Western Kentucky University

Alumni News Archive

Brad Baumgardner (BA '03) received his DMA from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, using his composition, Pictures of Strangers for Wind Ensemble to complete his dissertation. Dr. Baumgardner served as the assistant director of the UMKC's new music ensemble, remained active as a player both in experimental music and standard ensembles and taught classes in orchestration, ensemble for composers, listening lab, composers in the schools, private composition instruction and composition forum.

Amanda Biggs, '05, is an internationally-prized opera singer who received her training from Western Kentucky University and Indiana University Jacob's School of Music. She trained with world-renowned opera stars Carol Vaness, Elizabeth Volkman, George Shirley, Virginia Zeani and Patricia Wise. More recently, Amanda has trained with vocal coach Bill Schuman and her mentors are among the elite of the opera world. Amanda has performed with singers/songwriters Krista Detor, Bob Sima, John Gage, Tim Ash and Timothy Reed. Amanda has recently been selected to perform in the world premiere of The Breeze Bends the Grass, a folk style musical theater work written by Arbutus Cunningham and Krista Detor. Amanda is a voice instructor, with a current roster of 28 private students.

Michael Hernon, '66, received his Bachelor of Music Education degree at Murray State University and his Master of Arts degree at Western Kentucky University and his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University. He is a 2011 Professor Emeritus of Music at University of Tennessee Martin where he taught music history and literature, applied horn and had a large pre-college studio. He retired after 38 years of service to UTM. Hernon is the author of a number of published articles on music. His book, French Horn Discography, remains an important reference source for horn recordings.

Ethan Kinkle, '12, is the choir director and general music teacher at Sebastian River Middle School in Sebastian, Florida.

Billy Orton (BM '76), First Baptist Church Minister of Music (Huntsville, AL), who has not been on campus in twenty years, attended the dedication of the WKU Music Rehearsal Hall in May, citing, ".....what a joy it was to be there yesterday... the whole event was masterfully done. I LOVE the building and am so proud of what it can mean to future generations of students."

Jeff Phillips, '86 , is beginning his 27th year of teaching, currently at Hendersonville High School in Hendersonville, TN, as well as his 9th year as an adjunct instructor at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.  He is serving as the President-Elect of the Tennessee Music Education Association, and will be the President from 2015-2017.  He is an educational consultant and performing artist for Jupiter Band Instruments.

Casey (Allmon) Powell (BM '06) just finished her sixth year teaching music at Barren County Middle School in Glasgow, KY, where she started a strings program in 2010. She attended the American String Teacher's Association Conference in Atlanta in March 2012 and plans to apply this information while implementing a district-wide string program in Barren County. She received recognition from the Barren County Board of Education as the District Certified Teacher of the Month in November 2011 and was awarded a plaque and Chamber of Commerce gift certificate. Her orchestra attended the KMEA concert festival for the first time this year and received straight distinguished ratings for their prepared pieces and sight reading. In addition to her busy work and parenting schedule, Casey enjoys being a skating member of the Vette City Vixens Roller Derby Team and is an active local Zija distributor.

Brittany (Yates) Rossell, '11, and husband Wyatt, '10, are living in Colorado Springs, CO, and are expecting their first child in November 2012.  Brittany is the music director for the Salvation Army in Colorado Springs, and Wyatt is serving in the Army as a supply specialist in Afghanistan.

Jim Stites, '09, received his Master of Music degree from the University of Mississippi in May of 2012 and will be employed as an assistant band director at Southaven High School in Southaven, Mississippi.

 Last Modified 7/23/13