Student Profiles

Toby Deaver, senior

My name is Toby Deaver. I spent the first 18 years of my life in Wichita Falls, Texas. I’m an MA5 major, and I plan to start a nonprofit music school for child survivors of sexual abuse. During my time at Blair, I have played trombone in the Wind Symphony, Orchestra, Big Band, and various brass chamber ensembles. This year I am also singing with the Chamber Choir. I was fortunate enough to be able to tour with the Orchestra across China in December of 2012. I was also privileged to be selected for a residency with the SiNEM program of Costa Rica in May of 2013. As part of this experience, I spent about two weeks in the cities of Limón and San Ramón, Costa Rica, giving individual lessons, sitting in with orchestras, participating in conducting classes, leading sectionals, conducting an orchestra, and giving solo performances. I am actively involved for my fourth year with TAP, The Afterschool Program, a reading and mentoring program serving the children of North Nashville, as well as the Vanderbilt chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music fraternity for women, in which I have served in leadership positions for three years. In my miraculously-found spare time, I enjoy going on wild adventures with good people, attending small shows around Nashville, baking birthday cakes, twerking in the Blair elevator, and being outdoors.

Jason Gnasigamany, senior

My name is Jason Gnasigamany. I was born in Malaysia and moved to Austin, Texas in January of 2000. I am a Trombone Performance major and Pre-med student at the Blair School, class of 2014. As a trombonist at Blair, I have had the privilege of performing major works with both the Wind Ensemble and the Orchestra. In December of 2012, I was part of the Vanderbilt Orchestra’s China tour, performing 4 concerts across China. Apart from the school of music, I am the 2013-2014 trombone section-leader in the Spirit of Gold Marching Band. We have fun as we support our Commodore football team during their season. We also send pep bands that travel to SEC and NCAA tournaments with our men’s and women’s basketball teams during the spring. I have also served two terms as the Service Chair of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, two terms as a member of the Jurisdictions Committee in Tau Beta Sigma, and I also attend the Navigators campus ministry every week. I also enjoy volleyball, Frisbee, basketball, football, and playing lots of FIFA.

Emma Gibson, junior

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.

Evan Montanez, junior

My name is Evan Montanez, and I am a member of the Vanderbilt Class of 2015.  My hometown is Memphis, Tennessee, where I attended Arlington High School. I am a Musical Arts major and Chemistry minor, and I am on the Pre-Med Track.

The highlights of my musical career thus far include

  • Attending the 2009 Tennessee Governor School of Music, consequently performing with Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander at the Schermerhorn
  • Performing with the Tennessee All State Orchestra
  • Playing at the Shanghai Conservatory and Fudan University in China with the Germantown Youth Symphony-Orchestra.

Outside of my musical education, I enjoy being a medical research assistant, teaching music classes to elementary school students through Vanderbilt Music Outreach, cooking, and being a part of the Vanderbilt Tango Club and Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic Students.

Brian Entwistle, sophomore

Brian Entwistle is a bass trombonist from Farmingdale, New York. He is currently enrolled in the Musical Arts/Teacher Education (MA5) program. Though his musical career began on the cello, he ultimately decided that trombone was the way to go. 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, under the direction of Dr. Carolyn Barber of the University of Nebraska, and in the New York All-State Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Mr. Dave Pietro. At Vanderbilt, Brian is a member of the Spirit of Gold Marching Band (one of the best decisions he has ever made), Tau Beta Sigma, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. His interests include various video games and board games, Frisbee, volleyball, football, and, of course, anything music. His goal is to become a professional bass trombonist 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, sophomore

My name is Liam Long  and I’m from Memphis, Tennessee. I’m a student in the school of Arts and Science, class of 2016, and a music minor in Blair. I haven’t picked a major yet, but I’m considering Biology or the closely related field of Political Science. I switched from tenor to bass trombone the summer before I got here at Vanderbilt, and have been having a blast since. Aside from trombone lessons and related activities, I’m in the Blair Big Band and the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha, where I’m in charge of unofficial jamming. Some non-trombone related activities I enjoy include watching AMC dramas and playing volleyball, Xbox, and guitar.

Samuel Anderson, freshman

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, freshman

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, freshman

Matt is from Katy, Texas, a suburb west of Houston. He has been playing trombone since he was 11 and also taught himself guitar and took piano lessons for 3 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 tossing a Frisbee around.  Matt is excited to be studying with THE Jeremy Wilson and to learn from him. Go ‘Dores!

Matt Rafferty, freshman

Matt Rafferty is a freshman Composition major from Timonium, Maryland, just outside Baltimore, who is proud to call the trombone his primary instrument.  He splits lead in the Blair Big Band.  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, freshman

Josiah Williams has played trombone for eight 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, the IMEA All-State Festival, New York City’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, and Chicago’s Jazz Showcase.  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 considering pursuing a pre-law track to take him to law school after his time at Vanderbilt.

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