venues and local elementary schools to bring our opera outreach project across our region throughout the fall and winter semesters. 

UM-Flint Music Education Graduate Keith Corbett with school children

Dr. Karen Salvador Article in Music Educator's Journal

This month's Music Educator's Journal features an article by Dr. Karen Salvador and UM-Flint alumnus Keith Corbett. Their article, "But I Never Thought I'd Teach the Little Kids" presents strategies and mindsets that evolved through coursework, coteaching episodes, and interviews while Keith developed from a "quintessential band guy," who only wanted to teach high school band, into an effective music teacher for young children--and someone who enjoys working with “the little kids.”  The complete article can be found to download in PDF form at:


Photo of UM-Flint student Christine Bowen in sound studio

MUS145 Turns Student Written Songs Into Professional Recordings

Winter semester's MUS145 class students were given the opportunity to turn their self-written contemporary songs into professional recordings in a sound studio.  Two students, Christine Bowen and Derrick Mesecar jumped at the chance. Faculty Brian DiBlassio and Pat Prouty brought musicians to the studio to provide the music tracks, including strings.  The final results of their work can be found here.  MUS145 still has class vacancies for Fall 16, but you must register quickly.  If you've ever thought about writing songs, this may be your opportunity. 

2016 Jr. Academy Singers

Summer Vocal Music Academy Finishes Four Weeks of Intense Training

For 30 years the UM-Flint Department of Music has hosted youth with exceptional vocal talent in a Summer Vocal Academy taught by university faculty, alumni and guest artists.  This years Summer Academy offerered instruction in music and fine arts to middle and high school students.  Emphasis was placed on vocal music, for students who were interested in developing their singing skills and musical potential.  Academy students experienced a curriculum of classes designed to nurture their abilities, while expanding and deepening their understanding of music as an art. This years academy has concluded their instruction and performances. For more information about the Summer Vocal Academy of Music select here.  For information about all of the University of Michigan-Flint's summer programs for students select here.   To see The Flint Journal's M-Live article about this years middle school participants select here.

Faculty Brian DiBlassio and Patrick Prouty with Tumbao Bravo

UM Faculty Performed in East Lansing Jazz Festival

Music Faculty Brian DiBlassio and Patrick Prouty performed with Tumbao Bravo, Cuban-jazz combo, June 17, as a featured act in the 2016 Summer Solstice Jazz Festival in East Lansing, MI. Last year, DiBlassio's ensemble, Groupo Aye, was also a Main Stage featured performance. Two days later, on June 19,  Tumbao Bravo was the headline act at the Rackham Stage as part of Ann Arbor's Summer Festival.  Tumbao Bravo is in high demand at jazz festivals and all musical artists in the combo are celebrated recording artists.  If you are listening to a jazz radio station, you will eventually hear their music. 

Photo of Dr. Karen Salvador

Dr. Karen Salvador Research Article in Arts Education Policy Review

Dr. Karen Salvador's article, "Intersections between music education and music therapy: Education reform, arts education, exceptionality, and policy at the local level" has just been published online in advance of upcoming print publication in Arts Education Policy Review. This article details current practices in music education, special music education, and music therapy with the intent of offering frameworks to advocate for improvements in practices. It was co-written with her friend and colleague the music therapy clinician, researcher, and educator Varvara Pasiali.   The article can be accessed here:  Salvador, K., & Pasiali, V. (2016). Intersections between music education and music therapy: Education reform, arts education, exceptionality, and policy at the local level. Arts Education Policy Review. DOI: 10.1080/10632913.2015.1060553


Photo of the Opera Outreach cast of Jack & the Beanstalk

Opera Outreach Presenting "Jack and the Beanstalk"

The opera outreach production of Jack & the Beanstalk begins a spring tour this month with performances at the Swartz Creek Performing Arts Center! Dr. Joshua May directs the project of student performers and teaching artists that will enrich our community with music education and performances for elementary school students throughout Genesee County. For more information about our upcoming performances, please visit our opera outreach page and read the CAS blog about the project

Photo of Drs. Joshua May & Jessica Cech in concert

Music Faculty Selected Soloists in Gross Pointe Concerts

Faculty members Dr. Joshua May, tenor and Dr. Jessica Cech, flute performed together as part of the Gross Pointe Chamber Music Series. They performed selections of 20th century French mélodie and American art songs. As part of the series, they will be performing diverse chamber repertoire as select soloists at the Gross Pointe War Memorial on May 22 & June 5, 2016

Photo of Dr. Karen Salvador teaching early childhood music At the UM-Flint Early Childhood Development Center

Dr. Karen Salvador Presents National Teachers Conference in Georgia

Dr. Karen Salvador (pictured teaching early childhood music at the UM-Flint Early Childhood Development Center) recently returned from presenting and leading a work group meeting at the National Association for Music Education's biannual Music Research and Teacher Education National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Salvador co-presented a session entitled "Approaches to Teaching about Diversity and Social Justice in Music Teacher Education" and also co-facilitated the work of the Society for Music Teacher Education's Area for Strategic Planning and Action on Cultural Diversity and Social Justice. This was Dr. Salvador's last meeting in that role, as she is stepping down as facilitator in preparation for assuming her duties as President of the Michigan Music Education Association.

Dr. Karen Salvador with State Legislator Sen Marty Knollenberg

Faculty Dr. Karen Salvador at State Capitol Leading Delegation to Mandate Elementary Music in Schools

On March 9, Dr. Karen Salvador (second from left, with MI Senator Marty Knollenberg, center) led a delegation of music teachers from across the state as they met with state legislators to discuss mandating elementary music in Michigan schools and closing the "all-subjects" loophole by requiring music specialist JX/JQ certification for music teachers. These meetings were part of the third annual Michigan Music Education Advocacy Day, which brought together leadership from the Michigan School Vocal Music Association, Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, and Michigan Music Education Association, in which Dr. Salvador serves as president-elect. Additional events included a noon concert in the capitol rotunda and a leadership meeting among the organizations.

Photo of faculty Frank Pitts as Dr. Bartollo in the Barber of Seville

Music Faculty Frank Pitts in Ann Arbor Opera "The Barber of Seville"

Frank Pitts, UM-Flint faculty, is currently performing with Ann Arbor's Comic Opera Guild in their production of The Barber of Seville.  He plays the role of Dr. Bartolo, a pompous, old, curmudgeon, who is marrying for money.  This famous Rossini opera has many familiar arias including the Figaro aria Largo al Factorum.  The opera is performed with new English translations and is presented at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre in Ann Arbor.

Photo of Gingerbread children after being freed from witch from Hansel and Gretel Children's Opera

Children's Opera Hansel and Gretel Huge Success!

Hansel & Gretel thrilled students and audiences at UM-Flint!  Dr. Joshua May, UM-Flint Music faculty person, led a unique education and performance event that brought together UM-Flint Opera Workshop students, faculty, Flint School for the Performing Arts students & faculty, and collaborative artists from across the state of Michigan to bring this opera to life! The weekend performances reached large audiences from across our community.  As part of our Opera Outreach mission, 350 elementary school students from across Flint and Genesee County experienced their first live opera on our campus.  Teachers, families, and artistic community members have been sharing the student reactions to the opera with the Music Department. Children have been reported singing opera in their school lunch rooms and hallways and sharing the joy of singing with their families about everyday life!  The Department of Music now looks ahead to preparations for next year's production that will continue to provide educational programming to inspire students to make music in our community. Check out the coverage by the Flint Journal of our Invitational Opera Performance:

Latin Jazz Ensemble Los Gatos with UM-Flint Faculty Brian DiBlassio

Faculty Brian DiBlassio Performs Concert at Rackham Auditorium

Brian DiBlassio, UM-Flint faculty and Chair of the Department of Music, performed at Rackham Auditorium as part of the Diversity Celebration on the Ann Arbor University of Michgan Campus for Martin Luther King's "Day On" holiday.  DiBlassio's Latin-Jazz Quintet, Los Gatos headlined the event with Teja Arboleda, Clark University professor and TEDx speaker.  Los Gatos is known for their high-energy Afro-Cuban rhythms.

Dr. Karen Salvador Presenting Workshop at Michigan Music Conference January 2016

Dr. Karen Salvador Presents Workshop at Michigan Music Conference

Dr. Karen Salvador (center) presented a workshop with Debra Navin (right), at the Michigan Music Conference in January. Their session, entitled "But I can't do THAT with MY kids," was designed to help music teachers understand ways to build skills for more complex activities in elementary general music. Dr. Salvador was on the planning committee for the event and also presented a session on music education policy and advocacy.

Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan photo

Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan Places First in the Best Artist at the National Opera Association Competition!

Accolades for Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan are in order for her First Place Award in the Artist Division of the Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition at the National Opera Association Convention in early January.  The 2016 convention was held in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Giving Blue to the UM-Flint Music Department

Thank you for your gift to the Department of Music at UM-Flint! Your gift opens the world to a UM-Flint Music student. Even $5 can make a huge difference when combined with the gifts of many others. We thank you with our notes and our hearts!


Jack and the Beanstalk Childrens Opera Photos

Children's Opera Performance Enthralls at Flint Farmers Market

Opera Outreach kicked off their season by performing "Jack and the Beanstalk" at the Flint Farmer's Market on November 14th for over one hundred families and community members! The UM-Flint opera outreach program enriches our community with music education and performance events that will excite future generations of students to make music.  Joshua May, director and vocal music instructor said, "We wanted to bring our fun filled operatic adventure into the heart of our city, where families can enjoy the experience with their children." Highlights of the event can be found here.  The Opera Outreach will be performing at several other area schools in the next six months so children and their families can join Jack on his magical adventure as climbs the beanstalk into the sky!  For more information, or to involve your school,  please contact Dr. Joshua May, at 810-762-3377 or

Frank Pitts performs

Music Faculty Frank Pitts Shines in Musicals

During the summer, Mr. Pitts took the stage in two very different productions.  He played Edna Turnblad in the Tony award winning musical Hairspray with the Athens Theatre Company in Troy.   He was seen performing the role of Pooh-Bah with the Kearsley Park Players here in Flint.  Mr. Pitts will be singing later this Fall in performances of Haydn’s Creation as Rafael and is performing as Bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah.  His Spring schedule includes performing with the Ann Arbor Comic Opera in their production of The Barber of Seville. 

Karen Salvador meets with Michigan State Board of Education

Dr. Karen Salvador at State Board of Education

On Tuesday, March 17, Dr. Karen Salvador took part in Music Education Advocacy Day in Lansing. In her role as president-elect of the Michigan Music Education Association, she and colleagues from the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association and the Michigan School Vocal Music Association spoke to the Michigan State Board of Education and met with state legislators, including Education Committee Chair Amanda Price [pictured]. The advocacy day also included a lunchtime concert in the capital rotunda featuring Hayes Middle School Select Men’s Choir, the Northwest Elementary School Orffestra and the Okemos High School Freshman String Quartet.

Photos of three music students performing in MusiCollage


About 150 students from across the University of Michigan-Flint campus came together for the Music Department's collaborative concert MusiCollage.

The concert, which took place at University of Michigan-Flint Theater on Thursday, Oct. 15 in front of an audience of about 100, featured a cross-section of talent from jazz ensembles to chorale groups and an orchestra.

Dr. Karen Salvador

Faculty and Students attend Michigan Music Conference

The Department of Music was well-represented at the Tenth Annual Michigan Music Conference: An Inservice for Music Educators [MMC]. This event is attended by approximately 9,000 teachers, administrators, students, speakers, and guests, and includes sessions, workshops, clinics, and concerts. Dr. Chris Heidenreich served as stage manager for the Collage Concert that kicked off the conference. Then, he presented on "Finding Musical Expression in the Large Ensemble," using the Davison High School Band as a demonstration ensemble. When he wasn't presenting, Dr. Heidenreich designed and ran our booth in the exhibit hall.  Ten members of our Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for Music Education (NAFME) assisted at our booth and attended workshops, concerts, and sessions at the conference, with financial assistance from the Department of Music and from a grant obtained by NAfME Collegiate President Nicole Miller. Dr. Karen Salvador, as President-Elect of the Michigan Music Education Association, served on the planning committee for the MMC. She also presented, with UM-Flint Alum Keith Corbett, a session entitled "But I never thought I'd teach the little kids," which was designed to help music teachers better understand the needs of early childhood music students.


String Ensemble Performs in Lapeer

Lecturer Pat Prouty and his UM-Flint Chamber Strings Ensemble performed for the residents of Devonshire Village retirement community in Lapeer Nov. 25.

Photo of Music student Elena Sobrino in Scotland

Music Honors Student Elena Sobrino Speaks From Scotland

"This summer, through the Honors program, I traveled to the United Kingdom to attend the Association of Social Anthropologists Decennial Conference in Edinburgh. As a senior double majoring in music and anthropology, this trip was an exciting opportunity to make professional connections with other scholars with interests similar to my own. Throughout the conference, I was able to see firsthand how anthropologists from around the world integrate a wide variety of topics into their work, including music. ... I know I'll continue to be learning from these experiences of cultural immersion for a long time to come!"

Arts Education Policy Review magazine cover

Music Faculty Research in Journal

Music's Dr. Karen Salvador's article, "Access to Music Education with Regard to Race in two Urban Areas" co-authored with Kristen Allegood from Indiana University, has just been published in Arts Education Policy Review.  In the article, Dr. Salvador and Ms. Allegood examined the Detroit, MI, and Washington, DC metropolitan areas, and found significant differences in the provision of music instruction between schools with high and low proportions of non-White enrollment in categories including curricular offerings, extracurricular offerings, and resources. In the Detroit area, only 31-60% of schools with high percentages of non-White students offered any music instruction at all. The paper contrasts these findings to a National Center for Educational Statistics report and concludes with a discussion of policy implications.   


Dr. Karen Salvador named President-Elect of MMEA at Spring 2014 elections

Dr. Karen Salvador Voted President Elect of Michigan Music Education Association

Michigan Music Education Association (MMEA) is our state's affiliate of the National Association for Music Education. MMEA works to advance the quality of music education in MI, offering professional development and other services to music teachers and pk-12-collegiate students, supporting research, and advocating for music education in our state and nation. We believe a high-quality, comprehensive, inclusive music curriculum is a vital part of every student's education at all levels.

Flint Through its Arts

Dr. Jessica Cech Presentation on Flint Through its Arts

Dr. Jessica Cech presented "Experiencing the Vitality of Flint Through its Arts" at the University of Michigan - Flint's "Celebration of Teaching" on April 16, 2014.

UM-Flint Students win NAfME award

UM-Flint Music Students Win National Award

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) recently announced the winners of its annual Collegiate Chapter of Excellence awards. The University of Michigan-Flint chapter is one of three programs that was recognized for excellence in service to the community.
Assistant professor of music Karen Salvador said the music students decided last spring that they wanted to be of service in the community. She suggested that they think of ways they could be of service while also developing skills that are directly related to their preparation as future k-12 music teachers, band/orchestra directors, or choir directors.
Salvador said it was a student who suggested asking Whaley Children’s Center if they had a need for music instruction. “With the help of University Outreach, contact was made with Whaley, and they took us up on the offer of a choir that met for 45 minutes once a week for 10 weeks. The semester culminated with the choir going Christmas caroling (at the suggestion of the Whaley students).”
This semester the students partnered with Durant-Tuuri Mott elementary in a similar way, except that the choir meets for two hours once a week and are younger. They held a concert in the first week of April.
“This NAfME Collegiate service project builds leadership, musicianship, and pedagogical skills in the UM-Flint students, and provides opportunities for kids in the area to make music together,” said Salvador. “We hope to sustain and further develop these partnerships, which benefit both our students and children in the community.”

UM-Flint Students who sang at NATS

UM-Flint Music Department Receives NATS Awards

On February, 22, 2014, voice students from the studios of Joshua May and Julie Anne Carr sang at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Great Lakes Regional Auditions. Among the winners of the auditions, we had three students from our music department receive awards. Zachary Wieber, tenor, won 1st place in his category. In addition, he won a special scholarship prize for his performance in the "Concert of Promise." Mr. Wieber will move onto the national semi-final competition later this spring. Desmond Sheppard, bass-baritone, and Sara Klosowski, mezzo-soprano, both received honorable mentions in their categories. 

Faculty member, Joshua May, has been selected as a national finalist for the National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program for 2014. During his residency at Ohio State University this summer, he will be paired with an international master clinician to teach promising young artists. 

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15 Seconds at The University of Michigan - Flint


Graduate, Dr. Michael Boucree

Combining Music and Medicine