Hometown: Buffalo, N.Y.
Major: Classical Music Performance (Organ)
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Music
Internships: Organ scholar at St. Paul's on the Green Episcopal Church in Norwalk, Conn.
Honors and Awards:Fulbright Scholarship, Dean's List, Academic Achievement Award for 3.0 or higher GPA each semester, National Society of Collegiate Scholars member, Hancock Scholarship recipient
Buffalo, N.Y., is a long way from Danbury, but the seven-hour journey didn't dissuade classical organist Stephen Price from deciding to come to WestConn. Price had also been accepted to the Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio, but Price says WestConn's small class sizes and highly respected organ teacher, Stephen Roberts, made it well worth the trip. "The smaller music department allows more time for individual attention and enables the trips that the organ program takes to Europe each year," he says. "I also knew I would have a better chance at getting a job as a church organist in Fairfield County, while at Oberlin the odds would not have have been as good."
The 21-year-old says he wants to become a professional organist and would also like to teach music on the collegiate level one day. He participated in some memorable learning experiences while at WestConn that will help him along that path. "I went on all four organ program trips to Europe," he says. "The trips are done in a four-year cycle: Austria, central Germany, France and Holland/northern Germany. We studied the music of composers related to the countries before we went. Once there, we had classes with world experts on the music and the organs. My favorite trip was the France trip because I enjoy French organ music the most."
Adjunct Professor of Music Stephen Roberts, Price's organ instructor, obviously had a significant impact on the music student. "As a performance major, you are required to take private applied music lessons on your instrument," Price explains. "This allows one-on-one interaction with your teacher, so I really was able to learn and get to know Mr. Roberts and his various aesthetics pertaining to organ. Also, activities such as the trips to Europe, competitions and recital gigs that happened off campus allowed the student-teacher connection to grow more so than with other teachers. Anything that I needed help with, Mr. Roberts was always more than happy to be of assistance."
Price found a mentor not only in his own field of study, but also in a non-related field. Roberts told Price of the Fulbright Scholarship he had received as a student to study in Vienna, Austria, and encouraged Price to apply for a Fulbright of his own to study in France. "When I applied for the Fulbright Scholarship, the appointed adviser was Professor of Anthropology Dr. Rob Whittemore (also a former Fulbright recipient). We met 10 times to work on and refine my application for the Fulbright," Price says. "I now know a great deal about how to work on scholarships and forms in general that place a high demand on the applicant, such as the Fulbright. Dr. Whittemore’s patience, calmness and willingness to provide as much help as I needed truly amazed me. This is why I also consider him to be a mentor."
All that support paid off: Price found out in April that he received the Fulbright Scholarship.
Asked what he will remember most about his WestConn experience, Price says it centers around living in Newbury, Litchfield and Pinney halls. ”The residential experiences are most memorable because of all the people I met; the various programs and activities, such as the game, "Murder," which is played on the Midtown campus; and even the fire drills at 3 in the morning."
After graduation, Price will use his Fulbright Scholarship to study in France, after which he will relocate to Bloomington, Ind., to enroll in the Masters in Organ Performance program at Indiana University.
Price’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Put yourself out there, and let the professors and staff get to know you. WCSU is a small school and it is pretty accessible to do so. You never know when it will come in handy.”