May 13, 2024
Qeanu Smith, baritone saxophone
Qeanu Smith, baritone saxophone

The UMass Amherst Department of Music & Dance held its annual Convocation Ceremonies on May 7 (Music) and May 10 (Dance) to honor its graduates and scholarship award winners.

The Music Convocation event is designed as an informal end-of-year celebration, with time for socializing (and pizza!) afterward. The award-winning students are listed below, and the event program with a listing of graduates can be viewed here.

Hosted by department chair Matthew Westgate, the music event opened with the traditional performances by the winners of our top two awards from last year - saxophonists Qeanu Smith (Presser Scholar), who played Shelley Washington's Black Mary and Danny Trainor (Lebow Scholar), who played Johnny Green's Body and Soul, accompanied by Ryan Padula, piano; Aeneas Strozier, bass and Ellen Jacobson, drums.

Catherine Jensen-Hole acknowledging applause
Cathy Jensen-Hole (in blue top)

Following the musical performances, Dr. Westgate offered gratitude for the 24 years of service by retiring Vocal Jazz program director Catherine Jensen-Hole, as well as Publicity & Marketing Director Matthew Longhi, who is transferring to another position on campus.

Next, this year’s music scholarship winners were revealed. The winner of this year’s Theodore Presser Award, presented to an outstanding music major in recognition of excellence, is senior Madison Giberson.

Maddi Giberson
Maddi Giberson

A Music Education major and Wind Ensemble tubist, Maddi has taken the lead with projects normally reserved for graduate students, having conducted the UMass Trombone and Brass Choirs, the Smith College Wind Ensemble, and the a capella vocal group Duly Noted (of which she is a member).

The winner of the Howard Lebow Memorial Scholarship, awarded to a student who has distinguished him or herself as a performing musician, is Alex Harvey-Arnold, who plays euphonium in the Wind Ensemble and chamber groups, sings in the Chamber Choir, and also plays bass in the Chapel Jazz Ensemble.

Dance Convocation flyer
Dance Convocation invitation

The Dance Program's Senior Convocation Ceremony took place on Friday evening, May 10; Dance Program director Tom Vacanti hosted the event.  Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) recipients were Antonia Araya-Budnik, Alec Galavotti, Jonvieve Ratel and Sophie Schilling. Those awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Dance (BA) were Caroline Ball, Samantha Boyle, Madison Hernandez, Carson Kelly, Katherine Lopez, Sophia Maalouly, Lucy Rime, Kitty Ryan, and Sophia Valentin.


2024 Music Scholarship winners:

Theodore Presser Scholar Award: Madison Giberson

Howard Lebow Memorial Scholarship: Alex Harvey-Arnold

Fletcher Henderson Memorial / Max Roach Scholarship: Ethan Ni

Russell E. & Janet R. Falvey Scholarship: Janessa Irizarry

Ornest Undergraduate Award: Gianna Borowski & Anastasia Pavloff

Philip Bezanson Graduate Voice Award: Jessica Campbell, Natan Chalem & Clara Montes

Eugenie M. May Piano Award: Philip Solomonick

Nadine Shank Memorial Piano Award: Chia-Yi Kathy Liu

Julian Olevsky Memorial Award in Violin: Frantz Kjoniksen

Laura Klock Award in Horn: Declan Mulkerin

Lynn Klock Award in Saxophone: Pantelis Lykoudis

Susan Cunningham Campbell Outstanding Freshman Award: Aeneas Strozier

Susan Cunningham Campbell Outstanding Sophomore Award: Andrew DiCicco

David W. Briggs Scholarship in Memory of Jean S. Briggs: Alyssa Chase

Friends of Music Senior Award: Madison Giberson

Our music and dance students receive scholarships through the generosity of our donors. Please consider a gift to the fund of your choice by visiting this Giving link

Award-winners at Music Convocation ceremony
Award-winners at Music Convocation Ceremony with Dr. Westgate at center