Share the Music Gala: Alumni Spotlight

Share the Music Gala: Alumni Spotlight

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Jillian DiPersio – Clarinet, Voice, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble

“As an undergraduate I attended the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. I am now working towards my MPhil at the University of Cambridge.

During my time at the Elliott School I had the opportunity to work as a WorldTeach volunteer in Namibia. While there I taught computer skills to students in grades 4-12 and also completed research for my undergraduate thesis, which focused on the effects of drought relief efforts on smallholder farmers in the most arid region of the country. Going to Namibia was the first time I left North America, so most people thought I was a little crazy. I am proud of myself for making this leap because, without it, I may not have had the chance to work at the World Bank and I certainly, would not be studying anthropology at Cambridge.

My favorite memory of MCMS is performing at my first clarinet recital—I played a beautiful piece called Arabesques by Paul Jeanjean. Even though it did not go quite to plan, the experience taught me how to take a minor mishap in stride and just keep going.


MCMS gave me the opportunity to have different musical experiences than I would have had at my high school—

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through playing with an orchestra, taking private lessons, and performing solos at recitals. Each of these opportunities challenged me to think of music and my role in an ensemble in different ways. Ultimately, these experiences helped me build my confidence as a musician and as a person. I also found that through music you learn to take risks—playing in front of an audience or learning a difficult piece of music can feel like an enormous risk. Through gaining the confidence that music teaches and learning to take risks, I felt more prepared to take bigger risks in my life, like going to Namibia or moving across the Atlantic for graduate school.” – Jillian DiPersio


Maddie Harper – Flute, Flute Choir, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble

“I am currently working on my bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music in Music Therapy.

As part of this program, I work as a music therapy intern at Birch Bay Retirement Village and Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor, Maine. Most of the work I do is with older adults who have been diagnosed with some form of dementia. A typical day will consist of leading and facilitating 2-3 music therapy groups in different areas of the facility, as well as facilitating one-on-one sessions as needed. My goal is to become a board-certified music therapist working full time with older adults.

I never would have known about music therapy if it hadn’t been for MCMS! My private lessons were held downstairs where the music therapy department is and I would spend time each week reading the posters.

I look back fondly on all of my mentors at MCMS – Aubrie Dionne, Carl Benevides, Jared Cassedy, and Dani Rimoni. Music has always been and (hopefully) always will be a huge part of my life. The lessons learned and the bonds formed through music will last a lifetime. I would tell current Music School students to take advantage of as many of the resources that MCMS offers as you can! Each new ensemble, recital, or lesson is a new opportunity to expand your horizons and rediscover your love for music.” – Maddie Harper

Watch MCMS Alumni Speak about their experiences at MCMS and how that has helped shape their musical career.

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Give to Change a LifeMusic teaches cooperation, leadership skills, a strong work ethic, self-confidence, and creative problem-solving skills. These are all skills that lead to greater success in school, in careers, and in life. This is how you can change a life.

Next on the program:

Leadership Award