Graduation year: 2023
High school: Reed-Custer High School
Hometown: Braidwood, Ill.
Major: Instrumental music education
Minor: Jazz studies
Activities: Augustana Symphonic Band, Clarinet Choir, Augustana Jazz Ensemble, Augustana Jazz Combo, Secondary Musical Instrument Lab Ensemble, Augustana College Music Education, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
Internships: Student teaching at Cambridge Elementary School and Mercer County High School
Post-grad plans: 5th-12th band director for AlWood School District in Woodhull, Ill.
I chose Augustana because I went to a small high school and wanted to have a similar experience in college. I looked at many small, private schools in Illinois, but Augie stood out to me because of scholarships and the professors. Even before I came to Augustana, I was very comfortable with the professors. I knew they would always have an active interest in my life.
Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?
Not at all! I did everything in high school, so I thought I would take it easy in college. I was gonna sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, but that changed quickly.
I joined many organizations through my involvement in the music department, but those organizations led to many leadership and community involvement opportunities. Through these many different opportunities and experiences, I have become the best version of myself.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
All of the music faculty have been instrumental in getting me to where I am right now. First, my academic advisor and professor, Dr. Dawn Farmer. She’s been an amazing mentor throughout my time here. She’s a phenomenal music educator, and I will always look up to her.
Second, my band director, Dr. James Lambrecht. He has provided a great ensemble experience during my four years here. He always has time for a chat and has given me advice on many occasions.
Third, my jazz ensemble director, Dr. Joel Linscheid. His guidance through the world of jazz and improvisation was fantastic. He taught me so much about music, culture, history and life in general. Our time together was short, but I still appreciate it a lot.
Finally, my family, friends and acquaintances. They are the best support system in the world. Without their support, I would be nothing.
My peak experience has been this final semester and my student teaching. It feels so good to be able to take all of my knowledge that I have accumulated over the past four years and implement it. It makes me feel happy when I can refer back to a topic or piece of information that I learned in class while I am teaching. It’s very fulfilling. I come home with a huge smile on my face every day because I love what I am doing.
What surprised you?
I was surprised by how much the professors truly care about the students they are teaching. I know that I could go up to any of my past professors for help or advice, and they would gladly provide me with it. I was so afraid I would just be a number to all of my teachers, but that could not be farther from the truth.
How did you use your Augie Choice?
I will be using my Augie Choice this semester to go to Japan with the Augustana Symphonic Band. I have been waiting for this opportunity since my freshman year, so I am super excited to finally go on this adventure!
What will you miss the most?
I’ll miss all the people the most. From my professors to my ensemble mates and roommates, I have made many lifelong friends at Augustana. It makes me sad to realize that I won’t get to see them regularly after I graduate. They have all been in my life for so long now that it will be very weird to continue on without them.
Advice for the Class of 2027?
Take advantages of all the opportunities that you are given. You might feel like you don’t have time to do it or genuinely don’t have as much interest in it, but I can guarantee that you will learn something special and useful for your life or future career.
"Casey has thrived in many areas over the past four years at Augustana. His scholarship, leadership, and musical endeavors have contributed to building a solid skill set that he will take with him as he becomes a teacher and inspires the next generation of music students. Casey’s intelligence and thoughtfulness are at the core of his success, and those will help make him a phenomenal teacher. His future students will be lucky to have him in their lives. Proud of you, Casey!"