SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Senior music education major Devin McGuire from Basking Ridge is returning to campus with quite the “What I did over summer vacation” story. Thanks to assistant professor and Choral Activities Director Jason Tramm, McGuire had the opportunity to conduct during the Spirituality and the Arts Concert at the Church of St. Catherine’s in Spring Lake in late July. The concert, which was part of a festival of art and music, featured a 70-member choir and an audience of more than 250.
This professional opportunity was of tremendous value to McGuire.
“In my conducting class, I worked primarily with music majors, so getting to conduct a mix of professionals and dedicated amateurs gave me a unique experience to grow off of,” McGuire said in a press release from the university.
Though he came into Seton Hall as a transfer student, McGuire benefited from Tramm’s mentorship before he even officially enrolled.
“I’ve studied with him since transferring here, but I’ve known him since my time at community college. He helped me with the transfer process,” McGuire said.
Since transferring, McGuire and Tramm have worked together both in and out of the classroom. Tramm describes McGuire as “one of the outstanding students” in his conducting class; McGuire is also bass section director of the Seton Hall choir. It was because of his record of accomplishment in performance and conducting that Tramm, when hired to put the Spring Lake concert together, immediately thought of McGuire.
McGuire’s love for music and his desire to share it with others has been a constant in his life from an early age.
“I was shy growing up, shy to the point that I would rarely talk and needed to go to speech classes. I’ll always have a soft spot for the more reserved kids and helping them grow out of their shell. Witnessing a student unlock a talent they never realized they had is really special,” he said.
The desire to share music with students is a passion Tramm and McGuire share. While McGuire also expresses a desire to “live a life of service through music,” Tramm takes great pride in watching his students transition from pupils to professionals.
“Opportunities like conducting the July concert are the next steps on their journey. I really love that after they graduate, I keep in touch with my students as they start performing. We go from teacher-student to peer-mentor and I’m always available for feedback. The most exciting thing a teacher can do is to see a student achieve at a high level and watch them grow as a person,” Tramm said in the release.
As McGuire looks forward to finishing his degree in December, his professor and mentor has no doubt that his in-school accomplishments are just the beginning of a promising career.
“Devin has a very bright future in the music field and I think he’s going to represent Seton Hall very well,” Tramm said.
In addition to his work conducting, McGuire also performed at Carnegie Hall last year as part of the Prayer for Peace concert with the Seton Hall choir. Members of the community, both on campus and off, could be joining the choir when it returns to Carnegie Hall for a performance scheduled for March 18.
The Seton Hall choir features community members as well as students, faculty, staff and alumni. Interested individuals can contact Tramm at firstname.lastname@example.org for auditions now taking place on the university’s main campus at 400 South Orange Ave. in South Orange.