Alumni Spotlights

Christine de Michele '05

Christine De MicheleI am a Vocalist, Vocal Coach, Music Educator & Published Interdisciplinary Artist living and working in New York City. 

I maintain a weekly teaching practice through my brand Little Sparrows Music Discovery, and work with 92Y as a program designer and artist-in-residence.  I recently partnered with VRTCL Entertainment Producer/Engineer Terry Derkach, as a Voice Coach for a new studio program to be offered this year. I have worked with New York Philharmonic, The School at Columbia University, the Vocal Department of The Urban Assembly School for Performing Arts, Turtle Bay Music School, The Sarah Anderson School, and Solomon Schechter of Greater Boston. I spent three years as a full-time Performing Songwriter-Voice Teacher at the start of my music career and I am represented as a (SESAC) artist-composer by independent music-publishing house, Black Cloud Productions. I received an M.A. in Music & Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in February 2013. My work can be found on my website

I entered Saint Michael's College as an English Major, and was fortunate that, unlike a conservatory, I was encouraged by the Music Faculty to pursue a multi-disciplinary specialization. As a double major, I developed as a musician and a writer which eventually equated to becoming a singer-songwriter. My professors were supportive, open and highly approachable.  In class and outside, spaces were carved for deep thinking; I studied philosophy and critical theory in addition to the fundamentals of great musicianship. I was taught to question, and I truly owe it to my professors and mentors, John Engels, Nathaniel Lew, Nathaniel Lewis, Jerome Monachino, Dan Marcy, Christina Root, Susan Summerfield, John Izzi and Elizabeth Inness-Brown for creating an environment where I solidified a foundation as a thinker. The way of learning at St. Mike's has greatly informed my approach as an artist, educator and the very nature of who I am today.

Dave Volpe '05

David Volpe '05I enjoy maintaining the challenging but very rewarding lifestyle of a freelance professional composer in Los Angeles. I moved to SoCal in 2009 to attend the Scoring for Motion Pictures in Television program at USC's Thornton School of Music.  There I was afforded the opportunity to mentor with Thomas Newman and study with some of the industry's leading professionals. Since graduating in 2010, I've been working steadily scoring numerous short films, three feature films, and various corporate and commercial videos. You can hear all my latest tracks on my SoundCloud page

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of studying music at Saint Michael's lies in the fact that it is not a conservatory of music. As such, one has the freedom to study various disciplines and ultimately unearth new sources of inspiration and depth that might not otherwise have been discovered under the razor sharp focus of a conservatory.

I did not enter Saint Michael's College with the intention of pursuing a career in music; in fact, I spent the first two years focused on a psychology major. Because the very nature of a liberal arts education is nurturing and encourages questioning and exploration, and because those traits are held to their truest level at SMC, I was able to realize without pressure that music was the direction I wanted to take. The college has a collection of devoted music faculty as well as an outstanding liturgical music minister, all who were willing to walk through fire to help me grow as a musician and deliver me into the best possible post-collegiate scenario. I feel very fortunate and very proud to be a part of the Saint Michael’s family and am convinced my success is due in large part to the support I received there.

Andrew Parise '09

andrew pariseI traveled around a bit after graduating, but it didn't take long for me to make my way back to VT. Before returning, and taking a position as Executive Marketing Assistant at Burlington's own Seventh Generation, I lived for three years in Washington DC working for Senator Leahy. It didn't take long for me to find and join a great chorus in the District called the Metropolitan Singers. It was fun. I was the youngest member by something like 30 years, but it was great doing some expansive works, like Verdi's Requiem, with a huge chorus again. Since returning to VT, I've performed in Lyric Theater's production of Rent and intend to continue doing amateur theater and singing as often as possible. My Saint Mike's education taught me to be well rounded and I've certainly maintained that mentality trying out both politics and now business having majored in Journalism and, of course, Music. Through all of that, however, my education in McCarthy instilled in me that no matter what you're involved with - work, school, fitness, more work - there's always time for music.

Ben Miller '11

Ben Miller '11Originally from the Lake George area of Upstate New York, I am currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland, having recently completed a master's degree in Scottish Ethnology at the University of Edinburgh's School of Scottish Studies. Since finishing my music degree at Saint Michael's College, I have been a professional bagpipe instructor at the Piper's Gathering in Burlington, Vermont, the Maine Pipes and Fiddle Weekend, and Prince Edward Island Fiddle Camp. In addition to teaching, I have also performed in a number of concerts across the Northeastern USA, Canada, and Scotland.

I am currently involved with several musical projects, including the Edinburgh-based Scottish folk music quartet Larsa and various collaborations with Scottish step-dancer Sophie Stephenson, helping to provide music for her classes and workshops across the country. Since moving to Edinburgh, I have also become a regular member of the city's vibrant folk music scene, and I currently host traditional music 'sessions' with friends across the city throughout the week.

As an academic, I have focused on music theory, musicology and Scottish ethnology, at both the Undergraduate and the Masters level. I write regularly for Piping Today magazine, where my undergraduate music thesis was published during the summer after graduation. I continue to enjoy exploring the intricacies of the musical tradition that I engage with, both as a performer and in the ethnomusicological context.

The Music Department at Saint Michael's College has played a critical role in my education, helping me to develop the multi-faceted approach to music that I have adopted since graduating. The guidance and support I received from the faculty in the Music Department helped me to find the right path in both my academic endeavors and in my career after college. Combining musical performance with academic musical research, informed by my own participation and engagement with the musical community around me, I have found an enjoyable and rewarding way to keep music in the foreground of my life after finishing my studies.

Jud Wellington '08

Jud WellingtonI am currently a PhD student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  From 2009-2012, I worked as a teaching assistant in the Music Department here at Illinois, leading four discussion sections a semester for the "Introduction to World Music" course.  This year I am a fellow for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies program at the university, which funds me to study Quechua, the language of indigenous populations in the Andes of South America.  I recently finished my master's thesis, which is about music on the northwestern coast of Ecuador.  Titled "Folklorization and Afro-Ecuadorian Music in Esmeraldas: Discourses of Vergüenza and Projects of Revalorización," my thesis explores the way music is used to express individual and group identities.

For me, the most beneficial aspect of being a music student at St. Mike's was the freedom I had in orienting my learning.  The various ethnomusicology-oriented courses that were available at the time led me to add a second major in Anthropology, all of which has led me to where I am today.  The support I received from Nat, Susan, Doc, and Joss motivated me to pursue a career in ethnomusicology.  After graduating, I Googled (!) "internships in ethnomusicology," and sent out applications with my CV, listing all of the courses I took while at St. Mike's. This led to a four-month internship at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and a four-month (which extended into nine months) internship in Ecuador. 

Currently, apart from coursework, I play in several private groups and university ensembles.  I play percussion and keyboards in a West African band led by master djembefola Bolokada Conde.  I am the co-director of the group Costas, which performs music from the Caribbean and Pacific Coast of Colombia and the northwest coast of Ecuador.  I play accordion in the university ensemble "Balkanalia" which performs music from the Balkans and Middle East.  I also play in a rock band, Sonny Stubble, which has given me the opportunity to travel around the Midwest for performances.  I mention all of these examples because I feel they are manifestations of the freedom I was granted during my time at St. Mike's.

Angeline Smith '00

Angeline SmithAfter graduating from Saint Michael's College and spending a year volunteering with the Edmundite Mission Corps in Selma, Alabama, I moved to Washington, D.C .and earned a M.M. in Vocal Pedagogy from The Catholic University of America. Currently I am finishing a Ph.D. in Musicology with a minor in music theory. I also teach voice and music history as an adjunct faculty member at Washington Adventist University and Towson University.

My time at Saint Michael's helped be become the person I am today. At Saint Michael's, I worked with a talented and supportive fine arts faculty who continue to support me in my musical and academic pursuits to this day. I was able to study many diverse subjects outside of music, an experience that only a liberal arts education can provide. I put on my "Kantian Hat" with Professor Tumulty in philosophy class, explored the "Theology of God" with Professor John Kenney, and experienced many more professors who fed and encouraged my desire to learn. Outside of the classroom, I volunteered with MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts), sang with the liturgical choir, and developed some of my strongest and most enduring friendships. There truly is no other place quite like Saint Michael's College.

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