From teaching others songwriting and vocals on weekdays to performing gigs at festivals on the weekends, Lauren King ’19 was able to achieve success with the intelligence and confidence she gained during her time in Stonehill’s music program.

The Rhode Island native said the professors in the music program were generous with their time and helped her foster her growth as a musician and a person. It’s a theme commonly heard from graduates who have gone on to launch careers as diverse as music instructors and a senior music licensing specialist at NBCUniversal Media.

“As a prospective student I remember nervously emailing Professor [James] Bohn about my interest in the music program,” King said. “He replied with such an interest in my personal goals and showed me all the ways he could help me in both Stonehill’s academic and extracurricular programs. That was when I knew Stonehill would be a great fit for me.”

Lauren King, Wild Woman video

A program that respects music history, embraces its future

Bohn, director of Stonehill’s music program, said he is always working to keep the program contemporary. He often says that if you educate students solely based on classical music, you’re preparing them for a world that doesn’t exist.

“There are a lot of young musicians who have been making music for years, whether it’s in rock-and-roll or hip-hop. And we want to honor that experience,” said Bohn.

He said the department considers where a particular student’s strengths lie and tries to customize a path that works for that student.

“I try to approach every student individually,” said Bohn. “When they become a junior or senior, I look at the student and think, ‘What does this person do well?’ And then when they get to their capstone project, I try to push them toward highlighting the thing they are best at and encourage them to do that.”

Bohn said he also works with his music students to ensure that they see how their skill set is applicable in numerous other fields that may not immediately seem to have a connection to music.

James Bohn, music program director and music technology program director

“If you know how to record music, you also know how to record audio. You can record audio for podcasts, commercials, film, etc.,” said Bohn.

It also can open doors to other music related careers. Bridget Kelly ’12 said her experience in the Music Program not only made her a better vocalist it also made her aware of music careers she didn’t know existed.

“Stonehill provided me with a music foundation that helped me gain entrance into the competitive Music Business Master's program at New York University, where I continued my studies and found what I truly loved, music licensing,” said Kelly, a senior music licensing specialist at NBCUniversal Media in New York City. “I have now been in this career for over six years and am grateful to Stonehill for starting me on this path.”

Chris Borelli ’15, senior integrative project manager at Jones Knowles; executive producer and co-founder of CB Sonics

Lessons in creating music and navigating professional lives

Chris Borelli ’15 was a co-founder and executive producer of a music and sound studio in 2020 and is currently the senior integrative project manager at Jones Knowles Ritchie, an independent creative agency based in London, New York and Shanghai.

He said his time in Stonehill’s music program as well as in the Communication Department gave him more of an idea of what to expect in terms of the types of media that he might be working with, the types of people he might be corresponding with and the types of challenges that come from a music career.

“I’m learning that not a whole lot of people know about music theory and the history and science of how it all connects,” he said. “I can apply a classical knowledge of music in a modernist way in what I am creating now.”

Stonehill’s music program was also a crucial element in the life of Wendy Lucas ’20. She said it taught her how to start producing, the importance of social media as a marketing tool, and how to believe in herself.

“The professors take a personal interest in your music journey,” said Lucas, who  has been independently releasing her music every month for the past two years, as well as performing live every week. “It’s difficult to believe in yourself and to follow the path less traveled, but it’s a lot easier when you have personal cheerleaders in the field.”

Wendy Lucas ’20, singer-songwriters, recording artist

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