For information regarding the music department at VU please visit

Follow #ValpoMusic on Twitter and Instagram.

Contact Mr. Grodrian to learn about scholarship opportunities.



Oct. 17 - Great Lakes Music Festival

Oct. 29 - Chamber Concert Band Concert

Nov. 16 - Jazz Ensemble Concert

VU Trombone Studio 2016-2017


Zach Bennett ('20)

Zach Bennett is a freshman from Rockford, Michigan, and is looking to complete a degree in Biochemistry. He has played trombone for seven years throughout middle school and high school. During high school he performed in the concert band, wind ensemble, jazz band, and marching band. In the last two years of high school, Zach was the trombone and baritone section leader for the concert bands and marching band. During his senior year he marched baritone for the marching band while also marching euphonium in Entourage Winds, an independent open WGI winds group. He currently takes private lessons on the trombone, and plays in the Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra. Zach hopes to continue to play music for himself and others throughout the rest of his life.



Brian Davis ('20)

Brian Davis is from Romeoville, Illinois, and is currently playing bass trombone for the Valparaiso University Jazz Ensemble. He is studying mechanical engineering at this institution and in the future hopes to work in the automotive industry as an automotive engineer. He also has plans to continue his education to earn his MBA and possibly run his own company. During his high school career he played trombone, bass trombone, and tuba for the Romeoville High School Jazz Band, Marching Band, Wind Symphony, and Pep Band for all four years. Brian is a three time Fox Valley Orchestra participant and three time SPC Conference Band participant. He has studied with Brett Evans and Skylar Johnson. Brian plans to have a music career in the future by teaching lessons.



Sara Eveler ('19)

Sara Eveler is a sophomore at Valparaiso University. She is studying Chemistry and German and plans to pursue a career in optometry. Next year, she is studying abroad for a year in Germany to become fluent (or nearly fluent) in German, a dream of hers for years. She hails from Granger, IN, where she grew up taking piano lessons. She began trombone in the 6th grade, and participated in concert bands, orchestras, pit orchestra, jazz bands, and multiple Indiana All-State Ensembles in middle and high school. After senior year of high school, she spent her next two summers as a euphonium/trombone player in the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps. She is currently a member of the Chamber Concert Band at Valpo and takes private lessons for trombone and organ. Sara's main goals as a musician are to challenge herself to keep getting better and continue being a part of music her whole life long.



Paul Flaten ('18)

Paul Flaten is a Junior from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and one of the first full-time graduates of the Lutheran High School of Sioux Falls. He is pursuing degree in Electrical Engineering. While at Valparaiso University, Paul has performed trombone in the Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Ensemble, and Pep Band. Paul also shows his passion for the pursuit of music through his activities in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia—one of Valparaiso University’s music societies.

When not playing the trombone, Paul can be found in Gellersen designing Sat-Com ground stations in Dr. White’s “!Wired” lab, working on the “Power Wheels” as well as other projects through VU’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) chapter, helping with the Valparaiso University robotics team, or simply doing homework. In his free time, Paul likes to spend time running, hanging out with friends, and attending the various VU athletic events around campus.



Aidan Gavura ('19)

Aidan Gavura is a sophomore Exploratory major. Last semester he studied as a Music major, but recently has decided to explore other professions. From Los Angeles, California, he started playing music at 6 years old, starting with the piano. He joined the band in 4th grade picking up the alto saxophone, but quickly switched to the euphonium a year later. In high school he continued to play euphonium in Marching/Concert Band. Concurrently, Aidan picked up the trombone and started playing jazz and taking private lessons on the trombone. His main focus is jazz, but he is also studying classical in order to improve his technique and tone. Aidan hopes to keep music in his life and eventually work in sound production in some capacity.






Noelle McCord ('20)

Noelle McCord is a freshman nursing major at Valparaiso University. She hails from St. Louis, and has been studying trombone since the fifth grade. When she switched to the bass trombone her junior year of high school, she started lessons with Gerry Pagano, the bass trombonist of the STL Symphony. Noelle participated in the Wind Symphony, the upper band, at Lutheran High School South, and for her junior and senior years she was the section leader. She also participated in the jazz band at LHSS. Noelle is a three-time MO All State member with one year in orchestra and two years in band. She auditioned for the STL Symphony Youth Orchestra for their 2014-15 season and took the bass trombone position. The following season she became the management apprentice at YO. Through this position, she learned how to do a lot of behind the scenes work and had opportunities to speak and introduce the music to the audience at the concerts. In her free time, Noelle likes to bake, play the ukulele, knit or crochet, hang out with friends, and play with her dog. Noelle is looking forward to continuing her music experience here at Valpo through the Chamber Concert Band and private lessons, and she cannot wait to see what else Valpo has in store for her.

Nick Morrissey ('19)

Nick Morrissey is a trombonist from Lake Villa, IL, in the Valparaiso University Class of 2019. His major at VU is Electrical Engineering and he has spent about 9 years playing the trombone in his free time. Before VU, he participated in the Warren Township High School band program, going from Concert Band II to Symphonic Band I. Ultimately, Nick plans to pursue a career in Biomedical Engineering with Artificial limbs. Nick hopes to continue making music long after VU as a way to escape from the pressures of the engineering world.


Nathan Senkbeil ('17)

Nathan is a senior geography major from St. Louis, Missouri. He has played in the Chamber Concert Band during his time here at Valpo. He has played the trombone since 5th grade and played in his high school concert and jazz band. He also took part in several music solo competitions in high school and performed at the state level his junior and senior year. In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing video games and reading science fiction books. Nathan recently added a psychology minor to his studies and is interested in finding and observing relationships between geography and psychology.






Noah Strand ('20)

Noah Olaf Strand is a freshman physics student at Valpo from Wauwatosa, WI. While in Tosa, Noah quite enjoyed his time in the music department of his high school. Noah played second chair in the jazz band, third chair in the concert band, and was drum major for the marching and pep seasons. Noah also found some satisfaction and entertainment in his roles on stage in the Tosa West theatre department. At Valpo, Noah is a part of the Jazz Ensemble and the pep/marching band. In his free time (while not practicing trombone) he enjoys reading, playing video games, tabletop games, contemplating his place in the universe, dancing with the VU ballroom team, doing his part to steward the earth with the Social Action Leadership Team (SALT) on campus, helping out around the chapel, and listening to the music others create. Noah hopes to take his physics degree and musical experience at Valpo to the Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where he aims to be ordained as a Lutheran pastor in the Lutheran Church: Missouri Synod (LCMS). 


Abigail Vance ('17)

Abigail Vance is a senior Physics and Secondary Education major at Valparaiso University and her adventure with the trombone began 12 years ago. Abigail attended the Larkin High School Visual and Performing Arts Academy in Elgin, Illinois, and performed with the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra Brass Choir. She previously studied in the trombone studios of Paul Loucas and Richard Watson, before joining John Grodrian’s trombone studio. While at VU she has been a part of the Chamber Concert Band for going on four years and the Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra for one year. Abigail is currently principal trombone in the Chamber Concert Band. Through her Physics major, Abigail is conducting a senior research project in astrophysics. This project consists of creating a model to search for young stars that are forming solar systems in the galactic plane and removing contaminants particular to that region of the sky that can hinder the search. Although she does not plan for a career in music, Abigail hopes to continue playing the trombone in community ensembles once out of college.