A Bid Farewell

The School of Music had some wonderful faculty members retire this academic year. To help us reflect on their outstanding careers, we asked what stood out to them during their time at UT. 

Mark Boling, jazz guitar

I think about all the people that I have worked with in my 39 years of teaching at the UT School of Music. First, I am very appreciative of the dedication and professionalism of the SOM faculty, staff, and administration, for establishing a positive and supportive work environment. Second, my collaborations with our extraordinary jazz faculty resulted in the high points of my performing career. Playing music and teaching with these gentlemen was a constant source of inspiration and joy. Most importantly, I was blessed to help and watch as so many talented young people find their way in music. It is exciting to hear the things that they are doing now. I will miss working with all of these people, and I am thankful to have played a part.

Donald Brown, jazz piano

There are so many wonderful things I’ve enjoyed during my 32 years of teaching at UT. First, I’ve encountered the greatest group of students you can find anywhere in the world! They were talented, but most importantly great human beings. I treasured the chance to help shape young minds and send them out in the professional world as teachers and performers. Second, it was a big joy to work with faculty members who were excellent teachers and virtuosos respected around the world. I will especially miss our prestigious jazz faculty, who are world-renowned performers and have sent many of their students to perform with some of the biggest names in the jazz world. And lastly, I will miss our many department chairmen we’ve had over the years, especially Jeff Pappas, who besides being the ultimate professional, is one of the most kind, warm, and giving persons I’ve met.  

Lorraine DiSimone, voice

In reflecting upon my 15 years at UT, I am most proud of helping establish and develop VolOpera, the student organization undergraduate opera workshop. In our first few years we met weekly and presented a final evening of staged opera scenes with piano. Fast forward to spring 2019, when VolOpera presented a shortened version of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro with orchestra and narration! I was the primary stage director and also provided much of the costumes and stage pieces from KARMS, my own closet, or with the help of the University of Tennessee Opera Theatre.

What made it all so gratifying was knowing that young singers were getting important first experiences singing on a stage. Watching them grow each year and seeing their confidence and creativity and abilities develop was a joy to my heart! It was a highlight of my time at UT and something I will never forget and always cherish in my memories.

Cathy Leach, trumpet

For me there was no single high point, no single biggest surprise, no single thing that made me happiest about teaching at UT.  What I loved about teaching at UT was simply that it allowed me to do what I wanted to do every day—help young musicians with their trumpet playing. The daily teaching activity and all that goes with it, is what I loved. Additionally, frequent collaboration with fellow faculty was energizing through the years. For me this was most often with the faculty brass quintet, which was constantly out in the schools performing and teaching throughout Tennessee and surrounding regions.  I am grateful to have been a part of all of this.