Posting Date: October 25, 2010
Meet Jonas Mitchell: A man with a musical plan
By Karen L. Jensen
Photo by Sarah Singleton
As a native of Boothville, La.—first point of impact for Hurricane Katrina—Jonas Mitchell knows the value of securing his assets. He was living in Washington, D.C. when Hurricane Katrina destroyed all his childhood possessions. Jonas would salvage just five photographs of himself in the wreckage of his childhood home, but he would not allow the next huge force in is life–the failing U.S. economy–to threaten his financial security.
To secure his financial future, Jonas decided to earn a Bachelor of Music degree in music education at Kennesaw State University. “In music you have the ability to have several sources of income. I’ve always known that, but the economic downturn was a wake-up call telling me it was time to secure my future.”
With a Marine Corps GI Bill in hand, Jonas went searching for the perfect university. “As soon as I walked on campus,” says Jonas, “I knew this was the place for me.” For Jonas, KSU is imbued with Southern hospitality, giving it an inviting and homey atmosphere. And in the School of Music, Jonas’s dreams of the future are coming true.
The School of Music offers Jonas personalized attention from instructors, access to professors of high caliber talent who play in the Atlanta and Cobb Symphony Orchestras and curriculum and musical repertoire that are both demanding and fun.
With personal attention from several professors, Jonas has improved his musical ability and has defined the direction of his future career path. Instructor of Music Jennifer Mitchell taught Jonas music theory. Jonas says, “She is a big ball of energy. She made theory easy and fun opening many avenues of career possibilities for me. Since taking her class, I now know I want to be a composer as well as a music teacher.”
Jonas’s trombone instructor, Tom Gibson, says, “His experiences in the acclaimed Marine Drum and Bugle Corp obviously instilled in Jonas a strong work ethic and sense of discipline. He has a passion for music and brings strong musicianship to the trombone studio at KSU. He's a family man, too. Many times I have seen his family at concerts. I'm glad he has chosen KSU as the place to launch his dreams.”
Jonas has also excelled in KSU’s ensemble program. He played in the Wind Ensemble last spring and is playing in the Jazz Ensemble this semester. “My best musical experience at KSU so far was when I was given a trombone solo in the Jazz Ensemble. It went over very well,” he says.
Playing ensembles, practicing complicated trombone pieces and learning to play the piano, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, flute and more in order to teach future students might lead to musical overload for some students, but Jonas revels in it. He doesn't even take a break in summer. Instead, he plays in a drum corps, the Syracuse Brigadiers, with whom he has won two world championships.
His passion for music and the Marine Corps focus are keys to his academic success. He is on the President’s List and looks forward to continued success. After he completes a bachelors and a masters degree, Jonas sees a secure future with lots of opportunities for himself and his family. He plans to do a variety of things including teaching, arranging and composing music at the high school and college levels.
He has another aspiration, though—conducting a symphony orchestra. “That would be the be all, end all for me.”