Student Achievements

In May we celebrated 22 music majors graduating from WSU and moving into new and exciting careers in music. Below we highlight several of these students.

Graduating Class of ’23

  • Dillon Sellers
  • Jake Berreth
  • Tim Schrader
  • Nanette Erickson
  • Corey Gardner
  • Jake Carlon
  • Thomas Ballinger
  • Hudson Somerlott
  • America Hoxeng
  • Meg Fritz
  • Madysen McCarthy
  • Brooke Rowland
  • Emily Warnecke
  • Kevin Melendez
  • Jing Chen
  • Shane Isom
  • Kevin Hudson
  • Kayden Warwick
  • Hannah Annonen
  • Dean Johnson
  • Ashley Swanson
  • Marilee Clobes
Marilee Clobes.

This spring, Marilee Clobes became WSU’s first graduate student to complete our Global Campus Master’s degree! Marilee studied voice and conducting while continuing her employment at Einstein Middle School in Shoreline. She successfully completed the degree in four semesters. Our online Master’s program has expanded quickly in the interim; this fall we have 7 Global Campus graduate students from across the US. Congratulations, Marilee!

Jake Berreth.

Jacob Berreth graduated this May with a Bachelor of Music in performance and was a WSU Top Ten Senior in the visual/performing arts category. The College of Arts and Sciences grad is an accomplished flute player with numerous awards and top placings during his time in the School of Music. Jake was a Distinguished Regents Scholar and was selected as a College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Senior. Jake transitions into a full-time position at Schweitzer Engineering Labs in Pullman, where he will continue to play with the Washington Idaho Symphony.

Thomas Ballinger.

Thomas Ballinger graduated this spring with a BA in Music (piano). He is a WSU Top Ten Senior in the academics category. With a double major (BS Genetics and Cell Biology), Thomas’s undergraduate highlights include performing at Carnegie Hall and serving as a biochemistry/molecular biology research assistant. Thomas plans to attend graduate school at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to earn a doctorate and pursue his goal of becoming a scientist.

Choirs to Vienna

Choir in Vienna.

This August three faculty and 16 WSU students joined musicians from 24 US states and 5 countries in Eisenstadt, Austria for the annual Classical Music Festival, August 6-16. Dr. Dean Luethi (Professor and Director of Choral Activities at WSU) was Choirmaster for the Festival and Dr. Matthew Myers (Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Choral Activities at WSU) brought 25 members of the Palouse Choral Society to join as well. Dr. Myers is the Artistic Director of the PCS.

WSU students and faculty rehearsed and performed in historic venues such as the Esterhazy Palace, where Haydn wrote music for the Esterhazy court and the Bergkirche (Mountain Church) for which he wrote several of his masses. Participants also performed Haydn’s “Lord Nelson” Mass at the Stephensdom “St Stephen’s Cathedral” in Vienna.

In addition to the performances, students engaged in lectures, viewed Haydn’s handwritten scores, and toured Vienna, Melk Abbey, and Budapest. When asked about the festival and why it was a good fit for WSU students, Dr. Luethi mentioned, “While we are growing our program after COVID, it’s important that we still work to provide these experiences to our students. This festival was not only an opportunity to perform music with a professional orchestra, but it was also an opportunity for our students to immerse themselves in the culture, geography, and spaces in which Haydn lived and breathed. In this way, the cultural immersion they experienced informed their performance of the music and they will never forget why the music was written that way.”

Dr. Luethi hopes to bring WSU students back to Eisenstadt in 2025 for the 50th anniversary of the festival. For more information on how you can help students in the WSU Choral Area engage in these experiences, please email Dr. Luethi directly at

For monthly updates on our student achievements throughout the year: