Outstanding Graduate in Music: Sarah Yates
Sarah Yates will graduate from Western with a Bachelor of Music degree in History & Literature and a minor in Jazz Studies. Originally planning to study public history and early music, she decided to focus on jazz after becoming fascinated with the work of Django Reinhardt. Some of her mentors along this journey include Michael-Paul Gurulé, Dr. Melanie Sehman, Kevin Woods, Dr. Bertil van Boer, Greg Feingold, Lache Cercel, and Dr. Anna Booker.
Her thesis explores parallels in how Claude Debussy and Django Reinhardt became symbols of liberty and French identity during and after World War II.
Outside of the university, Sarah performs regularly as a bassist in Seattle, Vancouver and Bellingham, taking part in projects with styles ranging from jazz Manouche and Roma music to straight-ahead jazz and free improvisation.
In addition, she directs the junior high jazz program at Lynden Christian School. In her teaching, research and performing, Sarah explores the connections between musical practice and lifestyle, with particular interest in intentionality, listening, and the value of play.
While considering graduate studies, Sarah plans to gig, teach, and participate in local mutual aid/direct action efforts.