Katherine Borst Jones’ passion for music remains unwavered. Currently, she is the professor of flute and area head of brass, woodwinds and percussion at Ohio State University.
Traveling back to Emporia 45 years after she taught at Emporia State to be inducted into the Beach hall of distinction and perform at the Music Gala Benefit Concert, memories flood back. She was once in the same shoes as the students she played for on Sept. 14, during the annual benefit gala.
The proceeds come from the $25 dollar tickets required to attend the gala and go towards the Emporia State Music Scholarship Fund. The purpose of the gala is to raise money for students who do not fit into other scholarship categories. According to Allan Comstock, chair of the music department, $8,000 is typically raised at the event.
“Music is important to everyday life, I mean what would happen if you were married and there was no music to walk you down the aisle,” Jones said. “Nothing to dance to, nothing at a funeral. If you turned off the music for a week you wouldn’t believe it.”
When Jones, a New Jersey native, traveled all the way from Columbus, Ohio to Emporia there was one thing she had on her mind: Music. At the age of 25, she traveled alone for an interview as a lecturer for flute and theory in the music department, which she landed. Even though her suitcase didn’t make it to Emporia with her, she was confident enough in her own abilities and ambitions to know she was on the right path.
“So often we focus on the negatives, especially with a music degree,” said Corey Mann, junior vocal music education and performance major. “Seeing her up on that stage and kind of hearing the list of everything she’s done, everything she’s accomplished and that that could happen just from a small person that came from Emporia State teaching for a year is just really refreshing.”
Musicians typically have one specialty as far as instruments go, and in order to teach it well, they must know each difficulty and each trick. It is expensive because to be the best, private lessons are a must, said Jones.
The ESU music department is special because “it means opportunity with a small department like ours and with such high quality faculty,” said Braxton Pauls, sophomore music education major. “It really allows each student to almost create their degree and study as many different musical subjects they desire which is something that is really important to ESU and you can’t get it anywhere else.”