Mason Music Ambassadors

The Mason Music Ambassadors are a group of student leaders who are nominated by our faculty to serve as student liaisons for our prospective and incoming music students. Using their strengths and talents, they build relationships with prospective students, helping each of them become contributing members to our Mason Music community. Our Mason Music Ambassadors have identified their top five strengths using the StrengthsFinder Assessment. 25 out of the 34 strengths are represented among this year’s Ambassadors.

Impressed by our current students? Check out what our alumni are up to!

Our 2018-2019 Mason Music Ambassadors:


Josh Ellis

Instrument: Trombone

Major: Music

Hometown: Dunfries, VA

Strengths: Deliberative, Achiever, Consistency, Learner, Realtor

Josh Ellis is a junior pursuing a B.A. in Music with two minors in Arts Management and Event Technical Production. At Mason, he participates in many ensembles, and is a brother of the National Honorary Fraternity for college band members, Kappa Kappa Psi. Outside of school, Josh enjoys playing flute and trombone at his church during the holidays. In 2014, he was awarded for “Excellence in the Arts” at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In the future, he hopes to become an operations or production manager for a music industry company, university, theatre, or museum.

Carlehr Swanson

Instrument: Voice

Major: Jazz Studies

Hometown: Richmond, VA

Strengths: Input, Connectedness, Empathy, Ideation, Intellection

Carlehr Swanson is currently a Junior at George Mason University, pursuing a Bachelor’s of Music in Jazz Studies. Carlehr performs as a vocalist in the Mason Jazz Voice Studio and the Mason Jazz Vocal Ensemble, and as both a vocalist and pianist in Mason Jazz Combos and the Jazz Workshop Ensemble. Through her platform, ‘Music is Unity,’ she implements music in her community by taking music to those that may not experience it otherwise. Throughout this year she has planned and performed more than a dozen concerts for local nursing homes and schools. This summer she was named as the People’s Choice and 3rd Runner-up in the 2017 Miss Virginia Pageant. Following her graduation from George Mason, Carlehr plans to complete a Masters in Music Therapy whilst performing, taking music to those who need it most.

Sophie Heeden

Instrument: Viola

Major: Music

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Strengths: Learner, Responsibility, Strategic, Arranger, Analytical

Sophie Heeden is a senior violist from Atlanta, Georgia pursuing a B.A. in Music with a minor in Arts Management. Sophie is a member of the George Mason Honors College and works for Housing and Residence Life as a Resident Advisor. As a violist, Sophie has performed with the Mason Symphony Orchestra, Mason Opera, and various chamber ensembles. In the spring of 2017 Sophie was selected to perform the first movement of the Hindemith Viola Concerto for the Mason Symphony Orchestra scholarship benefit concert. Sophie is currently a student of Prof. Philippe Chao and has performed in masterclasses with Maggie Snyder, Paul Murphy, Ida Kavafian, and Paul Neubauer.

An aspiring arts administrator, Sophie is currently the orchestra manager of the Mason Symphony Orchestra and worked as an orchestra manager at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in the summer of 2018. In addition, Sophie is currently the music librarian of the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras and is the interim assistant librarian with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Melissa Torres

Instrument: Voice

Major: Music Education

Hometown: Burke, VA

Strengths: Developer, Empathy, Consistency, Adaptability, Belief

Melissa Torres is currently a junior at George Mason University pursuing a Music Education degree with a concentration in Choral Education. She studies voice with Dr. Kathryn Hearden. She is also the Vice President/President Elect of the George Mason University chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). When George Mason classes are not in session, she is a substitute teacher for Fairfax County. After graduation she plans on teaching music in the Northern Virginia area.

John Wehmeyer

Instrument: Double Bass/Electric Bass

Major: Music Education

Hometown: Arlington, VA

Strengths: Consistency, Learner, Responsibility, Input, Futuristic

John Wehmeyer is a sophomore Honors College student pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. He studies double bass with Glenn Dewey of the US Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra (“President’s Own”). Outside of class, John enjoys spending time with friends and writing/producing his own music. After graduation, John would like to pursue a career as a freelance bassist as well as teach privately and have his own bass studio.

Ryan Salak

Instrument: Trumpet

Major: Music Education

Hometown: Omaha, NE

Ryan is a Sophomore Music Education major from Omaha, Nebraska. His primary instrument is trumpet, but he also plays piano in multiple jazz/funk ensembles on campus. He is an active member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity and an Operations Crew Leader for the Green Machine. Ryan is also in the Honors College.

Emily Craine

Instrument: Clarinet

Major: Music

Hometown: Blacksburg, VA

Strengths: Includer, Woo, Communication, Learner, Futuristc

Emily Craine is a clarinetist from Blacksburg, Virginia studying with Dr. Kathy Mulcahy at Mason. She is currently a junior pursuing a B.A. in Music and a minor in Arts Management. Emily has performed as the principal clarinetist for the Mason Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, and Clarinet Choir. She is also the manager and librarian for the Mason Symphonic Band and is the Marketing Intern for the School of Music. Emily is a sister of the international music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota and act as their Treasurer and Greek Representative. After graduation she plans to pursue a career as an arts administrator in the D.C. metro area.