Hometown: New Milford, Connecticut
Major: Music Education/French Horn
MINOR: Music Theory and Composition
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Science, Music Education (K-12)
Internships: Student-teaching for a semester at Huckleberry Hill Elementary School in Brookfield and Torrington High School in Torrington
Activities: WCSU Honors Program; president of WCSU chapter of National Association for Music Education (NAfME), 2013-14; director of Finance and Internal Operations for the Connecticut NAfME Collegiate Council, 2014-15; work part time for WCSU Department of Music; teach private music lessons
Honors and Awards: Dean's List every semester; Roger Winward Scholarship; VPA Dean's Award, 2014-15;graduating magna cum laude
Holly Brown says there are three reasons she decided to attend Western. "The first was that the majority of the music teachers I had in grade school attended WCSU. I knew it had a great reputation as a school for music educators. The second was the faculty. I was lucky to have the opportunity to take private music lessons from Dr. Marjorie Callaghan while I was in high school. I knew that I wanted to continue studying with her, which led me to Western. The final reason I decided to attend WestConn was finances. It is undoubtedly the biggest 'bang for your buck' in the area. When I was looking at other schools I could not believe how pricey they were in comparison to WestConn."
Brown decided to major in music education for a number of reasons. "Music was an interest of mine from an early age. I always wanted to play an instrument and when I had the opportunity to begin studying French horn, I jumped at it. I’ve also known for the majority of my life that I wanted to work with people. So, for me, teaching felt like a natural fit. In middle school, I had a music teacher who I bonded with and became my first real mentor in the field. It was then that I knew I wanted to pursue both music and education and become a music teacher."
Once at Western, Brown says there were many Department of Music faculty members who became mentors to her, "but there are four people who stand above the rest. They are: Dr. Marjorie Callaghan, with whom I studied French horn and was one of my main reasons for attending Western in the first place; Dr. Cory Ganschow, the Music Education Coordinator at WCSU; Dr. Kevin Jay Isaacs, with whom I studied Music Theory and Composition; and Laura Piechota, who is the Musical Arts Assistant at WCSU and my boss. All of these people have created a caring environment at WCSU and have given me such great guidance throughout my time here. I will be forever appreciative of their help and support."
Asked what she will remember most about her Western experience, Brown says, "My time at Western has been full of memorable experiences and it is difficult to choose one. But, one thing that stands out to me is the construction and opening of the new Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPAC). During the fall of my sophomore year, there was a ceremony called the 'Topping Off Ceremony.' During this event, the last steel girder was placed onto the building. I was playing at the ceremony and before we played, everyone at the ceremony had the opportunity to sign his/her name on the last girder. It is awesome to know that my name will be a part of that building forever."
After graduation, Brown plans to attend Mannes College: The New School for Music to pursue a Master's of Music Degree in French Horn Performance in New York. "There, I will be studying with Professor David Jolley, a renowned French horn soloist and a founding member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. I also plan to work as a substitute teacher while I attend Mannes. After my time there, I plan to go back into the music education field and work as a middle school or high school music teacher."
Brown’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Get involved in the WCSU community. Join a club, play a sport, go to events. The more you can be involved in everything the school has to offer, the better your experience will be. Also, when I say 'get involved,' I mean it in an academic sense. You are paying to be here; so make sure you go to class, be an active participant, and get to know your professors. There are so many doors that can open for you if you are involved in the academic and social aspects of the WCSU community."