Tag Archives: student spotlight

Jazz students play in a recital on Tuesday, Nov. 13 in Comstock Hall.

Jazz studies at UofL: Why it may be the happiest major on campus

Jazz students play in a recital on Tuesday, Nov. 13 in Comstock Hall.

By Simon Isham–

Jazz Studies at U of L may well be the happiest major on campus. When walking by the School of Music, it is not uncommon to hear the bluesy sound of a saxophone drifting out of an open window and into the street for all to hear. Much of the music that emerges from the building in this way is the result of the Jazz Studies Program, which prides itself on being as open about its major as it is about music.

The Jazz Studies Program is particularly proud of creating partnerships with universities in South America for a variety of travel durations, from short clinics in Ecuador to semester-long student exchanges in Brazil. At the beginning of 2012, U of L students traveled to the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, and a group of Brazilian students from that university came to the University of Louisville. In May, a sextet of undergraduate students traveled with Jazz Studies Department Chair Michael Tracy to Loja, Ecuador, where they performed as soloists with the Loja Symphony Orchestra.

Tracy told the Cardinal that he especially appreciates that “our jazz faculty are multi-faceted, gifted, caring educators and wonderful, talented performers who practice what we teach. Each of our nine faculty … are exceptional musicians. I am especially pleased that (our bass and piano professor) Chris Fitzgerald has been offered a full-time position. Chris is respected throughout the music community (both local and national) as a committed educator who continually puts his students first. He is a highly musical performer (who) always makes the musicians around him sound better. Another wonderful aspect is that Mr. Fitzgerald is a graduate of our program, a wonderful example for former, current and future students.”

Tracy said that a jazz major needs to be accomplished on his or her instrument—somewhere between the level of a professional and a beginner. He said that he or she must be someone who continually seeks to improve on an instrument and use that as a vehicle for self-expression through the craft of improvisation. A jazz major must also be able to appreciate the many different styles of jazz and “take on the responsibility of working in isolation while interacting with others in ensembles—a leader while being a follower, a team member.” He also said that a jazz studies major must be “highly inquisitive, ever searching and challenging (his or her) limits—musically and as a creative person.”

To prospective students, Tracy says: “The School of Music recently added a minor in music as an option for those who are studying in other areas but still want to continue their study of music. There are options … You don’t have to be a music major to play. We present concerts almost weekly at the School of Music, so visit and see what you could be doing.”

Photo: Tricia Stern/The Louisville Cardinal


Interview: Musicians Kendall Carter and Isaac Poole

Left: Isaac Poole on guitar. Right: Kendall Carter on piano.

By Simon Isham–

The Cardinal talked to two Jazz School students, Kendall Carter (KC) and Isaac Poole (IP), about their experiences. Carter is a sophomore who plays piano; Poole is a junior who plays piano and guitar.

Q: What makes the Jazz Department so tight-knit?

IP: (W)e are surrounded by people who not only respect each other for the skills and ideas they have, but also share the same goal of making great music. It always surprises me that we don’t have more a competitive atmosphere, but I think when it comes down to it, everybody is here to be the best they can be and we are all willing to help each other accomplish this. Jazz isn’t about being better than anybody else, just making the best out of what we are given.

KC: The jazz community as a whole is filled with such diversity. We have had and still do have guys from Brazil, Canada, Columbia and Australia. Some guys also play rock, pop, gospel, et cetera, but what knits us together is our love for music. We each bring to the table a different approach. Together, we mold new ways of listening to and playing jazz. To form a really good jazz group, the members have to know their roles individually, and they have to know each other both artistically and personally.

Q: Kendall, you have called the music school ‘the happiest place on campus’. What makes it that way?

KC: Because in order to form a really good jazz group, the members have to know their roles individually, and they have to know each other both artistically and personally.

IP: (W)e all work hard, but we still have a lot of fun and end up making great music, which is extremely rewarding.

Q: When you decided to enroll, were there any faculty that you could tell that you wanted to work with right away?

IP: When I enrolled, I realize now I went into it blindly. I only really knew my guitar teacher, who I have taken lessons with when I was a little kid. He was the main reason I came here. When I auditioned I met some other professors, but I did realize how amazing they are and how much the will teach me. I got really lucky.

KC: When I enrolled, I knew that I at least wanted to study under John LaBarbera, the infamous composer-slash-arranger-slash-trumpeter. I knew his forty-plus years of experience would help shape my playing and composition.

Q: What makes it better than other jazz programs?

IP: It’s hard for me to say how this program compares to others, because I don’t know too much about other places. It’s much smaller them places like Berkley so we more individual attention, which I like, and I believe the professors are at the same level. Really, how much you get out of a program depends on how much you put in. You have to be autodidactic to succeed; I’ve seen some amazing players who work hard come through here and I’ve seen people half-a** and remain at the same level they came in as.

Q: How has your training helped you in getting and doing gigs?

IP: Like any profession, going to college can only give you a strong theoretical base, but never compares to the real thing. We get a lot of chances to perform and create our own music, but going out on your own is always going to be a new experience. But I know I wouldn’t stand a chance if I hadn’t had the experiences I had here.

KC: My training has been phenomenal. I studied under Cincinnati native Jim Connerly, who is an excellent pianist in his own right. What I love about his teaching is that it demands a lot from you. He pulls out hidden talents. By doing this, he has thrust me into a level of musicianship that I never thought I’d reach. In my first year alone, he has taken me from performing gigs only during the holidays to performing on a weekly basis, which is a tremendous testament to his mentorship.

Photos courtesy Isaac Poole and Kendall Carter


MLS player Austin Berry talks with the Cardinal

Defender Austin Berry has started every game for the Chicago Fire, playing every minute of every game so far.

Former Cardinals Austin Berry and Nick DeLeon to face off in MLS game

By Sammie Hill–

Last year, the MLS drafted four seniors from the University of Louisville men’s soccer team. Louisville stood as the only college in the nation to have four players drafted, as well as the only school with three players selected in the first round. Furthermore, two of these Cardinals were selected in the top 10— defender Austin Berry and midfielder Nick DeLeon.

Throughout the past year, these two former Cardinals have excelled in the professional realm, establishing themselves as intense competitors and invaluable assets to their respective teams.

Nick DeLeon has thrived with DC United, serving as a fierce midfielder that craves, creates and capitalizes on scoring opportunities. Berry’s talent and versatility as a defender allow him to not only terminate advances from the opposition but also facilitate offensive attacks for the Chicago Fire.

Berry notes that the major differences between college and professional soccer lie in the speed of play, the physicality, the length of season and the lifestyle that accompanies the career.

“It just takes time to get used to,” Berry explained. “It’s your job to be prepared for training, and the game gets faster and more physical. The transition was definitely a challenge, but one I was ready for.”

On Saturday, Oct. 27, Berry will battle against DeLeon as their two teams meet in Chicago, Ill.

“It’s going to be fun,” Berry said of the upcoming match. “Nick’s a good buddy, and he’s someone I’ve kept in contact with. He’s done really well for his team this year. It’ll be a challenge because he is a good and talented player, but overall, it’ll be a fun experience.”

The MLS has recognized the extraordinary first-year performances of Berry and DeLeon, nominating both of them for the Rookie of the Year award.

“It would mean a lot to win the award,” said Berry. “It’s definitely a goal of mine, but team goals come first. So if I reach my goal, fantastic; if not, I’ll just have to keep focusing on making the playoffs which is our team goal.”

Berry revealed that his priority lies not in winning the award but in improving the quality of his play. From his perspective, winning Rookie of the Year would be a reflection of the hard work he has exerted this season to become the best player he can be.

“It’s not so much the award that matters but the player I am trying to be,” he stated.

Despite their success in the most elite soccer league North America has to offer, the two players remain grateful to the University of Louisville and its men’s soccer program, recognizing the impact it has made on their careers.

“It helped me in every way it could,” Berry said of his experience at U of L. “Coach Ken Lolla and the coaching staff… gave me guidance and molded me into the player I am today.”

The Chicago Fire will face DC United on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. Broadcasting on NBC Sports Network, the game will exemplify the caliber of these two former Cardinals who continue to make the U of L men’s

soccer program and the university as a whole proud.

DC United midfielder Nick DeLeon was selected as the seventh overall pick in the 2012 MLS Superdraft last year.

File photos


Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity wins Student Organization of the Year

By Lee Cole–

U of L has been giving out student awards for 13 years, in a number of categories, including the Cardinal Award of Excellence – Scholar/Leader Award and the Harold Adams Award. Every year, one student organization at the University of Louisville receives the prestigious honor of being named Student Organization of the Year. This year’s recipient was the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, Kappa Zeta chapter.

Established on Louisville’s campus in 1995, Pikes have been prominent community servants and student leaders for some time now. Pi Kappa Alpha won the same award in 2010 and won the Spirit of Service Award last year. In addition, they won the IFC Fraternity of the Year award both this year and 2010.

Pikes are also involved in Student Government. External Vice President and Junior chemistry major Austin Schwenker told the Cardinal, “Pi Kappa Alpha’s members strive to be active student leaders on our campus; while there always seems to be a few members involved in SGA, our members are diverse and well-rounded, leading not only the organizations that they have helped establish, but those that they connect with and have a passion for.” Schwenker went on to say, “We encourage our members to be involved on campus and to share their talents and leadership abilities not only to help better the university and their respective organizations, but to also help them grow as individuals — something I believe the selection committee recognized.”

Pi Kappa Alpha has been involved in numerous community service events as well as campus/student related projects. One community service event, called Street Academy, pairs a Pi Kappa Alpha brother with inner city youth in need of a role model. Members acted as big brothers to many of these kids, teaching by example and instilling them with the kind of values that led to their current, esteemed recognition.

President David Osborne, a senior in the Speed School, said of Pi Kappa Alpha’s community service: “Pike has members that volunteer at Cochran Elementary School as tutors and athletic coaches each week. Pike also directed parking during St. James Art Fair at Cochran Elementary School, which raised over $22,000 for the underprivileged school. Moreover, Pikes donated over 25 Thanksgiving Baskets to underprivileged families from Cochran. Throughout the 2011-2012 scholastic year, Pikes have also served as mentors in the Street Academy of Louisville program.” Pike’s devotion to community service was a major factor in receiving this honor, with over 3800 hours of volunteer work over the 2011-2012 scholastic year.

Dozens of organizations vie for the honor of Student Organization of the Year, and the competition is keen. Groups are considered in a number of categories, and while many excelled, Pi Kappa Alpha has come out on top as the most outstanding. With these accolades and merits, we can expect to see Pi Kappa Alpha taking home the award for many years to come.

Junior chemistry major Austin Scwenker and freshman engineering major Shelby LaFollette raises some L before performing PIKE90X at Fryberger 2012.

Photos courtesy of Pi Kappa Alpha


Red blood, bluegrass: band of UofL students lives Kentucky’s musical legacy

By Nathan Gardner–

On an unseasonably warm March night, students on Greek row gathered on porches and filtered in and out of the Fraternity and Sorority houses, but on this particular Thursday, the song of bluegrass pickin’ rang down Third Street.

The Kentucky Kai Five is a bluegrass band comprised of five University of Louisville students. The two brothers, Zach and Andrew Barger had the bluegrass spirit instilled in them from their father at a young age. Zach is an education major that plays mandolin and Andrew is a civil engineering major playing banjo. Chris Millet, a music therapy major, strums the guitar and sings lead vocals, as well as working as an RA on campus. Music education major Kate Tyree plays fiddle and gives music lessons at the School of Music. Chemical engineering major Daniel Duda plays bass guitar and is an apparent racquetball and ping pong star.. Unfortunately for this particular jam session Andrew was busy tutoring and I missed on what the other band members describe as an amazing banjo picker.

Most people don’t think of college students and bluegrass music going hand in hand, but the Kentucky Kai Five have taken their bluegrass roots and blended in a youthful style to make their music both fun and relevant to college students. Imagine Jimmy Buffet singing lead for the Foggy Mountain Boys. They take a traditional bluegrass style and insert laid back lyrics about college experiences.

Kate Tyree plays the fiddle on the porch of the Beta Theta Ri house as the Kentucky Kai Five fill the air with bluegrass sounds.

In the song “Father Time,” the band sings of a weekend at the beach that may never come again. It’s a nostalgic song that makes one wish the good times would never end. The band uses the beautiful vocal harmonies synonymous with bluegrass music to open up the song then breaks into the boom-chicka-boom sound of the guitar and the gentle flow of the fiddle. The song tells a story of a weekend filled with sunburn and empty glasses on the beach. The finger lickin’ pickin’ of the mandolin takes the spotlight halfway through the song to make you swear you’re in the middle of Appalachia.

Junior education majoy Zach Barger traces his roots to his father's bluegrass background.

The band has written over 20 original songs, but also plays a variety of well-known cover songs from “Folsom Prison Blues” to “Breaking the Law.”

Currently the band is focusing on writing new material and brushing up on the old stuff. They have a show this week at the ACPA Conference on March 24, and are looking to get hired for more gigs this summer.
Be sure to check out The Kentucky Kai Five on Facebook by searching for: The Kentucky Kai Five or scanning the barcode below with your smartphone.

Photo: Michael Baldwin/The Louisville Cardinal


Seniors DeLeon, Berry, Rolfe and Walker selected in MLS Draft

By Sammie Hill–

Renowned for its thriving talent and breeding of successful players, the University of Louisville men’s soccer program recently achieved a feat unmatched by any other school in the nation. On Jan. 12, the MLS selected four members of this year’s senior class as part of the 2012 MLS Super Draft. Nick DeLeon, Austin Berry, Colin Rolfe and Kenney Walker will soon take their places as players in the most elite soccer league North America has to offer, exemplifying the caliber of the men’s soccer program. The University of Louisville remains the only college in America to have four players drafted and the only university with three players selected in the first round.

Representing the top tier of both American and Canadian soccer, the MLS consists of some of the most talented players throughout the world. Encompassing 19 teams—16 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada—the MLS embodies the highest quality level of professional soccer. This league has attracted prestigious players not only from America, such as Landon Donovan, but also from other nations, such as David Beckham. Thus, the fact that the MLS drafted four University of Louisville players demonstrates the exceptional quality, not only of these individuals, but also of the university’s entire men’s soccer program.

The first MLS team to select a University of Louisville player, the DC United, drafted Nick DeLeon as the 7th overall pick. Since joining the Cards in 2010, DeLeon has served as a valuable asset to the team, starting in every game for the past two years. His strength and intensity make him a fierce midfielder and a danger to the opposition. In a Q and A with the DC United, DeLeon expressed his excitement to take this next step in his career.

DeLeon transferred to Louisville in 2010. The senior midfielder has started in every game since.

“This is what I’ve dreamed of my whole life,” DeLeon reveals, “and now that the opportunity is here, I’m ready. I’m honored to be selected by the club, and while I’m a little nervous, I’m ready for the next step.”

Austin Berry earned his place as the 9th overall pick, drafted by the Chicago Fire. This NSCAA All-American has been an incredible defender for the Cards throughout the past four years. His ability to win balls in the air and exterminate advances by the competition enticed the Chicago Fire to select Berry as a top 10 pick.

Drafted as the 18th overall pick, All-American Colin Rolfe will begin his MLS career with the Houston Dynamo. A tremendously effective forward, Rolfe led the Cardinals in scoring this season for the third consecutive year.
“Colin Rolfe was a player we liked heading into the draft,” Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said in an interview. “He also fills what we considered a position of need.”

Rolfe earned NSCAA All-American honors as a junior.

The final U of L player drafted to the MLS and the 38th pick overall, Kenney Walker, will join the ranks of Landon Donovan and David Beckham as part of the L.A. Galaxy. Known for his constant pursuit of perfection, this midfielder has been a valuable member of the men’s soccer team since his freshman year.

With seasons running from March to November, the MLS requires an immense time commitment and a relentless work ethic. Demanding fitness, finesse and full command of the game, this league molds men into extraordinary players equipped with unparalleled skill. Experience in this type of environment will allow these former Cardinals to exhibit their talent while enabling them to grow as individuals, building on the foundation laid by the University of Louisville and launching their careers as some of soccer’s most brilliant players.

File Photos