Meet the Students
Truman Clarinet Studio
Chloe Armentrout recently transferred to Truman as a junior music therapy major from the State College of Florida in Bradenton, Florida, where she received the “Most Outstanding Woodwind” Award and served as a woodwind staff member for the Lakewood Ranch High School marching band. She was also named “Music Student of the Month” by the Florida College System Activities Association and received the Diane Gorzycki Woman Band Directors Scholarship.
Madison Backes is a junior music minor who served as a music teaching assistant in high school and received the Sousa Award. She was awarded honors at the State Solo and Ensemble Contest in both instrumental and vocal performance and served as a leader for her marching band. When she’s not playing the clarinet or bass clarinet, she enjoys baking and working at her family’s restaurant.
Brett Barger is a senior music performance major from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, where he was selected for the Missouri All-State Band all four years of high school. He also received the Arion Award and served as his high school’s section leader. Recently he was awarded first place in the 2021 Missouri Music Teachers Association Collegiate Woodwinds Competition, and he was selected to attend the 2022 Festival Suoni d’Abruzzo, a summer music festival in Ortona, Italy. His hobbies include watching and playing baseball.
Brianna Dotson comes to us from St. Louis, Missouri, where she was selected for the All-District Honor Band and conducted the Phantom Regiment Drum Corps. She also received the John Philip Sousa Award. She’s currently a senior music education major who loves playing her clarinet and recently received the 2021 Hearst Fine Arts Memorial Scholarship.
Karley Drabik is a senior music education major from Grain Valley, Missouri, where she was selected for the All-District Honor Band all four years and served as the drum major of her high school band for two years. She also received superior ratings at state contest for both solos and small ensemble performances. Her hobbies include watching movies and listening to music.
Lily Fisher is a senior music minor from St. Louis, Missouri, where she performed with the Missouri All-State Band her senior year. She also performed in the All-District Band and was awarded the Patrick Hoeing Memorial Scholarship. She served as the section leader of her high school band for two years. When not playing the clarinet, she enjoys drinking coffee, reading books, and baking.
Harper Golden is a first-year graduate student from Meeker, Oklahoma, pursuing the Master of Arts in clarinet performance degree at Truman, where she is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the bands program. She received her undergraduate degree in music education from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she won the 2022 University Concerto Competition and received the Presser Scholarship. In her free time, she enjoys playing badminton, spending time with her dog, and reading.
Autumn Heath, originally from Festus, Missouri, is a second-year graduate student pursuing the Master of Arts in clarinet performance degree. She is currently serving as a GTRA for the bands program at Truman. In May of 2022, she graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Music Education degree, where she was named “Most Outstanding Woodwind Student in 2020, “Most Outstanding Senior in Academics” in 2022, and served as principal clarinetist of the Wind Symphony. When not playing clarinet, she enjoys doing other creative activities like sewing and cross-stitching, as well as playing games with friends.
Emily Hlas comes to us from Adel, Iowa, where she was a member of the Iowa All-State Band for three years, performed in her Conference Honor Band, and served as section leader for her high school band. She’s a senior music minor who enjoys playing ukulele and guitar, rollerblading, making crafts, and taking photos and videos when not playing clarinet.
Jennifer Jones is in her senior year after transferring to Truman as a music performance major from Indiana University-Bloomington. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, she was a member of the St. Louis Youth Orchestra for two years, performed with the 2018 NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles Symphony Orchestra as first chair overall, and was selected as first chair overall of the Missouri All-State Convention for two consecutive years (she choose band in 2018 and orchestra in 2019). Recently, she received first place at the 2020 Missouri Music Teachers Association Collegiate Woodwinds Competition.
Colton Kniffen is a freshman music performance major and political science minor from Iowa, where he made the All-State Band his senior year. He also received Superior ratings at contest and made first chair in the Drake Honor Band. When not playing clarinet, he enjoys playing badminton, watching Netflix, and playing video games.
Eastlyn Koons is a fourth-year music minor from Smithville, Missouri, where she was fourteenth chair in the Missouri All-State Band and first chair in the All-District Honor Band. She also performed in the Youth Symphony of Kansas City and the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. She received the John Philip Sousa Award, was selected to the Four-State All-Honor Band, and served as section leader of her high school band. Her hobbies include hanging out with friends, reading, and volunteering for various activities and service projects.
Ajdin Krdzalic is from St. Louis, Missouri, where he received a superior rating at state contest two years in a row. He also received the John Philip Sousa Award. He’s a senior music major who enjoys reading when not playing his clarinet. He was selected as a finalist for the 2022 Missouri Symphony Concerto Competition and participated in both the Lift Clarinet Academy in Colorado and the wind symphony at the National Phi Mu Alpha Convention at Powell Hall in St. Louis, MO.
Trystan Lickteig is a sophomore clarinet performance/music education double major from Kearney, Missouri. He was a two-time All-State Band member, a four-time All-District Band member, earned two gold ratings at the State Solo and Ensemble Contest, served as his high school’s drum major, and received the Sousa Award. He recently received “Honorable Mention” at the 2021 Missouri Music Teachers Association Collegiate Woodwinds Competition.
Alayna McCulley is a first-year music education major from Imperial, Missouri, where she received the Director’s Award and Best Senior Award. She also performed in the All-District Band for two years and received Gold ratings at the state contest. She was soloist with both her high school concert and marching bands. She enjoys playing video games in her free time.
Lacey Mihalevich is a junior music education major from Kirksville, Missouri, where she received a gold rating at the State Solo and Ensemble Contest, was awarded her high school’s musicianship award, and served as her marching band’s section leader for two years. She was a guest conductor for one of her middle school’s band concerts, and in addition to the clarinet, she plays saxophone, guitar, piano and sings.
Irene Pehanich is a first-year graduate student from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pursuing the Master of Arts degree in clarinet performance at Truman, where she serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the freshman aural skills class. Her undergraduate degree is in clarinet performance from Slippery Rock University, where she was principal clarinetist of the Wind Symphony for six semesters and maintained a private clarinet studio in Pittsburgh. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, listening to new music, and working out.
Cherish Pope comes to us from Lone Jack, Missouri, where she was twice selected to play clarinet in the All-State band and served as her high school’s drum major her senior year. She is a senior music performance major, and when she’s not playing the clarinet, she enjoys performing on flute and piano as well.
Josh Ryan is a junior music education major from Monroe City, Missouri, where he received the Sousa Award, served as his marching band’s section leader, and was selected to perform in the All-District Band. When not playing the clarinet, he enjoys drinking tea and collecting mugs.
Emma Scherrer is a senior music/history double major from St. Louis, Missouri, where she was selected as first alternate for the All-State Band and performed with the St. Louis All-Suburban Band all four years of high school. She also received numerous gold ratings at state contest. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in musicology after graduation, and her hobbies include reading, kickboxing, and playing video games.
Lily Schmitt is a first-year music education major from Washington, Missouri, where she performed in the All-District Band all four years of high school. She also was selected for the All-State Honorable Mention Band her senior year and received Gold ratings at the state contest, as well as the Music Department Award.
Shay Shipley is a senior music therapy major from Boonville, Missouri, where they were selected for the All-State Band and the All-District Band. They also received the Sousa Award and started the Boonville Tri-M chapter. When not playing clarinet Shay enjoys cooking and writing.
Thomas Stahl is a first-year music composition major from Washington, Missouri, where he received a Gold rating at state contest for his bass clarinet solo. He enjoys learning astronomy, making board games, playing volleyball and running.
Josiah Stocks is a freshman music education major from Kirksville, Missouri, where he was section leader of the high school band for two years and was selected for the All-District Band on alto clarinet. He enjoys collecting vinyl, listening to music on his hifi system and traveling to enjoy new experiences.
Danilo Viquez-Poveda is a first-year graduate student from Cartago, Costa Rica, pursuing the Master of Arts degree in clarinet performance at Truman, where he is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the bands program. His undergraduate degree was from the University of Costa Rica, where he studied clarinet with Prof. Yamileth Perez Mora. For several years he was a band conductor and clarinet teacher of 35 musicians aged 10 to 21 years old. He looks forward to returning after his graduate studies to share what he learned.
Alex Walcott is a fourth-year music therapy/psychology double major from Bevier, Missouri. Alex served as section leader all four years of high school and performed throughout Europe with the Missouri Ambassadors of Music. They know how to play 15 different instruments and also enjoys singing.
Julian Williams is a junior music minor from St. Louis where he was selected to perform in the All-State Band and was awarded the Sousa Award. He also received a gold rating at the State Solo and Ensemble Contest his senior year.
Yongzhuo Zhu is a first-year graduate student from Sichuan, China, pursuing the Master of Arts in clarinet performance degree at Truman, where he is serving as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the clarinet studio. He received his undergraduate degree at the Sichuan Conservatory where he studied with clarinetist Zhen Sun. He enjoys listening to music, watching musicals and playing video games.