In 2010, Sarah Lahasky ’15 attended the Bass Coalition Summer Workshop at Shenandoah. During the workshop, she had the opportunity to meet the bass studio as well as work with Instrumental Division Professor Donovan Stokes and former professor Inez Wyrick.
“When I was on campus for that program, everything felt like home,” said Lahasky. This is why she chose to continue her education at Shenandoah. “I visited several other larger universities, but I didn’t have the same feeling of belonging that I did at Shenandoah,” said Lahasky.
Lahasky’s fondest memories of her time at Shenandoah are serving as a student mentor for Associate Professor Religion and Philosophy Meredith Minister’s First-Year Seminar class, playing in the bass ensemble and chamber music performances and taking group trips to New York City with President Tracy Fitzsimmons, ph.D. She also enjoyed her weekly bass lessons with Instrumental Division Professor Donovan Stokes, who helped her not only become a better musician, but a better person.
Lahasky is an assistant professor of music in ethnomusicology at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. In this position, she teaches western music history, ethnomusicology and general education courses (ex. first-term seminars). Prior to this, Lahasky was a visiting assistant professor of music at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. In this position she taught various courses in ethnomusicology studying the music of the African Diaspora, Latin America and Minnesota. With these courses, she has been able to bring an international perspective to her classroom. Lahasky had an ethnomusicologist in South Africa present to her class via Zoom along with several artists working in the South African hip hop industry. Moments like these are very rewarding experiences for her.
Outside of the classroom, she currently performs with the Charles Gorczynski Tango Quartet. Lahasky has also performed on double bass with the Twin Cities Tango Collective in Minneapolis. Lahasky even brought her students to one of the collective’s milonga events so they could hear live tango music.
“I have really enjoyed returning to a smaller, liberal arts setting and being able to get to know students on an individual level, similar to my own experiences as a student at Shenandoah,” said Lahasky.
Shenandoah prepared Lahasky for her career because it made her see the world through a more global perspective. She went attended the university’s Global Citizenship Project to Trinidad and Tobago, a Global Experiential Learning trip to Rosario, Argentina, studied abroad and toured Spain with the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. “These travel experiences (and those after graduating from Shenandoah) have informed my teaching in the classroom; My primary course objectives center around helping students to become global citizens themselves through our discussions and participation in music from around the world,” said Lahasky.
The incredible mentorship she received from her professors at Shenandoah also prepared her for her career. Lahasky learned from these experiences how to encourage and prepare her own students for successful careers. She is especially thankful for the guidance she received from College of Arts & Sciences Associate Dean and Professor of Hispanic Studies Andrea M. Smith, Ph.D. and Department Chair and Professor of Hispanic Studies Bryan Pearce-Gonzales, Ph.D.
“I hope to pay forward their generous donation of time and advice to my students,” said Lahasky
Lahasky’s advice to students is: “Don’t limit yourself to only your major study. Take advantage of every opportunity to travel during your studies. The experiences you have, the people you meet and the new perspectives on your place in the world will be worth it later! Seek out mentors in your fields of study to help you prepare for the job market.”