CCBC Music Program Still Raising the Baton

Music students come to CCBC to Make Art from Day One. And the primary reason they can do that is because our faculty are working artists.

The Music program marked the retirements of some beloved faculty over the past two tumultuous years, bidding fond farewells to Professor Patti Crossman, pianist and department chair; Professor Chris Wolfe, clarinetist and conductor of the Baltimore Symphonic Band; and Professor Monica Otal, soprano, concert manager, and conductor of the CCBC Chamber Singers.

Much as we miss them, we are pleased to welcome two new faculty to the music program, artists and educators who have already begun to make their marks. Matthew J. Palumbo, piano faculty and concert manager, is a familiar face at CCBC, having navigated our program through a challenging shift to livestreamed Music Forums as concert manager. And joining us this semester, the new director of Chamber Singers, Michelle Smith. They provide an overview of the paths that brought them to CCBC, in their own words…

Prof. Matthew J. Palumbo | piano faculty, Concert Manager
I have taught at the Community College of Baltimore County since 2016 as an adjunct and accepted a visiting lecturer contract for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. During my four years at CCBC I have taught a wide variety of classes and love working with our student population! As a visiting lecturer, I have assumed leadership responsibility within our department, facilitating student wellbeing and a smooth adaptation to an increasingly virtual environment. I have taken all of my duties as Concert Manager very seriously and am especially proud of our incredibly diverse music forum series, which has now successfully transitioned to a virtual format and continues to provide unique value to our students. Outside of CCBC, I maintain a private studio and am an acting board member of the Maryland State Music Teachers Association.

Dr. Michelle Smith | voice faculty, CCBC Chamber Singers
I’ve been singing and involved with music my entire life. I started my academic career at a community college, where I was a part of the choir. I later took on the role of assistant director and choreographer for a college show choir, and then continued on to direct children’s choirs and church choirs. My interest in working with choirs led to me studying choral conducting as a secondary instrument during my doctoral degree (voice is my primary instrument). At CCBC, I hope to involve more students in Chamber Singers, both music majors as well as students whose main focus is not music. Choir members form a community as they sing together, and I want to help create opportunities for students to be a part of that community, to work together to create a performance, and to express themselves through music–all while having fun!

Join the Music Forum concerts each Friday at 12:20 p.m. Details & free tickets at

For more information, contact Matthew J. Palumbo

Want to explore voice lessons or learn more about joining the Chamber Singers? Contact Michelle Smith

Arts at CCBC
Matthew J. Palumbo
Michelle Smith, DMA

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