Uniting a Love of Music and Religion

August 20, 2015

Kasey Cheydleur

Ambre Dromgoole ’15 with her parents
Ambre Dromgoole ’15 celebrating graduation with her parents.
Photo credit: Ambre Dromgoole

Ambre Dromgoole ’15 came to Oberlin planning to be an entertainment lawyer, but graduated with an entirely new dream. A musical studies and religion double major, Dromgoole is attending Yale Divinity School to pursue a master’s in religion studying the black church, as well as interning for Walker International Communications Group—a company that focuses on arts marketing and administration for clients such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Apollo Theater in Harlem, and New York City Opera. She will be shadowing the founder of the company and her partners to gain experience in each level of arts administration.

A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Dromgoole says she found her new career path after taking classes in the Africana studies department and talking to faculty. “Oberlin put me in touch with people who put me in touch with who I am.” She says her time at Oberlin affirmed that her ideas were valid and that she was not alone. At Oberlin she encountered a community as passionate as she was.

Dromgoole credits many mentors at Oberlin as contributors to her success. Associate Professor of Religion A.G. Miller and Associate Dean and Dean of Class of 2015 Brenda Grier-Miller were both of invaluable help to her. “Dean Miller allows you to talk things out, you can get things out of your head,” she says. “I wouldn’t have made it through Oberlin without her.” Another faculty member who had enormous impact was Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology Fredara Hadley, who encouraged Dromgoole that anything was possible after Oberlin. She cites Hadley as a major reason why she is considering a PhD in the future.

At Oberlin, Dromgoole balanced her interests in sacred music, religion, and her African American heritage. She sang with Nothing But Treble, led Voices for Christ, and danced with the Umoja steppers. She was also part of the leadership team for Oberlin Christian Fellowship, a member of the black student groups Abusua and Sisters of the Yam, and served as an Academic Ambassador.

After earning her master’s, Dromgoole hopes to work in arts administration in either a museum such as the National African American Music Museum in Nashville, or the National Endowment for the Arts. She also wants to travel and share her research.

Ultimately she says, “I want to share the impact and uniqueness black music has on the world.”

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