A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Getting the “Band” Back Together

By Colleen Kearney Rich on November 2, 2015


More than 110 alumni and current students returned to the School of Music for Alumni Weekend 2015 ready to perform. The draw was the opportunity to reconnect with fellow alumni, faculty, and current students—and get the band, orchestra, and chorale back together.

Mason music professor Anthony Maiello conducts one of the pieces during the afternoon rehearsal.

Mason music professor Anthony Maiello conducts one of the pieces during the afternoon rehearsal.

The 80+ alumni from as far back as the Class of 1983 traveled from as far away as California to attend. A number of Mason music professors were on hand to catch up with their former students and conduct pieces, including Joe Kanyan, associate professor emeritus of music, who retired in 2001.

The reunion concert was organized by Lynn Wildman, BA Music ’05, who is the school’s senior academic advisor. Participants were provided repertoire about two weeks before the event and started rehearsing about 9:30 a.m. on the Saturday of Alumni Weekend. The concert, open to the public, including Family Weekend participants and prospective students, was that same day at 3 p.m.

Past conductors joined alumni and students for the Alumni Ensembles Reunion 2015. Pictured left to right are Joe Kanyan; John Casagrande; alumna Melissa (Blye) Hall, BM '02, MM '05; and Anthony Maiello.

Past conductors joined alumni and students for the Alumni Ensembles Reunion 2015. Pictured left to right are Joe Kanyan; John Casagrande; alumna Melissa (Blye) Hall, BM ’02, MM ’05; and Anthony Maiello.

“I haven’t played for this long in months,” said flutist Sara van der Horst, BM ’14, during the lunch break. Van der Horst now teaches band in the D.C. public schools and gives private flute lessons. “I missed being in a band.”

Kristen LaCherra, BA Music ’15, agreed. “My career is in arts management so it is so much fun to sing in a choir again.”

There were lots of hugs and plenty of opportunities for people to catch up—and stock up on Mason gear, judging from the number of Mason Bookstore bags.

“We wanted a way to reconnect with our alumni and to celebrate their accomplishments within our community,” says Wildman. “This alumni event was the first of many we hope to have. We want [our alumni] to know that they are always a part of the Mason family, and we hope that they will come back and visit often.”


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