Hometown: New Milford, Conn.
Major: Music Performance
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Music, Jazz Studies
INTERNSHIPS: Playing live music in and around the city
Activities: Vice president for the Music Education Club for a few years, active member in the Jazz Club, part-time teaching private music lessons in saxophone and theory
Honors and Awards: Senior 2014 recipient of the James Furman Honors Scholarship, Rose Londa Heyman Scholarship, Dean's list for several semesters
Timothy Lewis says he's always had a connection to music. "I didn't really realize how much I enjoyed playing and studying jazz, however, until the end of my sophomore year," he says. "So I decided to switch from a music education degree to performance. The faculty here has been amazing in helping me build the confidence to go for my aspiration to be a great performing jazz musician."
Lewis decided to study at Western for a number of reasons. "My family has been involved with the school previously," he says. "My brother received his bachelor's degree and my mother her master's — both from the music department. Financially speaking, it was the easiest to afford. All of the other schools I was looking at were charging an astronomical amount compared to what Western was offering. My final reason was the faculty in the music department. Upon auditioning and spending some time shadowing, I found that the faculty members were not only outstanding musicians, but also incredibly passionate and caring individuals. It was a very warm and generous environment that I really wanted to be a part of."
The caring environment yielded a number of mentors for Lewis. "Mainly Dr. Dan Goble, dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts; Professor Jimmy Greene, with whom I studied privately for two years; and Jamie Begian, chair of the Music Department. These are just a few, but the three of them have been a real important part of my time here and for their help and support I am very grateful."
Asked what he will remember most about his Western experience, Lewis says, "The Jazz Festival in 2013. The Thursday-night performance that year was a benefit performance for Sandy Hook. So many people came to see a large number of guest artists who were playing for free. It was just an amazing night of music and camaraderie as human beings."
After graduation, Lewis plans to take some time off to practice the materials he's been given by his teachers. "There's no way I could learn and master it all in four years, so I'm excited to really hit the grind stone hard and see what I can do," he says. "Eventually, I'd like to audition for a master's program at a large school in New York."
Lewis' advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Use the four years you have to your advantage. Having fun is necessary, but the materials and information available at this school won't do any good unless you apply yourself. Take your craft and major seriously and work hard. There's no telling what kind of success you can achieve if you do that. Don't let the time you have go to waste."