Congratulations to junior voice performance major Joseph Helinski on being named as a 2015-16 Classical Music Student Ambassador Leader. From Canonsburg, PA, Joseph is the son of David and Maureen Helinski. A baritone, he studies with voice professor Richard Kennedy.
Joseph is the first undergraduate student to be named as an ambassador in the program’s two-year history, and he is looking forward to the challenge of engaging more of his peers in classical music throughout the University. “My overarching goal is to expose every single Penn State student to classical music at least once during their college careers. True human expression is found in classical music, and I believe that every single one of our students has a right to experience that magnificent expression.”
He also believes that he can offer a slightly different perspective as an undergraduate student. “In living an undergraduate lifestyle right now, I believe I have a better understanding of what our undergraduate students needs are, how to accommodate them, and how they differ from graduate students.”
Overall, Joseph is enthusiastically anticipating his new role. “I am absolutely thrilled and humbled to begin this great work of spreading our vital message. Be on the lookout around campus for classical music. You never know where you may hear us next!”
The Classical Music Project Student Ambassador Leader Program was developed in fall 2014 as a partnership between the Center for the Performing Arts and the School of Music. Classical Music Student Ambassadors—selected for their musicianship, leadership, and commitment to music advocacy—are provided with residency training and are charged with creating and implementing student-centered engagement and music advocacy programs. The work of the ambassadors is supported in part through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The program is based on the principle of “students-engaging-students,” and will be used to train student musicians to become strong arts advocates and future community-engaged leaders. The ambassadors’ objective is to bring live classical music into the fabric of student life and the community by coordinating activities such as dorm concerts, performances in non-traditional venues, and “informational performances” in both general education music classes and non-music classes. They are also tasked with generating enthusiasm for classical music and drawing attention to upcoming Classical Music Project programs offered by the Center for the Performing Arts.
The student ambassador leader program is coordinated by Robyn Dixon Costa.