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Two programs initiated by the School of Music exposed students to world-renowned artists, representing a diversity of musical and philosophical styles. These programs seek to challenge students to pursue excellence as musicians: the Artist Concert Series, a program that draws artists from every spectrum of the music community to perform on campus; and the Jascha Heifetz Society, a nonprofit educational organization that partners with universities and colleges in presenting master classes, recitals, and educational forums. The spectrum of artists included virtuoso violinist Tibor Varga, jazz pianist Monty Alexander, and internationally celebrated conductor Joseph Silverstein. In addition to the concerts, artist-led seminars and master classes allowed students to interact with and learn from acclaimed performers.
Phillip Sousa ’02 attended many of the events offered by both venues and experienced a paradigm shift as a music major. “After seeing someone who has attained a high level of achievement, either through their voice or a musical instrument, it encourages me to work harder,” said Sousa. “Being exposed to these artists has snapped me out of an everyday grind, and now I want to strive for that same type of excellence.

“I learned that pursuing excellence is a way of worshipping God,” said Sousa, who has a double emphasis in church music and music education. “When I practice, I honor Him through my diligence and desire to put forth nothing but my best.”