Graduate Profile: Kristen Dubenion-Smith
As a professional musician living in Baltimore, Kristen Dubenion-Smith performs with high-profile ensembles like the Folger Consort and the Washington Bach Consort. She also has founded and toured with musical ensembles, recorded CDs and sung for President Barack Obama.
“I love to communicate with an audience through musical performance, and I love to share my gift with others,” the 2002 Alma College graduate says. “I don’t have a way with spoken words, but I do have a way with music notes.”
Before pursuing her passion at The John Hopkins University, from which she graduated in 2005 with a Master of Music, Dubenion-Smith spent her time at Alma wrapped up in all the music department had to offer. She even worked part time in the department’s office.
“I knew music was the only thing I could, or would ever want, to do with my life,” she says. “I love the way singing makes me feel. I don’t need to be famous—I just want to sing.”
Dubenion-Smith found this unwavering confidence in her career path under the guidance of Alma’s music faculty members, whom she credits with encouraging her to live her dream.
“Unlike a large university, Alma would never let me fall,” she says. “If I started to slip, they were right there to catch me. I can’t imagine any other school doing that for its students.”
Although music took up a lot of Dubenion-Smith’s time as a student, her Gamma Phi Beta sisters also taught her a lot.
“I learned how to give back through Gamma Phi,” she says. “I made lifelong friends and memories. My two most fond memories of college were the things I did that were related to music and those sisters.”