By Ali Eaves, '11

Alex Kelso has music in his blood.

His grandfather was Nebraska’s state oboe champion in 1939, and his uncle plays the guitar. Kelso has played the bass guitar for years and has his own radio show every Sunday night on the University of Richmond’s radio station, WDCE.

“Music is something I’ve always enjoyed,” said Kelso, a sophomore majoring in rhetoric and communication studies. “My family is very art-oriented, and I was bound to do either theater, dance or music. I decided to go with music.”

On his radio show, Kelso plays what can best be described as a mix of jazz, reggae, electronic and dub music. Richmond’s recently remodeled radio studio allows him to explore his musical interests in a state-of-the-art space.

“A radio station was something I was looking for in a college,” Kelso said. “That’s one extracurricular activity I really wanted to participate in.”

The radio show has been just one of the ways that Kelso has been able to connect his passion for music and the arts with his education at Richmond. This year, he enrolled in the “Opening Nights: Arts Organizations in America” Sophomore Scholars in Residence program. All of the students in the program live together in Lakeview Hall, take a class on arts management and work on individual and group projects related to the arts.

“The program really bridged the gap between my interests in business and the arts,” Kelso said. “The class we took, ‘Managing Performing Arts Organizations,’ was nothing like any business or art class I’ve ever taken.”

The professor, David Howson, brought in artistic directors, marketing managers, actors and fundraising directors to give students a first-hand look at what nonprofit arts management is all about.

The SSIR group took a trip to New York City during fall break and saw an opera and shows both on and off Broadway. They also visited the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art.

“My favorite part of the trip was when a few students and I went to see Kenny Garrett at the Iridium Jazz Club in downtown Manhattan,” Kelso said. “It was a really cool experience, considering the Iridium is world famous. I got to see a renowned jazz artist.”

In between their visits to major artistic venues in the city, they met with professionals who shared their perspectives on what it’s like to work in a cultural center like New York.

“Art has made a significant impact on my life,” Kelso said. “I encourage anyone interested in pursuing art, observing art or enjoying art to go for it because you never know how it will impact you.”

For more information on the Sophomore Scholars in Residence program, or to learn about other Living-Learning communities, visit