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5 Penn State alumni who have entered the spotlight as musicians

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musicians on stage

Penn State has an extensive alumni network with more than 700,000 working in various fields — one of which is music.

Here are some Penn State graduates who have constructed successful careers for themselves in the music industry.

Mike Reid

Mike Reid is a former NFL player for the Bengals and is currently recognized for his work as a successful songwriter.

Reid graduated from Penn State in 1970 with a degree in music. During his time at Penn State, Reid was an All-America selection and the winner of the Outland Trophy as the country’s outstanding collegiate lineman.

He began his musical career in the 1980s and scored his first No. 1 hit in 1983 with “Inside,” a country song written for artist Ronnie Milsap.

He has won the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers “Songwriter of the Year” award, and his song “Stranger In My House” received a Grammy.

Reid is also the hitmaker behind more than 30 songs in both the country and pop charts.

Adele, Kenny Rogers and Kelly Clarkson have covered his hit song “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” And, the song is currently a staple in his repertoire.

Aaron Tindall

Critically acclaimed tuba player Aaron Tindall is currently an assistant professor of tuba and euphonium at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

Tindall graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music performance on the euphonium and tuba from Penn State’s School of Music in 2006. He went on to serve as the principal tubist of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and in the Aspen Festival Orchestra.

He’s been a guest artist at the Euphonium Conferences for more than 15 years.

Ivan Hodge

Professional violinist Ivan Hodge graduated from Penn State in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in music.

Featured on the PBS special “A Capitol Fourth” alongside global artist Phillip Phillips, Hodge’s orchestras and private violin students have been critically acclaimed by multiple festivals in both Florida and Virginia. He also worked with youth orchestras in Fairfax and Prince Williams counties in Virginia.

Hodge currently performs with the Washington Concert Opera, the Cathedral Choral Society, the City Choir of Washington, Choralis and the Heritage Signature Chorale.

Fred Waring

Known as both “America’s Singing Master” and “The Man Who Taught America How To Sing,” Waring attended Penn State as an architectural engineering major until Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians took off in 1922.

This band leader and vocalist is recognized for popularizing choral music and making it into a classic American artform throughout his lengthy career of more than seven decades.

Waring’s band was the first to feature vocalists with an orchestra and to present weekly musical spectacles on live television.

Waring died after conducting the last youth concert at Penn State in July 1984.

Randy Green

Randy Green — also known as “R-SON the Voice of Reason” — is the vocalist of the band Gangstagrass and “The Super Tripple” in geek culture podcast “The Black Tribbles.”

Green is a Theta Chi and Penn State alumnus who graduated in 1998 with a degree in criminal justice. Green started his musical career by playing shows at Penn State. He performed on the latest season of “America’s Got Talent,” where he and his group received four “yes” votes after singing their original song ”Bound To Die.”

Known for experimenting with hip-hop and blues, Green and his band reached mainstream recognition with their song “Ride With You,” which hit No. 1 on the Billboard bluegrass charts. Gangstagrass has been together for more than 14 years.

They are currently touring the country.


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