Dutchmen Music Students Find Success in Nashville

LVC Alumni gather in Nashville, TN

On a Saturday afternoon in November, five Lebanon Valley College music graduates gathered in the conference room of Big Machine Label Group. (Yes, THAT Big Machine, home to Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, and others!).

Brianna Steinitz ’15, who works as the A&R (Artists & Repertoire) coordinator for the label, arranged for the group to Skype into the College’s annual VALE Media Industries Conference. They answered questions from students at LVC, talked about the realities of finding work in Nashville, and provided tips about what to do, and what not to do.

“Hosting fellow LVC alumni in my BMLG office was a full-circle moment,” Steinitz said. “I hope our panel gave some valuable insight into the Nashville music industry, but more importantly, inspired conference attendees to find what makes them happy, and chase that dream until it's reality.”

Steinitz, in her role with Big Machine, serves as a bridge between the creative and administrative sides of A&R. She compiles label copy for each release, consisting of song titles, songwriters, copyright lines, lyrics, session musicians, and artist thank yous, which ultimately becomes a large part of the album artwork.

“Over my past three years with BMLG, I’ve had the opportunity to work on albums for nearly every artist on our roster – from established artists like Taylor, Reba, and Rascal Flatts, to newcomers like Midland, Carly Pearce, and Brett Young,” she said. “Each project has taught me something new, and I’m grateful to be learning so much, so early in my career.”

Along with Steinitz, other Dutchmen working in Nashville who participated in the conference–and who enjoyed a dinner afterward with Jeffrey Snyder, director of music business at LVC–include:

Nikki Abbamont ’14, marketing manager at Black River Entertainment, which has its own major hit artist, Kelsea Ballerini.

Tara Lansing ’14, who specializes in repairing and customizing vintage music gear for Achematic Recording Studio. She also freelances using the recording skills she learned at LVC to mix and master songs and albums.

Emily McGonigle ’08, who spent two years on the road doing audio production, which sparked a passion for photography. Now a full-time photographer with a successful business, she enjoys watching her husband perform with Zobrodome, a popular Nashville-based band.

Jesse Gallo, who worked in a music publishing company for two years, before transitioning into his current position traveling the country to establish new Broadway Brewhouse restaurants.

Showing just how strong of a connection the College has in Nashville, at least two other alumni have found career success in the music industry: Roxy Kline ’11 and Jon Blass ’09.

Kline works as the scheduling coordinator for PSAV, the leading provider of event technology for meeting planners and producers across the corporate, association, and tradeshow markets.

Blass has mixed award-winning albums for a variety of artists in genres including R&B and Gospel. He has worked on No. 1 Gospel albums from Anthony Brown and Maranda Curtis, Grammy Award-nominated albums from Shirley Caesar and Todd Dulaney, current Dove Award-nominated work from Todd Dulaney and Donnie McClurkin, and critically acclaimed projects from R&B songstresses Tweet and India.Arie.