Alyssa Wells, musicologist/marching band scholar

Alyssa began her dissertation research with enthusiastic optimism. As a community insider, she felt perfectly poised to address issues of misconduct and abuse in North American drum & bugle corps. She did not, however, anticipate the challenges that would arise as her personal, professional, and academic lives grew increasingly entangled around painful truths and powerful emotions. In this talk, Alyssa discusses her efforts to protect those for whom she cares the most from the potential consequences of her research, while simultaneously rejecting a culture of silence around abuse.


Alyssa Wells (she/her) is a PhD candidate in Historical Musicology and Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan. In her dissertation, “Falling In and Out of Step: Belonging, Silence, and a Moment of Cultural Reckoning in Drum Corps International,” she explores the cultural factors that facilitated decades of abuse and the community’s attempts to “clean up” this youth-focused activity.

Her work on composer Hanns Eisler has received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service and has been published in the Danish Yearbook of Musicology. Alyssa holds a M.M. in Musicology and an M.A. in German and Scandinavian Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as a B.A. in Music, with a focus on trombone, from Western Michigan University.

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