Swope Music Building
817 S. High Street
West Chester, PA 19383
School of Music
Dr. Christopher Hanning
Will Hillegeist, M.M.
Matthew Scott Miller
Robert (Bob) Rust
Recording Engineer/Video Technician
Director, Acoustic Instrument Technical Services
Major: Music Education and Clarinet Performance
Hometown: Tabernacle, New Jersey
Expected Graduation: 2019
Why did you decide to attend West Chester University?
Deciding to attend West Chester was easy for me. I came from a school in South Jersey where all of my directors were alumni of West Chester and they not only were great teachers but they were great musicians as well. I knew that I wanted that education. I wanted to be able to do what they did as well as they did it. I didn't really take a lot of time to consider New Jersey in-state schools because while they had great music programs, I wanted to be a great musician and a great teacher. When I entered my junior year of high school, being so in love with the university, I decided to arrange a lesson with Dr. Dannessa and that was when I made up my mind because she is just wonderful.
What is your favorite thing about the School of Music?
I have always found it challenging to find people who will routinely push you to become your best. It takes a lot of dedication towards an individual to help them strive for excellence. For someone to truly be a great educator, they have to be dedicated towards their subject matter and towards the people who share a passion for it. The students in the School of Music are all here because they have felt a pull towards this art form but for us to continue to grow, we have to be pushed everyday. I love that from the moment I walk in the door in the morning, I know that my best is expected from me. I feel like I can become something great with the guidance of the professors here. Not only are they dedicated to their craft, but they are also dedicated to the people who share their passion. They have taken the steps to becoming great and they know how to guide other people to being the same.
What didn't you know about the School of Music before you came to WCU?
Coming in to college, I expected new adventures. I had no idea that the School of Music would be able to offer so many real world experiences, though. As students here, we get the opportunity to perform throughout the community. There are always new travel opportunities being offered to ensembles and smaller student groups. And as great as our faculty is, we always have guest performers come in and give master classes. I can honestly say that one of the highlights of my time at West Chester so far has to be when Ricardo Morales sat in with the orchestra and I got the opportunity to play along side him.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
I came to West Chester to become a great educator and I have no doubt that I will graduate with the skills to do that, however, there are many opportunities being a duel major has opened up for me that I never really considered before. The current plan is to go on and get my masters in clarinet performance but who knows what I will dream of doing next week. What I am sure of is that West Chester has opened doors for me I didn't even know existed and I'm excited to explore what I could potentially do with those options over the next three years.
What would you like to tell students considering WCU or the School of Music?
Music is a hard field to study. There are so many different components to learn about. I think the School of Music does a great job at thoroughly preparing students to become great musicians and teachers. Our curriculum challenges us to go beyond our comfort levels and train ourselves to continuously look for new learning opportunities. But beyond the School of Music, I think West Chester University presents a great dynamic between students and staff that has created an environment incredibly welcoming. I personally would not want to be anywhere else.