Humming Along: Wealth of music opportunities expands to include strings

There’s been an exciting development in the music department Longwood—and it’s inspired me to tell you a little about opportunities, new and existing, for your student in the music program here.

First, I am very happy to let you know that a new professor focused on stringed instruments will be joining the Longwood music faculty in the fall. I met Dr. Lauretta Werner when she was on campus during the interview process, and I thought she’d be a great fit for Longwood.

Dr. Lauretta Werner will be joining the music faculty this fall.

She’ll be teaching violin and viola lessons and leading a string ensemble (for students playing violin, viola, cello and bass), among other duties.

So if your student has ever mentioned wanting to learn to play the violin or viola—or wanting to improve their playing—this is their chance. Lessons are available to all students, not just music majors. A bonus is that non-music majors can take elective applied lessons in violin or another instrument to fulfill one of the requirements of Civitae, the core curriculum.

And with Longwood’s new tuition structure (students can take 12-18 hours for the same basic tuition cost), students could have room in their schedules for private lessons or a string class, for academic credit, without paying additional tuition. (There is an additional fee for private lessons, which is standard at most universities).

Jazz Ensemble

Longwood offers private music instruction in voice, piano, trumpet, French horn, tuba, trombone, clarinet, saxophone, flute, percussion and guitar, for example.

Below, Dr. Lisa Kinzer, chair of Longwood’s Department of Music, answers some additional questions about the new music faculty member, the string program and music opportunities in general at Longwood.

What other opportunities do students have to make music at Longwood?
We have several vocal ensembles, including men’s and women’s choirs and the advanced Camerata Singers, and several instrumental groups, including the jazz and percussion ensembles and the Wind Symphony. More information about our ensembles can be found on our website:

Vocal ensembles include men’s and women’s choirs and the Camerata Singers.

What about Stampede?
Stampede is the official Longwood University athletics band. This year’s band had more than 40 students from a wide variety of majors. The band performs at basketball games during the winter season. Anyone with previous band experience, a positive attitude and the desire to have a lot of fun is welcome to join Stampede.

Stampede is the official athletics band and is open to all students with band experience.

How many music majors are currently enrolled?
We currently have approximately 50 music majors, over half of whom intend to pursue degrees in music education.

Are there scholarships available for music majors? Where can students find out more information about them?
Yes, many scholarships are available to music majors.  We have recently been able to award small awards to non-music majors, too, to help offset fees for applied lessons. More information is available on the Longwood website:

Wind Symphony

Why was Dr. Werner selected for the new faculty position?
As pointed out by the search committee, Dr. Werner’s teaching was superior and she performed expressively. She had clear musical ideas in her rehearsals and performances, collaborated well in ensemble performance, and was focused on student understanding and student success throughout the process.

What are your short-term and long-term goals for a string program at Longwood?
We’d like to see Dr. Werner working through the Longwood Center for Community Music to teach violin and viola to pre-college students to cultivate an interest and appreciation for strings in our immediate community. As interest builds and word gets out, we hope to have a full orchestra sitting on the stage of our new music building 7-10 years from now. 

Music ensembles provide a wide variety of performance opportunities for music majors and non-majors alike.

Why do you feel it’s important to start a string program here?
In our conversations, we talked about how a string program would make us a more “complete” music program. Not only do we want to attract music majors who play stringed instruments, but we want to attract the type of pianist, vocalist, etc., who wants to study in a department that offers chamber music and orchestral experiences.

Will Dr. Werner be teaching a beginning string class?
We do not currently offer a beginning string class, but this is something Dr. Werner may develop when she arrives. There would be no additional fee for this kind of class.

How does the music department contribute to Longwood and the student experience?
Students and faculty in the music department serve as ambassadors for Longwood through our numerous performances, both locally and throughout the state and region. Here on campus, we truly are a department of service, providing music for events such as convocation, commencement and the Holiday Dinner, which brings students and their parents back to campus years after students have graduated. Alumni also return to campus as they bring their own students here for events such as Longwood Honor Band and Honor Choir. 


Snow Is In The Forecast But Spring Is In The Air: Spring break, softball and more

With a dusting of snow in the forecast today, it seems a little odd to be writing about spring break and other spring activities—even if they are right around the corner.

Spring Job and Internship Fair
Spring break is the first week of March, but before your student gets into that spring break state of mind they have the opportunity to check out job and internship opportunities at the Spring Job and Internship Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

So far, representatives from 44 businesses, nonprofits, school districts, graduate schools and state and local government agencies have signed up to attend.

The event will be held from 1-4 p.m. in Blackwell Ballroom. Students should dress professionally  and bring copies of their resume.

Planning for Spring Break
Any student who lives in university-managed housing and needs access to their residence after 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, must “register to stay” before midnight next Thursday, Feb. 27. Even If there’s only a chance they’ll be staying on campus over the break, the housing office recommends that students go ahead and fill out the form. Being locked out of your residence hall or your apartment is no fun.

The form can be found via the Student Housing Gateway, which can be accessed from the Housing and Residence Life page here——but your student will need to fill it out.

Here are some other pieces of spring break information you and your student should keep in mind:

  • From a student housing point of view, spring break is from 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, until noon Sunday, March 8.
  • University administrative offices will be closed Monday, March 2, and Tuesday, March 3.
  • The Farmville Area Bus (FAB) will stop running at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, and will resume at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 8. This means there is no bus service for travel to Lancer Park or Longwood Village during the break.
  • Residence hall rooms and apartments are subject to entry during the break for maintenance, general work and safety inspections.
  • Dorrill Dining Hall and other food venues will have limited hours during the break period. Information about food venue hours can be found here:
  • Classes resume March 9.

Spring Is For Softball—And Winning
An afternoon at the ballpark is a favorite spring activity—especially when the Lancer softball team is playing.

Longwood’s softball team was again picked as the preseason favorite to take home the Big South Conference crown.

Longwood softball has dominated the Big South since joining the league in 2012-13, winning the conference championship a record-setting five times during that period.

The team was again the preseason favorite to take home the conference crown in 2020. Longwood was a runaway favorite in the voting conducted by the league’s nine head coaches, hauling in eight first-place votes en route to their fifth consecutive selection as the Big South preseason No. 1.

The 2020 schedule includes several upcoming weekend home games: March 28, April 4, April 5 and April 11. It might be fun to take in a game with your student if you’re planning a trip to campus later this semester.

 —Sabrina Brown

Especially for Valentine’s Day: Students Report Their Good News

If you’re like me, you often hear more about problems than you do about what’s going well in your student’s life. That’s what we get for loving and supporting them—they feel safe telling us everything. 🙂

So, with Valentine’s Day coming up tomorrow, I thought you might enjoy hearing some of the good things that have been happening around here this semester. Even though just a few students are featured below, I think most Longwood students—including yours—could come up with a similar happy experience.

It made me smile to meet these students and talk to them for a few minutes. Hope their comments and photos below have the same effect on you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

—Sabrina Brown

Study Buddies

Last week in biology I made two new friends to study with. We really didn’t communicate until we bonded over how hard a test was. Now we plan on doing better in the class with each other’s help.
Erica Lucy ’23

Getting Her First-Gen “Peeps” Together

I joined a new organization that I’m helping to create—a support network for first-generation college students (like me!).
Cece Corbin ’22
Liberal Studies/Elementary Education

A Poet—And He Knows It

I’m still in school, so that’s a plus. I’m focusing a lot of energy on poetry. I think I want to be a writer now. My poetry professor has been giving me a lot of great critiques, and my poetry has definitely improved.

Jackson White ’21

Old Friends, New Friends

My best friend from high school came down to visit me this weekend. I got to show her around campus and introduce her to my new college friends. We baked cookies together and we went to Hampden-Sydney so I could meet a friend of hers that goes there. He cooked us a really delicious fried rice dinner.
Sydney Warren ’23

Making the Grades

I got a 100 on a group project and raised a C to a B in my psychology class.
Justin Harris ’23

Sunset on the Trail

I went biking on the High Bridge Trail last week and watched the sunset.
Eli Carr ’23
Business Management

An Ounce of Prevention

I was able to avoid getting the flu because of you [Mom]. I used all the home remedies you taught me. I also managed to do exceptionally well on my first neuroscience exams of the semester.
Angel Rowlett ’21

Superlative Praise

On Monday, I gave a presentation, and my professor said it was one of the best presentations he’d ever seen.
Benjamin Phillips ’21

Effect and Cause?

Classes are going great this week, and I’m still getting enough sleep.
Nam Nguyen ’20

So Much To Do—But Loving It

I have been very busy with honor and conduct board, my RA job and new member process with sorority events each week—and a lot of studying. I am learning how to have more fun and balancing better so far this semester. All my professors are so encouraging and supportive, which I am so grateful for. And I’m looking forward to some fun times during spring break at Disney World!!
Brooklynn Weissenfluh ’22
Communication Sciences and Disorders

Going Up

I managed to raise my bio grade by almost a full letter grade.
Ronald Rempert ’23

Look Who’s Talking

I had great conversations with Dr. Kat Tracy [professor of medieval literature] in my mythology class.
Kendall Throne ’21



Razzle Dazzle: NYC choreographer coaches student cast

Longwood faculty are constantly looking for ways to enrich your students’ education, and the weeklong workout a New York City choreographer gave the cast of an upcoming campus production of Chicago is a perfect example.

Marisa Kirby, who also is a professional actor and director, spent an entire week working with the 15 students who will sing, act and dance their hearts out in Chicago later this month. Kirby has worked on many well-known shows, including Guys and Dolls, 42nd Street, Cabaret and—most importantly—Chicago, in which she played Velma.

What brought Kirby to Longwood? Her BFF, Longwood theatre faculty member Lacy Klinger.

All 15 cast members, who represent a variety of majors, had the opportunity to work with Marisa Kirby (right), a choreographer, director and actor based in New York City.

“Marisa and I were dance teachers and choreographers during high school at the same dance studio in our hometown, and we’ve been best friends ever since,” said Klinger, an assistant professor of acting and voice, and movement.

“I reached out to Marisa when the theatre faculty decided to produce Chicago. She has experience creating movement inspired by Bob Fosse, the original choreographer of Chicago, so I knew her expertise would translate perfectly into the concept of our production.”

Kirby was on campus from Jan. 27-Feb. 4, preparing students for the performances set for Feb. 20-23 in Longwood’s Jarman Auditorium. Among the 15 students in the cast are seven theatre majors, four music majors and one each in communication studies, history, biology and special education.

“Marisa is able to reach a multitude of students through humor and enthusiasm, and push them beyond what they believed was possible,” said Klinger. “She makes everyone she works with better.”

That was certainly the case for Erica Johnson ’21, a theatre major who is playing Velma.

“Something interesting for me is I haven’t really had a heavy dance background, but I’m getting exposed to this heavy dance show by a professional,” said Johnson. “It’s really a good experience for me because I’m kind of being thrown in, but at the same time, I’m learning so much.”

In addition to the actors in the show, students are working behind the scenes as assistant choreographer, hair and makeup designer, assistant lighting designer and sound designer.

Klinger said the students on the production side are creating a unique version of the musical for the Longwood run, and that some of the work they’ve done has given her chills. “The concepts for the visual presentation of the cast are so daring, so exciting and so unlike any other production of Chicago I’ve seen that I got chills,” she said.

Choreographer Marisa Kirby said she could tell that the Longwood students were driven and passionate about their work.

All the more reason for students to follow Klinger’s advice.

“I always tell students, no matter what the production, ‘This is your show. This show will never exist again in the way it exists right now. Once it closes, that is the end of this specific, magical experience … so enjoy all of the people and things involved while you can.”

Chicago is the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. Set in Jazz Age Chicago, it’s based on a 1926 play about actual criminals and features the work of John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse.

Longwood’s performances are at 7 p.m. Feb. 20-22, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Feb. 22 and 23. If you’re up for a trip to campus, tickets are available through the Longwood Theatre Box Office.

—Sabrina Brown