I am so excited to share that I finished my Doctorate of Arts in Jazz Studies at the University of Northern Colorado and graduated on Friday December 9th. This was a VERY LONG ROAD, and I have a lot of people to thank. First of all my mom and dad always supported me in my musical endeavours and everythinge else. They really are the reason I am who I am, and I owe everything to them. Besides that, I honestly had no idea what going to music school entailed, but fortunately my mom bought a book on applying to college for music and I had a band director that helped talk me through the audition process and let me take a xylophone home to learn my scales and my audition music by ear. By some miracle I got into music school at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. It didn't take me long to realize that I had a lot of work to do in order to catch up to my peers. To my teachers' credit, I always felt that I was capable of getting better and acheiving my goals; which I did by doing what I was told in lessons and rehearsals. I also met my wife Mary during this time. She has been so supportive and loving since the first day we met, and after we got married we got to plan our future together and moved across the country to Colorado where I started at UNC. The faculty recognized my passion for this music and they pushed me beyond what I thought was possible for myself which made the transition very difficult for Mary and me in many ways. However, I experienced significant growth immediately, but also realized how much farther I have to go. In the last five and half years here in Colorado there has been significant changes in our lives. Perhaps most exciting was that my niece Emily moved in with us last January. It has been amazing learning from her, and seeing her grow in her own journey here in Colorado just as I have experienced throughout my own life. Reflecting on my own experiences today, I realize that I've become a better musician and a better person, and I've literally seen many of my dreams come true.