Annabella Cervero - Composition Intensive

Student Spotlight: Annabella Cervero Attends Summer Composition Intensive

Bachelor of Music in Composition candidate, Annabella Cervero, was admitted as one of sixteen emerging composers to partake in the Saint Mary’s College Summer Composition Intensive in South Bend, Indiana this past summer. The Summer Composition Intensive consisted of twelve days of presentations, workshops, and lessons in different topics including Texture: Depth in Music, Joining Music Cultures, and Balancing Architecture and Emotion.

Q: Why were you interested in attending the Summer Composition Intensive?

Dr. Glancey introduced the idea to me.  He thought attending an event such as this would help improve my composition skills and prepare me for graduate school.   We found this particular composition intensive at St. Mary’s College through “The Composer’s Site”.

Q: How would you describe your overall experience?

I had a wonderful experience.  I learned so much about composition, networking, and the reality of what life is like as a professional composer.  I also met many amazing people.  As the only composition major at Vanguard, I don’t really have the opportunity to collaborate with other composers very often.   It was so refreshing to be surrounded by other composers for two weeks in Southbend, IN.

Q: Out of all of the different presentations and workshops you attended, which one stood out to you the most? Why?

I thought that every workshop and masterclass I attended was beneficial.  I was most inspired by the workshop with Dr. Paul Salerni on the topic of art songs.  However, the workshops that were most beneficial to my growth as a composer were the workshops with Dr. P.Q. Phan.  The topics of his workshops forced me to get out of my comfort zone and compose in ways I had never tried before.  For example, I have not spent much time researching or writing opera yet in my compositional studies, and in one workshop, I was given a project that required me to research, analyze, and compose an operatic monologue for a dramatic soprano in less than 24 hours.  On another occasion, I had project that required me to abandon all of my musical intuition and compose a piece completely based on numbers.  For this assignment, we were also encouraged not to use any instruments while generating our material, or even listen to the piece until it was completed.  This was particularly challenging for me, because I am usually very auditory in my composing process, and I like using a piano when I am in the process of notating my ideas onto paper.   This project forced me to really hone in on my written and aural theory skills to produce a completely technical piece.

Q: What do you think was the biggest lesson you learned while you were there?

In addition to all of the great lessons I learned about the art of composition, I also learned about the importance of networking and relationships in the music industry.  Who you know is just as important as what you know.  The composition intensive gave me a reality check on how challenging it is to make a living as an academic composer, and that you have to be willing to be flexible and versatile.  Almost everyone who makes a living as a composer also teaches or performs in some capacity.   Nevertheless, everyone I spoke to said that it was worth it.  The key is loving what you do.

Furthermore, because there was such a wide range of age, experience, and skill level among the participants of the intensive, I had the opportunity to learn about grad school programs as well.  It was a nice way to get me thinking about the near future.

Bella Composition Intensive

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Vanguard University Music Program Receives National Accreditation Membership

We are excited to announce that we are now accredited by The  National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)!

Written by Holly Clinard from the Vanguard University Marketing & Communications Office.

Costa Mesa, CA, July 27, 2015 – Vanguard University’s renowned department of music has been granted membership into the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Dr. Susanne Reid, professor of music at Vanguard University, made the announcement this week.

NASM serves as the national accrediting agency for music and music-related disciplines among collegiate and postsecondary schools. Founded in 1924, NASM continues to establish a more uniform method of granting credit, developing and maintaining basic standards for granting degrees and credentials. The association is made up of approximately 650 schools.

“We are most thrilled that our program is recognized nationally, and what this will mean for our students, knowing that NASM membership more easily paves the way for them in applying for graduate school,” said Dr. James Melton, chair of Vanguard’s department of music and professor of music.

Vanguard University’s department of music offers a bachelor of music, bachelor of arts in music and bachelor of arts in worship studies. Students who have graduated from the program currently earn graduate scholarships and assistantships to some of the strongest graduate programs in the nation in their chosen area of performance or concentration.

Member institutions of NASM develop national accreditation standards and guidelines in consultation with other organizations, focusing on artistic and educational essentials.

For more information about the National Association of Schools of Music, visit

For more information on the Department of Music at Vanguard University, visit

To request an interview, contact:

Erin Hales, Director of Marketing & Communications


Vanguard University (VU) is a regionally ranked, private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. Located ten minutes from Newport Beach and an hour from Los Angeles, Vanguard equips students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. Vanguard is committed to academic excellence, boasting small class sizes that are designed to cultivate lasting professor-mentor relationships that enhance the learning process. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanguard a top 12 regional college in the west and a top veteran-friendly college for 2015, and The Princeton Review ranked Vanguard a 2014 “Best in the West” regional college. Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Vanguard offers more than 30 degrees and certificates through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs. Please visit

For more Vanguard University press releases, go to:

VSB China Trip – Update

May 19 – We arrived in Harbin around 8:30 at night.  They were gracious and cancelled our concert since we were exhausted. They feed us pizza and the kids stayed with the students in their dorm rooms.

May 20 – We got to sleep in until 7:30, which was wonderful.  The students had two concerts.  The afternoon concert was at the Harbin school where their high school students performed for us.  They did the main theme from Lion King and one from Sister Act.  Both were  absolutely incredible and most of us were crying when they were finished.  They had tried out for the China music festival (a two year process and the festival only happens every three years) and took first place with their songs.  (I am sure your student will have a video of their performance).  After our performance they asked if they could sing a blessing over us.  They circled us extended their hands upward and sang.  When they were finished, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.  It was annointed and we were the ones that were blessed.

May 21 – We left early from Harbin 4:45am was the call time to get to the airport.  We flew into Xian where the Shannxi University bussed us to  our next stop 4 hours away.  We arrived ate quickly and went to the South campus to perform.

May 22 – Today we were blessed to visit a like minded Orphanage.  Students played with the children and held the babies.  These babies are special needs children with physical issues and some mental issues.  It was a heart wrenching time as we understood how we are commanded to love the widows, orphans, and aliens.  The Father’s heart has always been for the down-trodden and disadvantaged.  We rushed from there and went to the North campus to perform again.  We were served a wonderful dinner and then taken back to the South campus to have a time of Cultural Exchange with the students studying the Arts.  They performed and we sang a couple accapella songs.

We leave early tomorrow to head to Chengdu.  We will be there for 6 days.  We are hoping to have wifi so we can send pictures.  Until then, thank you for remembering us and touching the people of China through us.  Lives are being changed, and it isn’t just the Chinese.


To hear more about the China Trip ‘like’ the music department on facebook.

VSB China Trip – Day 6

IMG_0612Today we got to sleep in until 8:30am. It was good to catch up on some sleep. We began the day by going to a local artisan mall. We found neat trinkets and took pictures with some of the art. Why is it always so fun to pose as the statues. It must be an international and multicultural way to show appreciation for the art! Or, it is just funny…

IMG_0613We went for the last day of shopping where we were some of us were handed coupons for a $30 RMB ($5) pedicure or manicure. We were so excited that we walked right into the store, sat down and took our shoes off. IMG_0615While we were waiting I began to look at the back of the coupon and noticed $100. Just then Jenny Chen, one of our students and Chinese, walked by. I called her in and asked her if this coupon was for $30 off if we spent $100? She said it was but we would end up spending $68 RMB ($11.30 US) . We thought it was too much and put on our shoes and left. Compared to the US price it was a steal but we had our hearts set on $5 US. We are looking forward to getting an hour massage for a good price.


VSB China Trip – Shopping, Concert, and Prayer

Today we toured the Temple of Heaven and went shopping again.  The students are getting into the bargaining aspect of shopping in China.  Many of the students come back with tells of the great deals they got by being willing to walk away. Other students try to stay with someone that is willing to deal because they feel so guilty to ask someone to take a lower price.

A couple of us decided to take the motorized double seated bike to get to lunch.

This evening we had a concert at one of the more modern church buildings.  Afterwards the congregation broke into prayer groups.  We had the opportunity to pray for people and the Spirit of the Lord moved our hearts.

Quick story – one of the students asked me if we ate dog the day we went to hot pot.  I said of course not why would you think that?  She said that Doc had told her that some of the meat was mutton.  lol

To hear more about the China Trip ‘like’ the music department on facebook.

VSB China Trip – First Concert

Today we headed for the Summer Palace, which is really a very large garden that the “Dragon Lady” an Empress had constructed.  Many of us wrote our names with water on the cement and had the locals write them in Chinese script. We walked the gardens and then took a boat ride back across the gardens.  The older locals meet once a week to sing and we were fortunate to catch them.

For lunch we were treated to Peking duck, now known as Beijing duck and then we packed up and headed for the first concert of the tour.  The building was packed out with the worship anointed.  Dr. Melton spoke on running the race and keeping our eyes fixed on the goal of Jesus.

We left the church around 9:30pm and ate at McDonald’s.

To hear more about the China Trip ‘like’ the music department on facebook.

VSB China Trip – Day 3

Great WallToday was another beautiful day in Beijing.  We headed for the Great Wall where some of us took the ski lift ride up and the majority walked to the top.  Brody moved so fast that he beat us that were riding up.  The wall runs the crest of the mountain so the view either direction is spectacular.  TebowingThe men decided that they needed to stop and thank God for His care and took the ‘Tebow’ pose to do so.

IMG_0560We tobogganed down from the Wall and headed to lunch at Subway that was at the base of the Great Wall.  We loaded back up on the bus and headed to the Olympic Stadium where we stood between the Bird’s Nest and the Bubble Swimming area. The students entertained the Chinese by singing in the Square and then jumping in the water show.

We went to the market and bartered for treasures and ended the day by eating at “hot pot” and singing Happy Birthday to May.

Birds NestIMG_0567 IMG_0573

To follow what is happening on tour please ‘like’ the music facebook page.

VSB China Tour – Getting to Know China

IMG_0531We got to start out the trip with some sightseeing and relaxing (well, actually, a whole lot of walking) so that we could let ourselves adjust to the time, weather and travel fatigue!  Which means, it is sure to be a fun day! The day began by meeting for a breakfast that looked more like dinner.  We were served scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon (ham), vegetables, pastries, steamed buns, gruel, fruit, or wonton soup.  Everyone walked away full and ready for a full day of walking.  We began our trip at the infamous Tiananmen Square.

IMG_0533We were able to join up with the China Education group from Vanguard University led by Dr. Mike Wilson while we were at Tiananmen Square. That was great because we were able to hear some of the history of the location and so many interesting facts about the event of 1989. From there we walked to the Forbidden City, which got its name because only the Emperor and his royal family and court could spend the night there.  The highest building was where the Emperor’s throne was. This is such an incredible place with years of interesting history. We wish we could know it all!

The following pictures were taken inside the Forbidden City.



It is fairly unusual to have such a beautiful sunny day in a city of over 18 million people.  The air quality was one of the better days.  Some of the students wanted to experience what the locals feel and so they wore face masks (which wouldn’t filter any pollutants but it feels like it is doing something). We had our first large Chinese lunch where the food just kept coming. IMG_0542

Later we were treated to the “Theatre” with the Chinese Acrobats where a definite highlight was the 8 motorcyclists who rode together in a sphere, nearly hitting each other the whole time!  They really did have “Bicycle Skill.”

Thanks for your prayers and we’ll keep you posted as we prepare for our first concert!

- VSB China Team

Stay current with all the updates on the music facebook page.

VSB China Trip 2013 – En Route

After dozens of rehearsals, recording projects, photo shoots, late night packing sessions, fundraising and months of preparation the 2013 Vanguard Singers and Band are finally en route to China! They packed up all day Saturday and headed out early Sunday morning to LAX to start their 20+ hour journey.

Here are a few photos from them at their airport transfer in South Korea:
IMG_4903 IMG_7960

Please pray for them throughout this trip and stay in touch with everything that is happening through the music facebook page.

Local Piano Concert with Dr. Tanya

TANYA'S PICConcert Details

The Music Department would like to invite you to Dr. Tanya Karyagina’s piano concert that she will be performing at the Fellowship Hall of Regents Point retirement community in Irvine. This will be a concert you don’t want to miss. We so proud of all of the accomplished faculty within our music department and are continually challenged by their personal musical endeavors.

Recital attendance credit will be given to VU students who submit the program to Teresa by Thursday, May 9th. AND there will be ice cream sundaes afterwards!

For more information or to RSVP visit:


Regents Point
19191 Harvard Ave.,
Irvine, California 96212


May 8th, 2013


Beethoven. Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 “Appssionata”
Chopin. Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22
Bach/Busoni. Chaconne in D minor, BWV 1004


Admission is free