Meet Kerry Brunson: An Accomplished Musician
By Jarmea Boone
Kerry Brunson, a music performance major at Kennesaw State University, embraces music as an instrumental element in her life. The accomplishments she has achieved during her KSU career and her recent successes attest to her seriousness and excitement about being a music scholar.
Kerry has been singing since she was four years old, and has been playing the saxophone and the oboe for most of her life. She joked that playing the oboe was an unintentional fate. “I started playing the oboe my last two years in high school because my band needed an oboist. I had to teach myself. At KSU, I mentioned that I played it in high school, and I’ve been playing it ever since,” Kerry said.
Kerry’s initial plan for college did not include becoming a music major, even though she had always been surrounded by, engaged in and connected to music. “There were just so many things that I was interested in exploring as possible career paths. I had originally started at KSU as an undeclared Spanish major,” Kerry acknowledged. But by the end of her sophomore year, Kerry decided to pursue her passion of music long-term. “I became a music major because I could not see myself doing anything with my life that wasn’t music-related. Once I finally started in the music department, that was it. I understand music very well and enjoy it immensely.”
Kerry is involved with many KSU and local musical groups. “At KSU, I sing and play saxophone with the jazz ensemble, and play oboe with the wind ensemble and orchestra. I am very actively involved with my band and have been the lead singer and saxophone player with them for two years now. I am also an active recording artist,” Kerry stated. Just last year, she earned the opportunity to play the tenor saxophone in Carnegie Hall in New York City with the National Wind Ensemble.
Although Kerry has an intense schedule, the sense of accomplishment she feels more than justifies it. “I participate in classes, rehearse in ensembles at school, go home to practice and then practice with my band for two more hours. By the time I get home, I am physically exhausted. But it is worth it.”
Kerry’s hard work has been rewarded in many ways. She is most proud of being named the most outstanding senior music performance major for 2008, and in maintaining her 3.96 grade point average. “Success for me is being happy with who you are and what you’ve done. It is also completing a challenge to the very best of your ability,” Kerry said. “I view the work that I do as a representation of myself, and I always want to represent myself in the best light possible.”
She admires her professors for their guidance in helping her further cultivate and stretch her musical talents. “My private lessons instructors, Sam Skelton on saxophone, and Robin Johnson on oboe, influence me greatly,” she said. “I love KSU and am very proud to be a student in the blossoming music department here. I think the professors are top-notch and offer unique, real-world experiences. It is amazing how many instructors in the department play with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Opera or Cobb Symphony Orchestra. I don’t think there is another university in Georgia that offers that kind of experience. It gives me a great feeling to know that I go to a school where some of the best professional musicians in Atlanta teach.”
After graduating, Kerry would like to get her master’s degree in music. Ideally, she wishes to tour with a band, compose music and do studio work. She has already been featured on two internationally released albums, playing tenor saxophone, oboe and English horn on Zoroaster’s “Dog Magic,” and singing on Darius Kohanim’s “Dune Sessions.”