Commencement Profile: Dennis Lejardi

By UM News

Commencement Profile: Dennis Lejardi

By UM News
Becoming the Man of the Hour

Growing up in Miami innately created a love for the University of Miami for Dennis Lejardi, who chose the Frost School of Music to major in Music Business and Entertainment Industries with a minor in Business Law.

“Looking into the school, the Frost School of Music seemed too good to be true. I was a tuba player looking to expand my mastery over my instrument, expand my performance skill set, but also was highly interested in business. Frost was a perfect fit!” Lejardi said.

Mastery is what you can say Lejardi has accomplished when you hear him play the tuba, and you would think it has been his passion from an early age.

“I didn’t always want to perform. I hated performing and strongly disliked playing music since I was a kid in elementary school. I did love music and that never changed. In middle school, I was forced to do band,” said Lejardi. “I was skeptical at first, but eventually the music bug bit me and I fell in love with the field. I’ve been performing and have loved doing it since then.”

Although Lejardi hadn’t joined the marching band from the onset, a fateful meeting with Professor Jay C. Rees, director of athletic bands while working at his old job, propelled him to join the program and play with the Frost Band of the Hour.

It was the beginning of his third year with the band when a health issue took his breath away. Lejardi had just performed at the Rathskeller when he felt a sharp pain on the right side of his chest. The pain wasn’t going away, so he went to the doctor the following day to learn that he had suffered “spontaneous pneumothorax” on his right lung. Basically, his right lung had collapsed.

“I was completely out of breath and couldn’t finish a sentence. When I went to the doctor and they told me my right lung had collapsed, my first question was whether I would be able to play the tuba or the trombone again,” said an emotional Lejardi. “The doctors said that after surgery it was possible to play again, but that I needed to wait at least three months… that’s when it really hit me.”

Lejardi didn’t let this stop him from following his passion. He had surgery, and although doctors were able to repair his lung, it would never function at 100 percent again. He learned to breathe again and in no time with lots of practice and immense perseverance, he was back to performing. He even tried out for the Disney All-American College Band one month after he was able to play and was the runner up to the two slots on the band. And that same perseverance got him the honor of Drum Major in his fourth year at Frost.

“Being Drum Major has been a magical, surreal experience and I am so proud to be able to perform with my amazing friends in this wonderful ensemble,” said Lejardi. “I learned and developed how to be a stronger leader, how to teach large groups of students, improve my people skills and how to bring passion to any performance or work setting. Most importantly my band family never gave up on me when my lung collapsed. The support they showed me got me through it. And the music business program has been a marvelous experience. I learned about every single facet of the industry and where I might fit in best within such an expansive field.”

Lejardi will graduate with a Bachelor’s in Music Business and Entertainment Industries and a minor in Business Law. He is currently an intern with the Office of Communications and Events at the Frost School of Music and hopes to turn that into a full-time position, with plans of joining the Graduate Program to further his studies.