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Alumni Focus
Arts & Humanities
He has played the House of Blues in Boston, the
Liberty Hotel on New Year's Eve, and opened
for country star Darius Rucker (better known as
Hootie, of Hootie & the Blowfish).
But if you ask percussionist Dylan Jack (Class of
'08), he's not looking for fame. "I don't want to
`make it,' " said Jack. "I just want to practice,
perform and tour. It's what I've done since
I was 8."
Although he never planned on going to college,
Jack enrolled at Middlesex to break up the
monotony of a job he didn't like. His first
class was "Music Appreciation" with Professor
Carmen Rodriguez-Peralta. "I remember going
straight to a music store after that class and
buying my first classical CD. I was really into it,"
Jack said.
He then took every music course MCC offered.
"The program challenged me," said Jack. "There's
no pretentiousness. The teachers pay attention to
you and push you to perform in student recitals
and to get involved in music."
After graduating with an associate degree
in Liberal Studies/Performing Arts ­ Music
Option, Jack attended McNally Smith
College of Music in St. Paul, Minn. He
graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's
of music in percussion performance in 2011.
While at McNally Smith, Jack worked closely
with Professor Marv Dahlgren, collaborating
on exercises in drumming coordination ­
making all four limbs perform a different
motion simultaneously. When Jack started
writing his own exercises, Dahlgren asked if
he wanted to co-author a book with him.
When Jack presented, "Meters and Accents:
A Study in Polyrhythmic and Polymetric
Coordination" to Dahlgren, his mentor refused
to take any credit. Jack's book, featuring a
forward by Dahlgren, was published in January
2013. After graduation, Jack moved back to
Massachusetts. "There's more opportunity
here," he said.
When he's not performing, you can find Jack
practicing, working on his second book, or
teaching drumming to young students at Music
Elements in Chelmsford. "I like the moments
when you see the students understand what
you're teaching them, it's a great feeling."
Brittany Leigh Andersen
Literature --
Combining a Passion for Dance and Literature
Dylan Jack
Music --
Practicing, Performing and Touring on Drums
Even though the bright lights of a bigger stage
beckon Kevin Mahaney, the recent Performing
Arts/Theater graduate (Class of '13) is making
sure he's well prepared before delving even
deeper into the theater world.
Fresh off two recent New York entrance
auditions for his preferred transfer schools ­Bos-
ton Conservatory and Roosevelt University in
Chicago ­ Mahaney is taking a year off before
completing his bachelor's degree in musical
theater. He's working as a paraprofessional in
a Dracut elementary school, rehearsing with an
acting coach to perfect his audition skills, and
gaining valuable experience in the classroom.
"I'm very interested in teaching and would like to
minor in education," said Mahaney. "While I love
to perform, it's always good to have a back-up
plan in the theater!"
Mahaney appeared in numerous MCC Theater
Department productions, including the lead in
"How to Succeed in Business Without Really
Trying," and the lawyer, Billy Flynn, in "Chicago."
"When I came to school here, I decided to
really take my time with it to learn as much
as I could."
Mahaney caught the acting bug in high school,
when he played the villain Gaston in "Beauty and
the Beast." "I was surprised I got the part, but
once I set foot on that stage, I was hooked."
At Middlesex, Mahaney enjoyed how
"connected" all the Theater students became.
"(Performing Arts Chairwoman) Karen Oster
brought us all together and made sure we were
all on the same page ­ and
we just gave it our all, every day.
"She also taught us that everyone is equally
important to the production ­ whether you're the
lead or behind the scenes. A lot of people who
go into theater think, `It's all about me!' Karen
makes sure that doesn't happen."
As he prepares to continue his education, Mah-
aney believes the arts helped him find himself.
"With every show I've ever done, I've found a
different part of myself. You learn about how
humanity works and how different people in the
world interact with each other. That all helps you
grow as a person."
Kevin Mahaney
Theater --
Laying the Foundation for Future Success
Dylan Jack
Kevin Mahaney