News & Notes

Erin Johnson '03 Sings Way to Idol Prize

"Erin Johnson sang her way to the top Thursday night and became the Prescott 2014 Idol in the grand finale of summer-long competition at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center," writes Karen Despain in today's The Daily Courier.

The 2003 DePauw University School of Music graduate teaches choir and guitar at Mile High Middle School and Granite Mountain Middle School in Arizona.

"In general, I am a musician," Johnson said in The Courier. "I love all music, and I try to to teach my kids to experience as much music as they can — all realms. That's what it's all about."

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Cancer Researcher, Cellist, Clarinetist: Dr. Sarah Mordan-McCombs '03 Profiled

Dr. Sarah Mordan-McCombs '03 "delights in seeing the growth her students make during their time at Franklin College," according to a profile of the professor published today by the Indiana college.

"Mordan-McCombs plays the cello and the clarinet," notes the profile about the DePauw Symphony Orchestra and Tiger Pep Band alumna. "She participates in the Frankling Community Band and the Hendricks Symphony Orchestra."

The professor, who earned her bachelor's degree at DePauw University before completing her Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame, supports the educatonal benefits of undergraduate students participating in research.

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Adam Hilkert '08 to Conduct U.S. Army Bands

Adam Hilkert '08, a Tiger Pep Band Director Emeritus, has been selected to become one of just 22 conductors of the U.S. Army Bands after highly competitive national auditions.

"This is a great honor and privilege for which I am very grateful to have earned the opportunity," says Hilkert on Facebook today.

The U.S. Army Bands invited Hilkert to participate in the grueling two-day audition process. Candidates perform with their primary instrument two works in contrasting styles, followed by music theory examinations. Then they conduct nine works for concert band and the Soldier's Chorus. Finally, they are interviewed by a panel of senior officers and noncommissioned officers.

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Indianapolis Teacher of the Year is Tina Ahlgren '05

"This is a teacher who rushed to the hospital to be by the side of a student giving birth. This is a teacher who encouraged a student to keep up with schoolwork when he was in juvenile jail. This is a teacher who brought homework to a student recovering from being shot," writes Stephanie Wang in today's Indy Star.

That teacher is Tina Ahlgren '05, who once played clarinet in the DePauw University Band and the Tiger Pep Band, and has been named Indianapolis Public Schools teacher of the year at a recent school assembly.

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