What Our Grads Say
Julie (Davis) Smith ‘07
Julie Smith currently serves as Worship Arts Director at Pearce Memorial Church in North Chili, NY, as well as serving on the faculties of the Hochstein School of Music and Dance and the Csehy Summer School of Music. She has served on the board of the Rochester Flute Association and on faculty with the Roberts Community Music School. Julie resides in Rochester with her husband, trumpeter Roy Smith, and their three sons.
“Diane Smith is, quite succinctly, one of the most important people in my life. Her abilities as both performer and educator were transformative in my journey as a musician. During my four years at Roberts, Diane gently guided and consistently modeled what it is to have a holistic approach to music—bringing body, mind, and soul to one’s craft. I have yet to meet another professor with such a healthy, complete perspective on musicianship and lifestyle. To be able to call Diane a colleague today is both a privilege and an honor.”
Roy Smith '05
- 2nd trumpet, Symphoria (formerly Syracuse Symphony Orchestra), 2013-present
- Adjunct Professor of Trumpet, SUNY Fredonia, 2016-present
- Regular Substitute, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
- Choir Director, Gates Presbyterian Church
- Also taught at: Houghton College, Hochstein School of Music, Lima Christian School
"Trumpet lessons with Paul Shewan were exactly what I needed as a raw but eager undergraduate student. He did a marvelous job walking me through all of the skills and techniques I’d need as a professional performer and giving me constant feedback – not only as a studio teacher, but as an orchestra and wind ensemble conductor, a brass quintet colleague, and a professional mentor. He’s a thoughtful musician with a great ear, and an even better person. Roberts was great because I had the opportunity to do everything—orchestra, jazz band, chamber music, chorale, and every other ensemble—and all in a context where I would be supported and invested in, whether I rose to the occasion or failed. (I did plenty of both.) The program was big enough to offer all of these opportunities but small enough to be intimately known by the whole faculty."
Joshua Meyer '15
- Currently serving as a Staff Sergeant in the 198th Army Band
- Holds the positions of trumpeter and assistant conductor of the concert band
"Dr. Paul Shewan is a fantastic teacher, mentor, and one of the best conductors I have ever played under. He pushed me to my limits during my collegiate career and never accepted anything below standard. He taught me to strive for greatness, both in and out of the practice room. He teaches more than music; he is a true mentor who changed my life. He was there to give me advice on any situation; I would not be the man I am today without his teaching. At Roberts, I received a high-quality education where I was a name rather than a number. The professors truly care about their students, and they go out of their way to see them succeed. I met some life-long friends during my collegiate career and have no regrets about my decision to attend Roberts."
Erin (Delaney) Nettleton '14
Erin Nettleton recently received her master's degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of Connecticut. She studied under Louis Hanzlik, a member of the American Brass Quintet, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, and the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra. She played as principal trumpet of the UConn Wind Ensemble and the UConn Orchestra throughout her master's degree, and in April 2018, she gave her final master’s recital, performing works by Stephen Shewan, Manuel de Falla, George Gershwin, and Eric Ewazen. Outside of school, she has performed in the solo cornet section of the Connecticut Classic Brass, a British-style brass band. They recently performed in Faneuil Hall in Boston for their annual Brass Band festival.
When I took my first lesson with Paul Shewan, I had just finished my sophomore year at a college with a very negative environment where I was not excelling on my instrument. I was carrying a lot of baggage, and it showed through my playing. After he heard me play and we shared a long conversation, I called my mother to let her know I was thinking of transferring to Roberts. Her words were, “This is what I have been praying for the last two years!” Lessons with Dr. Shewan were often the highlight of my week. He shaped me as both a player and a person and brought music out of me that I didn’t know I could make. He’d always say to me (and still does sometimes!) 'Erin, you have a great sound, but you need to actually use it! Make music with it! SING!' I’ve had those words in my head all through graduate school, and whenever I feel like I’m not playing well, I remember the things he taught me. I fully believe I would not be where I am today in my playing or my musical career if it was not for Dr. Shewan."
Janette LaBarre '07 and '09
Janette LaBarre has participated in a variety of international conducting festivals, working with Marin Alsop, Larry Rachleff, Don Schleicher, Markand Thakar, and Thomas Netophil, to name a few. This summer, she traveled to the Aspen Music Festival and School to work with the General Manager of Operations, Keith Elder. Upon graduating from Eastman, she plans to work either in Academia or with an orchestra.
"I have had the great honor of knowing Dr. Paul Shewan since 2005, when I arrived at Roberts as a transfer student. I had a particular set of challenges to overcome in order to grow as a musician and trumpet player, which Dr. Shewan handled with a blend of professionalism, grace, and directness. As his student, not only did I overcome many of the technical playing issues I was facing but I also found that my musicianship grew exponentially. I had the opportunity to be a part of his conducting studio and took advantage of every opportunity to discuss scores, recordings, phrases, and sounds. Dr. Shewan is a top-notch musician with an exceptional ear. Now, 13 years later, I know I can still rely on his wisdom, performance experience, and musical ideas. The breadth of knowledge I’ve gained from taking lessons with Dr. Shewan is immeasurable and has been life-changing. I feel so very blessed to have been his student."
Alden Snell ‘01
“I am continuously thankful for the opportunities I had at Roberts to grow musically, academically, and spiritually. From participation in all of the major ensembles, to applied study with dedicated faculty, to stimulating and challenging coursework in both music and the liberal arts, I can think of no better foundation for the first fifteen years of my career than an undergraduate degree from Roberts Wesleyan College!”
Faith Amour ‘09
I began my studies at Roberts as a vocal major, and soon became a Music Education major. The music education major at RWC was the best educational choice I have made to date. I was equipped to teach students in the areas I'm passionate about by an incredibly caring staff of instructors, and I made connections that will last a lifetime. I had many opportunities to perform in this major, as well as being trained to teach music. It was the best of both worlds. As a result, I have been fortunate to spend the last number of years running two school music programs while maintaining a busy jazz performance schedule. I could not have done so without my Music Education degree from Roberts.
Adrienne Meyer, MS, MT-BC '08
“Roberts Wesleyan helped me choose to become a music therapist. I have used my music education degree from Roberts to become a better music therapist, bringing a lot of the information and concepts I learned into many different sessions and interventions.”
Taylor Johnson '13
Roberts Wesleyan College was an amazing place to grow into my profession. They took my natural abilities, emphasized them, and molded me into a great teacher. The education you receive at RWC is not like any other school, it is formatted individually for each student who goes through their own program to become the best “you” that you can become.