Music Program Alumni | University of Portland

Music Program Alumni

Picture of Natalie Werner

Natalie Werner (she/her/hers)

Music Major, Vocalist & Conductor

I'm Natalie, and I graduated with a BA in Music from the University of Portland in 2019, with a dual emphasis in vocal performance and pre-music education. During my time at UP, I was able to work with a wide range of ensembles on campus: singing with the University Singers and Women’s Chorale, soloing with the Jazz Band and Combo, participating in multiple instrumental chamber ensembles, and strengthening my percussion skills with both choirs and the Wind Symphony. As a vocalist, I was thrilled to explore multiple genres of music over my four years, studying with Dr. Nicole Hanig. Through her mentorship and expertise, I was honored to win the University of Portland Concerto/Aria competition in 2018. 

The opportunity that truly defined my experience at UP was serving as a conducting associate for three semesters, working with both Dr. De Lyser and the University Singers, and Kathryn Briggs and the Women’s Chorale. This kind of hands-on exposure to conducting during my undergraduate degree was an incredible opportunity that, I later learned, is typically unheard of at the undergraduate level. Through this experience, I developed a level of musicality, intricacy and confidence that truly molded me as a musician, a conductor and a person. 

Since graduating from UP, I have begun my studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where I am pursuing a Masters of Music degree in Choral Conducting, with a voice performance emphasis. I have discovered that I am more grateful than ever for the education and support that I received at UP, as I have been able to successfully approach the rigor and intensity of a master's degree at a school much larger than the one that I came from. This speaks volumes about the level of preparation that UP is arming their music students with, in order to enter the world after their bachelor's degree with complete readiness. I am confident that the kind of opportunities that I was exposed to here were, and will always be, the fundamental reason for my continued success and self-confidence. 

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Picture of Olivia Carbajal

Olivia Carbajal (she/her/hers)

Music Major, Vocal Performance

Hello! My name is Olivia Carbajal and I graduated in May 2020 with my
Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance.

The University of Portland was a school I didn’t plan on attending, but am ultimately so glad I did. I received an unparalleled education, met so many incredible fellow musicians, learned from such great professors, and became a part of an incredible Pilot community. I was granted so many great opportunities, from conducting and singing to acting and performing alongside legendary trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, all of which were made possible by such supportive faculty. It was also because of them I was able to experiment with so much of what the arts has to offer. A great example of that was in one of my favorite classes, Conducting with Dr. Patrick Murphy. I never thought about being a conductor, but I was excited about being on the other side of the podium for once. Little did I know it would become a passion of mine in a matter of weeks and I’d be offered the chance to do a private study with Dr. Murphy and conduct the University Wind Symphony, two of the best opportunities I was allotted during my time at UP.

If I could impart any sort of wisdom to future Pilots, it would be to own your college experience, make it worth your while, do what YOU want to do! UP is a place that allows you to branch out, to try new things, to get your feet wet in so many ponds in order to help determine what it is you want for your future. Especially in the Performing & Fine Arts Department, if there’s a dream you’ve got, go for it and don’t be afraid to share it. You’ll be surprised at how everyone, students and faculty both, rally behind you to make that perhaps far-fetched aspiration a reality.

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Sona Uradnik (she/her/hers)

Music Major, Vocal Performance; German Minor

I really loved how small the class sizes were and that you were able to get to know your professors. It has really helped me learn how to communicate with people when I was looking for work after graduation. I chose UP because I wanted a small school that emphasized community, and I think I found that during my time there. I really enjoyed my Advanced Writing Class with Father Hannon! I learned so much and my writing really improved. My current job is writing-based, so that class definitely helped me get to where I am now. 

My advice for current and prospective students: 

Study abroad!!!! I went did the Salzburg program my sophomore year and it was the best nine months of my life. There are so many options for study abroad, and if you plan ahead of time, I promise you can make it work with your class schedule.

Get to know your professors! They are really amazing people with a lot to share, and they want you to succeed. 

Pick a major that you will want to work hard in. There's no such thing as an "easy" major, despite the jokes you may hear about it. Every major requires hard work, so it's up to you to decide what you're willing to work hard in. 

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Picture of Megan Murphy

Megan Murphy (she/her/hers)

Nursing Major, Class of 2020

I enjoyed the well-rounded education I got at UP which has helped me feel prepared as I have started my career and the next chapter of my life. While at UP, I felt there were so many opportunities to engage in campus life and be welcomed and included as part of the community. I am thankful to have attended a school that offers so much support to its students.

A class I enjoyed: Wind Symphony! I liked that I was able to take a few hours each week to switch gears from science and nursing classes and enjoy making music with my friends.

My advice for current and prospective students: Take advantage of the unique opportunities you have in school. Although it’s been said before, your time in college will be over before you know it. Oh, and make sure to eat quesadillas from the Pilot House!

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Other music program alumni include:

Eleanor Cosgrove-Farland – Music Teacher, Helen Baller Elementary

Susan Dorn – Minister, Artistic Director, Conductor

Mary Jo Dugaw – Singer, Actor, and Voice Teacher

Renee Erb Kelley – Grants Contracts Director, Montana Historical Society

Miriam Gibby – Piano Instructor; Head of Music Department, Multnomah University, Retired

Taylor Gonzaga – Graduate Assistant, University of Minnesota Duluth

Anna Horlacher – Choral Arts Ensemble

Elizabeth Lawson – Voice Teacher, Retired

Dawn Lloyd – Support Specialist, University of Portland

Haley Mukensnabl – Public Defense Attorney, Washington County

Cary Novotny – Attorney

Noël Oishi – Actor, New York City

Sarah Parks – Oncology Nurse; Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Teige Weidner – Sr. Global Demand Planner

Regina Wilson – Campus Ministry