Music Alumni Profiles

Daniel Gee (Class of 2013)

Daniel GeeWestmont's Music Department is simply an exciting place to be. The rapid strides of growth in the recent years are inspiring and I feel blessed to have been at Westmont at such a developing period in our department's history. Nonetheless, there are still many ways that our program continues to have room to grow. That being said, I would encourage prospective and current music majors to embrace these growing years as the department's strength. Take the initiative to explore, pursue and implement yourself the areas that you would like to grow in, as well as the areas that you would like to contribute to the program. Finally, treasure the unique opportunity to pursue your craft in the intentional, integrated and supportive Body of Christ that Westmont is. I have been reminded at several points in graduate school what a unique and special place this was.

If you're interested in what this particular Westmont music alumni is doing, I am currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Choral Music at the University of Southern California, and expect to graduate in May 2015. At USC, I have been assigned to co-direct the USC University Chorus, study choral conducting with Nick Strimple and Jo-Michael Scheibe, and composition with Morten Lauridsen. I also teach a private studio of cello students in the Los Angeles area, work as a freelance cellist, and direct two choral ensembles at my church, one for singing in services, and the other for community outreach and ministry.

Sarah Shasberger (Class of 2012)

Sarah ShasbergerBio: Sarah graduated from Westmont College in 2012 with a degree in Violin and Viola Performance. After graduation she went on to complete her master’s degree in Viola Performance with an emphasis in Violin Suzuki Pedagogy at The University of Hartford, Hartt School of Music. Sarah now is a violin and viola teacher at the Greenwich Suzuki Academy in Greenwich, CT where she teaches a combination of private lessons, group classes and coaches chamber music. Outside of teaching she is also a free-lance performer in the area.

Thoughts on Westmont Experience: Growing up I enjoyed taking private music lessons and also found fulfillment in any teaching opportunities that presented themselves. While at Westmont I felt called to bring together my love for music and teaching in order to pursue a career in Suzuki Education. My professors at Westmont played a huge role in encouraging me and providing me with the tools I would need to pursue my passions in life. Not only did I feel well prepared as a music major to attend graduate school and ultimately find a job in my field, but I also continue to see how having a well-rounded Christian liberal arts education has helped me in numerous ways in life both professionally and personally.

Megan Silberstein (Class of 2014)

Megan SilbersteinAfter graduating from Westmont in May 2014 with a B.A. in Music, I am working on a Master of Music in Opera Performance at Oklahoma City University. Ranked as one of the top ten music schools in the nation, I know that I could not have gotten to this point without Westmont’s music department.

I could tell you about the numerous ways in which my music professors academically prepared me for what I am doing today; they were indeed wonderful teachers of knowledge. However, I think, at an institution like Westmont, that goes without saying. Rather, I can tell you that the music faculty prepared me in an even greater capacity for the challenges of the real world of music. My professors, all of them, equipped me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for the battle that faces modern musicians. As a wise teacher once told me, “Being a performer requires a quiet, yet indomitable confidence”. This confidence rests in the Lord. Although every professor excelled in their field, they continually demonstrated the true foundation of their confidence: Jesus Christ. By their faith, they lived out the difficult conviction to make music for God, not for man's fleeting approval. At the end of the day, I'll only answer two questions: 'What did I do with Jesus Christ?' and 'What did I do with what He gave me?' After what I learned at Westmont, I am at peace with the answers I will give to those questions. Schools that teach students to excel in music are not hard to come by, but Westmont pushes students to excel in music for the right reasons, namely Christ and His kingdom.

Steven Yoo (Class of 2014)

Steven YooDear fellow artists in Westmont,

As an alumni of Westmont College, I have a few words to offer you.

Consider Westmont your home and its people your family. It is truly a special place, where you can explore the meaning of your life, the source and direction of your creative practice. In order to be creative, I find it essential to first be in a good relationship with people and place in my immediate sphere. Westmont can offer rich opportunities to connect with those who cherish an authentic community and direct our attention to where homes and families are lost.

Be independent an artist as one can be-- an artist with a voice, however you define it. School, teachers and peers can help you insomuch as you can help yourself. In my own search of the "voice", I often wonder what constitute a"good" art, or a "good" artist, thereby I may discern the"masters" who models my notion of good in my chosen field. I hope you find your models soon and learn from them. Search for your mentors in Westmont, both in the music department and in various disciplines, who will inspire your inquiries and conclusions.

Personalize your education plan based on your artistic goals. Music degree is helpful for employment as long as it is relevant to your chosen path. In college, be alert to the skills and knowledge required in your prospective profession. Developing authentic artistry requires time and nurture well beyond college, yet being employed as an artist require solid mechanics, professional connection, and some business sense. Learning these has been a process, advancing in time. My first gig in music was offered by a friend from high school who recommended me in the business.

Be diligent to know what it means to be a Christian artist. As a singer/pianist and a candidate for music director at a Monterey Church, my job is to lead music on Sunday services, performing solos and accompanying congregational songs. Myprofessional role in this religious institution not only motivates me to excellence, but urges me to constantly examine my religious convictions and engage with people of diverse traditions with open mindedness and respect. I encourage you to make every effort in Westmont College to forge your artistic foundation and spiritual identity, as nowhere I know did propel these endeavors more wonderfully than Westmont.

I am grateful for Westmont College, with all of its beautiful, sad, lasting moments; they made me be urgent to know and do something about the world's troubles and miracles, as a Christian and an artist. And live with gratitude beyond college.