Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blog Assignment 1

When asked to talk about myself, it is always hard for me to get started... but I guess the beginning will have to work! My name is Brandon M. Caten, and yes, the M is always included! The M stands for Marcus and I hated that name up until a few years ago. My middle name comes from my Father's brother who is named Mark and just so happens to be my Godfather. With that being said, it might be easy to assume I am Catholic. If you did assume this, you would be right! I'm getting ahead of myself though! Let me start from the beginning:

I was born Brandon Marcus Caten on February 28, 1987 at Springhill Memorial Hospital in Mobile, Alabama to Anthony Glen and Denise Marie Caten. For the first 12 years of my life, I lived in Saraland, Alabama and attended North Mobile Christian Schooluntil I completed the 6th grade. As 7th grade began, I found myself in a new town and a new high school. Over that summer, I moved to Chatom, Al and enrolled in Washington County High School. This was a huge change for me but brought out a different side of me that I am now largely in touch with today.

Now one thing I failed to mention above is that the move to Chatom would only be with one parent. When I was 6 years old, I went to Chatom to visit my grandparents a few days before Christmas. My Dad drove me up to Chatom on December 20, 1993 and a day later we drove back - this would be a day that I would remember forever. Not only because it was a few days before Christmas, but also because it was the day that I found out that my Mother had been in a horrible car accident. She was riding home with a family friend after a long day of shopping and a drunk driver side-swiped their car as they turned in to our road. Later that night my Dad had to make the decision to take her of life support. From that day on, it was just my Dad and me taking life one day at a time.

As I made my way through middle and high school, I began to be involved in the arts. I put sports behind me (with the exception of tennis) and focused on dance, music and theatre. I spent so much time becoming enveloped with the arts that before I began my Junior year of high school, I had already applied to The University of Alabama and was accepted as a Music Therapy major. My next two years of high school would focus solely on music in order to be ready for college.

Marching band was always a huge part of my life as well, and from the day I made my decision to attend UA, I also made the decision to march in The Million Dollar Band. Needless to say, multiple hours were spend on the practice field instead of in the library or my room studying.

After three years at The University of Alabama, I made the best decision of my life. I decided to finally start focusing on school and transfered to The University of South Alabama. This decision was a blessing in disguise. I moved to Mobile in August of 2008 and began my life as a double major in Vocal Performance and Music Education. Soon after my first semester was finished, I received a call that would change my life as I knew it forever.

Around 7 pm on December 31, my aunt called me and told me that I should get ready and make my way over to Providence Hospital as soon as possible. Little did we all know that before the night was over, my Dad would have been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Two days later, after the doctors performed a craniotomy, the diagnosis worsened: Grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiform. To the layman, this just sounds like a big word that doctors use. To my medical family, we all knew that this would be the beginning of the end. After a long fight with the cancer and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, my Dad passed away on May 7, 2009. His passing was during finals week, and from that point on I made the decision that everything I did in school would be for him.

Since then, I have become extremely involved at USA. I have starred as the lead character of The Cat in The Hat in TheatreUSA's production of Seussical the Musical, spend every semester on stage with Mobile Opera, University Chorale and The University Choir, managed to become a member of The Miss University of South Alabama Pageant Board of Directors (where I've trained one crown-holder and hope to make it two on Saturday), and even started the award-winning USA Show Choir. I believe that I have spent my first few years at South staying busy and participating in the things I love and hope to spend my remaining years here just as busy and involved.

After graduation, I plan to continue my education by pursuing a Masters in Chorale Conducting and eventually a Doctorate in Choral Conducting and Arts Administration. Teaching is everything to me and I cannot wait to infuse my love of the arts into the young minds that I will teach!


  1. Brandon,

    You are a strong person to not only share this but to use something that could have crippled you as motivation to keep going. I lost my brother the week after finals in 2007 after loosing my mother-in-law before the semester had started. I'd like to believe that those who have passed on get to check in on us and see us succeed in life. I'm sure my brother and mom-in-law would be proud of me, and just from reading this post, I think your parents would too.


  2. Brandon,

    For someone who is only twenty three years old you have had some very hard times, but those hard times allow you to strive, which has led you this far. I admire your courage and strength to follow your dreams. Sometimes we may not understand why things happen but just remember to keep your head up and continue to use every difficult situation you may encounter throughout the course of your life as motivation just as you have before.

  3. Lisianna and Tiffany,

    Thank you both so much for your supportive comments! Most people might find it hard to talk about their life experiences when they have dealt with as much as I have, but I like to look at them as my "testimony" and why I am who I am today!


  4. What a moving family history. We are delighted to have you with us in EDM310.

  5. Thank you Dr. Strange! I am excited to be in EDM310! I cannot wait to learn all that is in store!

  6. Brandon, Reading this brought tears to my eyes!!! You have been through so much and still yet you are standing strong and staying focused and that's great! Keep up the faith and I wish you the best!