Student Profiles

Brian Entwistle, senior

Brian Entwistle is a bass trombonist from Farmingdale, New York. He is currently a Bass Trombone Performance major. Though his musical career 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. Through high school, he participated in New York All-State Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble, as well as various honor bands. At Vanderbilt, Brian is a member of the Blair Big Band, the Blair Trombone Quartet, and the music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha. He is also the student manager of the Vanderbilt Wind Ensemble, a senior representative on the Blair Student Council, a co-chair of Blair’s SEGUE mentorship program, and a student fellow worker on the Blair Library’s Alfred H. Bartles Collection project. Brian was a winner of the 2015 Blair Student Showcase Competition, as well as one of three finalists for the International Trombone Association’s George Roberts Bass Trombone Solo Competition in 2015. He has also subbed with the Nashville Jazz Orchestra and the Tennessee Jazz Collective. After Vanderbilt, Brian plans to live in Nashville to freelance, teach, and prepare for his next goal of attending graduate school at the Rotterdam Conservatory. His ultimate goal is to win a position in a symphony orchestra, while also teaching at a conservatory, directing and conducting a community orchestra, and composing on the side.

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, listening to music, scrolling the internet and watching bad sci-fi and horror movies. She is also involved with Vanderbilt Lambda Association. Apart from trombone, Emma is also a talented singer and electric bassist, and can manage to bang out a few chords on a guitar or piano if severely pressured. 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. She is very pleased to be the little old granny of the studio, and remind the others just how different things used to be “back in the day.”

Liam Long, senior

Liam Long is a Political Science and Music double major from Memphis, TN. He picked up the trombone in high school, after several years of lessons on piano and guitar, and played in venues like Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center with his high school’s excellent concert band. Liam also performed with the All-West Tennessee band for two years and earned the lead spot in the All-West Tennessee jazz band senior year. Liam is currently studying bass trombone and bass guitar at Blair, focusing on jazz, and is excited to take composition lessons this year. Outside of his studies, Liam enjoys playing volleyball, drums, cooking, and doing things with Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Liam is planning on attending the Software Guild after graduating and becoming a software developer.

Sam Anderson, junior

Samuel Anderson is a trombone performance major from Greenwood, SC, currently studying with Jeremy Wilson at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. 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.  Since moving to Nashville, he has performed with several orchestras in town and in Chattanooga, including a performance at the Schremerhorn with the Curb Youth Symphony. In addition, in 2014, he earned an honorable mention in the International Trombone Association Competition. Outside of music, he enjoys teaching and studying martial arts, and watching movies and television shows of any sort.

Chase Coffey, junior

Chase Coffeyis a Musical Arts major planning to double major in Computer Science. He is from Nashville, TN where he attended Hume-Fogg Academic High School and studied under Rich Ripani. Coming into the school a largely jazz emphasized background, Chase has heavily participated in the Blair Big Band, as well as several various small groups. He is also focused on music beyond just trombone, as he is studying jazz voice, guitar, and composition. In his free time, Chase enjoys composing, reading, cooking, and all things athletic.


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 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 is a Trombone Performance major at the Blair School of Music.  Josiah takes full advantage of the collaborative culture at Blair, performing with the Vanderbilt Wind Symphony and Vanderbilt Orchestra as well as chamber ensembles like brass quintet, brass choir, and trombone quartet. In addition to classical and solo playing, Josiah loves to play jazz trombone, performing with the Blair Big Band, the Blair Jazz Combo and substituting for performances with the Nashville Jazz Orchestra. 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 and plans to tour with DCI again.  Josiah pursues his academic interests of English, Philosophy, and History in the rigorous environment of Vanderbilt University and plans to attend 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 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 is continuing her studies with both instruments at Vanderbilt, although she specializes in trombone with a trombone performance minor. She is majoring in Earth and Environmental Science, with additional minors in Biology and Environmental Sustainability. 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 trombone performance major hailing from Pine Island, Minnesota. He began trombone at the young age of ten and has never regretted it. Isaac’s high school years were full of lessons and competitions with the highlights listed here: Emerson Scholar Interlochen Summer Arts Camp alumnus (2012), a Young Arts Finalist (2014), National Youth Orchestra Finalist twice, and performing the first movement of Tomasi’s Concerto for Trombone with the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band (2014). He hopes to pursue trombone professionally and possibly have a singing career as well. Besides trombone, He also enjoys going swimming, BMX biking, singing and Nordic skiing (sadly, that doesn’t happen in Tennessee due to the complete lack of snow). Isaac is excited to tackle Sophomore year and is so glad to spend it with such an amazing teacher, studio, and school. Anchor Down!

Liam Glendening, freshman

Liam Glendening is a trombone performance major from Redlands, California. He began his musical career as a cellist at the age of five, picking up trombone at nine. In his nine years of playing trombone, Liam has won the American Trombone Workshop Division 1 competition, played with every level of honor ensemble in the country, and toured from Carnegie Hall to Disney Hall with the National Youth Orchestra. For those years he was taught by his father, Andrew Glendening, who inspired his pursuit of music. He was also fortunate to play in masterclasses for Gene Pokorny, Randall Hawes, Michael Mulcahy and others at the Pokorny Low Brass Seminar. Liam now studies with Jeremy Wilson at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. He hopes to pursue a career as a trombonist and/or as a conductor. When he isn’t playing trombone, Liam enjoys film, modern art, and being eccentric.

Evan Lyons, freshman

Evan Lyons is a musical arts major from Waukegan, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago.  He has been involved in music since a very young age, beginning in a program called Kindermusik.  He began viola in first grade and trombone in fifth grade, adding tuba and baritone to the list along the way.  In high school he participated in multiple curricular bands and choirs, as well as pep band, marching band, jazz band, madrigal/jazz choir, and theater.  He served as a member of both band and choir council, as drum major of the marching band, and as president of Waukegan chapters of NHS and Tri-M.  Throughout high school, he also played in various IMEA district and Lake County honor bands.  His interests include movies, computer games, board games, longboards, and hacky sack, and he enjoys biking, running, and swimming.  By taking advantage of all that Vanderbilt and Blair have to offer, he hopes to achieve his goal of becoming a well-known trombonist and film score composer.

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