Braxton Citizens' News, Community, Schools

Burnsville man joins Fine Arts Faculty at GSU

Glenville State University alumnus Garrett Hacker has returned to his alma mater, joining the Department of Fine Arts faculty as a Lecturer of Music.

Since January, Hacker has been teaching courses in applied percussion, conducting, and recording and engineering, in addition to conducting the Percussion Ensemble at Glenville State. This new position will see him taking on many of the same responsibilities in a more permanent way.

“Coming back to Glenville State really means the world to me, honestly. Anyone I know who has attended GSU has seen it as a second home, and it’s the same to me. So, it is like moving back home and getting to live out your dream job,” Hacker said.

He says he is most looking forward to the music he will get to make with students. “Memories and music are really tied together, so I want to create as many memorable performances and teaching experiences as I can for my students and myself,” he added.

Hacker graduated from Braxton County High School in 2015 before attending Glenville State where he completed a bachelor’s degree in music in 2019. He then went on to Ohio University where he earned a master’s in music performance.

He has previously spent time as a drumline instructor for various bands, including the Liberty-Harrison Band, Doddridge County Band, Appalachian Gold Drum and Bugle Corps, Braxton County Band, and Athens County Band. During his first semester at Ohio University, he was part of the OU percussion ensemble that collaborated with Oakland University and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to perform at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention 2019 in the World Showcase Concert. The program was a celebration of Ugandan music led by Haruna Walusimbi, the leader of the Nachabembe group from Uganda whose works the ensemble performed. During his time at Glenville State he served as field commander of the Pioneer Marching Band in 2018.

“Having grown up in Braxton County and attended Glenville State as a student, I think I can really put myself in the shoes of students and can relate to them in a lot of ways. I got exposure to a lot of different kinds of music and techniques when I was at Ohio University, so I really want to bring more awareness to music of other cultures and other genres that we don’t get to hear or study as much,” Hacker added.

In this position, Hacker will take on many of the courses that were previously taught by Professor Emeritus John McKinney. McKinney retired last year after nearly 40 years in the classroom at Glenville State.

“John McKinney taught, inspired, and elevated hundreds of students – including me – during his teaching career, and to take on a similar endeavor is quite daunting! When it comes to teaching classes, lessons, and Percussion Ensemble, I think it is expected that I will have my own way of going about things, but I still want to stay true to what Mr. McKinney grew over the years with his many unforgettable performances and classes. To be part of that legacy is really cool to think about,” he added.

“We are very excited to have Mr. Hacker joining us. He is an incredible performer and educator, and we are so glad to have him joining our department. We look forward to his work the GSU Percussion Studio,” said Department of Fine Arts Chair, Dr. Jason Barr.