Trombone Students

  • Entering trombone students
  • Entering trombone students

New Graduate STUDENTS 2020-21

Adam McCoy

Hometown: Xenia, Ohio
Degree Held: B.A. Music Education (2019), Wright State University
WMU Major: Trombone Performance

Adam McCoy, native of Xenia, Ohio, graduated with a degree in Music Education from Wright State University in May of 2019, where he studied trombone with Dr. Gretchen McNamara. While at Wright State, Adam served as principal trombone in the Wright State Wind Symphony and Chamber Orchestra and served as secretary for the Wright State Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association chapter. While in high school, Adam also performed with Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Adam often plays with Dayton area theater organizations, including Beavercreek Community Theatre, Dare2Defy, the Dayton Playhouse, and various high school productions. Adam also served as the Assistant Music Director and Orchestra Conductor for Disney’s The Little Mermaid at the Dayton Playhouse. Adam has performed in master classes and taken lessons with renowned trombonists such as Jan Kagarice, Mathew Guilford, Megumi Kanda, Shachar Israel, and Nick Laufer.

In his spare time, Adam enjoys playing disc golf and spending time with his fiancé and two cats.

Ian Warshaw

Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
Degree Held: B.M. Trombone Performance (2020), University of Kansas
WMU Major: Trombone Performance

Ian Warshaw is a first year graduate assistant in the School of Music trombone studio, where he is pursuing a M.M. in trombone performance. In high school, Ian was selected three times to the Kansas All-State Band and Orchestra ensembles and was a member of Kansas City’s own Fountain City Brass Youth Band for three years. During his time in the Youth Band, Ian participated in the North American Brass Band Association competitions with the band and as a soloist. He was also principal trombone with the Youth Symphony of Kansas City; he performed at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and toured Ireland with this group.

At the University of Kansas, Ian was the jazz chair in KU’s Jazz Band 1, which performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the Vienne Jazz Festival, among others. He was also principal trombone in the KU Wind Ensemble and principal trombone in the KU Symphony Orchestra for four years. He has recently served as a substitute 2nd trombonist with the Kansas City Symphony. His teachers include Janne Silfverberg, Porter Wyatt Henderson, and Dr. Michael Davidson. 

In his spare time, Ian likes to play pool and table tennis, unicycle and juggle.

New Undergraduate students 2020-21

Claire Eickhoff

Hometown: Three Rivers, Michigan
School: Three Rivers High School
Major: Music Education 

An Honor Student from Three Rivers High School, Claire is very excited about achieving her dream of becoming a WMU Bronco! Claire started private piano at age seven. Over the next 10 years she took lessons in voice, percussion, and trombone. Most recently, she ended her high school music career as the senior drum major for the award-winning Three Rivers High School Wildcat Marching Band. Off the field, Claire was French horn section leader for the Three Rivers High School Concert Band, and she played trombone in the symphony band. With the band she performed a featured piano solo at the Michigan Music Conference in January, 2020. One of her favorite moments on trombone was performing a featured solo in the 2017 Three Rivers marching band show “Summer,” playing a jazzy rendition of “Summertime.”

On the vocal front, Claire was section leader and president of Three Rivers High School’s top choir, The Aristocrats. She also performed on stage in several high school and community theater productions, including vocal leads in Footloose and Mamma Mia! She also was the vocal director for the Three Rivers Middle School musical, Alice in Wonderland Jr.

During the summers of 2018 and 2019, Claire attended leadership and conducting training at the MSU Performing Arts Marching Band Auxiliary Camp. She participated in several years of Michigan Solo and Ensemble in voice, trombone, and piano. She was a featured soloist on baritone during 2018 band festival and had a blast during early morning rehearsals playing trombone and piano in the jazz band.

Outside of music, Claire is employed at Walmart and enjoys gaming, drawing, reading, and hanging out with her cats Almond and Screech.

Abbey Schaedig

Hometown: Lansing, Michigan
School: Grand Ledge High School
Major: Music Therapy

Abbey Schaedig is an incoming freshman from Lansing, Michigan who attended Grand Ledge High School. She has been playing trombone since the fifth grade and has been heavily involved in her school's various band programs. She has previously studied with Jonah Weller and Stefan Stolarchuk. She was in the GLHS Wind Symphony for three years, a group that was recently invited to perform for the WMU Spring Conference before it's cancellation due to COVID-19. Abbey was involved in marching band all four years of high school and performed in the pit for her school's 2019 musical rendition of White Christmas. She earned superior ratings at all her District and State Solo and Ensemble events and was in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Honors Band for two years. In addition, Abbey was nominated as an outstanding soloist in 2019 and was invited to compete in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival concerto competition. She competed in the Lansing Concert Band concerto competition in January 2020, placing fourth. Most recently, Abbey was principal chair in the Purdue Fort Wayne Honors Band. She was also invited to perform with the Con Brio Voce brass band in Big Rapids, MI and was nominated for the WMU All Star Band, which was also scheduled to perform at the spring conference. On the side, Abbey has enjoyed performing with her church's brass group and her school's trombone quartet.

When not playing trombone, Abbey enjoys singing, learning new instruments, playing with her cat, watching Disney movies, and eating popcorn.

Victoria Vandenberg

Hometown: Kaukauna, Wisconsin
School: Kaukauna High School
Major: Music Education and Trombone Performance

Victoria Vandenberg is an incoming freshman from Kaukauna, Wisconsin. She is doing a double major in Music Education as well as Trombone Performance. Victoria has taken part in the 2020 Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall as well as the 2019 High School State Honors Band. She recently performed as a soloist with her high school band for the Wisconsin State Music Association (WSMA) state solo and ensemble festival.

In addition to trombone, Victoria is a pianist, and she has done some work on saxophone. This past year, Victoria has been an apprentice to her middle and high school band directors. Her work with the band programs includes teaching lessons and writing and executing teaching plans, a process that has allowed her to learn a great deal about other instruments. 

Victoria was the lead trombonist in the Lawrence Academy Wind Ensemble for four years, and also took part in the St. Norbert Youth Symphony for two years as first chair. 

In her free time, Victoria loves walking her dog, baking, and sketching.

Returning Students 2020-21

Nathaniel Chiu

Hometown: Vicksburg, Michigan
School: Vicksburg High School
Major: Trombone Performance

Nathaniel Chiu is a "post grad" senior tenor trombonist who was named a co-winner in the 2020 International Trombone Association's Larry Wiehe Solo Competition. In 2019 Nathaniel was named the Honorable Mention selection in the same competition. Nathaniel loves music and loves people who love music. With parents who encouraged music for their children, Nathaniel grew up surrounded by magnificent, melodious sounds and started studying violin at age four--taking after his older brothers. Nathaniel studied trombone with Kip Hickman for eight years. He is a two-time Michigan All-State member, performing with the all-state band his junior year and the all-state orchestra his senior year. A four-time State Solo & Ensemble participant, Nathaniel was twice chosen for the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Orchestra, sitting as principal trombone his senior year. He also played with his high school jazz bands, pit orchestra, marching band, and symphonic band. His most treasured music experience was working with the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra (KJSO) for three years, and playing with the corresponding brass sextet the final year. During the summer of 2018, Nathaniel joined the KJSO as a guest trombonist on a tour of South Africa. In both the summers of 2018 and 2019, he attended the BayView Summer Festival, where he studied from WMU trombone graduate and Youngstown State University trombone professor Dr. Andrew Mitchell (BM '07). 

When not mesmerized by the trombone, Nathaniel takes pleasure in singing in choirs and musicals. But when not engaged in musical activity, he likes to indulge in the learning of science and math. He spends much time observing and judging movies, trying to play chess, and obsessing over Chicago sports (Go Cubs!). The rest of his time is spent understanding the world and having deep and/or silly conversations.

Alexandra Dotson

Hometown: Midland, Michigan
School: Midland High School 
Major: Trombone Performance

Junior Alexandra Dotson grew up in Mid-Michigan enjoying great local music organizations as part of a musical household. Having chosen trombone in fifth grade, she was taught by William H. Monroe, Director of Bands at Midland High School and former student of Dr. Wolfinbarger.

Alli finished her senior year as section leader and 1st chair trombone in the symphonic band at Midland High School. She has enjoyed performing with the Midland High School Symphonic Orchestra, pit orchestras, and jazz band. In the Mid-Michigan Brass Band Alli played both trombone and euphonium. Her trip with the Blue Lake International Exchange Program's Southern Winds helped cement her decision to pursue music as a career.

Alli received the Clara Highhill Memorial Scholarship presented by the Midland Symphony Orchestra. She is also a Bronco Merit Scholarship recipient and a member of the Lee Honors College. Alli was one of three Fine Arts Learning Community Assistants for the 2019-20 school year. She also served as a student worker at the 2019 International Trombone Festival.  

When not performing or studying, she likes to paint, read, play games, watch movies, and hang out with her cat Stitch. 

Scott Dumas

Hometown: Reading, Massachusetts
School: Reading Memorial High School
Major: Bass Trombone Performance

Senior tenor/bass trombonist Scott Dumas, from Reading, Massachusetts, has been playing trombone for nine years. Scott discovered his love for the instrument through the help of his teacher, Philip Machnik, from whom he took lessons for six years.

As a trombonist, Scott has always tried to expand his musical horizons, whether it be through musical groups, festivals, or lessons with other teachers. He has had the pleasure of studying with several renowned teachers such as Norman Bolter, retired trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Don Lucas at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Trombone Workshop. Before Tanglewood, Scott attended New England Music Camp for three years, studying under Dr. David Johansen. He also participated in his district’s junior and senior honor ensembles as well as the Massachusetts All-State Festival, where he was a member of the Massachusetts All-State Band. At Western as a bass trombonist, Scott has performed in most of the top groups. He has also served as a student worker at several recent International Trombone Festivals. 

Scott has participated in multiple musical groups over his eight years of playing. In high school he was a member of his school’s concert band and jazz band for all four years, participating in music festivals each time. For four years in a row his high school jazz ensemble received a gold medal at Massachusetts Association of Jazz Educators state finals. Scott also participated in other ensembles out of school. They included the Senior Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble, Youth Symphony, Woburn City Band, Tonie Barry Band, his jazz combo Swinging for Six, and multiple rock bands. His last year he was president of his high school’s symphonic band.

In his free time, if he is not playing music, Scott enjoys listening to jazz, blues, funk, rock and many other styles. He also enjoys running.

Sydney Grenier

Hometown: Valparaiso, Indiana
School: Valparaiso High School
Major: Music Education

Sophomore bass trombonist Sydney Grenier has a variety of musical and academic pursuits. On trombone, Sydney was 1st chair in her high school’s highest band for three years, and was in the top jazz band for three years as well, two as lead. She has played in several community ensembles, including the Northwest Indiana Symphony Youth Orchestra, the South Shore Orchestra, German Band Inc, and as a sub in the Hobart High School pit orchestra. She was also a member of the Indiana All-State Honor Band her junior year as both a trombonist and a pianist.

As a jazz trombonist, Sydney participated in the Butler Jazz Camp the summer before her senior year where she was a member of the top combo, placing ahead of 12 other trombonists. She also founded and ran her own jazz combo for students of all experiences and instruments as an official chamber group of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Youth Orchestra. Sydney also attend the 2019 International Trombone Festival, which was held just up the road in Muncie. 

Academically, Sydney graduated in the top 20 of her class of over 500 students with a 4.4 GPA, and was one of seven students at her high school to pursue the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. With this program she completed a 3,400-word research paper concerning the tradition of the Cuban Danzón and a modern interpretation of the genre, Arturo Márquez’s Danzón No. 2. At Western she will be a member of the Lee Honors College. 

In her free time, Sydney enjoys playing with her golden retriever Cody and playing card games with friends.

Justin Hamann

Hometown: South Lyon, Michigan
School: South Lyon High School
Major: Trombone Performance

Senior Justin Hamann was a member of the class of 2017 South Lyon High School. There he was the low brass section leader of the marching band, the principal trombone in the school's wind ensemble, and the lead trombone in the jazz band. He also was a member of the pit orchestra, although he played piano in that ensemble. During his final two years at SLHS he was a member of the choir program, becoming the bass section leader his senior year. 

He earned top ratings at many solo and ensemble events, and he was a two-time member of the MSBOA All-State ensembles, participating in the band his junior year and the orchestra his senior year. He was also nominated for the Michigan Youth Arts Festival his senior year for a place in the orchestra, the concerto competition, and the small ensemble competition with his brass quintet. Justin was a member of the Michigan Youth Ensembles for three years, sitting as principal his senior year. While at Western he has been selected to be a student worker at several International Trombone Festivals.

When not playing trombone, Justin enjoys participating in other musical activities, including singing. He is currently a member of Western's University Chorale, the most advanced choir at WMU, where he sings bass. Justin also is the current music director of the a cappella group, No Strings Attached, a registered student organization at Western. He is the primary music arranger as well as one of the vocal percussionists and baritone for the group.

Outside of musical activities, Justin enjoys exploring the world with his family through long road trips, camping, and snowboarding. He also loves hanging out with his friends and being an avid baseball (Go Tigers!) and football (Go Falcons!) fan.

Carrie Harger

Hometown: Mason, Michigan
School: Mason High School
Major: Music Education

Junior Carrie Harger was a transfer student from Lansing Community College and a 2016 graduate from Mason High School. At Western Michigan University she is majoring in Music Education and minoring in Secondary English Education. During her four years at Mason, she performed in many solos, duets, and trios and regional and state solo and ensemble, played first trombone in jazz band from sophomore to senior year, and participated in the Hastings Jazz Festival Honor Band in 2016. As a senior she received the Kim Droscha award, which is voted on by fellow peers and awarded to one student in each grade every spring based on their musical excellence and participation in the band program. She also played in pep band throughout high school and was trombone section leader in marching band her junior and senior years. During her senior year of high school and her year at LCC, she studied with Stefan Stolarchuk. She also played with the Lansing Concert Band, led by Dr. Gary Sullivan, from August 2016 to July 2017. Carrie has been a Girl Scout for 15 years, has earned both Bronze and Silver award, and continues to volunteer at camps throughout the summer. While at Western, Carrie was selected as a student worker at the 2019 International Trombone Festival.

In her free time, Carrie loves reading, lifting weights, listening to all kinds of music (except country), and camping with her friends and family.

Alyson Johnson

Hometown: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
School: Lincoln High School
Major: Music Education and Trombone Performance

Alyson Johnson is a sophomore from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a former student of Emily Wehde. She has been involved in a variety of musical activities, resulting in some impressive achievements. Most recently Alyson was named a finalist in the 2020 National Trombone Solo Competition, sponsored by the US Army Band in Washington, D.C. Prior to attending Western, she held section leader and principal chairs in her high school’s symphonic band, orchestra, marching band, and jazz I band. As a jazz soloist she won outstanding solo awards at the Augustana Jazz Festival, Northeast Jazz Festival, and the SDSU Jazz Festival. Alyson was a member of the South Dakota Symphony Youth Orchestra for four years as principal trombonist. She was also a member of the Augustana University Trombone Choir. She attended the Interlochen Trombone Institute in the summer of 2017 and was a member of the Honors Performance Series, performing in Carnegie Hall in 2018. Alyson was a four-year member of South Dakota All-State Band and All-State Jazz Band, as well as the All-State Orchestra her sophomore, junior, and senior years. She has also been a member of several honor groups, such as Augustana Honor Band, Concordia Honor Band, and Sioux Falls All-City Jazz Band. Alyson has played on MainStage JazzFest in Sioux Falls for the past five years as a member of JazzFest Jazz Camp, performing with artists such as Wycliffe Gordon, Harry Watters, Allen Vizzutti, Mark Colby, and Chris Vadala. For the past two years, she has been a trombonist in Fissure Jazz, a local jazz combo. Alyson performed with them at JazzFest in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, Alyson was awarded first place in the Young Musician Concerto Competition sponsored by the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra League and, as a result, she was featured as soloist with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra in October, 2018. In addition to her skills as a trombonist, Alyson was a member of the National Honors Society and is a member of the Lee Honors College at Western. She also attended the 2019 International Trombone Festival in Muncie, Indiana. 

In her free time, Alyson enjoys spending time with friends, thrifting, felting, knitting, and working at Culver’s. She also enjoys hanging out with her cat, Owen, watching “The Office,” and listening to music ranging in styles from jazz to indie to rap.

Alayna O'Connell

Hometown: Midland, Michigan

School: Meridian High School
Major: Trombone Performance

As a sophomore trombone performance major at Western, Alayna O'Connell already has a number of impressive achievements to her credit. Alayna was recently named a finalist in the prestigious National Trombone Solo Competition, sponsored by the US Army Band in Washington, D.C. She was also recently named the Honorable Mention selection in the International Trombone Association's Gilberto Gagliardi Solo Competition, a competition attracting nearly 50 performers from all over the world. In addition, she has had the pleasure of performing as a soloist on master classes by Jeremy Wilson (2020 American Trombone Workshop) and Jorgen van Rijen (2019 International Trombone Festival). Alayna was also recently featured soloist with the Meridian High School Band at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids. 

During high school, Alayna was actively involved in various musical activities. She was selected for the Michigan All-State program on three occasions--as a member of the band her sophomore and junior year (1st chair as a junior), and her senior year (1st chair) with the All-State Orchestra. Her high scores in district and state solo and ensemble competitions resulted in her selection on two occasions as one of approximately 80 finalists for the outstanding soloists of the year, a competition she won her senior year competing against several thousand solo and ensemble entries throughout the state. As a result, she was featured as one of four soloists at the 2019 Michigan Youth Arts Festival (MYAF) with the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony. For three years, Alayna was selected as a member of the MYAF Symphony Orchestra, as well as the MYAF Jazz Band, and was 1st chair her senior year with both ensembles. She was also a small ensemble nominee for her performance with trombone quartet. Alayna was a four-year participant of the Central Michigan University (CMU) Honors Band, as well as a one-year member of the Spartan Youth Wind Symphony. She has also been recognized for her success in jazz. At the CMU Jazz Festival she was chosen as the 1st Runner-Up for Best Soloist Class C two years, as well as Best Soloist Class C on one occasion. At the Alma Jazz Festival she was selected as the Best Trombone Soloist two years, as well as the Best Soloist once. Alayna was a recipient of the Clara Highhill Memorial Scholarship, presented by the Midland Symphony Orchestra. 

Outside of music Alayna enjoys drawing and painting, and her favorite dessert of tiramisu.

Peter Sapkowski

Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Degree: A.M. Music Education (transfer student)
School: Grand Rapids Community College

Bass trombonist Peter Sapkowski is a graduate of Rockford High School and a transfer student from Grand Rapids Community College. At Western he is majoring in Music Education. Peter enjoys playing all varieties of music on both bass and tenor. Since starting the trombone in 6th grade, he has participated in numerous solo and ensemble events as well as his high school's marching band. In his senior year of high school, he received the Louis Armstrong jazz award, and was also selected as a member of the Grand Valley State University Honors Band. Peter has studied and enjoys arranging, composing, and conducting. Since 2013 he has performed with the Grand Rapids Community College Wind Ensemble and jazz band. He also performs on occasion with the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra.

His non-musical interests include building computers, playing video games, working on cars, playing softball and, most recently, playing hockey.

Joseph Stoltz

Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa
School: Iowa City High School
Major: Trombone Performance

Born in New Orleans, Joseph is a senior from Iowa City, Iowa. He has been playing trombone for 10 years and attended Iowa City High School. While in high school Joseph studied trombone with Dr. Jonathan Allen at the University of Iowa for three years. 

Joseph was selected to participate in the 2018 Atlantic Brass Quintet Summer Seminar, a competitive two week program held at Lawrence Conservatory. During high school, Joseph participated in many school ensembles including jazz ensemble, a student led jazz combo, wind ensemble, and marching band. He also played in the pit for Mary Poppins and Guys and Dolls and was principal trombone in the full orchestra. Joseph was trombone section leader of the marching band and lead trombone in jazz ensemble for the past two years. During Joseph’s senior year, the jazz ensemble placed 2nd in the Iowa Jazz Championships in the top division. During solo and ensemble festivals, Joseph received a division 1 rating all four years and played in the honors recital. 

Joseph was principal trombone for the Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra and was a member of the University of Iowa Trombone Choir. He was selected for the Iowa All-State Band his junior year and made 2nd chair in the Iowa All-State Orchestra his senior year. In addition, he was selected for the Iowa All-State Jazz Band for the top division in Iowa. During the past three summers, Joseph twice attended Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Wisconsin for both their jazz and orchestral programs. He has also performed at the Iowa City Jazz Festival the past four years as part of the United Jazz Ensemble. Each summer he also organizes and leads a New Orleans style brass band, College Street Brass, for his family’s annual crawfish boil. At Western, Joseph is the trombonist of the Russell Brown Honors Brass Quintet. He has also been selected as a student worker to both the 2018 and 2019 International Trombone Festivals.

Joseph loves hanging out with his friends, playing video games, spending time in the outdoors, and going to all types of concerts. Joseph is also an Eagle scout and has two cats.

Elijah Swan

Hometown: Aurora, Illinois
Degree Held: B.M. Trombone Performance (2019)
School: Northern Illinois University
WMU Major: Trombone Performance

Elijah Swan is a second year graduate student in the School of Music at Western Michigan University, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in trombone performance as a university Thurgood Marshall Fellow. As a high school student in Illinois, Elijah participated in both the ILMEA Honor Orchestra and Honor Band, and he was selected as a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. Prior to attending Western, he studied with Jeremy Moeller, principal trombonist of the Chicago Lyric Opera and trombone professor at Northern Illinois University. At NIU Elijah participated in the NIU Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony, as well as the NIU Philharmonic. He graduated from NIU with a Bachelor of Music degree in trombone performance. While at Western, he has been selected as a Participant at the Southeast Trombone Symposium (STS) in Columbus, Georgia.

When not playing trombone, Elijah likes to play video games, attempts to play shogi, and enjoys spending time with his cat Simba and dog Buster.

Joshua Vesper

Hometown: Midland, Texas
High School: Midland Lee High School
Major: Trombone Performance

Transfer Joshua Vesper grew up in Midland, Texas where he attended Midland Lee High School. Under the direction of West Texas band director legend Randy Storie, he was principal trombone of the honor band, orchestra, and marching band. In high school Josh was a four-year TMEA All-Region band member, three-year All-Area band member, three-year All-Region orchestra member, including first chair his junior and senior years. After high school, Josh spent two semesters at the University of Texas, Permian Basin where he had the opportunity to play in the pit orchestra for Midland Festival Ballet Theatre’s production of Prokofiev’s Cinderella. After transferring to Odessa College, Josh was selected to be a member of the Texas Community College Band Directors Association (TCCBDA) All-State band where he performed at TMEA, one of the largest music conventions in the world. In addition, Josh was also selected to perform on the Odessa College Honors Recital both of his years there. For the 2018-19 school year, Josh was awarded the Larry Gatlin Award, the highest musical achievement award presented annually at Odessa College.

Outside his love for the trombone, Josh is an avid sports fan and coffee hobbyist. He loves to spend time with his family, friends, and his dog.