2023 Music Alumni Notes

Gregg Cannady, B.M., Music Education, 1985; M.M., Music Education, 1989

Gregg Cannady
Gregg Cannady

Gregg co-founded and is COO of the non-profit, One Voice 4 Change, where innovation is the center of global collaborative learning adventures. A glimpse of the miracles that have come from One Voice 4 Change can be seen on YouTube:

At “One Voice,” the learning approach is simple: student-driven, teacher-facilitated, and subject matter expert inspired/informed. “Everyone listens to everyone, nobody tells students what they have to do, and we value relationships above content and curriculum,” said Gregg, who quotes Dr. Zabaneh, Belize Minister of Education, "We will no longer teach content in Belize, we will create collaborative learning experiences allowing our students to know what to do with infinite content." Let Greg know if you are interested in collaborating! https://www.onevoice4change.org

Kevin Whalen, B.M., Music Education, ‘04

Kevin Whalen headshot
Kevin Whalen

Kevin Whalen is an associate professor of trumpet and jazz studies at Texas Tech University. He has appeared throughout the U.S. and Canada as the solo trumpet chair of the Glenn Miller Orchestra and toured internationally while holding a jazz trumpet chair with the Grammy-nominated University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band. He has appeared on more than 20 commercially released albums in jazz and classical idioms and has performed at many notable venues abroad. Dr. Whalen currently performs in the Palisade Trumpet Collective. He presented research at multiple national and international conferences and led masterclasses at universities across the U.S. His trumpet students have won positions in the Disney All-American Band, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Eastman Jazz Ensemble, the United States Army Band Pershing's Own, the UNT One O'Clock Lab Band, the National Trumpet Competition, and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition. Dr. Whalen was previously on faculty at Columbus State University Schwob School of Music, the University of Northern Colorado, and was a teaching fellow at the University of North Texas. He holds a D.M.A. in trumpet performance from the University of North Texas, an M.M. in Jazz Studies from the University of Northern Colorado, and a B.M. in Music Education from Colorado State University. Dr. Whalen is a Conn-Selmer Endorsing Artist and plays Bach Stradivarius trumpets. https://www.kevinwhalen.com

Alicia Blanton, B.M., Music Education, ‘04

Alicia taught at Solvang School in Solvang, California, for eight years and retired in June 2022. While there, she created Google classrooms for grades K-5 and choir, supplying appropriate materials and songs for online instruction and distance learning via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarah Vogel, B.M., Music Education, ’03; M.M., Music Education, Kodaly, ‘07

Sarah Vogel headshot
Sarah Vogel

Sarah joined the Early Childhood Special Education team at Challenger Elementary School in the Thief River Falls District, Minnesota, in 2020. Sarah began teaching in 2004 in rural northeastern Colorado, where she taught K-12 music until 2016. In 2017 she accepted a Kindergarten position in North Dakota following a family move and “fell in love with teaching early childhood.”

Andrew Cogswell, B.M., Music Education, ‘11

Andrew Cogswell
Andrew Cogswell at the 2021 State Marching Band finals

Andrew is the director of bands at Alameda International Jr./Sr. High School in Lakewood, Colorado, where he serves as the performing arts department chair. When he started at Alameda, the school did not have a marching band. In the past ten years, they started a marching band, and in Fall 2021, the band made the state finals for the first time in school history. Andrew has received a 2015 Jeffco Value Award for Exemplary Performance and was named the 2016 Colorado Honor Band, Band Director of the Year. Andrew is also a member of the school’s Design Advisory Group for renovations and new construction.

Derek Smith, B.M., Music Education, 1999; M.M., Music Education – Conducting, ‘13

Derek and Liam Smith
Derek Smith and his son Liam, a senior trombone player, at the 2021 Bayfield High School Homecoming

Derek is the director of performing arts at Bayfield High School in Bayfield, Colorado, where he worked to help the Bayfield School District pass a bond and design a top-of-the-line performing arts facility. His students have participated in All-State Band, Choir, or Orchestra every year since 2007. He was named Durango Masonic Lodge Teacher of the Year in 2009 and 2010, received the 2010 BP Excellence in Education Award, and the 2017 Boettcher Distinguished Educator Award.

Maisie Phillips, B.M., Music Education, ‘20

Maisie Phillips headshot
Maisie Phillips

Maisie is an elementary music specialist at Sanborn Elementary School in St. Vrain School District, where she started after-school choir and drama club. With 45 students in choir and more than 75 in drama, “about 120 students out of 250 want to be involved in music!” This year, Maisie took the choir on two field trips where they sang the National Anthem at her feeder high school's opening basketball game and sang at an assisted living home. “My students don't get a lot of opportunities to travel due to the economic hardships they face, so to provide even these simple trips were life-changing for them. I hope to one day have my choir perform at CMEA, and travel around Longmont performing for our community.” In the classroom, Maisie developed an independent study for the ukulele. “It is a flipped classroom where they watch videos and learn to play chords while also setting goals and receiving feedback in small groups that meet with me,” she explained. Students also learn to tune the instruments by ear. “This unit has tons of student choice, and teaches them accountability, so when they get to middle school band/orchestra/choir, it's easy for them to understand how to practice on their own time and set goals to improve.” Maisie also serves as the Gifted and Talented site coordinator and is on the leadership team, representing specialists. In April, Maisie won Teacher of the Year for her school during a district-wide Tribute to Teachers awards ceremony.

Xareny Polanco, B.M., Music Education, ‘21

Xareny Polanco headshot
Xareny Polanco

Xareny teaches instrumental music at Timberline Pk-8 in Longmont, Colorado, where the enrollment is approximately 90% Latinx/Hispanic. “As a Chicana/Latina myself, it is important to me that these students see their value in their identities and how that can serve them in the future, as well as now,” she said. With programs such as Mariachi, along with having a strong feeder system, Timberline increased opportunities for students to find their passion and contribute to the greater community. Mariachi co-teacher, GSA, BITOC Collective at CSU; Twitter @musicpolanco

Megan Doyle, B.M., Music Education, ‘22

Megan Doyle
Megan Doyle

Megan oversees the music department, including band, choir, and orchestra, at Sierra Middle School in Douglas County School District, Parker, Colorado. Three of her students were accepted into the Douglas County Honor Band this spring.

Madeleine Cort, M.M., Music Education, ’22

Madeleine Cort
Madeleine Cort

Madeleine is the band director at Sunset Middle School in Longmont, Colorado.

Natalie Morris, B.M., Music Education, ‘22

Natalie Morris
Natalie Morris

Natalie is the music teacher at Canyon Creek Elementary School in Austin, Texas.