Commencement 2017 | Goodbye, Graduates!

June 30, 2017

Compiled by Stephen Gamboa-Diaz

On Sunday, May 22, the ISM presented its newest graduates with their ISM certificates at a banquet at the New Haven Lawn Club. Some of them accepted our invitation to reflect on their experience at the Institute, and their plans and hopes for the future.

Emma Langham Brown (M.A.R.) is deeply grateful for her years as a member of the ISM community. She is especially grateful to her family, her fiancé Nate Dove, her brilliant professors and mentors, and the lifelong friends she made in the ISM. She will treasure many memories of the past two years, including her capstone presentation with Janet Yieh, and watching a breathtaking performance of “La Bayadère” with her classmates in Saint Petersburg. Emma will work for Yale University following graduation and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in medieval art history.

Evan Cogswell (M.M.) will begin working toward his doctorate this fall in organ performance at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He will most remember the wonderful friendships, collaborative experiences, and opportunities to challenge himself as an organist with projects outside of his usual scope.

Matthew Cramer (M.M.) will be pursuing a D.M.A. in choral conducting at Northwestern University as a student of Donald Nally, starting in the fall of 2017. He is incredibly grateful for his time at the ISM which, beyond providing a wealth of unforgettable experiences and opportunities, introduced him to lifelong friends and colleagues. He is particularly thankful for his time as Marquand Chapel Choir Director - a time full of community, friendship, and earnest music-making

Andrew Doss (M.Div.) is filled with gratitude! “The ISM burst open so many surprising and delightful opportunities, from autumn boat rides and museum tours to the ultimate summer study tour of the Balkans. But above all, the ISM offered me the joy of connecting in that rare venue of idea exchange with the most talented, caring people by whom I’ve ever been surrounded. Would that I could leap back into sherry hour to think after another weekly colloquium, collective brain-wheels churning towards some particular and significant idea and the next cupful of chips and/or port! I would never have been able to attend YDS without the generous support of the ISM, and nor would I have had the world opened as it was without the ISM’s generous offerings of ideas, art, and people. I am forever full of thanks.”

The ISM fellows that Ambre Dromgoole (M.A.R.) encountered helped equip her for further study in the field of American Religious History. Through their classes and mentorship, she gained skills and knowledge that she wouldn’t have encountered elsewhere. She is grateful for their time, dedication, and support. After making their acquaintance, she feels inspired and excited by her future career paths and looks forward to collaborating with them in the future

Emily Dolan Gierer (M.Div.) is deeply grateful to the ISM “for surrounding me with inspirational faculty members who have opened my mind to new academic, spiritual, and artistic possibilities,” as well as to her peers, who have modeled active engagement with faith and the arts. She is looking forward to teaching English courses at the University of Connecticut and continuing in her work as the Communications Manager at Wellspring Church in New Britain.

Following a summer recital tour of England, Scotland, Germany and Lithuania, Weston Jennings (M.M.) will take on the role of Organist and Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Tyler, Texas in August 2017. In addition, he will serve as the Artistic and Executive Director of the Tyler Civic Chorale, now in their 50th season. Weston is grateful to the ISM and its faculty, particularly Prof. Thomas Murray, for two years of wonderful opportunities and continued learning.

Karl Isaac Johnson (M.A.R.) chose Yale for the opportunity to study Catholic liturgy, sacred music, and Native American studies concurrently, and has enjoyed the flexibility and resources Yale has provided for him to do so. He is grateful to the ISM for providing grants to attend multiple conferences, take language classes two summers in a row, and conduct research. He has accepted a job as Director of Music and Organist at St. Jerome and St. Maurice Catholic Churches in New Britain, Connecticut, will remain at Yale as research assistant to Professor Bryan Spinks, and looks forward to teaching Catholic Studies at Sacred Heart University in the spring of 2018.

Though an organist, Christopher Keady (M.M.) is grateful for the opportunity to study with some brilliant humanities professors at Yale, especially Peter Hawkins, Christian Wiman, and Henry Parkes. Chris also loved his time serving as an organ scholar in Marquand Chapel this past year. “The super-eclectic worship planning was nourishing, and my choir boss, Matt Cramer, is an inspiring artist!” In July, he and husband Dan will be moving to the Bay Area, where Chris will begin serving as Assistant Director of Music at Grace Cathedral.

Oana Sanziana Marian (M.Div.), who came to the ISM primarily to study with Christian Wiman, is grateful for the ISM’s funding of her Master of Divinity degree, language study and travel to the Baltics; for the welcome extended to her partner; and for the kindnesses and support of friends, mentors and staff she encountered during her time at YDS. After completing a first unit of CPE at the West Haven VA hospital this summer, she and her spouse Rian (and canine friend Seamus) will be traveling to Ireland to begin a research Ph.D. in poetry and theology at Trinity College, Dublin.

Jane Meditz (M.A.R.) has immensely enjoyed the opportunities afforded by the ISM to explore the disciplines of musicology, theology, biblical studies, liturgical studies, and worship practices. She looks forward to staying involved in the New Haven community, being active in music ministry and other forms of music making, as she discerns the next steps of her academic study and/or career.

Mary Pan (M.M.) will always treasure the time she spent at the ISM. Significant experiences include traveling in Russia and Finland, performing on the Skinner organ in Woolsey Hall, and being nurtured educationally and otherwise by professors and classmates from the ISM. She will begin as organ scholar at St. James’ Cathedral in Chicago in September 2017.

Katherine Scahill (M.A.R.) is grateful for the opportunity to learn from faculty and students at the Institute of Sacred Music over the past two years. This summer she is studying first-year Thai at the Southeast Asia Summer Studies Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In the fall, she will start a Ph.D. program in ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Liesl Spitz (M.Div.) is grateful for every opportunity to sing with the YDS/ISM community, especially in Marquand Chapel. She loved working on her colloquium project with her partner Christopher Keady and is grateful for generous mentorship from ISM faculty and fellows. Liesl will be headed to Minneapolis next year to work at Trinity Lutheran Congregation as she continues her path towards ordination.

Other ISM graduates: Bradley Burgess (M.M.), Hannah Carr (M.M.),  Molly Channon (M.A.R.), Brendan Dempsey (M.A.R.), Joseph Fala (M.M.), Michael Gilbertson (D.M.A. ’21), Adele Grabowski (M.M.), Stephen McCarthy (S.T.M.), Daniel McGrew (M.M.), Nathan Reiff (D.M.A. ’21), Natasha Schnur (M.M.), Mark Schultz (M.Div.), Sakina Shakur (M.A.R.), David Simon (M.M.), Jacob Swindells (M.M.), Maria Terss (M.A.R.), Janet Yieh (M.M.).

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