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. 31 out of the 34 strengths are represented among this year’s Ambassadors.

Meet the 2016-2017 Mason Music Ambassadors

Michael Caracciolo

Instrument: Guitar
Major: Performance
Hometown: Woodbridge, VA

Strengths: Intellection, Input, Ideation, Command, and Restorative

Michael Caracciolo is studying Classical Guitar Performance here at the GMU School of Music (Class of 2017).  Apart from my love of music, I also enjoy reading and film.  Feel free to knock on my door if you see me in the practice rooms and have any questions about the School of Music!

Josh Ellis


Instrument: Trombone

Major: Music

Hometown: Dumfries, VA

Strengths: Deliberative, Achiever, Consistency, Learner, Relator

Josh Ellis is a sophomore at George Mason University, studying as a Music major and double minoring in Arts Management and Event Technical Production. At Mason, he is involved in many ensembles, as well as being an active member 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.

Ted Frederick

Instrument: Euphonium
Major: Music Education (Instrumental)
Hometown: Richmond, VA

Ted Frederick is a euphonium player majoring in music education. He has performed with many university ensembles, including the wind symphony, symphonic band, brass ensemble, tuba and euphonium ensemble, and the Green Machine Pep Band. In his time at George Mason University, Ted has studied euphonium with Professor Andrew Hitz and Professor Mark Jenkins. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and is currently in his second year as a Mason Music Ambassador. After graduation, he plans to become a middle school band director in the Northern Virginia area.


Sophie Heeden


Instrument: Viola

Major: Music

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Strengths: Learner, Responsibility, Strategic, Arranger, Analytical

Sophie Heeden is a violist from Atlanta, Georgia. She is currently a sophomore pursuing a B.A. in Music with a minor in Arts Management. Sophie is a member of the George Mason University Opera orchestra, chamber ensembles, and is principal violist and music librarian of the Mason Symphony Orchestra. Sophie is also a Teaching Artist Scholar through the Potomac Arts Academy’s ‘Instruments in the Attic’ program. In addition to involvement in the music school, Sophie is a member of the George Mason Honors College and is a Resident Advisor for the Arts Living Learning Community.

Tomas Jackson

tomasInstrument: Piano

Major: Jazz Studies

Hometown: Ashburn, VA

Strengths: Competition, Achiever, Individualization, Strategic,


Tomas Jackson is currently a sophomore attending George Mason University as a Jazz Studies Major with a concentration in Piano. Under the tutelage of former Airmen of Note pianist Wade Beach, his studies of Jazz have offered numerous opportunities to play and perform for artists such as Wynton Marsalis and Doc Severinsen. Performing groups consist of his peers and local ensembles such as The George Mason Jazz Ensemble, The National Jazz Workshop All-Stars 2013-16, and several small groups playing local venues. Living in Northern Virginia, He intends to complete his Bachelors and Masters of music, and continue playing and performing in and around the Metro D.C. area.

Susanna Kelley


Instrument: Voice
Major: Music
Hometown: Southold, NY

Strengths: Significance, Futuristic, Harmony, Input, Restorative

Susanna Kelley is a senior Music major from Southold, New York. She has been a sister of the women’s music fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota, for two years and currently serves as the Recording Secretary of the chapter. She is a past President of Mason’s chapter of the National Association for Music Education and has served as an Alto Section Leader of University Chorale for the past 2 1/2 years. She spent the past two summers working with the Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services as a Patriot Leader and then as the Family Programs Coordinator on the Orientation Leadership Team. After graduation this May, she hopes to attend graduate school for a Master’s degree in Higher Education/Student Affairs, but intends to continue singing and performing as much as possible.

Schuyler Kieley

SchuylerInstrument: Trumpet
Major: Music Education (Instrumental)
Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY

Strengths: Activator, Empathy, Adaptability, Maximizer, Input

Schuyler Kieley is a junior at George Mason University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree of Music in Instrumental Education.  He is extremely passionate about teaching and performing all forms of music.  Originally from Poughkeepsie, New York, Schuyler grew up in a thriving musical environment with both his parents having musical backgrounds and the Arlington Central School District, his public school music program, being recognized as one of the best in New York State.  In his high school years, Schuyler performed with the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Conference All-State Jazz Ensemble and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-Eastern Jazz Ensemble.  He also played both lead and solo trumpet in the Arlington High School Jazz Machine, which placed first at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival his junior and senior years.  His senior year, he received the Judges’ Choice award and Superior Musicianship award at the festival.  In the Jazz Machine, he was awarded the Louis Armstrong jazz award.  He also received the Arlington Band Boosters Scholarship Award and Arlington Symphony Orchestra Association Scholarship Award.  At George Mason, Schuyler is actively involved in the School of Music.  He currently plays trumpet in the Wind Symphony under the direction of Mark Camphouse and the Brass Ensemble under the direction of Professor Phil Snedecor.  Since his freshman year, he has played in the Green Machine Pep Band under the direction of Dr. Michael Nickens, and is also a scholarship recipient and setup crew leader with the band.  In the past, he has performed with the Mason Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensembles, and Symphonic Band.  He is currently the president of the Rho Omicron Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the Secretary of George Mason’s NAfME Collegiate Chapter.  Schuyler is currently a trumpet student of Professor Phil Snedecor, who currently performs with the National Symphony Orchestra, Harrisburg Symphony, and Washington Symphonic Brass.  In the past, he has studied with Steve Luck, former principal trumpet of the West Point Military Academy Band, Dr. Dennis Edelbrock, former United States Army Band trumpeter, and James Osborn, trumpet faculty at Vassar College.  This past summer, Schuyler was a trumpet counselor at the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pennsylvania.  Schuyler also teaches trumpet lessons and is part of the Teaching Scholars Program at Potomac Arts Academy.  Following his graduation from George Mason, Schuyler plans on being an exceptional music educator and performer.

Jeremy Killeen


Instrument: Trombone
Major: Performance
Hometown: Highland Park, IL

Strengths: Competition, Woo, Communication, Restorative, Empathy

Jeremy Killeen is a sophomore Trombone Performance Major with a minor in Arts Management from Highland Park, Illinois. He studies privately with Matt Neff of the Navy Commodores.  Jeremy participated in many musical events this summer, which include attending the “Mike Becker Low Brass Boot Camp” in Tucson, AZ, and acting as assistant director of the Potomac Arts Brass Camp under the direction of Matt Neff.  He is an active member in his Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, where he is the Service Chairman. Jeremy is currently the Assistant Manager of the George Mason University Symphony Orchestra.  Jeremy chose Mason because of the fantastic faculty, facilities, and location.

Danielle McLellan

Instrument: Bassoon
Major: Music Education (Instrumental)
Hometown: Herndon, VA Strengths: Individualization, Positivity, Developer, Intellection, Empathy

Danielle McLellan is a sophomore from Reston, Virginia pursuing a B. M. in Music Education. She studies bassoon with Dr. Max Wharton of the U.S. Army Band. She is a member of the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony. She is also a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, an international women’s music fraternity.

Joseph Pazanowski


Instrument: Percussion
Major: Performance
Hometown: Ashburn, VA

Strengths: Adaptability, Empathy, Relator, Strategic, Restorative

Joseph Pazanowski is a sophomore at George Mason University and is currently pursuing a B.M. in Percussion Performance. Joe is from Ashburn, Virginia where he lives with family, including his twin brother Matt, who also attends Mason, though pursuing a B.M. in Music Education. When not practicing, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing video games, and coaching drumline at Riverside High School. After completing his undergraduate studies, Joe plans on furthering his education at the graduate level with hopes of being able to perform as a soloist or small ensemble member in the future.

Sophie Smith


Instrument: Voice, Soprano
Major: Music
Hometown: Leesburg, VA

Strengths: Empathy, Futuristic, Developer, Belief, Discipline

Sophie Smith is a sophomore from Leesburg, Virginia and is pursuing a B. A. in music with a minor in psychology. She is the current Vice President of Membership of Sigma Alpha Iota National Music Fraternity for women, as well as current president of Mason’s collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Educators, secretary of Mason’s collegiate chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and Soprano section leader in University Chorale. She also teaches music at the Mason Child Development Center and private piano lessons.

Melissa Torres


Instrument: Voice

Major: Music Education (Choral)

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.

Coming soon:

Andrew String