SCF Music's Best of the Best Recital: Thursday, January 21, 7:30 p.m.

SCF Music's Best of the Best Recital: Thursday, January 21, 7:30 p.m.

Ever wonder what the state of Florida does to support music education? Listen to this episode as Melodie Dickerson and Robyn Bell explain what the state sponsored "Student Artist Competition" is and meet SCF Music's eight students who will be competing this January for the $2000 scholarship. These eight students will be presenting their competition pieces in a recital on Thursday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m. live-streamed on the SCF Music's Facebook Page. You won't want to miss these fine musicians:
Silvia Hernandez-Soprano singer
Anna Rodriguez-Alto singer
Sean Jatich-Alto Saxophone
Chloe Armentrout-Clarinet
Henley Connor-Jazz Drum Kit
Jacob Wicks-Classical Guitar
Nathan Reid-Tuba
Nick Vagn-Trombone
Come along and  join the club!

State College of Florida Music Program Website & Facebook & Instagram

State College of Florida Foundation Website & Facebook & Instagram

• The Florida College System Activities Association Website & Facebook 

Support the show (


Robyn: Today, melody Dickerson. And I want to tell you about an organization called the Florida state college activities association and how this organization benefits our music students at the state college of Florida, and allows us to produce a concert each January, we call the best of the best. And we also want to introduce you to SES. Best of the best this year, tell you how these students were chosen and explained to you what they will be participating in at the end of January. 

Melodie: Yes, Dr. Bell, the Florida state college activities association is the organization that oversees all of the activities for Florida's 28 two year state colleges, including all sports and student activities, such as student government association, brain bowl, forensics. Theater music, et cetera,  for music, the association holds an event called the winter music symposium, even though there's not much winter here in Florida. 

Robyn: Thank goodness 

Melodie: which can be thought of as kind of the state college, all state event, each colleges music program, nominate students to participate in an all-state choir. Band orchestra, jazz band, guitar ensemble, and piano masterclass, setting students from all over the state. Meet at a Florida four year university in late January and participate in rehearsals from Thursday.   To Saturday that culminate in a gigantic concert on Saturday afternoon, typically 250 to even over 300 students attend this event across the state.

Robyn: That's right melody. But this year, because of COVID, that event is not taking place . We simply can't bring that many people together. And the university's just like SEF is not allowing visitors on campus. However, there is an additional event that takes place during the winter music symposium that is focused on individual students competing against each other as soloist and winners are awarded a $2,000 scholarship. When they transfer from the state college to a Florida four year university, that event is called the student artists competition. 

Melodie: The student artists competition has very, very strict rules and each college can only submit two students per category to compete. The students only compete against other students in their category. And those categories include piano, classical guitar. Woodwind brass strings, percussion, vocal, and the jazz category, 

Robyn:  so for instance, a clarinet player would compete against a saxophone player. A trumpet player would compete against a tuba player. A cellist would compete against the violinist, but in the vocal division,

Melodie:  there's like. Category for Sopranos and Altos one for tenders in basis. 

Robyn: So you actually get two winners in the vocal category, winners in the basis competing as each other in the Sopranos and Altos. 

Melodie: Yes. 

Robyn: Right. So although there were only eight categories, there's a total of nine students that are chosen as winners.  Those nine students would typically perform a recital on the Friday night of the winter music symposium for all of the other state college music students that are in attendance. And as we said before, they each receive a $2,000 scholarship for a total of $18,000. So if you're a math geek, there are 28 state colleges and each college can nominate up to. Two musicians for each category, making the total amount of competitors in each category capped at 56. There's a quiz at the end of the podcast. So, 

Melodie: and I was going to say that the $2,000 scholarship goes to one of the Florida. Four year universities, right? So we kind of keep those , talented students here in state.

Robyn: They get a thousand for their junior year and a thousand for their senior years, how that works. 

Melodie: That is correct. And we're very grateful to those other colleges that accept our students. 

Robyn: , no. We said there was 28 state colleges. 

Melodie: Um, but not every college has a music program. 

Robyn: That's right. 

Melodie: Like, I think the college in key West call college of the keys 

Robyn: when you love to work, then 

Melodie: yeah. That'd be fun. , it doesn't have a music program, so it doesn't participate  the event. In fact, in a typical year, it's about 17 to 18 of the 28 colleges that send students to the event. And I think maybe it's a good time to mention that you and I have personally been involved in the administration of this winter symposium for a few years.

Robyn: That's right. 

Melodie: I was previously the site coordinator and you were the orchestra coordinator and last year you stepped into the role of the state music advisor. 

Robyn: That's right. I get a sash and a Tiara, 

Melodie: a lot of advising. And it's a lot of, it's a lot of emails. 

Robyn: It's a lot of emails. Yeah. As I've said for years, if we just got paid by the number of emails we received and sent, we would be wealthy women, 

Melodie: wealthy, wealthy. And I think that. Speaks well of our college and what we've been able to do. And I know at several of our other faculties , have assisted in the administration as well. 

Robyn: It's why Don Bryn runs the registration for it. So 

Melodie: he does, and Rex has been the guitar coordinator. 

Robyn: He's actually been the conductor of the guitar ensemble. When we went to a school that didn't have a guitar person,

Melodie:  has they look to our college? For this event. And I think we've stepped up many, many, many times 

Robyn: leaders of the pack 

Melodie: or? Sure. , so some colleges don't participate because they don't have a music program, but others, they can't participate because they don't have the funding to send students on a trip such as this, which is another reason. We are proud to work at the state college of Florida, which provides the funding each year for our students to participate in the winter music symposium. And the student artists competition. 

Robyn: In fact, we generally take from SCF 40 students from our music program, which averages around 125 students total in it. So that's a pretty good average, 40 out of 125. So we take the students to this Allstate event and those students are able to attend free of charge due to the wonderful financial support. That our college provides them and the vision of our SEF administrators to see this as a worthwhile event for our students music education.

Melodie: , as we mentioned though, this year, the winter music symposium will not be taking place, but. Due to you, Dr. Bell and Dr. Robert Lamb from Eastern state college, we will still be able to hold the student artist competition. And that's because we have modern technology. 

Robyn: Woo. 

Melodie: Yes. 

Robyn: This podcast, 

Melodie: this podcast, which came out of COVID. So you never know. , so you all were able to find,  the audition app called heart out.

Robyn: Yeah. Like play your heart out. It's just called heart a heart out. , 

Melodie: and it's going to be a whole new experience for these students because they have to record their audition pieces and submit them for adjudication 

Robyn: in the past, it was done live in front of judges.

Melodie: That's right. So this is a whole new thing that. We are going to have to do in a very short amount of time, but it's good for the students because a lot of students are now having to submit audition tapes and things like this. So they'll have a great experience and hopefully some good, , material to submit to later audition.

Robyn: Yeah, it's a good practice for that. And as we do at the end of every fall semester, our music students audition for the music faculty , in December to be considered as entrance into the. 2021 student artists competition. We're very proud to have selected eight students this year for the competition. Two woodwind players, two brass players, two female vocalists, one jazz specialist and one classical guitarist. 

Melodie: That's correct. And depending on their category, these eight students must have a certain number of pieces prepared. And the amount of music they perform must be over 12 minutes in length. That may not sound like a lot, but that's a lot of music.

Robyn: It is 

Melodie: the vocalist are required to sing five songs in different languages, such as English, Italian, French, Spanish, German. Even more and the instrumentalist must have at least two pieces each in a different style and time period, for instance, a piece by Bach from the 17 hundreds and maybe a piece by Gershwin from the 19 hundreds. And of course the jazz musicians must perform three different jazz standards in three different styles, such as swing bebop. Bossa Nova and the jazz competitors also have to show their proficiency at improvisation on each selection. 

Robyn: It's really important in jazz. So as you can see, this is no easy feat for our students and their teachers and our piano accompanist, who has a huge job of accompanying the students. Over the years, we found that our students perform their best in the competition when they've had many performances on their pieces, especially in front of audiences that helps get the nerves out, gives them. Them opportunities to perform their music straight through without stopping as you might in a rehearsal setting. And it helps to build their confidence. 

Melodie: It really does. I think that's why our students have done very well in this competition over the years. And I will say. In the time I've been at SCF, we have had multiple winners each and every year. And I believe last year we won in five categories,

Robyn: four or five or

Melodie:  four or five. Yes. It was a quite impressive, 

Robyn: almost a sweep. 

Melodie: It was, and there were many students in the competition, but our students seem to rise to the top. ,  with that in mind, we schedule a recital called the best of the best each January before the competition. And typically we would have an audience in attendance to support the students. But this year, again, due to COVID, there are no guests allowed on the SCF campus, but. Never fear. We will be live streaming this concert on the SCF music, Facebook page,  for all to enjoy it is your chance to see and hear SCF music's finest individual musicians. As they prepare to compete for the $2,000 scholarship against other students from across the state of Florida. This year, the recital will be held on  thursday, January 21st at 7:30 PM. And we do hope you can join us online to enjoy the many, many wonderful talents of these fine students. 

Robyn: And now we would like for you to meet our eight students that will be competing this year. Those students are Chloe Arman trot on clarinet. Sean  on Alto saxophone, Nick Von on trombone, Nathan Reed on tuba, Jacob Wix on classical guitar, Henley Connor on jazz drum kit, and two female vocalist, Sylvia Hernandez and Anna Rodriguez.

Robyn:  let's start with one of our singers and one of our classical guitarists, Anna Rodriguez and Jacob Wix. Welcome to the show. 

Anna: Thank you. 

Jacob: Thank you. 

Melodie:  I am so happy to get to interview Anna, who is also one of my private voice students, as well as a member of the chamber choir. How do you feel about being here today, Ana? 

Anna: I feel great. 

Melodie: I'm glad that you're feeling great and they had a good break. I want to first ask you a little bit about how you started singing. I think I know a little bit of the story, but I think that folks in the audience would like to hear it. 

Anna: Yeah. Well , I've always like saying my mom first introduced me to it cause she's always like saying me to sleep in my life and  she used to be a singing teacher  And she would help me, when I was younger, she'd be like, Oh, sing like this. And,  I really found it fun. 

Melodie:  And where was the first place you sang in public? 

Anna: Oh, in church 

Melodie: for centuries. 

Anna: Yeah. So my mom would always sing in church and then at first I would do like little specials with her and then Here actually in Bradenton my church, I started singing with the band with her. Yeah. 

Melodie: Wonderful. I know I'm a preacher's daughter and that was my first public performance was in a church. 

Anna: Also. My, my dad is a preacher, so 

Melodie: there you go. That's what we have so much in common. So then you really started taking it more serious than when you got into . Middle school. 

Anna: Yeah. 

Melodie: And then you went on and you were accepted to Booker. A performing arts school. Tell me a little bit about that. 

Anna: I actually started  in the VPA department in Booker middle school. . And I started in choir in seventh grade. And then I would just went into Booker high and I just loved every experience. 

Melodie: And what were you in? Were you in the choirs or in theory? What, tell me a little bit about that.

Anna:  I was in choir in the VPA choir and also in theory classes. 

Melodie: Great. Now I think we have another person in comma, Anna, and that. Would be the director of choirs at the Booker high school. And that's Mr. Alexander Zika foods? 

Anna: Yes. He was my choir director for my junior year and my senior year, and it was so much fun, 

Melodie: so fantastic. He was a student here and worked with both Dr. Bell and I, and. Choir's musical theater in band. And in fact he was the music man, , he was Harold Hill and he's still the music man. And I'm so glad that you've got his instruction. So then after graduating, you came and you auditioned with me and you got a scholarship. And then tell me a little bit about your time at SCL. 

Anna: Oh well, I I've loved it. The people here are really nice. I feel very comfortable, but also I feel challenged to become a better, singer, a better musician. I feel very motivated to be here. 

Melodie: Wonderful, . I think, , all of us were affected by COVID-19 pandemic and you kind of got hit hard by that. Tell us a little bit about what happened. 

Anna: Yeah, it was really tough for me. Well during the quarantine, I didn't have internet, so I couldn't work with my classes. I didn't have a computer either, so it was really hard. And I wanted to try and stay healthy. So , it was really hard. 

Melodie: So you had to kind of work your way back and face that and come back this past fall and take a couple of classes, which of course one was voice lessons. And you really excelled this semester and in the juries you were named one of the vocals. 

Anna: Yes. 

Melodie: Were you surprised? 

Anna: I was surprised but it just shows that when you work hard and you come back and , you're motivated I think good things come from it. Yeah. 

Melodie: That's fantastic. So once you finish SCF, I know you would like to continue on in the musical vocal path. Do you have any ideas about where you would like to go or what you would like to do?

Anna:  Well right now , I want to be a vocal performance major. And in the future, I think of maybe studying for becoming a voice teacher. 

Melodie: I think it would be an excellent teacher. You are a very good musician as well.

Anna: Thank you. 

Melodie: And what will be the song that you're going to sing in the best of the best concert?

Anna:   by Antonio Vivaldi. 

Robyn: Oh, wait, wait, wait, I didn't hear that. Say that again 

Anna: on Certo nuns. Okay. 

Robyn: What does it mean?

Anna:  I'm not sure. It's like, no, no. It means like, I'm not sure. 

Robyn: Yeah, well, he didn't really

Melodie: I'm not sure where he is wrong answer. I'm not sure how and it's and don't you love the accent. Beautiful. And it's a Baroque Aria, but it's very dramatic. 

Anna: Yes. I love Italian songs. They're very fun to sing. I like to get in the character of being confident and dramatic. It's just so fun. 

Melodie: And as a singer for the. Competition at the symposium, you have to do five songs and I believe you're doing a tie-in German, Spanish and English and two English. Yes. What are the names of some of your other songs?

Anna:  I also have where the music comes from by Lee. Holy B. Also. Do we still have room by Franz Schubert? 

Melodie: Oh yes. Favorite avery. So I think . You've been practicing over break. You've told me every single day. Wonderful. Thank you for joining us. 

Anna: Thank you 

Robyn: now, Jacob.

Jacob: Yeah,

Robyn:  our classical guitarists. I have to say, I'm going to just to say this. We have a classical guitarist in the competition every single year. Rex Willis, your guitar teacher is , I hope you agree. He's amazing. And every year we have it and I cannot remember a year where we didn't win it. I'm sure there was one, but we win this category almost every single year. No pressure.

Melodie: If we haven't won it. They've been named an honorable mention, 

Robyn: which is like a second place. 

Melodie: I don't think there's been one year in the past 17 years that I've gone. That we haven't either won or 

Robyn: no, no, no pressure, Jacob. Okay, buddy. When did you start playing the classical guitar? 

Jacob: I started exactly when I joined SCF or a little after I joined CF, when I was doing rolled.

Robyn:  So how old would you have been? 

Jacob: I would have been, I think 17. 

Robyn: How old are you now? You've only been playing the classical guitar for three years 

Jacob: playing for two. 

Robyn: Oh, right. Are you serious? Did you know this mistake? 

Melodie: I knew he had  not been playing all that long, but I didn't know. It was just two years. Whoa. 

Robyn: When did you decide to learn the classical guitar? 

Jacob: Well, I always told my mom, you know, I thinking about taking guitar lessons and I knew that the school offered it. So she was like, well, why don't you go do that? So I was like, okay. So I sign up and then I get an email from Mr. Willis and he's like, you're going to be learning classical guitar. I said, Well, what's the difference I need. He's like, well, you need to get a nylon string guitar. It's like, okay. So I did do all this resources. What is this style of guitar playing and what guitar do I really need? . And it opened a whole new world to me, of  the different style of guitars that exist in the, so I've come with it.

Robyn: Sorta dumb luck. You just signed up for the class. He said, buy this kind of guitar. And now here you are three semesters later. Literally you're a virtuoso classical guitars. Did you know you had this in you? 

Jacob: No, I've never played an instrument before. I don't have any 

Robyn: Mind blown. Where's the emoji where your head explodes.

Jacob: I don't have any prior musical training before coming here, like the most I've done is the recorder. In third grade. I picked up the clarinet for one day in middle school and never did it again. 

Robyn: Oh, wait, don't tell Chloe, don't tell Chloe and , you write music too, right? I've heard some of your compositions.

Jacob: Yes.  One of them got performed this semester for solo guitar called Pesa flora. It was performed by Isaiah Gomez. Who's is in the guitar ensemble 

Melodie: last year's symposium. You 

Robyn: won last year, so he can't compete again. Once you win, you can't compete again.  So Jacob, .How then did learning the classical guitar? Change your path in your life? 

Jacob: Dramatically  Mr. Willis when he was teaching me that first semester,  it was the semester before summer would start. So he had me take music theory Not music theory class, but he had me get a book. And he had me study over the summer to then apply for the placement test to take music theory in the fall. So when I ended up doing that during that first year I was enrolled in theory I came in from one lesson one day and he said, okay, you're a music major. Now. It's like, All right. I guess, 

Robyn:  What were you going to do with your life before then? Did you know? 

Jacob: I told myself I wanted to be a doctor in the medical field, but I soon realized that that's not something I want to put all that pressure and hard work. Yeah, for something that I'm not so passionate about. 

Robyn: Plus I have to say classical guitars make a lot more, more money than brain surgeons. No, that's not true. 

Melodie: The funny thing is 30% of students applying to medical schools have music, undergrad degrees. 

Robyn: This is true. You might not know this, 

Melodie: you know, you never know, you may change your mind one day.

Robyn: So now that you're in the music program here at SCF, and you're doing your studies and now you're a competitor in the student artists competition. What is your plan? , where are we going to see Jacob wicks in 10 years?

Jacob:   I hope to be a performer still just doing performance. 

Robyn: Wow. 

Jacob: Maybe teaching I'm sure. At some point in every musician's career, they teach at some point. And just,  go wherever it, I guess it takes me. 

Robyn: Where do you hope to transfer to?

Jacob:  Well I've been told that Stetson is the place to go for guitarists here and I've been looking into it. So we'll have to see, . I won't transfer next year because I'll be staying one more year for a layover, but. That's where I think I'll be looking into going 

Robyn: very nice. So , I'll open up iTunes one day and they'll be Jacob Wix  playing his own music and I can buy 99 cents. And I can listen to your song on your classical guitar 

Melodie: and maybe Anna, you all can do a duet together as Mr. Willis. And I have done over the years. 

Robyn: That's right. Yeah, very, very cool 

Melodie: classical guitar, wonderful combination. 

Robyn: They are, and people they will pay to come here that, so , don't rule that out now, Jacob, you're actually, most of the instrumentalists play two pieces, but you have to have up to 12 minutes of music. So you're playing three pieces of music. , tell us the pieces that you're performing. 

Jacob: Right. I'll start with the first one that I learned and that group of pieces. The first one I learned was the etude number 11 by Villalobos. And I'm sure as most of us know, it's a study piece. It's not something you usually perform for people, but something, I think Mr. Ellis and I find very special about this piece is that you give it enough musical interpretation , it really does sound like a piece of music, not just a study piece, even though it is very technically advanced for. The right hand 

Robyn: etude in French means study. And so in musical jargon, we use that word all the time, a two day, two day two. And we know that it's just like a study to improve something technically, but in this case it has become an actual piece of interpretive music. 

Jacob: Yeah. Yeah.

Robyn: Cool. What's his next piece? 

Jacob: The next piece is the mazurka trial. Also by via Lobos. . It's a part of his  popular Brazil suite. That's for guitar. There's five pieces. I'm currently learning all of them. I have the first three, but the first one that I'll be performing for this concert, the mazurka , it's just really fun to play. I really like it. It's just. Very nice 

Robyn: Activia Lobos wrote some , great guitar. 

Jacob: Yeah. He wrote probably some of the most important music for guitar for the 20th century.

Robyn: Plus his name is just really fun to say, if you're listening to this, just press pause and say via Lobos over and over and over, it's really just rolls off the tongue. Right. 

Melodie: He wrote for the voice as well too. And I have sang his music. 

Robyn: Yeah. Good old Hector. All right. And what's your third piece? 

Jacob: Third piece is by a Venezuelan composer and Laurel. It is called Venezuelan waltz three, but it's also named Natalia, which is dedicated to his daughter. 

Robyn: Natalie. 

Jacob: Yes. And , it's an intense piece, but it's also very beautiful. What's so. Difficult about it is how fast you need to be playing it and how much your left hand, which is on the fretboard. It's just all over the place and doing these very hand pain inducing, stretches 

Robyn: like acrobats. 

Jacob: Yeah, it is exactly. It's like Mr. Willis describes it as a spider going up and down your, your guitar. 

Robyn: Yeah, that puts a really cool image in my head. I can see that. Well, I always enjoy Anna listening to you, seeing and Jacob watching and listening to you play the classical guitar and we're very excited, but before we wrap up, we, we do have some little rapid fire questions for you. , just some fun stuff. So, Ms. Dickerson, you want to go first? 

Melodie: Okay. I phone or Android, 

Anna: iPhone, 

Jacob: iPhone.

Robyn: Sorry. I know we're all, it's an iPhone for some here. All right. Oh, this one's really, really hard. Ooh. Are you ready? You got to put your thinking cap on bowling or laser tag.

 Jacob: I don't think I've ever done laser.

Robyn: Have you? 

Anna: I've done laser tag. I think laser tag.

Jacob: it's a hard hitting question. 

Robyn: I know. I know we have to give you things to think about here in the educational realm. 

Melodie: Right? All right. This is tough because it's tough for me performing in an ensemble or performing a solo. 

Jacob: Ooh. I know that's a harder, 

Robyn: isn't it? Yeah. 

Jacob: Man, I don't think anything can be playing with people.

Anna: Yeah. 

Robyn: You singing in a choir. All right. Nice, nice Florida summers or Florida winters. 

Jacob: How long are went through is even last year.

Robyn: It can't get really hot here, but like right now it's winter and it's just like beautiful outside. All right,   

Melodie: online classes or face to face classes. 

Anna: Face-to-face

Jacob: face to face. 

Robyn: We've tried. Well, Anna and Jacob. Congratulations. You made it through the rapid fire.

Melodie: Awesome. At night, I also wanted to echo with Anna and Jacob. There is something very special about these two performers that when they come on the stage, they are very calm and very. Dedicated. ,  both of you when you walk on the stage,  I don't get a sense of nervousness or anything like that. It's like, I'm here and I'm ready to perform. 

Robyn: Yeah. Your confidence exudes from the stage to your audience. That's  listening and  we feel comfortable as audience members. It makes sense.

Melodie:  It really does. So we wish the best of luck to both of you in the best of the best concert, which is going to be okay. Thursday, January 21st at 7:30 PM. And we'll do it as a live stream. So all of you stay tuned for that information. And of course, with the competition, which we're going to have to record all of , your music next week. , and we know that you're both going to be fantastic. So what's the next thing go practice.

Robyn: Yeah, absolutely. All right. We'll be back right after this break.

Robyn: We are very excited to have two SCF music students in the woodwind category of the competition. First year, saxophone student, Sean  and second year clarinet student, Chloe Arman trout. Sean, we'll start with you. Tell us how long have you been playing the saxophone? 

Sean: I've been playing the saxophone since my first year in high school. So that's five years now and it's been going pretty well. Every time I do it, it makes me look at music a different way. It makes me want to be the best player I can be. 

Robyn: So most students might start on instrument in like sixth grade, maybe seventh grade, but you waited all the way till ninth grade. What made you decide to join band and pick the saxophone?

Sean: I saw my friends that were in band in middle school. And I was like, that looks really fun. Why am I not doing that? And then I did it my high school year and I realized I've waited way too long. It's way too late. 

Robyn: Peer pressure. 

Sean: Yeah. Well peer pressure, but I I'm glad I did it and I wish I did it earlier.

Robyn: It, where did you go to high school? 

Sean: I went to Palmetto high school. 

Robyn: And so we already talked about band geeks that you were totally in by the time you were in high school, you were, 

Sean: Oh yeah. 

Robyn: Band all the way. Yeah, me too. What, what do you want to be when you grow up? 

Sean: I want to be a music teacher. I just want to teach music as well as I feel like I'm doing it myself right now.

Robyn: Do you have a preference like elementary school music, middle school band, high school band. 

Sean: Well, I kind of want to do what you're doing. I kind of want to 

Robyn: yeah. College. 

Sean: Yeah, college band. It seems where it's at, but I want to work my way up. I want to work through a high school and I want to work my way up until college.

Robyn: Yeah. That's a great goal. You'll be really good at that. Why did you choose SCF for your first two years of college? 

Sean: Honestly, there were so many different things that just worked out. Number one it's 45 minutes from my house. It's the closest thing I can just drive there. And it's fantastic. And number two, I guess this should have been number one. Number one is that it has the best music program for a two year school that I know of in Florida. 

Robyn: Yeah. We're proud of that. 

Sean: Oh yeah. 

Robyn: Do you know how many, two year schools are in Florida? 

Sean: No, I didn't even look past that CF 

Robyn: there's 28 of us, but yeah, we do think that we're the best, but it's what we strive to be. So I'm glad you see that as that. 

Sean: And it was 

Robyn: fantastic to see him so close as well. And do you remember that moment in your life when you said, Oh, I want to be a musician? 

Sean: Yes, I do. 

Robyn: Tell me about it. 

Sean: My bad and director was from USF and USF hosts. This. Thing every year called festival of wins. Yes. And I remember her letting me go to that. Monogamy do all of that before COVID happened. And there was a SAC solo there. I don't remember her name, but all I remember is that she was fantastic. And I was like, wow, this isn't something you can get on a radio. This isn't something you can listen to in headphones. This is something you have to go and see, this is something that somebody has to spend their life.

Robyn: And, and she was an adult. 

Sean: Yes. She was an adult. And it was just one of the best performances I've ever seen. 

Robyn: Wow. And that inspired you to get better on your instrument, to study music and make that your life's passion. That is so cool. I had no idea. I didn't know that story. Yeah. Very, very cool. Now you've been with us, Sean for one semester. What do you think you have learned the most or what area have you grown the most as a musician in that semester?

Sean:  I would say. Especially working with Dr. Carney that he's pushed my jazz skills the better than what they were before. I was never. Particularly good in jazz. 

Robyn: Saxophone is one of those it's like trumpet. Like I played the trumpet. It's similar where you have two different styles, clarinet, Chloe, not so much. Right. But saxophones, surely you kind of have classical players and you have jazz players and then you have this group in the middle that can do both. And so it's wonderful that you're getting, because you kind of came here as a classically trained saxophone, and now you're getting that jazz experience, which is really good for you.

Sean: Yes. 

Robyn: You like playing jazz? 

Sean: Oh yeah. It's a lot of fun. 

Robyn: And I've heard you grow last semester. I've heard your solos and they've gotten better and better so I could tell very good. What pieces are you performing for this competition? 

Sean: Two of them, the first one is a super long, 14 minute piece called saxophone concerto and E flat by Alexander Glazunov. And that's a SAC standard. That's one of the ones that'll make you go. Wow. 

Robyn: That's right. Yep. 

Sean: And then the

Robyn: second one is a short little piece by Eugene bossa. I think I pronounced that right. Eugene boats. 

Sean: Up boats. All right. Eugene boats. 

Robyn: What's it called? 

Sean: It's called Aria. 

Robyn: Is it like a slower piece? 

Sean: Yes, it is. It feels more like a waltz it's in three eight, 

Robyn: but it allows you to sort of show your lyrical playing where the Glazunov shows your technical playing 

Sean: very much 

Robyn: your tone, as I like to say, versus your technique and you know, how fast your fingers move. Very cool. And so when you're done here at SCF, When you've completed all the courses that we have to offer a new transfer. Where do you hope to transfer to? 

Sean: I hope to FSU because I've heard their program is fantastic as well for saxophones and it'll. Help me be the best teacher I can, I believe. 

Robyn: Great. And we will help you get there for certain Chloe. You are in your second year with us coming off a very successful fall semester where you were named the Florida college system activities association, December music, student of the month for the whole state of Florida. And you recently wore. Awarded the Diane Goreski scholarship from the women band directors international. A nice check for 500, I believe. So. I'm not quite sure how much it is yet. Sean says you can buy him Starbucks after the interview today. 

Chloe: No, thank you. 

Robyn: But before you came to SCF, tell us how you got started on the clarinet and where you went to school before college.

Chloe: So I started in middle school most like everybody else. I did orchestra in fifth grade, but I always wanted to do band and I actually wanted to be a percussionist at first. 

Robyn: Me too. Yeah. Yeah. 

Chloe: Didn't work out too well because I had to pick an instrument first. So my dad. You sat there with the list and he pointed at each instrument, he's like, do you know what that is? Do you know what that is? I was like, yes, of course. Okay. And I just pointed at clarinet and then I didn't make percussions. So I stuck with it. I actually hated band at first, but then I got into high school and I fell in love with it. I went to high school at Wright city high school in Missouri. And then I did my senior year at Lakewood ranch in Bradenton.

Robyn: Okay. So your family moved Florida from Missouri and as a senior in high school, you had to start this whole new school and social circle and band probably helped that transition. I imagine. 

Chloe: Yes it did. You always meet people like in the summer camps and things like that. So that helped me create some friends and I'm not going to lie. It wasn't the best experience moving my senior year, but I did decide to take advantage of it and kind of broaden my horizons because I went to a really rural high school in Missouri. So it was kind of like a culture shock. Florida is very different from Missouri. Oh, you've never been to either not very different. So. Band definitely helped with the transition. And now I have connections. I actually work at Lakewood ranch. High school is like a marching band tech now. 

Robyn: . So you got hired by your role band to help out there. That's awesome. Do you remember when you decided to be a music major? Was it like an aha moment or some special teacher that encouraged you.

Chloe: Yes. So like Sean, I'm going to do music education, and I've really always had a passion for teaching since I was a kid. But when I got into high school, I fell in love with marching band. Of course. And I had a moment. We went to a Missouri music educators conference and our school got selected to perform and we work months and months, and it was a lot of hard work and we finally performed and we stood up, everyone was clapping and it was just. This immense feeling of accomplishment, like your hard work paid off. It was so satisfying and fulfilling. And I was like, I want to feel like this forever. And I also had two amazing band directors at my previous high school who I still talk to. They're still really big mentors of mine, and I just always looked up to them.

Robyn: That's fantastic. What a great story. And I know that feeling you're just floating, everybody's taking in what you want. You just gave us this gift of this offering of this musical experience and to feel that feedback, one of the things that we're missing right now, right. And COVID and pandemic performances. Yeah. For certain, in addition to being our principal clarinetist in the. SEF symphonic band, Chloe tell our listeners all the other things you do for the STF music program. 

Chloe: I'm a music ambassador for our music club, for the student government association, just going to meetings and making sure all the things are all tied up neatly in a bow, kind of for our organization. And then I also am a stage crew manager and I always help at all the concerts and performances we have here at SCF. I think that that's it. 

Robyn: You played in the pit orchestra for the musical. 

Chloe: Yes. I almost forgot about that. Yes. It was a lot of fun. 

Robyn: It was, that's an extra thing. That's not a class that the orchestra takes it as extra time. And Sean, you played in that orchestra as well, right? 

Sean: No, I didn't. I did the lights up in the back though. 

Robyn: That's right. That's right. You were the light guy, like at the last minute. 

Sean: Oh yeah. 

Robyn: I remember now. Yeah. 

Chloe: Mr. Willis. I had a similar story. He was like, Chloe, we really need a clarinet player. I was supposed to be a stage crew for it, you know, and he's like, we really need a clarinet player. And so I finally gave in, I was reluctant because orchestra music for clarinet is always in horrible keys, but I actually really enjoyed the music. It was a lot of fun. I'm super glad I did it. 

Robyn: Well, it was a great production in the orchestra sounded great. And the lighting was great. So lady go, both of you now, Chloe let's flash forward 10 years from now, what will Chloe's music career look like? What will you be doing with your music degree? 

Chloe: Well, I hope to graduate with masters actually, and then start teaching, but I'd like. To be working at a high school by that point, I want to do secondary education. Really. I know I'll probably start on in middle school, but I want to have my own marching band. I'm super excited for that. And then maybe later in the future, after I work at a high school for a long time, of course I might. Start my college career in teaching. 

Robyn: Yeah, it's a great goal. The say I did nine years as a high school band director and I loved every minute of it, but both of you saying, Oh, you want to teach in college? I would say it's a great goal. It's just a really neat place to work. Very different from public school, both wonderful in their own ways, both challenging in their own ways. But it's a great goal to have. Now. Chloe, why did you choose SCF to study music over, for instance, going straight to a four-year university.

Chloe: Well, to be quite honest, I was kind of lost after I graduated high school. You know, it's always a weird time when you graduate. And you're like, Oh, what do I do now? Kind of thing. I always wanted to pursue education further, but I had moved from Missouri. So I had a school I really wanted to go to there and I was kind of stuck. Cause I was like, where do I go now? You know, financially, it wasn't really feasible to move back to Missouri. And I applied to a few schools and I just decided. I'll do community college. There was always like this stigma in my head about community college, that it was for people who didn't do well in high school, but I learned that's not necessarily true. And it was a lot more academically feasible. I don't have any loans right now. Yay. 

Robyn: Yay. Debt-free degree. 

Chloe: Yeah. And I, I used to live in Bradenton, so it was kind of the school. That was in the area and you actually came to Lakewood ranch, high school and talks about the scholarship auditions and stuff. So that kind of started me off there and that's right.

Robyn: Yeah. And I have to say, as a professional, I had those same sort of thoughts when I was applying for college jobs. And I was offered a job at the two year school. I kind of had those say, Oh, I don't know if I want to teach it at same sort of stigma. Right. I want to be at a four year school. And then I took this job. Thank you. Well, I'll stay five years and this is year or I think 12 and I don't even look for other jobs. I just love it here in the mission that our college has sort of the specifics for students. Just like you, I call it the bridge school. You don't want to go off, can't afford yet, or don't want to spend the money going off and can have more personalized classes here. Or your music theory class is much smaller. You have kind of more one-on-one effects. Now, Sean, you've only been here during COVID, so we hope we've been trying to present. To the students, not that much different of an experience, but I hope it has a bit of a downer for you. 

Sean: No, not at all. I've gotten through all my classes perfectly fine.

Robyn: Good. Okay. Now, Chloe, are you excited about being in this competition? 

Chloe: Yes, I'm very scared, but I'm excited. I always love new opportunities to play music and it helps that I'm might get the chance at a scholarship to help me out in the future. 

Robyn: That's right. It's a $2,000 scholarship if you win. 

Sean: Wow. 

Robyn: Really cool. What it is. It's when you transfer to your four year school, it's a thousand dollars for your junior year and then a thousand dollars for your senior year and they just wipe that right off your tuition bill. It's something to practice for right now, Chloe, tell us, what are you going to be performing for the competition?

Chloe: I'm going to be playing clarinet Sonata in F minor Opus one 67. They always make the name super fun by Camille Saint song. And then I'll also be playing an unaccompanied piece. It's kind of like a. Exercise more like by Bay Kovak and it's called Omaj RJs Bach. And for the Sonata, I'll be playing the first two movements.

Robyn: Okay. Okay. Now the homage to JS Bach, it's a piece that it's kind of contemporary, but written to sound like Johann, Sebastian Bach. 

Chloe: Yes. 

Robyn: Yeah. That's kind of cool. Cause the clarinet and the saxophone, neither one were invented during Bach's time. He would have never written a piece for you guys. So that's kind of a neat concept.

Chloe: Yes. I was very skeptical at first because I play Bach pieces for like bigger ensembles and they're always like repetitive and like a lot of just like running 16 notes for my instrument. But I actually really enjoy it. It's very fun to play, but it's a little intimidating cause it's unaccompanied. So it's just you. And when I played for recital hour, you don't really realize how quiet it is until you first play and then you take a breath and it's just dead silent. There's no piano there. So 

Robyn: when you could hear your breath. 

Chloe: Yeah. 

Robyn: Yeah, because it really focuses you there. And it's interesting. Cause Camille says sauce is a French composer. And even though eight off Saks was a German, he invented the saxophone in France. You're doing a Russian piece. Yeah, glazing off. 

Sean: Yeah. But a funny thing is that Alexander Glazunov wrote the saxophone concerto in France. So 

Robyn: because the sax one was so huge in France, the Paris conservatory, a lot of folks don't know this, but the Paris conservatory would have a competition. Every year for their composition students to write the jury pieces for all the instruments. And so a lot of the music we have for solo instruments comes from France, from the Paris conservatory from this competition because every year they would write new pieces for every instrument. And then they would get published and they've just kind of worked their way into our studios where we learned them. So that's how that works. Well, what I hate about this competition is that since we have nominated two woodwind students, you guys not only have to compete against the rest of the state would win players, but you also have to compete against each other. So Chloe, how will you feel if Sean wins and you don't.

Chloe: I'll be so excited. It's always like team SEF, you know? And Sean's an amazing player. And this past year we've only been to school together for a year. 

Robyn: We're really a semester. 

Chloe: Yeah. 

Robyn: Yeah. One semester. It seems like a year because it was a COVID semester. 

Chloe: Yeah. I've seen Sean play and heard him play and. He's an amazing saxophone player. And I would be so happy if he wants. 

Robyn: And Sean, you are in a unique position. Actually. You may not know this, but because you are a first-year student, if you don't win, you can actually compete again. Next year, 

Sean: two tries. 

Robyn: So don't be too upset with Chloe. Then if she beats you this year.

Sean: Yep. Yeah, I can take it next year for you. Take it this year. 

Robyn: That's right. Or if one of you wins, you just give half the money to the other. 

Sean: Yeah. 

Robyn: Yeah. They're both laughing at that one. No, 

Chloe: I like Sean, but I'm sorry. 

Robyn: She won't even take you to Starbucks. 

Sean: Starbucks sounds better. Now 

Robyn: that wouldn't be a lot cheaper than sharing your scholarship. Okay. I have a couple of rapid fire questions for the two of you. Are you ready? 

Sean: Sure 

Chloe: as ready as I'll ever be 

Robyn: Snapchat or Instagram, 

Chloe: Snapchat, 

Sean: Instagram. 

Robyn: Really two different answers. All right. All right. I'm not good. Either someone, a music student tried one time to teach me Snapchat. I have an account out there somewhere. I don't even know how to access it, but that could have been my COVID project. But instead I started a podcast. Okay. Beyonce or Carrie Underwood, 

Chloe: Carrie Underwood 

Sean: fiance. 

Chloe: I'm not a huge fan of either. 

Sean: Yeah. I mean, yeah. 

Chloe: They're all right. 

Robyn: What do you listen to. 

Chloe: Not that 

Sean: band music and rock 

Chloe: to several genres. The only genres I really don't like, or like techno EDM, I'm pretty open to different music styles. So yeah. 

Sean: Ops, not one of them. 

Robyn: Oh, okay. Well, Carrie Underwood is more country country, right? Yeah. No, Sean doesn't even, Sean's like Carrie who? 

Chloe: I used to listen to her a lot, but I was never a big Beyonce person.

Robyn: Oh wow. She's got good beets. Okay. Disney or Bush gardens. 

Chloe: Bush gardens. 

Sean: Bush gardens. 

Robyn: Yeah. It's just more age specific. I think this needs like little kid, you know, Bush gardens is like. 20 something. 

Sean: Yeah. 

Chloe: Yeah. 

Robyn: I see that 

Sean: 10, the price difference. 

Robyn: Oh yeah. Bush gardens a lot cheaper 

Sean: and closer. 

Robyn: That's right, Tampa versus Orlando.

Chloe: And when I lived in Virginia, we had a Bush gardens there as well. I believe it was the Europe one. And then here is the Africa one. I believe they are all like, are different thing. Continent. 

Robyn: I don't know if you realize this, but Busch gardens is a subsidiary of Anheuser Busch, the beer company, and they used to all have a little brewery on their lot. Where if you were over 21, you could do like a taste test sample of the beer, but. That was like 20 years ago. They've cut all that out 

Chloe: yet in St. Louis. They actually have it in Heiser Bush factory. 

Robyn: Yeah, that's right. That's the original base. Yeah, that's right. You like St. Louis.

Chloe: I do live over there. 

Robyn: Okay. Marching band or concert band, 

Chloe: marching band 

Sean: concert band. 

Robyn: The diversity here are the answers except for Bush gardens. Okay. Last question. What's a doozy music theory. Or poking your eyeballs out with scissors. 

Chloe: Music theory, 

Sean: music theory. 

Robyn: You both like music theory. 

Chloe: Yeah. And I actually figured out I'm pretty good at it. I did it in high school too. I took AP theory my senior year. 

Robyn: Once you figure it out, how it works academically, it really brings everything into focus. But even like in your practicing, I remember the day I was practicing scales and arpeggios and all of a sudden it. Just made sense. What I was learning a music theory class and what I was doing on my instrument. Even looking at the piano part, you know, it like, Oh, This all comes together. And when you become band directors, you'll use that skill every day, particularly transposition figuring out chords, how to make it in tune. That kind of thing. That music theory stuff comes in really handy. So gum glad you both.

Chloe: Yeah. Theory just like makes you look at music differently too, and hear it differently. You start to hear more. 

Robyn: Yes. 

Chloe: See more. 

Robyn: And I have to tell you the music theory class at every school. No matter where you are in the world is what separates those that will make it as musicians and those that won't. So if you like it and you're doing well at it, you've already, it's like 90% of the music education. So good for the two of you. Well, Chloe and Sean you made it through the rapid fire. We wish you both the best of luck at the best of the best concert on Thursday, January 21st at 7:30 PM on the SEF music, Facebook page and at the competition. I just know you are both going to be fantastic. Now go practice. 

Sean: Okay. 

Chloe: All right. Thank you for having me. 

Robyn: We'll be back after this break.


Robyn: Welcome back to the Suncoast culture club podcast, where we are talking with our student artists competition competitors. On this episode. Let me introduce you to Nick Von trombone and Nathan Reed tuba, both low brass players, both come to  SCF through Riverview high school, where they were both in band and the low brass section. And they had been best friends. , for about four years, they are both music majors and I am so thrilled to be sharing their stories with you today. Welcome to the club guys. 

Nathan: Thank you.

Nick: Thank you, 

Robyn: Nathan. 

Nathan: Yes. 

Robyn: How was your break? 

Nathan: Break was good. Worked a lot. 

Robyn: You work at Publix? 

Nathan: Yeah. I work at Publix. I'm in a grocery there started this summer. What does that mean? So like we put stuff on the shelves and we want, 

Robyn: you're the guy that's always in my way, when I'm trying to get something, 

Nathan: I deal with a lot of people that come on with me, ask me where the Pringles are.

Robyn: Everybody wants some Pringles. Now, Nathan, how did you decide to play the tuba? What point in your life you're like, I'm going to play the tuba. 

Nathan: I didn't really decide someone else decided for me, , I lived in Tennessee for, , a good portion of my life and yeah, I, I actually grew up a little South of Knoxville about an hour South of Knoxville. So when I moved here in middle school, It was , halfway through the seventh grade year. And I accidentally,  had a tech class put on my schedule and I didn't like tech and there obviously wasn't music programs in Tennessee. So the band director at Sarasota middle school, Tamar Lewis, she overheard me talking with the counselor and she's like, Hey, we'll use you in band. So they put band on my schedule, walked in the first day and she's like, Hey, you're going to play tuba. And I'm like, all right, well, I

Robyn:  didn't know any different. 

Nathan: Yeah, exactly. And then 

Robyn: she headed into a new said, can I play the Piccolo? 

Nathan: Yeah. I had no idea. And , since my music knowledge was very limited, , I didn't know what a concert band was. So , I figured I was going to walk in and  play piano or something. Like I no idea what this world was. And after a little bit in band, like at the end of eighth grade, I wanted to quit band. I didn't like it that much. And I wanted to play football instead. Cause that was like, No, what the popular kids were doing. Quote unquote, and then she didn't let me quit. Thank God. I love her so much. And now here I am a music education major. So it all worked out. 

Robyn: That's a great story. Now, Nick, one of the things we should full disclosure on the podcast is your dad is the orchestra director at Riverview high school. I've known him. since I moved here. And I bet you are maybe five or six years old. When I moved here. So  I was trying to imagine you as like a little six year old kid. But anyway, so your dad, norm Vaughn is a trombone player. , and your brother came through our program and he was a trombone player. And so  I bet you didn't even have a choice. Am I right? 

Nick: No. I had a choice. I joined band at Booker metal where my brother went. So the band director knew me. , it was like beginning band. So it was the first day. And it was pick your instrument or pick one instrument and one to two. So that day I picked trumpet. Cause I was like, 

Robyn: yeah, say it again louder. That's a pretty cool instrument. 

Nick: It is a pretty cool instrument. Yeah. For jazz and concert band and everything.  . And then  , they handed out mouthpieces and I realized that my lips were a little bit too big for the mouthpiece. So I just switched over to the. Second lowest instrument. That was the trombone. 

Robyn: That's right. Cause the trombone mouthpiece is larger than the trumpet mouthpiece. So if you tried to do that little buzz and it didn't work, it was try this one and it worked.

Nick: Yeah. 

Robyn:  So then you were stuck on trombone forever. 

Nick: Yep. 

Robyn: Now Nathan, you also have learned to play trombone in addition to tuba, correct? You play that in? 

Nathan: Yeah. And the BSL here as well, 

Robyn: he believes based Ramon and the Braden dins symphony orchestra. Yeah, 

Nathan: it was actually next dad. Norm he gave me that bass trombone that I play on  as a graduation gift last year. Yeah. So that was Zach's old horn, 

Robyn: you know? Mr. Vaughn didn't get Nick anything for graduation. So I, yes, 

Nathan: I got a new Nick got a new laptop. 

Nick: I got a laptop. So 

Robyn: I got a laptop. Does that so bad? Nick. Do you play any other instrument besides trombone? 

Nick: I play drum set. I can trumps like that. I also play cello. I played it in middle school and high school for a little bit, but then I kinda got a little bit tired of it because. I wasn't too good at Kelo. 

Robyn: You know, chill was one of those instruments where you really kind of have to be good for it to sound good. There's  a line, right? You're either kind of ER, or you're like, I'm playing. Yeah, 

Nathan: it's crazy. I played cello last year, too in the orchestra, like as a senior. And , it's one of the hardest things I've ever tried to take on. It's horrible because , like you were saying, you're either really good at it, or it just sounds like a cat, like there's no in between.

Robyn: Yeah. All right. Well, I did not know you played drum set. 

Nick: Yeah, 

Robyn: that's impressive. So, Nick, when did you decide to make music kind of your life's career? I'm going to be some sort of musician. 

 Nick: It was kind of in the middle of high school, like middle school and beginning of high school. I wanted to be a fifth grade teacher   specializing in math. Cause I was pretty decent in math. I kinda kept getting better at trombone. And then maybe junior year, I was in a brass quintet with Nathan as well at our high school. And I  really liked the music. And I was interested in making music on the computer   with different programs.  And I found out that, Hey, you can make a living out of this because other people make Music for artists, for contemporary artists, et cetera like that. So then I heard, Hey, you can even be a  audio recording production person. 

Robyn: Right. 

Nick: So I heard that and I was like, that sounds pretty cool. So in junior year I took a class with a producer in Sarasota who taught me how to use a program called Ableton computer 

Robyn: familiar. 

Nick: Yeah. So I started playing with that and then I figured out why not just do this forever? 

Robyn: That's cool. So if we flash forward 10 years  what's going to be on Nick's business card, what are you gonna be doing?

Nick: Hopefully producing movies or just sound audio , for albums and subtract that for artists. I know UCF, university of central Florida has  an audio recording degree  for one of their. Bachelor of arts and music. And so when I was in orchestra, we went to universal a couple of times and did a recording session there for like a part of a movie. They had 

Robyn: a, 

Nick: yeah, I saw that and I was like, that's really cool. So hopefully I can internship there or at Disney since it's there and maybe lead my way into there. 

Robyn: Super cool. What about you, Nathan? When did you say, Hey, I want to be a musician. 

Nathan: It was my freshman year. And we Riverview , and we were under Mark spring,  famous FBA hall of fame director from review. He retired after the first year I was there. So I don't know if that was something in mind doing or what, but we did this thing before the football games where we would get the whole band, the whole drum line, cram everyone  into the band room. And Ruby has a huge band. So when you get that many people in that small space,  we didn't have to social distance. Then the  sound was just crazy. , we were playing Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles. That was our opener for that year. And just hearing that sound with everyone. And I remember getting goosebumps and , the hair statement on the back of my neck. And I was like, I want to be able to create this experience for people and put people in this environment. And I just think that's one of the biggest things for me. 

Robyn: So you decided as a freshman in high school, would you, you're going to be when you grew up. This is so cool. 

Nathan: Yeah. And , I never had any second,  thoughts about it. And I remember I looked back at that. , it just keeps growing and it's coming here too. It just keeps growing and getting better. So, 

Robyn: yeah, , I didn't make that decision until the summer before my senior year of high school, very similar experience where I was at a summer camp, , and I sat there and that rehearsal with it. Oh, I have to do this every day of my life. Same. . So  Nathan, you decided you want to be a music education major. You want to be a high school band director. 

Nathan: Yeah. High school. I want to teach high school for a little bit, but I see kind of myself taking the path that you did, like getting your master's and your,  doctorates and eventually teaching at a university. Cause I know a lot of high school directors do that. They'll teach high school and then move on to college later in their career. I see myself taking that kind of path to I also am very interested in Composition, I'm taking composition here this semester with Rex Willis and I really like arranging stuff, like arranging marching stuff and like for percussion and like not necessarily DCI type stuff, but you know, like the Hal Leonard stuff and all that kind of, kind of jazz.

Robyn: Yeah. There's a , good market for that. You have that skill, you can make a lot of money. So you're in this process, you're a senior in high school. You've got many choices to make. Why did you decide to come to SCF? 

Nathan: Well, I originally knew about SCF because Nick was coming here because Nick is a grade above me. So we always kept in touch.  , it was always on my radar that I wanted to end up at FSU, but , it's just me and my mom and I wanted to stay close to home and stay with mom for now, , so that transition process is easier. And I know, , financially SCF is obviously a better route to go. And I think a lot of people Like when I was in high school, it's like, Oh, you're going to SEF. And then  when I was coming in, I didn't know exactly what it was going to be like. Cause I feel like people knock on community college compared to a university. Cause  some people are like, , , Oh, well, if you're a performance major, you have to go to Julliard or you have to end up here because it's no other way. And then upon arrival here, I was just blown away by  the staff and by the, . Close, , one-on-one care that is given to you for your music education. I think it's phenomenal. 

Robyn: That's awesome. I'm glad to hear that, Nick,  , what made you decide to come to SCO? 

Nick: Um, said no, because his act was already six hours away. So she said don't move anywhere too far. , I also stayed here because  I  still want to stay home. . I have time. So, I mean, there's no really rush. And I really like how you can take the same amount of classes because we have a friend who goes to USF. He was asking me a bunch of music theory questions, and it was like, I already know it because Nathan's , doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. So it's like, you can take the same classes that your friends are taking at major universities and you can be saving a couple dollars. 

Nathan: Yeah. 

Robyn: Yeah. A couple of dollars  the actual cost differences, one third. So a class that costs $300 per hours, only $100 per hour here. So you had financially a very smart move on both your parts.

Nathan: And I think too, ,  , when you get into those big universities, you have like 30, 40, 50 people in your theory classes and here  I know because of COVID,  the numbers are smaller, but even if when you have this personal classroom and these personal relationship with say professors that you might not be able to get at those big universities, at least in this way, I think we come out of here when we're ready to transfer. Ahead of the game if at least caught up. But yeah, that's really good. 

Robyn: And that's a great point. The other thing I say to people is if you had gone straight to FSU, for instance, Nathan, like you said, you want to go to, they have students there that are masters and doctoral students. And so you don't get like first chair in the top. Orchestra the top band, because you're dealing with doctoral performance majors on tuba, right? You're like in the third, fourth, fifth, six band, whatever. Yeah. I have an oftentimes as an undergraduate. Yes. You don't even get to take lessons with the major teacher on your instrument. You have to take with grad students, these doctoral students that are training to be, to be teachers, they experiment on you. So here, , you get the top notch instructors and you get. The solos in the band and orchestra and that kind of thing. So that's something else. I always try to talk about the advantages do a place like this. Now, Nathan, you said you wanted to transfer to FSU. Nick, where are you? You're looking to transfer to, you said UCF.

Nick: UCF. That's pretty much the closest. School that does , what I want to really do. 

Robyn: Yeah. And that's one of your goals is to stay close and you'll move there, but you can't drive to Orlando from here every day. 

Nick: No,  I know a friend who goes up there, so I might be talking with him, maybe rooming, if I ever. Get accepted, but so far I haven't received any notifications. 

Robyn: You've sent all your stuff in though. Okay. All right. Well, when you're there, will you have the opportunity to play trombone in that degree program or is it just all you and a laptop computer from one out. 

Nick: With the school of music, you have to be on your instrument like here as well. You have to keep playing your instrument. So , I'll still be playing trombone up there. I hopefully I will be able to even get in the band there and, or maybe in the jazz band. Cause I know they  have. Really good bands up there. So 

Robyn: yeah, , they're both  great schools. Florist St. UCF. Really good. We send a lot of students, both those places. All right, Nick, what are you playing for? The competition? 

Nick: I am playing Ferdinand, Davi feeds, trombone concert, Tino OPAs for, it's also known as the Davide, which is a pretty standard trombone piece. And then I'm playing. Lars Eric Larson's sonatina. , which is  really weird. It's um, 

Robyn: really well

Nick: I do. Yes.  , the only reason why it's weird and difficult because it's in three, two. There's no key signature. And yet it goes into pretty much any key that at once do it has a flat and then a sharp. So I've started playing B-flat and C sharp. I was like, why can't you just put D flat? 

Nathan: I'm flexible, flexible. 

Nick: Yeah, , it's weird, but it's fun as well. 

Robyn: Here's the most important thing, learning these two pieces of music and preparing for this competition. It's made you a better trombone player, don't you think? And a better musician 

Nick: it's made me play in different keys that I've never thought of playing because  , for brass players. We play a lot in flat keys and sometimes there's. D natural, which is too sharp. So it's,  foreign. It's not foreign to me, but it can be foreign. Sometimes 

Robyn: both of you take lessons from Harold van Skye, who is the bass trombonist in the Florida orchestra in Tampa. And he travels all the way from Tampa here to teach you too. And I'm sure that's a neat, I mean, he, the guy's just fabulous and his pedigree at all of his colleges, he went to and yeah. Yeah, 

Nathan: he's been all over. 

Robyn: He's all over and he's all over you guys. Let me tell you this whipping into shape. So Nathan, what are you playing for? The competition? 

Nathan: I'm playing six studies in English, folk song, Ralph Von Williams tune. He took some classic English folk songs from around,  the English countryside and, , put together a bunch of English folk soon, some arrangements, some twist on them. So that's really nice piece. I like pulling that. And then I'm also doing a Dante and Rondo by Antonio Capucci, which is a double bass concerto. That was written by him. He's an Italian violinist and that piece is really fun too. I've played it before, but I haven't played it in a while. And when I played it the first time , I didn't give it justice. So I'm trying to, 

Robyn: and it's kind of nice how a double bass piece works well for two butts, same range. And I mean, there's, I'm sure different technical considerations, but that's pretty neat. Huh? Something interesting about Ralph one, William, some people will call him Ray fun Williams, like in England. Yeah. But you know, we take for granted now that we can just pull out our phones and record something. But back in the day, when Vaughan Williams was alive, the portable recorder was brand new. This idea that you could go to someone and press a button and it would record what they're saying. And so he and my favorite composer, Percy Granger would travel the English countryside and find. People working in the fields and farmers and stuff and say, Hey, , sing me a song you would sing while you're working crops or whatever. , so they would record. I mean, this was like true. The first kind of ethnomusicologist really, they would record all these English folk songs and then set them for different instruments, piano band. Whatever. So they really have a special place in music history for what they brought to the table for English folk songs. So that's pretty cool. Okay. Got a couple of rapid fire questions for the two of you.  . . So I'm really interested in this first one halftime show or parade.

Really the tuba player likes the parade. Are you kidding? 

Nathan: Yeah. Cause you get to, , you get to have fun. You get to move, you get to swing a little and I think, yeah, braid. I like braids. 

Robyn: Well, I have to tell you, I went to the university of Tennessee and when I was in graduate school, we went to the national championship game, which was the Fiesta bowl at the time played Florida state. And we had a March, the Fiesta bowl parade. It was eight miles long. It was, I think 127 degrees. And nearly every tuba player dropped. We ended the parade, I think with one lowly tuba player that made it, they were just dropping like flies. 

Nathan: I'd like to change my answer. 

Nick: Yeah. You were at 

Robyn: my parade. 

Nathan: We won a big parade.

Nick: We went to Chicago, my junior year, his sophomore year. You really want to say you like parades. It was probably negative. In the degrees windy because it's Chicago. 

Robyn: Yeah. 

Nick: I think I had a huddle around my friends I had around Ryan, because he was, 

Nathan: well, it's funny because obviously since we're in the guilties, , our uniform was a kilt and I was telling Nick, it was weird coming to SCF. This is really one of the first times in my life as part of like my semi-professional career that I have performed wearing pants. No seriously though. So when we had our, when we had our. First concert at the beginning of the year,  my tuba was like slipping in a different way. Cause we had like the Sporin that would hold everything up and I'm like, wow, this is weird. I'm like might have to bring a kilt, but it was fun. It was fun.

Robyn: Have made the dress code. No.  So Nick, I want to let you know a little bit of a history. You know, Chicago, they call it the windy city. Cause you said it was windy in Chicago, but I know this for a fact, Chicago is not called the windy city because it's windy there. Chicago is called the windy city because back in the day it was this huge town at gossip. And so , when they call it that when it got its nickname, it's because like all the mobsters and stuff, they just talked and gossiped and all that. So Wendy meaning like. You know, you long winded, you just talk too much. Yeah. So a lot of people from Chicago supposed to be talkers, maybe I should move there. Okay. This was going to be super easy. Bass, clef or treble clef. 

Nick: Bass 

Robyn: solo bass. But , did you have trouble learning to read trouble? Clef 

Nathan: kinda. Yeah,  in high school, I took AP music theory with Nick's dad. He was my theory teacher, my first theory teaching letter, and he really drilled us and I'm like, wow. This, this sucks. And then he's like, yeah, well you get into college. You're gonna have to run tenor, clef, Alto, clef. And I'm like, what? 

Robyn: Yeah. It gets harder. Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, it's a concept. And once you learn the concept of what I call the. The chart and graph , it's all one big thing. We teach it in little segments, which makes it then hard for you to learn the other segment. But it's just one big thing. 

Nathan: Yeah, it's good. I still have to count like with Seacliff, I still have to count lines all like, Oh, let's see. Count, count, count, count, count. Oh, that's a, that's a G 

Robyn: yeah. Well, you'll get past that maybe tomorrow. All right. There's only one, right? Answer here. Radio or podcasts. 

Nick: Podcasts, 

Nathan: podcasts, 

Robyn: radio anymore that's what I'm saying. All right. Oh, this'll be good. Cause you guys are from Riverview. So this is kind of like your area in your like young and hip. Well, you're you're young. I don't know if you're hip, but alright. Siesta key village or St. Armand's circle. 

Nick: So Norman's 

Nathan: of the village 

Robyn: he village. Interesting. Yeah. Yeah.  St Armand's for me, it's just easier to get to, and it seems like, you know, I'm like an old lady and they have old lady shops there in the village is like, , Ice cream and yeah, 

Nathan: I think the village is better for musicians too. There's usually always some live music down there and especially on the beach, like on Sundays they do the drum circle. I don't know where they're seeing that down there, but yeah, that's that's really cool. So I think it's, I think it's

Robyn:  all right. That's killer. Cool. All right. Here is your last question. Tijuana flats or taco bell. 

Nick: Tijuana. Yeah. 

Robyn: Taco Tuesdays racks.

Nick:  I'm not messing with taco bell. No, 

Nathan: I liked Chipola though. Why are we leaving out your, 

Robyn: what about Fuzzy's have you read a fuzzy, 

Nathan: so let's go after that. 

Robyn: You have to wait until taco Tuesdays, but Tia want to flash. I used to eat there and then one time I took like, I didn't eat all my chips. And so I took the bag of chips home in the bag. And the next morning the bag was just soaked with grease from those chips. I said, well, maybe I shouldn't be eating that anymore. You at me,

Nathan: Nick, that's funny on the way here. I was just telling Nick in the car. I did a challenge at the Tijuana flats on 41 across from the hospital. They have like one of the hottest hot sauces in the world. And they'll say, Hey, we'll give you a free taco. Eat it, you can't drink or eat anything for 10 minutes. And if you do, we'll get your picture on the wall. And I actually did it as soon as I turned 18 and my pictures on the wall. 

Robyn: Really, we could go there and like shoot darts at it or something fair. Very cool. Well, congratulations guys. Made it through the rapid fire, you are both gonna knock it out of the park and the student artists competition and in the best of the best recital, which the whole world can see on Thursday, January 21st at 7:30 PM on the SCF music Facebook page. Now go practice. All right, we'll be back after this break.


Robyn: Welcome back to the Suncoast culture club. Our final two student artists competition musicians are Sylvia Hernandez, soprano, singer, and Henley Connor, jazz drum set player, Silvia, and Henley. Welcome to the club.

Henley:  How are you doing? 

Silvia: Thank you. Hello. 

Melodie: Thanks for joining us.   Sylvia,   what have you been up to over the break? 

Silvia: A lot of practicing. 

Melodie: Yes. 

Silvia: It's practice practice. 

Melodie: Yes. We had a little texting back and forth and she said, yes, I am staying with it.  Let me know how you got to SCF. How's your journey here? what high school did you go to? 

Silvia: I went to Manatee high school  all four years. And, well, I didn't want to go anywhere else. I wanted to start here and see how it went here and if I was like really with it. 

Melodie: did you consider being a music major at the very beginning or were you not sure?

Silvia: Yeah, I had my heart set on being a music teacher at first step. 

Melodie: That's great. And I know that I met you the first time outside on one of the orientation days and you were walking by and Nick, my CLO, who also went to Manatee high school, said, Hey. And you knew each other 

Silvia: and Fred grabbed me too. 

Melodie: Fred Brown? Yes. All Manatee high school grads. And, , you came over and you're like, yeah, I play the violin, but I also sing too. 

Silvia: Yes, ma'am I was all about the violin coming out of high school. I had no intentions on being a singer, 

Robyn: but wait, let me ask, because at Manatee high school you were in the orchestra. 

Silvia: I was.

Robyn: And you were in the choir? 

Silvia: Yes. 

Robyn: Okay. So you had miss ,  

Silvia: Yeah. Miss Ms. 

Robyn: Yes, Ms. E and you had Mr. Genesco and I would come over there right. And work with the orchestra on occasion. 

Silvia: We loved when you would come over fun days, 

Robyn: fun days. Right. And so you knew we had an orchestra here. Did you know how good our choir program was?

Silvia: I did not know. 

Melodie: , after that, and then, so he said, okay, I'll be in choir. And then. She was also in fundamentals of music. And then as I heard her sing in choir, it was going on and I was like, whose voice is that? 

Robyn:  Who's angelic voices. 

Melodie: All of a sudden I was targeted seeing her. , and I think I had you come sing. And I was like, Okay. I'm sure you play the violin very well, but you have an amazing voice.  And then I said, well, maybe we can do lessons next semester. Cause I don't think you were taking violin lessons at the time. 

Silvia: I don't take bioload less than .  Well I just realized like singing is. No offense. It's more fun. 

Robyn: No, I agree. I sang long before I played an instrument,

Melodie:  and you still play the violin and you still play in the orchestra and you still enjoy doing that. But I think  all of a sudden, you're like, this is really my thing.

Silvia: It is. I realized I was good at it. 

Melodie: He wasn't very good at it when she came and you took lessons and the spring, and that kind of got derailed with COVID, but we kept going and then you've been took lessons over the summer. And what I noticed with Sylvia was just an incredible natural instrument. And I said, if this is what you want to do, you really have to work at it. And most lessons she's really worked at it. Occasionally, not so much, but we all have those right. Dr. Bell, you know, I'm sure you did. Probably not many. I know I had a couple of lessons, , with a teacher  were, they were like, yay.

Robyn:  I was always just scared to death. I was scared to go into a lesson, not prepared I would rather not show up and go, Oh, I didn't practice this week, 

Melodie: but I know I had things where I thought I was prepared, but then when I got in there, I realized I really hadn't done as much as I should have. Did that ever happened to you? 

Silvia: It happened many times. 

Robyn: Can I just interrupt because here's something important, a distinction, I didn't go to a state college. A two year college. I went to a four-year college and I didn't have to have a job.  I lived on campus cause I went to a big school. I was like five seconds from the music building. And so that was my life going to my music classes. I would practice six hours a day. The students that we have at state college are very different. When I say I practice six hours a day, I saw the look on your face. You'll be a, you were like, what? It's true. I would get an hour and a half in before my eight o'clock class. I was in the practice room at six 30 in the morning because the practice rooms would fill up. You wouldn't have any more time. And after class, I'd go back to the practice room where I would practice my trumpet. I do my music theory. It was like my little office, you know, and then, well into 10 o'clock at night. The whole place, always still practicing. So is a very different mindset. I'm sure the same for you.

Melodie: Yes. Well, I started in a community college my first year, and that's when I really realized that  that natural talent that you come with from high school and that natural musicianship, it didn't go that far. I really had to practice. And I think that's one thing that you realize too, because you are a very good musician as well as a singer, but you also work. Quite a number of hours a week. 

Silvia: Yeah. 

Melodie: Yes. Taking care of children in the afternoon.  , that is a challenge for most of our students are working, , 10 15, 20 plus hours a week. ,  I think when we first talked to you are definitely, I want to be acquired director. I had a wonderful high school teacher. I would like to be in that model and,  do that in this past year. In fact, in chamber choir. You had a chance to do a little conducting, what was that like? 

Silvia: That was nerve wracking because they're my peers and, , they can judge you on it and kind of based off of that, but it was fun at the same time once I kind of got used to it. 

Melodie: Right. And you're very calm and collected and you knew you were prepared for that, but I think as time went on, then maybe you were like, well, I could do vocal performance. And I think maybe I have the skills to do that. Did that go through your mind? 

Silvia: It did. 

Melodie:  I know at the beginning of the fall semester, I said, Sylvia, we're going to be having auditions for symposium, student artists. I said, are you up for being considered? And you said, 

Silvia: I said, I was scared. 

Melodie: She said I'm scared, but I'll do it. And so she really, really worked very hard and Sylvia had to learn seven songs, the 

Robyn: seven songs, wow. 

Melodie: Seven songs and many different languages. And,  that was not easy. 

Robyn: Sylvia. What's your favorite language to sing? 

 Silvia: , definitely Italian. It's easiest to understand 

Robyn: flows off the tongue. Well, and 

Silvia: it does. 

Melodie: But she's having learned French and German and 

Silvia: French easier. I just got my first German song last semester and yeah, it was hard to learn 

Robyn: hard language now. besides English, do you speak another language  

Silvia: yes. I speak Spanish. 

Robyn: Okay.  , are you doing any Spanish songs? 

Silvia: Not since my first semester doing lessons last spring. 

Melodie: Right. But we have done it. So tell us what song will you be singing for the best of the best concert? 

Silvia: I will be singing needed. High-low by  cloud Debussy? 

Melodie:  What happens is in the final jury, all the students have to sing Dr. Bell or they play. And, and that the end of the jury, then the teachers decide who   were the best all around. They were the most prepared, the most beautiful tone, et cetera. 

Robyn: And I will say for people that are listening, that aren't like kind of regular musicians. Yeah. And they go, what in the world's a jury. Cause it sounds like we're taking you to the courtroom, but basically I like to explain it is it's just the final exam for your. Private lessons for the semester where you have to perform in front of, in your case, all the vocal faculty, and they give you comments in a grade, and then together, the vocal faculty, Ms. Dickerson say, okay, we can pick two people. These are the two that perform the best at their jury. 

Melodie: That's correct. 

Robyn: And Sylvia was one of those.

Melodie: She was 

Robyn:   Sylvia, what are you going to be when you grow up? 

Silvia: A singer, 

Robyn: can you make money being a singer? Like what's a perfect, like an idea 10 years from now. What's an ideal day in the life of Sylvia to make money. It's a tough question. 

Silvia: And nipped up question. 

Melodie: And I think we don't even really know what a lot of times I tell people, Dr. Bell is like, just get really good at your, or as a singer. You and you'll figure it out. 

Robyn: Yeah. You obviously want to perform. 

Silvia: Yeah.  

Melodie: Still teach maybe? 

Silvia: . I do. At some point. Want to teach, 

Robyn: like Ms. Dickerson's job be an ideal job for you at a college where you get to conduct choir and teach private lessons and perform.

Melodie: You can come back and take my job one day, Madam, you just keep buying 

Robyn: no stickers and you're never getting out of here. 

Melodie: Right? Okay. So, , I'm very proud of Sylvia and she's really worked very hard , and just accomplish this in a spring, a summer and a fall and made great progress. So I think we're very proud to have her as one of her student artists 

Robyn: and on the opposite side of that, because. And being the orchestra director. I only knew Sylvia as a violin player. And so here we are in recital, our class and she's on the program and I knew she wasn't taking violin lessons. So I thought, what is this? And she was seeing, okay. Cause I know she was inquired, but I don't think I realized she was taking lessons. And then she came out , and she opened her mouth and those pipes  on Whoa, Sylvia. I had no idea. Awesome. Cause I only knew was as a violinist in the orchestra. 

Silvia: Yeah. Everyone tends to have that reaction when I show them any video of me singing. 

Robyn: Right. They're like, where did that come from? 

Melodie: So I think you actually were surprised by the reaction of people weren't you.  I think one thing that like your voice is there, your pitch is incredible. Your musicianship is wonderful, but what's been the hardest thing for you. 

Silvia: Finding the time to actually like practice everything and  just throwing myself into it, 

Melodie: right. Getting to that performance level, like knowing all the music, knowing how the voice operates, all of that. And that's great. But unless you can communicate that to the audience, that's not enough. And it's,  very scary as a singer because we don't have any instrument in front of us and it's just us. And we have to be able to  emote 

Robyn: and to me also, and especially the Silvio working at a preschool because  like, I'm a trumpet player. If I catch a cold, it's really no big deal. I can still play my trumpet, but with children and their germs, right. Does this affect cause there's singers, you get a cold, you're like you're out for a week. You know, you can't sing.

Silvia:  I actually just got over strep. 

Robyn: There you go. 

Melodie: Thank goodness. It was last week. 

Robyn: Wow. Yeah. And  when you work in a place like that, it just kind of keeps coming back around and back around. It just passes.

Silvia:  It does. And it's very hard. So you have to also conserve your voice for that.  

Robyn: Now you  also, somewhere along the path, this summer caught the COVID virus, right? 

Silvia: I did. 

Robyn: Yeah. 

Silvia: Back in  the end of June, 

Robyn: , did it do yearn for awhile? 

Silvia: Not really. It just affected by my breathing and stuff. Right. For a while. 

Robyn: It's interesting how it affects different people. So. Well, I'm excited to hear your portion of the concert and the duet. You're going to talk about the duet

Melodie:  and I already interviewed on, uh, , Rodriguez and  last semester, I decided to have several students learn some duets together and. I just thought that this was before I even knew that the two of them would be chosen. had no idea because there's a lot of really good singers here at SCF. So you just never know who's going to shine on that particular day. And I had them learn,  one of the most famous soprano Alto duets in the world, the buck huddle , , by Shaw. Often from buck and, , in it's in French and it's just gorgeous. And the two of you sound beautiful together, and they're also going to sing that at the best of the best. 

Robyn: . You know what? Let's take a quick listen. Cause I think the listeners will recognize this tune, that Sylvia and honor singing together. Here's what that Bach role sounds like. Oh, that'll be really nice. 

Melodie: Beautiful.  

Robyn: . So Hindley, Hey Henley. You're one of those very special and quite frankly, lucky students to have been with us for four years now. 

Melodie: The longterm plan. 

Robyn: Yes. He's going to get his baccalaureate degree with us. 

Henley: Yeah. 

Robyn: It took you a little time though, to come around to deciding, to be a music major. But what I find most interesting about you is that , you have this side hustle job. , tell our listeners about the empire you have built in your basement. 

Henley: Well, , I own a studio and I've been recording and mixing and mastering and producing for like, Oh no, around seven or eight years. 

Robyn: That's amazing. Like when you were in high school, you started this. 

Henley: Yeah. Yeah. And that's, that's really my job. I haven't had to have another job since then. 

Robyn: So people pay you, they come to your house and record and you mix it or you go to them. 

Henley: Well, they come to me, but I can go to them. But right now, actually over break. We just moved into a new house and there's a separate shed in the back and it's huge. And I'm building it from scratch, putting walls up.

Robyn: Wow. You got a shisha. 

Henley: I heard that for the first time. This weekend. I did not know what it was. 

Robyn: I think you should call it the mix shed. I'm good at name and stuff. I'll work with you on that potting mix yet. Ms. Day. That's not nice. I would love to see that when that's done that, that sounds super cool. So have you worked with anybody that's kinda made, made it sorta big or what? What's like a big project you've done? 

Henley:   My most, I guess you could say famous artists that I worked with growing up, his name is Ray dub and , . He blew up, like got real famous when he was real young, you know, that can kind of mess kids up. Cause they can't really 

Robyn: handle the fame and 

Henley: the money and all that. So he had like maybe  25 million on YouTube. 

Robyn: Wow. And you worked with him to mixes product. Wow. Yeah. And  . You were a student at Booker high school and you played the trombone in the band. How did you get then into drum set playing? 

Henley: Well, actually I didn't even know. I wanted to play drums. My mom saw me banging on counters and just got me one for Christmas. And then I fell in love and that was that, that was like seventh grade. So I was already into the trombone and stuff. 

Robyn: Right. So you never played drum set for the public school? Anything? 

Henley: No. 

Robyn: All right. And so you graduated from Booker high school. You have this whole world ahead of you and you say I'm going to go to SCF. 

Henley: Actually, I didn't even want to go to the college. Yeah, but , I got here. Then I just, it took four years cause I was doing, I was doing my general ed and then Ms. D convinced me really, really convinced me to be a music major. And that's two more years of completely different requirements. And I said, sure, why not? 

Robyn: Are you glad that's a good decision you've made. 

Henley: Yeah. 

Robyn: Because you also, you play in the jazz band, you play then the presidential jazz combo. When we're able to have that post COVID you play in the symphonic band, , like real live percussion, you played timpani and mallets and all of that cool stuff. We've never asked you to play trombone here. 

Henley: Nope. 

Robyn: Do you play any other instruments?

You keep that a secret. Yeah. 

Melodie: Well, I was going to say I was very. Impressed and surprised in the fall when , there was a piano recital and I see Henley's name on it. And I was like, and they played the piano. He had no idea. And really very, very nice jazz chops. And you're studying with Mr. Brin. 

Henley: Yes. 

Robyn: He's a great jazz piano player. You learn a lot from him. I bet. 

Henley: Yeah, totally jazz. He's great. 

Melodie: , and I just wanted to say that I did not force you to become a music.  But , sometimes  people need to just have a little. Push. . And I think Dr. Bell and I, we can see what. Potential is in students now, whether or not they go through it, but sometimes you need like that little push to say, you know what? You can do it. And it was on that symposium trip. Wasn't it? 

Henley: Yep. 

Robyn: No Henley. When you finish SCF, is it going to be this semester or will we have you for your number five 

Henley: the last semester?

Robyn: So when you graduate this semester, where do you want to transfer to, or do you want to transfer 

Henley: well? So I was just talking to Mr. Brendan about that. Um, It all depends on how universities are looking at the end of the semester, because I don't really want to pay all that money to be on a computer. So I'm going to still do all my auditions. And then , if it's still like locked down by the next fall, I'd probably just take a  year off to scare you. But, 

Robyn: but you do, you have this recording and producing thing going? So . How would you maintain that if you had to move to, I don't know, UCF or FSU or wherever?

Henley: , , it'll just come with me. 

Robyn: Okay. It's portable. 

Henley: Yeah. Yeah. 

Robyn: But you have contacts here, but you have contacts all over. 

Henley: Yeah. I would say that's probably the biggest advantage of being here is I have a good name around, like, it's a lot of clientele, but it's not hard to build your name. If you just.

Robyn: You put out a good product now, Sylvia, where do you want to transfer to when you graduate?

Silvia: I've been looking into UCF a bit. 

Robyn: Okay. 

Melodie: I would like for her to audition. I mean, there's several schools that show of course. 

Robyn: Well,  when Henley and I talk about his future, he says he sees himself as like a touring drum set player for like a pop or R and B or 

Henley: anybody.

Robyn: You want to be a drum set performer on the stage with the lights and the big amplification and losing your hearing and all that. Right. 

Henley: Yeah. But also. I want to do two things. I want to do that and, , keep the studio going and like expand it. 

Robyn: Right. 

Henley: You, one of those studios where orchestras can come and record like really 

Robyn: big space for that.

Henley: Yeah. Yeah. What was it like two or three left in New York that can hold like an entire orchestra.

Robyn:  I soundstage 

Melodie: everything's gone so much digital, but even  recording and what,  you're using and recording the materials, get smaller. And it's really all about the microphones. Right. Having really great microphones of course, 

Robyn: is what the music degree here is going to help you with. Now, , tell us the three pieces you're going to play for the competition. 

Henley: Oh for the competition, I'm choosing to play along tracks because that's what they have for drummers.  , out of the April saw catalog and I'm looking at playing take the, a train. And I haven't decided on the last one, it's either going to be a John Coltrane tune or a Duke Ellington tune. But, , the third choice I have to do just a straight up solo, no accompaniment, no track. So. Those are the three, 

Robyn: you just have to solo. And I have to say for the jazz competition, your requirements are completely different than everybody else. Yeah. So what's important in your audition to  make sure you win, what do you have to do?

Henley: Well, I have to  be creative. I can't just go up there and start playing. I know they want to hear a story, but also see what I'm capable of doing. I'm not just gonna, you know, just, don't go out there and go crazy. Give a hundred percent right away. 

Robyn: So you're talking about the improvisation. 

Henley: Yeah.

Robyn: Yeah. Cause drum solos can go kind of nuts, 

Melodie: but I'd like that tell a story because really that's why I tell the singers all the time.  Nobody else may know what your story is, but we'll know if you have the story. So I'd like to know that an instrumentalist has that sort of thing and  haz playing the piano or playing trombone. Has that influenced you as a drummer? 

Henley:  , I don't feel like trembling helped me or influenced me with drums, but starting piano a year ago. I think that's helped me with drums, but drums has also helped me with piano cause really it's. All rhythm and I see drums and piano is like opposite. So, 

and I'm going to tell on Henley here for a second. I know you don't know that I know this, but when I go into jazz band rehearsals, I always come in that back door where Henley has set up with his drum set and dark carnies leading the rehearsal and he starting and stopping and fixing and starting in this. And there's never a sheet of music on Henley's stand. So how does he even know what song there aren't but , I think his ear is so good and his feel is so good. , but I noticed that in jazz band that when I Sue you, you don't have music up, but yet , you immediately know when to kick the band off. You immediately know where the fills are and where there it is in the music as unique. 

So coming to SEF, , I didn't know how to read drum music and , I never played really jazz. So Dr. Carney really helped me with being able to sight read better and reading the drum sheet music. But now , I'm to the point where.  , I can just look at it a couple of times. And then when I go like home or in my car, listening to it is the best for me. 

Robyn: Right. 

Henley: Because , looking at a piece of paper, I just feel like it's holding me back, 

Melodie: but you also play in the symphonic band and you have to read music for that.

Henley: That's a little different. 

Robyn: Right. He would never not play without his music there. And when he doesn't have his music, I know it 

Melodie: gorgeous you know, it's very interesting because , the jazz idiom does require that improvisational skill level in a different way. But I feel that you have to know the basic, you have to know what you're doing in order to be able to improvise. If you're just throwing it out there, you're not going to have that story. You're just going to make it up. So you have to work out. And I think it's very interesting that these two students  are both  multiple instrumentalists and a singer, an instrumentalist. And I kept saying, I wanted you to hear you sing, but you've never let me hear you sing.

Robyn: He's going to bust out a Nat King Cole solo at the jail. They had cost her. I just know it

Melodie: got a nice low voice. . , so we're  going to ask you some questions, give you  couple of choices and you just have to make a real quick decision pick one. Okay. , this is for both of you Chuck Taylors or vans. 

Silvia: Taylor's yay. 

Robyn: Chuck Taylor. I don't even know how that van company. But, well, yeah, I noticed you got some vans on, 

Silvia: but Congress are definitely more comfortable.

Robyn: Give me my chucks. All right. I think I know the answer to this one. Mac or PC Mac.

Not even a choice, is it 

Melodie: okay? I'm still on my PC. 

Robyn: We won't tell him you miss days. 

Melodie: He still got my Dell 2008 computers don't work. Okay. Sylvia opera or musical theater. 

Silvia: Musical theater. 

Robyn: Why is that? 

Silvia: It's more fun. You can do more with it, 

Melodie: but you're such a classical singer. 

Silvia: I am a classical singer, but the one musical theater piece that I had , last spring. It was so much fun. 

Robyn: Yeah.  All right. Henley swing or funk.

 Henley: You know the answer to this one too? Well, 

Robyn: that's my funky Handley right there. I gave him a big drum solo. Remember last two Springs ago, right out in front of the band. We did a piece called sticks and stones and he, yeah, he got the jam out. He's so funky. All right. 

Melodie: So. You like to work out from my male friends 

Robyn: Henley. He's my bodyguard. Yeah. 

Henley: Me and Dr. Bell got some workout routines together. 

Melodie: LA fitness or crunch. 

Henley: Um, yeah. See, we don't even go to the same gym. I just lied current. 

Robyn: I got a crunch  non COVID, 

Silvia: but LA has, that's had my membership for 25. 

Robyn: How did that happen? Singers get cheaper rates. 

Melodie: I had my membership on the roads outside my home. 

Robyn: That's right. That's right. All right, Sylvia. Singing or playing violin singing. Wait. Whoa. Well, , congratulations, Sylvia and Henley. You made it through the rapid fire and have lived to tell about it. 

Melodie: We're so proud of the two of you, and we cannot wait to hear your performances at the best of the best concert, along with all of your colleagues. Next Thursday, January 21st at 7:30 PM. On the SCF music, Facebook page will be live streamed from the Neal auditorium. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. 

Silvia: Thank you for having us. 

Melodie: Yes. 

Robyn: . And we hope all of you can join in virtually to hear all eight of FCF. Music's most talented students perform their best musical offerings. It's going to be a fantastic night of live music streamed, right to your living room, even in color, miss D color.

Now everyone go practice.