I Got This

James Kelly ’24

I chose to attend Hofstra for music education instead of a music conservatory because I wanted the freedom to learn about other disciplines and to explore different styles of music and performance opportunities. As a violinist and a vocalist, I have been a member of many Music Department ensembles and have performed in two solo recitals and two honors recitals.

One of my happiest moments was when the Chamber Choir was invited to sing backup at a sold-out Eagles concert at UBS Arena. It was so exciting to join the legendary band to perform their hit “The Last Resort.”

This semester I’m student teaching at a Long Island elementary school and high school. As I look to the future, I hope to inspire my students the way my Hofstra professors have inspired me. They have been encouraging and welcoming since my first day on campus.

There are so many friends to make and so much to do and learn at Hofstra. I wish you the best of luck and hope your experience is as happy as mine.



Admitted Students, like what you see? Click here to join the Hofstra Pride!


Music Education major James Kelly, a gifted violinist and vocalist, selected Hofstra University because of its rich offerings in the liberal arts. “I didn’t want to go to a conservatory-type of institution where I’d only be working on music,” he said. “By choosing Hofstra, I received a more well-rounded education and had the chance to take classes I really enjoyed – like Spanish and astronomy – outside of my major and concentration.”

James Kelly

Even with a diverse class schedule and a final semester student teaching, James said the Music Department has been his second home these past four years. He is active with the Hofstra Chorale, Chamber Choir, Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theater Orchestra, and the String and Piano Ensembles.

“The professors and coordinators of these ensembles are so encouraging,” James said. “They want to see all their students do well and help develop their musical talents.”

The opportunity to perform in solo and collaborative recitals is another part of the Hofstra music experience. James and three talented classmates were awarded the Dorothy B. Hoag Honors Recital (fall 2022) and the William H. Lawrence Honors Recital (fall 2023). He also presented a solo voice recital and this spring will perform a solo violin recital. The recitals, said James, are just one more way he has strengthened his talents. “They help my playing and my ability to perform solo in a small group setting. When it’s you, a cellist, a soprano, and a pianist, you have to collaborate so closely. It’s a rewarding and creative process.”

Perhaps James’ most memorable performance was in 2022, when the Hofstra Chamber Choir sang backup at a sold-out Eagles concert at UBS Arena in Elmont, NY. The choir appeared on stage with rock ’n’ roll legends Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit on the number “The Last Resort.”

“We were elevated on a riser up to the stage, wearing these golden robes,” James laughed. “All we could see were lights and thousands of people screaming for us. What an amazing experience. I’ll never forget it.”

After graduation, James plans to become a music teacher and hopes to work at an elementary school. He is spending his final semester student teaching at a Long Island elementary school and a high school.

When asked what he’ll miss most after he graduates, James doesn’t hesitate. “Making music with my friends and professors every day.” He is particularly grateful to his faculty mentors: voice teacher, Tammy Hensrud, and violin teacher, Dr. Alexander Sharpe. “They are both so supportive and knowledgeable,” he said.

“Just as they have inspired me, I can’t wait to inspire and instill a love for music in my future students.”

» James’ story isn’t unique. In fact, among Hofstra University’s 2021-2022 undergraduate degree recipients, 85% of alumni from the School of Education who responded to a graduation survey or other reliable sources (78% knowledge rate) reported they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation. Visit our outcomes page at hofstra.edu/outcomes for detailed information.

Take your next step: