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From the Dean

Posted by on Thursday, September 8, 2011 in Fall 2011, From the Dean.

The summer has seen a season of transitions at the Blair School. Indeed, the 2011-12 academic year will see more changes to the faculty than we have had in some time.

First, Jane and Frank Kirchner have retired from teaching at Blair. Jane taught flute at Blair for more than 40 years, and Frank was our saxophone instructor for many years. They provided expertise and inspiration to generations of Blair and Vanderbilt students, upholding the highest standards and guiding the Blair School in its dramatic progress. Now they will pursue their love of traveling and spending time with their grandsons. Although we will miss them terribly, we have the consolation of knowing that they will continue to live in Nashville and plan to attend events at Blair.

In addition, Cynthia Estill and Cassie Lee, who have taught bassoon and clarinet, respectively, in our collegiate program for more than 20 years, are making the transition to our Pre-college Program, which was the foundation of the Blair School and continues to be our anchor. Our pre-college students will be fortunate to have the benefit of their wisdom and expertise.

Joining the faculty of our collegiate program will be Brian Utley, adjunct associate professor of saxophone; Philip Dikeman, associate professor of flute; and Bil Jackson, associate professor of clarinet. You can read more about them in this issue. They join the Blair School as the result of extensive (and highly competitive) national searches. We are delighted to have these wonderful artists joining the Blair family.

I should add that we have an outstanding new class of 57 first-year students at Blair. These students continue a trend of the Blair School’s upward trajectory, a trend that confirms the artistry and dedication of our excellent faculty.

There are other transitions, as well. After helping lead the transformation of the Blair School as chair of the KeyBoard for the past 16 years, Martha Rivers Ingram has stepped down. We are presenting a special concert in honor of Mrs. Ingram on September 18. I am pleased to announce that Nashville attorney Jim Harris, JD’67, now serves the KeyBoard as chairman, and we welcome him and his leadership in the coming years.

Mark Wait, Dean
Martha Rivers Ingram Dean’s Chair