The Mersereau Scholars: An Update

In 2007, composer and PSU alum Brad Mersereau (B.A. Composition, 1973) created a full tuition scholarship supporting highly talented and motivated seniors in jazz and composition as they reached for their dreams.  Since then there have been 12 recipients of the Mersereau Scholarship.  Each has taken their opportunity in a unique and interesting direction.  Here is a snapshot of where they are:

Chance Hayden 2007-2008

Chance Hayden, a 2008 PSU Jazz Studies Graduate, has been continuously recognized aChance Hayden-crop Tom Schmids a skillful guitarist with maturity well beyond his years and musical sensibility that allows him to flex between Jazz, Soul and Americana. Recently, he has been seen performing alongside R&B singer-songwriter Jarrod Lawson with whom he just completed European tour that included two sold-out shows at London’s legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and a live recording at the BBC’s historic Maida Vale studio. Hayden has also released a debut album, The Family Tree, featuring his own lyrical works with vocalist Redray Frazier and an esteemed cast of Portland talent.


Matt Tabor 2007-2008

MattTabor HeadshotSince graduating in 2008 Matt has performed extensively as both a band leader and sideman, releasing his debut album Oceanview in 2011.  In addition to performing he has also gotten the chance to work on a number of exciting arranging and composition projects, including his work as music director for the Portland Area Musical Theater Award-winning musical Recognition and as composer for the short film Mr. Right, which recently won the award for best director in the Oregon Independent Film Festival.  Matt continues to maintain an active teaching and performing schedule and is currently working as music supervisor for the Portland Playhouse’s production of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson.  He is looking forward to composing his first feature-length film score later this year.

Patrick Harry-crop

Patrick Harry 2008-2009

“Since graduating from college, I have played a variety of genres in a variety of contexts. My experience at PSU established a solid foundation for me, so that I have been able to take on each new opportunity with a versatile and well-rounded perspective.”  Patrick most recently played bass in the Broadway production of “A Night with Janis Joplin, under the musical direction of another PSU alum Ross Seligman.

Branic Howard 2008-2009

While pursuing an MBranicHoward-cropM in composition I studied with Daniel S. Godfrey and Andrew Waggoner at Syracuse University and at Stony Brook University, where I am currently pursuing a PhD in Composition, I worked with Margaret Schedel and Daniel Weymouth. During that time I participated in master-classes with Schulamit Ran, Mark Applebaum, Lukas Ligeti, Ensemble Nordlys, among others. And, recently, my music has been premiered at Merkin Hall by cellist Caroline Stinson, performed by pianist José Menor and I have participated collaborative performances with pianist Michael Smith. I am a member of NYC based multi-disciplinary performance group, Space We Make, performing as an improvisor with electronics and computer. And l run, Open Field Recording, an on-location mobile recording business—now transplanted back in Portland, OR!
Most recently my work incorporates short distance FM radio transmissions into site specific sound installation and explores the representation of urban soundscape through nature recording.

Matthew Steele 2010
Matthew Steele

Since graduating from Portland State, I attended the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring program in Seattle, and received a Masters degree in Film Music Composition. I have worked on several video game projects and some short films as well.


Elysia Strauss 2010-2011

Elysia Strauss 1After Graduating from PSU Elysia went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance at The California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, CA. There she and fellow students founded Brundlefly, a progressive jazz rock quartet. Elysia is currently independently contracted as a woodwind musician for various cruise ship lines.




 Max Williamson 2011-12

Mas graduated with at B. M. in Jazz Studies playing electric bass in 2012.  He is currently living in Portland , Oregon.


Mario Sandoval 2013-2014Mario Sandoval

“Currently I am pursuing his Masters in Jazz studies degree at Portland State University, and have the privilege of being the Jazz department’s Graduate Teaching Assistant.  The Brad Mersereau Scholarship allowed me to finish his bachelors degree and continue my studies with the goal of teaching Jazz/Latin Jazz at a university or college in the US, and performing clinics in my native Guatemala, C.A.”

Matt Hettwer 2013-14

Matt Hettwer-crop“I recently moved to the greater Los Angeles area in order to surround myself in its rich and vibrant music scene. I am pursuing a master’s degree in jazz performance at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSULB.  I study privately with Bob McChesney who is one of the most in demand studio and solo trombonists in LA. All the while I am freelancing, writing music, and trying to develop a unique voice as a trombonist and musician. I miss the Northwest greatly!”

       Nicole Glover 2013-2014Nicole Glover 2

Nicole is currently performing and teaching in Portland, Oregon. She is currently performing with George Colligan’s Quartet, the Alan Jones Sextet, Thara Memory’s Superband, Thomas Barber’s Spiral Road, the Kerry Politzer Group, Ural Thomas and the Pain (elected Willamette Weekly’s Best Band of 2013), and more. She teaches music at Martin Luther King Elementary School and the Alan Jones Academy of Music. Nicole is still regularly practicing and preparing to relocate to New York City at the end of the 2014-15 academic year.

Jon Huteson 2014-15Huteson-cropped

Jon is currently a senior studying  jazz drumset in the PSU School of Music.



Patrick Nearing 2014-15

Patrick is currently a senior studying jazz trumpet in the PSU School of Music.

Patrick Nearing 2012


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