Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Amazing Story of Vol State’s Flute Playing Graduate



Vol State grad, Gareth Laffely lists among his many accomplishments: president of PTK, Honors student, and Outstanding Graduate nominee. But that is only the tip of the iceberg for this young man. Gareth is the youngest artist to ever reach No. 2 on the Billboard New Age charts, which he achieved at the age of 17. As a Native American flute player and an advocate for change, he recently received the “Rising Star” Award from the Native American Music Awards. Gareth is of Mi'kmaq/Cree descent.

“I actually started out at 4 years old playing drums, I was then classically trained in piano and violin. I didn’t really find myself musically until I started with the flute, singing and songwriting,” he said.

Gareth explains how his very first flute changed his life forever, “when I turned 13 I wanted to go on a coming of age trip with my family, so we went out to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and while we were out there, I had a minute to myself and I went off to a little shop. I saw a little $45 flute, I picked it up, and the very first thing that I said was ‘I am never going to do anything with this.’ I started to play it and something felt right, so I bought it.”

The next week during a tour of Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Gareth realized that he was destined to become a flute player. “I asked the tour guide if I could play the flute and just see how it sounded on the edge of the canyon, he was mistaken, so he announced to the entire tour group that a young artist from Nashville was going to give a concert on the edge of the cliff. So, I’d had the flute for a week, so I got through as much as I could on the flute, and as soon as I started to play, something just clicked, and I thought, this is what I want to do.”

Gareth has worked with an organization called Thundering Hooves in Texas, where they worked to spread awareness about horse slaughter. The documentary titled Their Last Ride included Gareth’s song is titled “The Last Ride.” 
His music was also used in a memorial for a young boy named Regen who lost his battle with brain cancer. Regen's family had told Gareth how much his music helped their family through the process. “It touched me on a deep level to know that my music can be used to heal someone like that. So I walked over to my piano and just started to play something, the first thing I played stuck, then I grabbed my flute, and the first thing stuck. It became “Regen’s song,” named after the boy.” Gareth collaborated with New Age Grammy winner Laura Sullivan on the song, and all of the proceeds were donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Gareth has started an anti-bullying campaign across North America, which is centered around his song titled “This Time.” Gareth says that he has experienced bullying in his past, and encourages others to talk about their experiences.

“The song says, ‘this time I am going to rise above – this time, I am not going to take it,’ I had the opportunity to take the song into elementary, middle, and high schools around North America. I like taking something that can be hard to talk about, and using music, the universal language, to make it more accessible to everybody.”

After Vol State, Gareth plans to continue his education at MTSU, to pursue a degree in marketing. He aspires to grow his music business, and ultimately start his own music-for-film company. Gareth is currently working on developing his own recording studio, and will tentatively be releasing his next album this summer titled “Voices of the Guardians.”


Brought up by two fellow musician parents, Gareth’s path was clearly laid out for him. His father is a music therapist, and his mother a singer/songwriter, who is also now his manager. “My parents are not the typical parents. They also recognize what I want from my life, and they’re never going to steer me from that.”


“For my vision of my life, I want to see myself being able to step out, and go one step further than I did the previous year to touch more lives to make a larger impact on the world. I like to go out and encourage other people to find their gifts and talents and use that for good.”
For more information on Gareth and to keep up with his continuing story, check out the links to his website and Facebook page below.


www.garethmusic.com
www.facebook.com/GarethMusic/

-By Rachel Keyes



Monday, April 30, 2018

Graduation Streamed Live on Saturday

We want everyone to be able to share in the joy of graduation, even if they are thousands of miles away and cannot attend the ceremony in person. We will be streaming graduation live on Saturday. The stream starts at 9:45am and the ceremony at 10am. You can find it at www.volstate.edu/graduation

Congratulations everyone!

This Week at Vol State


April 30           Stressbuster: pet a therapy dog, Thigpen Library, 10am-Noon
May 1              Stressbuster: pet a therapy dog, Thigpen Library, 10am-Noon
May 4              College to Career Seminar, Zachariah Ballinger, bestselling author and Career Consultant, Nichols Dining Room, 7:30-9:45am
May 4              Commencement Rehearsal, Pickel Field House, 10am
May 5              Spring Commencement, Pickel Field House, 10am to Noon

Friday, April 27, 2018

Vol State Arboretum Honors Professor's Legacy


Today Vol State celebrated the grand opening of the Parris Powers Memorial Arboretum. It's an assemblage of trees around campus, which have all been identified and will be used for scientific study. Parris Powers is a former Chemistry professor at Vol State. He passed away in 2016, but his legacy shall live on.

Alumnus Cynthia Hernandez worked hard to make the arboretum become a reality.

“I studied at Vol State part-time between 2011 and 2015, I studied with emphasis in Environmental Science. I had opportunity to be president of Team Change for three years. During that time I met Professor Powers. I remember the first day of my sustainability class, he introduced me as the student who should be teaching the class; he had a way with making his students feel important. I saw Professor Powers about a month before he passed, and I shared with him that I would be finishing the project, I wish he could be here,” said Hernandez.

Cynthia emphasized her gratitude for Professor Powers for his support and encouragement. She also gives credit to faculty member Kelly Ormsby for sparking the idea of the campus arboretum. Cynthia worked closely with many faculty members, including Dr. Ellen Dayhuff, and certified arborists to complete her project.

Both of Professor Power’s children were present at the event. Summer Powers said, “He instilled a sense of wanting to learn about things besides myself. I know my dad would be very proud. I think it’s important to learn about environmental sciences because we live in a world where we are constantly cutting down trees and not replacing them. We are destroying our entire world, we know it, and we aren’t doing anything about it.”

“First of all, this dedication and memorial is just an incredible blessing to our family,” said Christian Powers. He loved his students, they were our competition,” he jokes. “These trees, they were planted, and they have a story just like you and I. We have all been planted in various capacities, we’ve been nurtured, we’ve been watered. It doesn’t stop here, these trees are going to continue to grow, they’re going to bear fruit, plant seeds, and there’s going to be a second coming, another generation. This is a living testament to my dad’s investment in others. There’s not enough time or words to express my excitement and joy.”

As for the organizer, Cynthia Hernandez, she has turned her love for environmental science into a career. She now holds the position of program specialist for the Tennessee Environmental Council.

There is a map of the Parris Powers Memorial Arboretum located in the Duffer Plaza for anyone who is interested in studying more about the specific trees on campus. The official website is now ready for browsing as well at www.volstate.edu/arboretum

-By Rachel Keyes

Musicians- this New Vol State Music Degree Program Starts this Fall!


The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) degree in Professional Music combines several areas with the same purpose: to help students develop skills to become working musicians in the entertainment industry in Tennessee. Students can focus on areas that include Americana Music, Church and Gospel Music, Commercial Music, Songwriting, and more. The program combines individual music instruction, music theory, entertainment industry practices, and regular performance opportunities. Students have access to the Vol State analog and digital recording studios. They will study with faculty members, many of whom are working musicians and engineers, active in the Middle Tennessee music scene.
Students can use both TN Promise and TN Reconnect for the A.A.S degree in Professional Music. For more information email Benjamin.Graves@volstate.edu or call 615-230-3200.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Make Sure You Register for Summer or Fall Classes - Commit to Completion

You have most likely had a long semester. You are close to being done. We hope your finals go well. If you are not graduating, please take some time after finals to register for summer or fall classes. Studies show that taking a break from college puts you in danger of not finishing at all. And we want to see everyone get their Vol State degree and go on to great things at university or in the workplace!. Commit to Completion.