Welcome, New Students!

The Institute's incoming class on their first day of orientation
November 21, 2017

Compiled by Stephen Gamboa-Diaz.

Each autumn we welcome new students who bring a breadth and depth of diverse backgrounds to our interdisciplinary enterprise. Many of them accepted our invitation to tell a bit about themselves so that our alumni and friends can catch some of the enthusiasm that abounds at this time of year.

As usual, the ISM community celebrated the opening of the academic year at the ISM picnic at the Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden. (Photos by Stephen Gamboa-Diaz)

Maggie Burk (M.M. choral conducting ’19) is a conductor, teacher, singer, and composer who has held teaching appointments at the high school and middle school levels. For the past two years, she held the post of Assistant Director of Choirs at Free State High School in Lawrence, KS, where she co-taught seven choirs in a program of 320 students. In addition to her public school teaching, she served as assistant organist/choirmaster at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka, KS, where she led the Cathedral Choristers program and composed many sacred choral works for the Cathedral Choir. Maggie received her Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude with departmental distinction from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where she studied conducting with Anton Armstrong, Timothy Mahr, and Christopher Aspaas, and organ with Catherine Rodland. While at St. Olaf, she was a section leader in the acclaimed St. Olaf Choir, a teaching assistant for music theory and conducting, and a chapel organist.

Nia Campinha-Bacote (M.Div. ’20) writes, “I grew up as a classically trained pianist for seven years and am also an avid percussionist. My heart beats for worship and I’m hoping to use my musical skills to help others tangibly encounter the Love and Presence of God. Additionally, I love belting out the Moana soundtrack at all hours of the day.”

Peerawat Chiaranunt (M.A.R. religion and literature ’19), born in Riyadh and raised in Bangkok, graduated this past May from the great books program at St. John’s College (Santa Fe, NM). During his time at Yale, he intends to commit himself primarily to the study of Dante’s Commedia and the kind of thinking about the classics and one’s personal past that the poem encourages. Because other authors dear to him include Cervantes, Keats, and Proust, a pressing question for him as an ISM student concerns the extent to which ostensibly secular texts articulate the same visions of the human situation as those that claim sacred inspiration – and vice versa. He enjoys, in his spare time, coffee, clouds, and chess.

From 2009-2015, Matthew Daley (M.M. organ ’19) attended the University of Maryland as a piano major and received a B.M. and M.M. Degree, studying under Larissa Dedova. While pursuing his two piano degrees, Matt had the privilege of taking organ lessons with Dale Krider,  William Neal (National Symphony Orchestra Organist) and John Walker (former president of the American Guild of Organists). Over the course of his musical journey, Matt became proficient in several other aspects of music, including collaborative piano, violin, and viola. As he has explored music, he has enjoyed sharing his music in various countries including Spain, Italy, South Africa, Canada, Lesotho, Puerto Rico, Australia and Jamaica. He has also enjoyed performing in concerts at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall’s Perelman Stage and the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall. Matt’s greatest passion for music comes from playing in churches and he considers it a great honor to have served as one of the organists at Sligo Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Colesville United Methodist Church, Calvary Baptist Church, and National Presbyterian Church.

Carmen Denia (M.A.R. religion and literature ’19) recently graduated as part of the inaugural class of Yale-National University of Singapore College. There she divided her time between pet-sitting for professors and researching on Dante’s Divine Comedy. Her other research interests are in poetry, material culture, and liturgy from classical to medieval Europe. Carmen has come to the ISM to understand better how these human expressions work together with faith for human flourishing—a short question that would take a lifetime to answer. Outside of class, she is usually listening to podcasts, exploring the Old Campus, or enjoying the quiet in Nouwen Chapel.

Christian Detisch (M.Div. ’20) comes to Yale from Washington, DC where he was working in digital strategy for an environmental nonprofit. He received an M.F.A. in poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is interested in the intersections of religion and literature, social movements and the church’s place within them, and medicine and theology.

Sarah Fox (M.A.R. religion and music ’19) writes, “I am originally from Russellville, Kentucky and served as the music director/organist at Trinity Episcopal Church in Russellville for ten years. I attended Western Kentucky University as an undergraduate, receiving degrees in history and music. I then moved to Birmingham, United Kingdom, where I studied choral conducting as a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar at the University of Birmingham. I also completed independent research regarding the intersections between music and adverse childhood experiences. My current research interests include music’s role in building spiritual identity, the connection between religious traditions/identities and cross-cultural relationships, and the use of music as a tool for internationally-focused peace and reconciliation efforts. I love to take walks in nature, read and write poetry, and cook.”

C.H. Victor Gan (M.A.R. liturgical studies ’18), brought up as an Anglican in Singapore, spent his college years in London, which shaped his interest in liturgy and early music. He writes, “Having worked in infectious disease and public health policy as a physician and researcher, I continue to be intrigued by the performativity of healthcare and religion in modern society examined phenomenologically and seen through comparative historical studies. Our identities are formed by what we do, as much in the gym as meditating on the subway; seeking psychoanalysis or going for confession.”

Jacob Gelber (M.M. choral conducting ’19) is a first-year choral conductor and countertenor. Originally from Cranford, New Jersey, he recently finished his studies in the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange, where he led the Columbia University Vivace Chamber Singers and sang in New York’s C4 Ensemble. Jacob loves conducting ensembles small and large and is eager to collaborate with composers and across disciplines!

Amy Giuliano (M.A.R. ’18) is in the final year of her master’s degree in religion and visual Arts. Prior to her time at Yale, her most recent degree is a S.T.B. in theology from the Angelicum in Rome, where she also was trained and worked as guide of the city’s art and architecture. She is currently an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University. Amy has given colloquia and radio interviews on the history of art at Seton Hall University and Sacred Heart University. This past summer, Amy led tours of the Yale University Art Gallery as an Elm Institute graduate research associate, worked for two months as an art historical tour guide in Rome for the Paideia Institute’s undergraduate Latin program, assistant-directed a short film entitled Living Latin in Rome, studied sacred art in Jerusalem as a Two Brothers fellow, and became a contributing essayist for the Magnificat.

Andrew Hon (M.M. choral conducting ’19) is a choral artist from Hong Kong. Previously, he served as the choir director at St. John’s UCC – Newport, KY and head of music at Fung Kai Innovative School. Hon has studied under world-renowned conductors including Helmuth Rilling, Rolf Beck, Eric Stark, Stephen Coker and Dénes Szabó. He was the chorus master and masterclass coordinator for Professor Stephen Coker and Professor William Weinert in Hong Kong’s Singfest. He was also the chorus master for Mozart’s Idomeneo at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. Hon received his Bachelor of Arts (music) from University of California, Berkeley with distinction, and a Master of Music (choral conducting) from University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, where he served as teaching assistant and taught theory and musicianship at the undergraduate level. He also received a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from Hong Kong Baptist University with an Award of Merit in Supervised Teaching Practice.

Allison Merrill (M.A.R. religion and music ’19) writes, “I am delighted to be a part of YDS and the ISM and look forward to my studies in the religion and the arts/music concentration. Singing was my gateway to broader musical study, leading to interests in choral studies, music history, music education, and church music. The interdisciplinary study approach resonates with me in light of all these connected interests. My husband and I come from Jacksonville, Florida as graduates of Jacksonville University. We are so thankful to be a part of the ISM community!”

Ashley Mulcahy (M.M. voice ’19) is a mezzo-soprano earning her master’s in voice as part of the Voxtet. Ashley is particularly interested in seventeenth and eighteenth-century repertoire and spent the last two years in Chicago studying with early music specialist Ellen Hargis. In Chicago she was a frequent chorister with groups such as The Newberry Consort, Music of the Baroque, and Church of the Ascension. She was also a Young Artist at the 2017 Boston Early Music Festival. Prior to moving to Chicago, Ashley earned undergraduate degrees in Vocal Performance and Italian from The University of Michigan where she studied with Carmen Pelton.

Paul E. Olive-Reese (M.Div. ’19) is beginning his middle year at the ISM and the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. Previously, Paul studied voice at Greenville University (IL) and musicology and choral conducting at Western Illinois University, writing a thesis about the Jesus People and the development of the Christian music industry. Most recently from Philadelphia, Paul is seeking holy orders in the Episcopal Church. With the ISM, Paul’s interests include public arts as tools for evangelism, community development, and poverty relief.

Jacob Reed (M.M. organ ’19) was born in Oxford, England, and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He recently became the first student ever to receive a simultaneous B.A./M.A. in music theory and history from Yale University (double-major in mathematics), studying harpsichord with Arthur Haas and organ with Thomas Murray. The 2017–18 organ scholar at Grace Church in Manhattan, he has given recitals across the United States, Europe, and Canada. Jacob has also performed frequently as a soloist, accompanist, and chamber musician on piano, harpsichord, and viola da gamba. Since matriculating at Yale, he has been a member of the Yale Temperament Viol Consort, instrumentalist and vocalist for the Yale Collegium Musicum, and harpsichordist for the Yale Baroque Opera Project.

Sarah Rodeo (M.A.R. liturgical studies ’19) writes, “I completed a B.A. in music at Vassar College, where I focused on the organ and voice, also studying piano and playing other historical keyboards. I am now attending Yale Divinity School, pursuing an M.A.R. with a concentration in Religion & the Arts (on the music track), and a certificate from the Institute of Sacred Music. While I am a dedicated Roman Catholic devoted to the Tridentine Mass, the Daily Office, Latin, Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony, I greatly love and value Anglican and Eastern Orthodox aesthetics and artistic traditions. I currently work as Fundraising/Social Media Assistant to the Christopher Mueller Foundation for Polyphony & Chant, soprano section leader in the Berkeley Divinity School Chapel Choir, and organist/choir director at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Orange, CT.”

Hannah Sachs (M.Div. ’20) is an applied theatre artist and director from Virginia. She studied directing, religion, and social change at Smith College and has recently returned from a year teaching and directing in the Czech Republic as a Fulbright scholar. She has been blessed to serve and learn from many marginalized communities including Syrian refugees, sex trafficking survivors, and people experiencing homelessness. Hannah is passionate about academically exploring historical and contemporary connections between faith and the arts, as well as specifically using her theatrical skills within diverse ministry contexts.

Anna Thurston (M.A.R. religion and visual arts ’19) is a joint degree candidate at Yale Divinity School and at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (M.E.M. ‘19) specializing in the intersection of art, religion, and the environment. At the ISM, she investigates the role creative material culture plays in the formation of worship, ritual, and faith-based practices within the context of natural and imagined landscapes. Prior to her time at Yale, Anna worked with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, MA, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy. Inspired by a pilgrimage to Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty in 2013, Anna began her foray into eco-criticism, which led her to the field of eco-theology and interfaith initiatives in pursuit of environmental justice. She graduated with honors from Brigham Young University in 2014 with a B.A. in humanities, art history, and Italian literature. Currently a student organizer for the Religion and Ecology Colloquium at Yale, Anna finds herself at home when she is in the mountains, in an art gallery, or listening to the Prelude to Act 1 of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin.

Edward Vogel (M.M. voice ’19) is thrilled to be joining the ISM community as the first-year baritone in the Voxtet. He is a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with majors in marketing and vocal performance. Thanks in part to Notre Dame’s own sacred music program, he has developed a deep love of early and sacred music, and is incredibly happy to be returning to his hometown of New Haven to continue following his passion.

Rosemary Williams (M.A.R. liturgical studies ’19) is a scholar and musician whose interests focus on the intersections between liturgy and music. In her undergraduate studies at James Madison University, Rosemary was awarded dual degrees in music performance (clarinet) and interdisciplinary religion, served as music minister at Canterbury Episcopal Campus Ministry, and performed in the orchestra for numerous student opera productions. Rosemary holds professional memberships in Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Theta Alpha Kappa, and Phi Sigma Tau; and has studied clarinet under the tutelage of Dr. Janice Minor, Dr. Anastasia Christofakis, and Dr. Sarunas Jankauskas.