Music Notes: Notable Students

Ron & Jaimee Jensen-McDaniel


Graduate school is always challenging, but it is even more challenging when you have duties as a graduate assistant…and a part time job teaching at another college…and a part time job teaching voice lessons…and two bands on the side. All of these responsibilities come together, however, with the dedication that Ron and Jaimee Jensen-McDaniel have for UCA and each other.

Jaimee and Ron first met at Governor’s School as high school seniors in 2003, and became best friends as UCA undergraduates who also worked in the same church choir. Jaimee graduated with a BA concentrating in voice and English Literature, and Ron obtained his BM in vocal performance. After marrying in 2011, they both made the decision to attend graduate school at the University of Limerick. Ron graduated with his MM in Community Music, and Jaimee received her MA in Ritual Chant and Song. Following their move back to the U.S., they found themselves both wanting to pursue opera and voice in more depth. Coming back to UCA, they entered the voice studio of Dr. Robert Holden, and they both accepted graduate assistantships as well. Ron has worked with the UCA Opera, and Jaimee’s assistantship has entailed working in the voice area and teaching a voice class for non-majors. Both, however, have been immersed in the performances of the UCA Opera Theater, under the direction of Holden and Professor Louis Menendez. Together, they have been featured in Hansel and Gretel, Face on the Bar Room Floor, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and various scenes programs. Jaimee has also sung a main role in Suor Angelica, while Ron has sung a leading role in The Marriage of Figaro.


Jaimee in Amahl and the Night Visitors


Ron in Marriage of Figaro







This past year, the couple has made some major moves. They adopted service dog, Cherubino, who has his own fans and followers on facebook. Jaimee and Ron also moved to Little Rock and were both hired as instructors of voice at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. In just a year, the dynamic duo has begun to make a great impact on the program there while finishing their degrees at UCA. While singing and teaching classical music by day, the couple prefers popular music by night. As singers in the popular band CosmOcean, they perform a variety of covers and original music. Jaimee also has a smaller combo called The Curvy Soprano.


CosmOcean’s CD Cover


Jaimee and Ron fronting their band, CosmOcean

Jaimee says, “One thing that we hear a lot is, ‘I don’t know how you guys do it! I couldn’t work with my spouse.’ And we agree, it’s not for everyone! But we’ve been doing it so long, and it’s always worked well for us. I think the fact that we have such a healthy relationship serves us well when we are on stage – there is a chemistry that is undeniable, whether we’re performing classical repertoire or we’re performing with our band.”

Ron stated, “The strength in our relationship lies in the fact that we allow each other to be our own individual person.”

“And we celebrate each other’s victories like they’re our own.” Jaimee added.

“We see the full potential in each other and allow it to grow.” Ron concluded.

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Graduate Recital Photo


Curtain Call for Marriage of Figaro with Ron and Jaimee far left








As if going to school and working together weren’t enough, the couple enjoys volunteering and organizing events together. Last November, they organized a concert entitled, “Patchwork: A Friendsgiving Festival of Unity, Diversity, and Peace.” Through music, they brought together many people who needed an extended family and the feeling of community during that time. Around UCA, they are known for being champions of many causes, and they are known for celebrating diversity and body positivity. They also gave their graduate recitals on the same date recently, sharing a reception together. Of course, it is only fitting that they will both graduate together this August; however, this will certainly not be their final curtain call together.