Senior Vocal Academy of Music Final Performance Friday

Congratulations to the Senior Summer Academy students for their stellar performance on Friday, July 27 in the University of Michigan-Flint Theatre. The concert was their culminating performance after two weeks of intensive study.  Hope to see the students next year or in the Department of Music's classes this fall. 

Photo of Genadi Zagor, pianist

Genadi Zagor, Performing Tchaikovsky Opera at French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Genadi Zagor, Lecturer in Applied Piano will be performing "The Queen of Spades,"  Tchaikovsky's 1890 opera at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.  on June 7, 2018. The performance gala will benefit the Russian Chamber Art Society. More information can be found at:

Photo of UM-Flint Music Graduate and Composer Desmond Sheppard

Alumnus Desmond Sheppard Composer

Desmond Sheppard, a 2015 UM-Flint Music Graduate, is highlighted performing his latest composition.
Select MORE to watch the video introducing Desmond.  Select HERE to see the full performance
of his latest composition.

UM-Flint Jazz Combo on Goodwill Tour to Puerto Rico

The UM-Flint Department of Music Jazz Combo students will leave soon for performance events in Puerto Rico, performing around the towns of Cidra and San Juan. According to musician and student spokesman, Michael Abbasspour, "This trip is an effort to raise spirits of the Puerto Rican community by forming connections and collaborations through music. We also hope to raise funds for those still in need due to the effects of hurricane Irma and Maria through a live-streamed concert that will be broadcasted on Facebook on June 2nd. For this concert we will be collaborating with Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico and it’s student orchestra, Orquesta Avanzada. We are also very to excited perform with La Escuela Libre de Musica de San Juan for their semester concert where we will also receive an intimate jazz master class and insight into Latin Jazz from their jazz instructor. With Flint and Puerto Rico being two places of environmental impact with insufficient government aid, we want to exemplify our cultures to each other and to the world through music - despite our hardships. We are so excited for this chance to connect the communities of Flint and Puerto Rico through music. We are also very grateful for the support provided by The University of Michigan-Flint, the Department of Music, and The Unitarian Universalist Church of Flint."  Pictured above from top left are Michael Abbasspour: Guitar,  Xavier McCollum: percussion, (bottom left) Brandon Sexton: trumpet, and Russell Sauter: percussion. Combo musicians not pictured are: Jordan Pavlica: trombone and Austin Tripp: Saxophone.  

Photo of the chamber Singers 2017

Western Michigan Concert Tour for the Chamber Singers

Department of Music Vocal Faculty Dr. Gabriela Hristova said, "The University of Michigan-Flint Chamber Singers were excited to announce their West Michigan Concert Tour.  The group  presented a number of performances for High School and Community College students in the Grand Rapids, Lansing, Muskegon, Grand Haven, and Holland areas. We were excited to meet and make new friends and share our passion for singing and the choral arts."  The UM-Flint Chamber Singers held Concerts in Western Michigan April 26, 27 and 28 in Dowagiac, Grand Haven and Lansing.  It was their first cross Michigan tour.

UM-Flint Jazz Ensemble plays with the Paul Keller Jazz Orchestra

UM-Flint Jazz Students Perform With the Paul Keller Orchestra in Ann Arbor

The UM-Flint Jazz Ensemble Students performed in Ann Arbor on March 26 with the well-known Paul Keller Orchestra (PKO), "one of Michigan's finest, oldest, most-respected and well-traveled jazz big bands." For 29-years, the PKO,  has performed in Ann Arbor and currently appears every Monday night at the Zal Gaz Grotto, 2070 W. Stadium Boulevard on Ann Arbor's west side.  Their repetoire includes works from the entire history of Jazz. The orchestra often encourages student musician groups to sit-in and play for the evening.  In the photo above, UM-Flint's Jazz Ensemble takes the stage led by UM-Flint Jazz Faculty Brian DiBlassio.  For more photos of the performance: select. 

Photo of Antonio Caballero the first UM-Flint student to receive the new Wyant scholarship

First Recipient of the Wyant Scholarship

The UM-Flint Music Department is proud to have a new way to support students while also honoring the legacy of a local musician. The Donald Lorne Wyant Music Scholarship was established in memory of musician, entrepreneur, and Flint-native Don Wyant. The first recipient, Antonio Caballero, is a jazz pianist, trumpet player, and music education major in his junior year at UM-Flint.

“I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity,” said Caballero. “There is no feeling like someone else believing in your dream enough to help you achieve it. I am more than grateful, and am more than honored, to be the first recipient of a scholarship that will have a lasting impact on many music students to come.”

Photo of UM-Flint Student Musicians who played with the College Band Directors Intercollegiate Band

UM-Flint Musicians Play in North Central Intercollegiate Band

Four members of the UM-Flint Department of Music participated in the College Band Directors National Association North Central Intercollegiate Band held at Western Michigan on February 22-24, 2018. Peter Conigliaro, Abigail Darnall, David McEachern, and Austin Trip joined 71 other collegiate musicians from 26 colleges and universities across the North Central division to form the 2018 Intercollegiate Band. The ensemble was conducted Dr. Jamie Nix, director of wind ensemble activities, professor of music, and The Hal J. Gibson Distinguished Chair in Conducting at Columbus State University's Schwob School of Music. Members were selected based on the recommendation of their collegiate band directors, and each student prepared excerpts of music for an on-site audition held on February 22 at WMU. Over twelve hours of intense rehearsal followed over three days with a final concert performed in WMU's Miller Auditorium. The Intercollegiate Band is formed every two years in conjunction with the Division conference. 

Photo of Karen Salvador

Faculty Karen Salvador Voted President-Elect of NAfME North Central

UM-Flint Department of Music faculty Karen Salvador has just been voted as President-elect of the North Central Division of the National Association for Music Education. She will begin a 6- year term on NAfME's executive board (two years as President-elect, two years as President, and two years as Immediate Past President) this June. The North Central Division includes Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. 

Faculty Pat Prouty Photo conducting the Orchestra

Faculty Pat Prouty's Music Sails Into Hollywood Movie

Congratulations to Music Faculty Pat Prouty, the composer and musician of a musical selection included in the remake of Hollywood's "Overboard" movie,  in theaters April, 2018.  Prouty wears many hats in the Department of Music as a Lecturer, teaching Applied String Bass, as University Orchestra Conductor, and Jazz Combo director.  For additional information about the film go to:

Photo and announcement of Kisma Jordan's Knight Grant of $50,000 for OperaSoul fusion.

Kisma Jordan, Vocal Lecturer, Receives $50,000 Grant for OperaSoul

Kisma Jordan, UM-Flint Music Vocal Lecturer will be continuing her Detroit work in Opera fusion thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. Jordan's been fusing opera and music of different genres for years and lately has focused on Soul (Detroits contribution to Music)  and Opera. The funds will allow Jordan to create a world-class concert experience that seamlessly fuses operatic vocals with various music styles in order to expand the scope of and audience for classical voice performances. Congratulate Ms. Jordan on her project, funding and find time to see her work. You will not be disappointed. 

Photo of Genadi Zagor, pianist

UM-Flint Faculty Genadi Zagor in Concert, Nov. 16

The Lansing Absolute Music Chamber Series is hosting a concert featuring Genadi Zagor, UM-Flint Music's Lecturer, Applied Piano on Nov. 16, at Urban Beat, 1213 Turner Street, Lansing at 7:30 pm.  Genadi Zagor has performed at concert venues in Russia, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom and America.  Reactions to his performances typically include such key words and phrases as “sensational”, “nimble-fingered”, “a lively and imaginative player”, “triumph” and “an electrifying performance.” Also performing is Ilya Kaler, one of the most distinguished personalities of the violin today. Tickets are available at:

Poster for the 41st Chamber Choir Invitational on Monday October 23 at 7 pm

41st Chamber Choir Invitational Standing Room Only

Dedicated to all affected by the Flint Water Crisis, nine Mid-Michigan High School choirs sang individually and together with the UM-Flint Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Andrea Ramsey, guest conductor and composer.  The concert, held October 23 at the Court Street United Methodist Church featured the new composition by Dr. Ramsey expounding on the Flint Water Crisis. The concert was standing room only to an audience of more than 350. 

Flyer announcing the National Opera Conference

Joshua May Presents Research at National Opera Association Conference

Music faculty Dr. Joshua May, presented his research on the evolution of style in French operetta from 1825-1925 at the National Opera Association conference at Clayton State University. As part of his presentation, undergraduate and graduate students from University of West Georgia, Clayton State University, Samford University, and Georgia State University performed selections from a variety of operettas and composers, in French and English languages to demonstrate the accessibility of this repertoire for collegiate singers.  The live performances featured lesser known works by Offenbach, Cuvillier, Lecocq, Bizet, Hahn, and Hervé.  Conference attendees were provided resources on programming for various voice types to help assist in preparing for diverse recitals or opera scenes. Dr. May was also a guest artist at the University of West Georgia, where he presented a masterclass for the undergraduate students studying voice and opera. 

UM-Flint Music Student plays Taps at Great Lakes National Cemetery services for military members.

UM-Flint Music Students Play Taps at Great Lakes National Cemetery

Five UM-Flint Music students and Christopher Heidenreich, chair of the music department, spent a day at the Great Lakes National Military Cemetery on Sep 11th to play taps at nine commital services honoring deceased veterans.  Heidenreich has been playing taps for military funerals since high school and has passed the honor to the UM-Flint students.  Jocelyn Himes,  a music senior from Flushing said, "Just being at the Great Lakes Cemetery, I can feel the weight of what all these men and women have done for us and our country." Engineering student Dean King said the honor of playing taps for the burials at the cemetery gave him a new appreciation for those who give all in service to their country. The cemetery averages 11 burials a day. "Performing the small taps service seemed especially appropriate on September 11," said Heidenreich, who wanted his students to put their talents to work on at least one of the commital services for the veterans buried that day.  

UM-Flint Music Faculty Perform at Convocation

Department of Music faculty Brian DiBlassio, Pat Prouty, Joe Wright, Jeff Price and James Coviak were recognized by Provost Dr. Douglas G. Knerr at the Fall 2017 Convocation for their jazz number "Night in Tunisia" by Dizzy Gillespie.   Listen here. 

Faculty members Stephanie Dean and Joshua May conducting a joint research project on improvisation in the classroom

Joshua May and Stephanie Dean research improvisation in classes

UM-Flint faculty members Stephanie Dean and Joshua May are conducting a joint research project on improvisation in the classroom. Dean, an associate professor of theatre, and May, a voice lecturer in the music department, will present on the topic in October at the higher education-based Lilly Conference in Traverse City. Dean and May discussed the benefits and dynamics of improvisation in the classroom in this Q&A with University Relations. The entire story can be read here:

Jr. Summer Academy of Music Percussion Students Rock!

Students of the 2017 UM-Flint Senior Summer Music Academy

Jr. and Sr. Summer Academy of Music Great Success!

The closing concert of the Summer Academy of Music on Friday, July 28 at 6 pm in the UM-Flint Theater was the culmination of a successful summer music program administered by Gabriela Hristova, Assoc. Professor of Musicand Choral Conductor.  The more than 30 year Academy program offers a two weeks of enhanced and intense musical study for middle school and high school students.  Students participated in a variety of choral music, vocal solos, musical-theatre selections, and popular mash-ups.  The staff of the program are current faculty and current and former studentsand graduates of UM-Flint Music programs.

UM-Flint Jazz Ensemble Provides Music for MPR

Jazz Ensemble Provides Music for Michigan Public Radio

The UM-Flint Jazz Ensemble provided the music to soothe the soul at the Flint Art Institute, as it hosted  the Michigan Radio's show Stateside with Cynthia Canty,  Saturday, April 22.  Some of the hot topics covered included Flint Water, Education and the Arts.  The segments will be aired over Michigan Public Radio over the next week. For more information go to: or, a recap of the event can be found at: .

Wind Symphony Concert in Genesys Pace Gazebo Wednesday, April 26 at 1:30 pm.

Wind Symphony Concert performed in the Genesys-Pace Gazebo

It was the best possible weather for an outdoor concert.  The sun was shining and the outdoor chairs on the lawn at the Genesys-Pace in Flint were full of concert attendees enjoying a delightful afternoon listening to the UM-Flint Department of Music Wind Symphony perform in the Grand Gazebo.  Wind Symphony Director Christopher Heidenreich said, "I wanted to perform a concert at this Gazebo since I first moved to Flint" (about seven years ago). The audience, mostly Pace participants, expressed their appreciation over and over again.  The free afternoon concert was so successful, it could become an annual event. 

Photo of the UM-Flint Chamber Singers who performed at the 14th annual dinner to honor scholarship donors.

Chamber Singers Perform for Scholarship Donors

The UM-Flint Department of Music Chamber Singers spent their evening on March 31 performing for the 14th Annual Scholarship Dinner. The annual event honors the donors of UM-Flint student scholarships. It was the Chamber Singers pleasure to give back to donors who have given generously to students to make their dreams come true. Thank you again to scholarship donors!

UM-Flint Orchestra during performance in Plymouth, MI

UM-Flint Orchestra entertained "full house" in Plymouth

The University of Michigan-Flint Orchestra (UMFO) performed to a packed house of over 800 people at St. Kenneth Catholic Church in Plymouth, MI in March.  UMFO presented the music of George Gershwin with guest soprano, Paula Steele and pianist, Amy Suave.

UM-Flint Music Alumnus takes the Carman-Ainsworth Band to the State Finals Competition.

UM-Flint Music Alumnus Takes Carman-Ainsworth Band to the State Competition

Benjy Jones, UM-Flint Music's alumnus in Music Education, and now Band Director at Carman-Ainsworth High School, took his students to the district and state band competitions this year.  Public television's WKAR, TV23, followed them and created a short program about Flint students releasing and redirecting their stress levels over the Flint water crisis into the focused stress of performing as musicians at the highest level of state competition.  The entire program can be found here.  We are pround of you, Benjy Jones, and your students!

UM-Flint Music Alumna Takes Center Stage

UM-Flint Music Alumna Takes Center Stage

With a successful band playing throughout Michigan, Jenn McMillan said she credits UM-Flint for helping her reach her success as a performer/musician.

Read about Jenn's story:


Photo of UM-Flint Student Teachers Alesha Akins and Zachary Smith at the NAfME Collegiate Reception

UM Flint NAfME Collegiate Attends Michigan Music Conference

After much hard work in planning and fund raising, 16 students from the University of Michigan Flint Collegiate Chapter of the National Association for Music Education attended the Michigan Music Conference (MMC). The MMC is a 3-day professional development event for music educators and includes concerts, conducting clinics, workshops, all-state ensembles, and more. In addition, over 1,800 professional music educators attend the event, making it a valuable networking opportunity. UM Flint NAfME students report learning a ton and feeling inspired as they continue their education. Plans are already underway to begin fundraising for next year's event. (Pictured: Current UM Flint Student Teachers Alesha Akins and Zachary Smith at the NAfME Collegiate Reception).

Photo of UM-Flint Music students with Lecturer Frank Pitts at concert at St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Lecturer Frank Pitts Concert at St. Paul's Episcopal Church

UM-Flint Music Department Lecturer Frank Pitts delighted audiences at St. Pauls Episcopal Church January 29 with a solo concert. 
Photo includes Music students who attended the event. From left, Benjamin Cunningham, Hannah Wikaryasz, Frank Pitts, Jhane Perdue, Jordan Pavlica, and Heather Smith.  

UM-Flint Music Education Course Emphasizes Hands-on Teaching and Learning Methods


Pre-schoolers from the Early Childhood Development Center and UM-Flint Music Students together in a circle for thier last Music in Early Childhood Practicum class. The students sang songs together with the children, alternating dynamics from soft to loud, wiggling and marching to the rhythms, and smiling as they each took turns leaning into the microphone to lead the next verse with their own interesting choice of words and sounds.

The course is MUS 185/ECE 120, an early childhood practicum and general education class where students from multiple disciplines gain first-hand experience with music-making and teaching methods during the first part of the semester and then spend five weeks applying their knowledge by working directly with the children in a dynamic group setting.

Photo of Kisma Jordan

Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan Sang With The Flint Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert!

Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan sang "The 12 Days of Christmas" with the Flint Symphony Orchestra's annual Holiday Pops Concert at the Whiting Auditorium in Flint  Dec. 17 and 18.  

Photo of UM-Flint vocal sophomore Jhane Perdue with accompanist Daniel Steenson

Opera Outreach at Hurley Hospital

On Friday, October 28, 2016, the UM-Flint Opera Workshop kicked off National Opera Week by presenting a program of opera arias, art songs, and musical theater at Hurley Hospital as part of the Culture Shock Program with Communities First, Inc. of Flint. These students will provide an introduction to the world of vocal classical music through their performances in the community. Culture Shock, as its name suggests, provides cultural experiences that provoke, surprise and stimulate. By altering and enhancing perceptions of arts and culture--in partnership with other community groups and businesses--individuals and families can expand their horizons, broaden their tastes and deepen their understanding of the world around them.  

Photo of Dr. Josua May Presenter at Lilly Conference

Dr. Joshua May Presenter at Lilly Conference

Dr. Joshua May was a selected presenter at the national Lilly Conference in Traverse City, MI on October 20-22, 2016. He presented his development and course design on service based learning in higher education for arts based performance classes. 

Photo of First Michigan Community College Honor Choir

Dr. Hristova Leads First State Community College Honor Choir

UM-Flint Department of Music choral faculty, Assoc. Proffesor Dr. Gabriela Hristova, led the first Michigan Community College Honor Choir in rehearsals and performance October 29, 2016.  The 230-voice choir was featured at the Michigan State Conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Kalamazoo, MI.   Singers came from across the state and included,  Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Macomb, Mott, Muskegon, Northwestern Michigan, and Southwestern Michigan  Community Colleges. 

Invitational Choral Concert with 150 senior high school students from lower Michigan

"I Sing Because I Am Happy" - 40th Chamber Choir Invitational

162 high school students from mid-Michigan area gathered on the UM-Flint campus for the annual Chamber Choir Invitational. The event, hosted by the University of Michigan-Flint Chamber Singers, gave the young singers an opportunity to join voices together and experience the power of singing, music making, and performing in a large choral setting. The day culminated in an evening performance at the Court Street United Methodist Church. The choirs (Flushing, Carman-Ainsworth, Powers Catholic, Grand Blanc, Clarenceville, Mt. Morris, and Durand High School) worked under the direction of guest clinician Dr. Erin Colwitz, Director of Choral Activities at Northern Michigan University. 

UM-Flint Vocal Faculty Kisma Jordan photo

Voice Faculty Kisma Jordan Performance Highlight of Women's Conference

UM-Flint Vocal Faculty Kisma Jordan performed Oct. 28-30, 2016 as a guest vocalist at the United Conference for Women held at the Amway Grand Plaza hotel.   Her voice has been described by the New York Times as a "shimmering soprano voice" and the Baltimore Sun said "...there's a good chance we all could be hearing more from this singer in time."  

Colton Sayre Master Class


UM-Flint alumnus Colton Sayre presented a master class to the Department of Music's Performance Class students on September 16.  After graduating from UM-Flint in 2012 (Bachelor of Science, Music Performance), Colton completed the Master of Music degree in flute performance at Michigan State University in 2014.  He is now completing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in flute performance, also at MSU.  Since 2013, he has been a member of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra (Steven Osmond, Music Director).  He is a founding member of Aura Duo, and actively commissions new works for the flute.Colton's master class presentation included his exquisite performance of Density 21.5 by Edgard Varèse.   Dr. Jessica Cech, Colton's Applied Flute instructor while he was a UM-Flint student, introduced Colton and encouraged Performance Class students to keep focused on their goals and dreams as future professional musicians.In October 2016, he won the audition for the utility flute position with the Oregon Symphony, the sixth oldest major orchestra in the United States.  He plans to add the Oregon Symphony to his performance schedule, when called upon, and continue with the Jackson Symphony here in Michigan.

Photo of Composer David Biedenbender with Assoc. Professor Chris Heidenreich

Music Faculty Dr. Chris Heidenreich Interviews Michigan Composer David Biedenbender

UM-Flint Music Faculty Assoc. Professor Dr. Chris Heidenreich recently interviewed Michigan composer David Biedenbender for the College Band Directors Association Conducting Masterclass.  The video interview can be seen at:

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. 

Video Link to UM-Flint/MORE

The University of Michigan-Flint/MORE/

15 Seconds at The University of Michigan - Flint


Graduate, Dr. Michael Boucree

Combining Music and Medicine