By Parth Upadhyaya
The UNC Department of Music has been growing in its size of student body for many years. Events such as Scholarship Days, Marching Band Days and other collaborative efforts with high school music students have aided in increasing the size of the department.
Due to this growth, the Department of Music has launched a new group — UNC Music Ambassadors — to help with recruitment. Created by UNC junior music and biostatistics double major Katherine Gora Combs, the UNC Music Ambassadors are a group of 22 undergraduate students who were chosen by application to serve as liaisons to prospective students and parents. Most of the Music Ambassadors are double majors, with a second major in a field of study outside of the Music Department.
The Music Ambassadors represent the Music Department at various recruitment events and activities on campus and give high school music students an inside look at what life as a music student at UNC is like. High school students who are interested in scheduling a tour with the Music Ambassadors can email the Music Ambassadors (email@example.com) with a week’s notice.
Combs is also a student ambassador for other departments at UNC and has seen the success that a student-recruitment group like the Music Ambassadors can have. Nearby universities — such as UNC-Greensboro — with similar programs also inspired Combs to meet with band director Jeff Fuchs and launch the group in October of 2017. Fuchs serves as the club moderator for the Music Ambassadors.
“I wanted to launch something [in the Department of Music] because we do have a lot of students who come visit for Scholarship Days,” Combs said. “We also host high school students for Wind, Brass and Percussion Days as well as Marching Band Days. I felt like there needed to be a group of students available to do more of those things and who were also trained on things to say and were familiar with the department as a whole.”
Although they haven’t been around for long, the Music Ambassadors have already hosted a handful of events. In the fall 2017 semester, the group held a Scholarship Day and a Wind, Brass and Percussion Day. This spring semester, they have welcomed many prospective students and families to UNC with tours and assisted at the UNC Jazz Festival. However, the group’s outreach efforts do not stop at high school students. The Music Ambassadors also recently demonstrated instruments to a visiting kindergarten class.
“We’re just trying to be a group of people that can be open to questions from prospective students and available for tours,” Combs said. “We’ve all been trained on the different areas of the Music Department and what goes into the curriculum. We want to show prospective students the different ways you can interact with the department.”
Combs created this year’s Music Ambassador written application. The application featured a series of short answer questions on the student’s involvement in the Music Department, what their favorite element of the department is and their reason for wanting to be a Music Ambassador.
The judging panel for applications was made up of Combs and Fuchs. However, Combs hopes to get more music faculty involved in the selection process in the future.
“We’ve had a great group of students, so far,” Combs said. “We look for people who are super involved, super passionate about music, have had experience in both academic classes, as well as ensembles and people that like communicating with others.”
Current UNC music students interested in serving as Music Ambassadors can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.