Student Profiles

Emma Gibson, senior

Emma Gibson is a Musical Arts major from Wimberley, TX, a small town equidistant from Austin and San Antonio in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Emma spent the first 14 years of her life in Cold Spring, New York, where she started playing the trombone in 4th grade, taking lessons at the nearby West Point Military Academy. In high school, Emma directed her marching band as the assistant drum major, and played with the Starlight Symphony Orchestra, a regional orchestra based in Wimberley. She also enjoyed competing in ATSSB Concert Band and UIL Solo and Ensemble competitions, reaching the state level for both. Here at Vanderbilt, when she is not playing trombone, Emma enjoys reading, painting, sewing, scrolling the internet and watching bad sci-fi and horror movies. She is also involved with Vanderbilt Lambda Association. After her time at Vandy, she hopes to continue on to law school. Her trombone teachers have included Master Sgt. Martin Tyce of the West Point Band, Robert C. Tull, formerly of the Austin Symphony, and now, of course, Professor Wilson.

Brian Entwistle, senior

Brian Entwistle is a bass trombonist from Farmingdale, New York. He is currently a Bass Trombone Performance major. Though he began on the cello, he learned trombone as well and decided to pursue it throughout his musical career. He began to play the bass trombone to fill out instrumentation in his high school wind ensemble, and it has since become his primary instrument. He was a member of the Nassau-Suffolk Performing Arts Jazz Ensemble and the Long Island Youth Orchestra through high school. He also participated in the New York All-State Wind Ensemble and the New York All-State Jazz Ensemble.  At Vanderbilt, Brian is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He is also the student manager of the Vanderbilt Wind Ensemble, a junior representative on the Blair Student Council, and co-chair of Blair’s SEGUE mentorship program. His interests include various video games and board games, frisbee, volleyball, football, and, of course, anything music-related. Brian plans to attend graduate school immediately after Vanderbilt and then return to Nashville to play gigs in town while taking orchestral auditions all over the world. His goal is to become a professional bass trombonist, primarily in a major orchestra, and eventually retire to become a teacher or studio professor, though in the process, he would love to be a composer and a conductor.

Liam Long, senior

My name is Liam Long and I’m from Memphis, Tennessee. I’m studying Political Science and Music here at Vanderbilt. I’ve been playing music since I began piano lessons at age 7, and I’ve been enjoying music since I switched to guitar four years later. At the start of high school, I had the good fortune of being chosen to play trombone in the band. My luck continued when I stumbled into joining the jazz band, led by the always inspiring Bill McKee. During my time with the Christian Brothers band, I played in cool venues like Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln center, and scored the lead trombone spot in the All-West Tennessee jazz band. While at Vanderbilt, I’ve made two great decisions involving music: I’ve switched to playing the bass versions of trombone and guitar, and I’ve joined Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. In my free time, I’m usually hanging out with friends, playing a videogame that’s not quite as good as GTA V, or wondering what I want to be when I grow up.

Sam Anderson, junior

Samuel Anderson is a trombone performance major from Greenwood, SC.  In high school he studied with Dr. David Hamilton at the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.  He has performed with ensembles and honor bands such as Sound of America, SC Youth Wind Symphony, Greenville County Youth Orchestra, and has been a member of the SC All-State Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Band.   Outside of music, he enjoys teaching and studying martial arts, and watching movies and television shows of any sort.


Chase Coffey, junior

My name is Chase Coffey. I’m a Musical Arts major planning to double major in Computer Science. I’m from Nashville, Tennessee where I attended Hume-Fogg Academic High School and studied under Richard Ripani and Oscar Utterstrom for the past four years. My background is primarily in jazz, as I made the TMEA All-State Jazz Band last year and have studied it rather extensively over my high school career, however I love classical music and I’m looking forward to being thrown into a vast genre of fantastic music over these next four years. I also hope to put an emphasis on composition during my time at Blair. I generally spend my free time writing, playing guitar, or playing frisbee.

Matt Herrmann, junior

Matt is from Katy, Texas, a suburb west of Houston. He has been playing trombone since he was 11, taught himself guitar, and took piano lessons for three years. In high school, Matt participated in many music related classes including jazz band, symphony orchestra, choir and band, in which he was a drum major. He had the privilege of performing at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago two times. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to music, doing random things with friends, and working out.  Matt plans to continue trombone performance at a graduate level after his time at Vanderbilt.

Matt Rafferty, junior

Matt Rafferty is a sophomore Composition major from Timonium, Maryland, just outside Baltimore, who is proud to call the trombone his primary instrument.  While at Dulaney High School, he played lead trombone in the Maryland All-State, Baltimore County Honors, and Dulaney Varsity jazz bands, and conducted the Dulaney Rhapsody orchestra.  Matt has composed works for concert band, jazz band, string orchestra, brass ensemble, and various smaller groups.  When not composing or playing, he spends his time swimming, playing pick-up sports, and sitting in his dorm looking forward to his lessons with Professor Wilson.

Josiah Williams, junior

Josiah Williams has played trombone for nine years.  Josiah has played with ensembles such as the Illinois All-State Honor Band, the IMEA District 1 Orchestra and the Masterworks Orchestra at the international Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.  In addition to orchestral playing, Josiah has found success with jazz trombone, performing at acclaimed sites like the Midwest clinic for band and orchestra, New York City’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, and Chicago’s Jazz Showcase- including a European tour.  Josiah holds a passion for the marching arts, and served as Drum Major for two years in his high school program.  Josiah marched as a member of the euphonium section of the 2013 Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps.  Josiah is a Trombone Performance major in the Blair School, and is pursuing a pre-law track to take him to law school after his time at Vanderbilt.

Sydney Allen, sophomore

Sydney Allen began her musical adventures at the age of five on a cello that looked more like a violin. She later began studying the trombone with Dr. Brett Shuster and has played in the Louisville Youth Orchestra (with both instruments), wind ensemble, and jazz band. Sydney has been an All-State musician with both her cello and trombone, was selected for Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, and has spent several weeks at Interlochen Center for the Arts fighting off mosquitos in the woods with her trombone.

Sydney will continue her studies with both instruments at Vanderbilt, with an Arts and Science major. Outside of her musical and academic commitments, Sydney enjoys spending time with her horse at home in Louisville, Kentucky, and reading everything and anything with words.

Isaac Johnson, sophomore

Isaac Johnson is a trombone performance major hailing from Pine Island, Minnesota. He started playing trombone at the tender age of ten and has never regretted it.   Isaac is an Emerson Scholar Interlochen Summer Arts Camp alumnus (2012) and is grateful for that experience which helped him decide to pursue music as a career.  He has participated in many performing organizations, including his favorite for the past three years of high school, the Minnesota Youth Symphonies’ Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Manny Laureano.  The 2013-14 school year was a memorable one for him.  He performed the first movement of Tomasi’s Concerto for Trombone with the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band, was named a YoungArts winner, was selected as an alternate with the National Youth Orchestra, and performed Arthur Pryor’s Blue Bells of Scotland with the Minneapolis Pops.  Isaac is extremely excited to be working with THE Jeremy Wilson and can’t wait to dive into all that Vanderbilt has to offer.


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