Darlene Mueller is the production manager and principal clarinetist of the Pacific Artists Collective. She moved to Eugene, OR from Las Cruces, NM with her two cats, Sasha and Jasper, in September of 2017. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Music Performance under the tutelage of Dr. Wonkak Kim. Since arriving, she has held principal chairs in both the Oregon Wind Ensemble and the University of Oregon Symphony Orchestra, performed in the Oregon Jazz Lab as Tenor II, and given multiple outreach concerts as a member of the resident graduate woodwind quintet.
Coming from the small and potentially radioactive town of Alamogordo, NM, Darlene always knew she was destined to be a performer. In Las Cruces, she attended New Mexico State University under the instruction of Dr. Laroy Borchert and Dr. Ingrid Larragoity-Martin from 2011 to 2016. She is the first and only alumnus of the Department of Music to have graduated with both a Bachelor of Music Education and a Bachelor of Music Performance, receiving both degrees with Honors.
As an undergraduate, Darlene served as Clarinet Section Leader for the Pride of New Mexico and principal clarinetist of the New Mexico State Wind Symphony and the New Mexico State Philharmonic Orchestra. She also had the opportunity to perform multiple operas and musical pits, including Jacques Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers and Kurt Weill’s From Berlin to Broadway!
Always looking to expand her versatility as a musician, Darlene held the Tenor II chair for three years in the top jazz ensemble, NMSU Jazz I, as well as Lead Alto of NMSU Jazz II during her last year. It was because of her involvement in the Jazz program that she was given the opportunity to perform Artie Shaw’s Concerto for Clarinet with NMSU Jazz I during the 2016 Southwest Honor Band opening concert for the student and faculty attendees.
As a student teacher, Darlene was tasked with directing both concert ensembles, as well as one of the jazz bands at Oñate High School. In addition to her regular duties, she also performed administrative tasks both in preparation for and during the 2016 Oñate Jazz Festival. As a director of this event, she attended classes, clinics, and performances by Eric Marienthal, Nelson Rangell, and Gregg Bissonette.
In the year after her graduation, Darlene proceeded to work as a substitute teacher for Las Cruces Public Schools, a voice instructor for Studio A440, and as a woodwind clinician for all three of the local high school music programs. During this time, she also performed as a freelance musician for the NMSU Theatre Department’s production of Mark Hollmann’s Urinetown. Having that wonderful opportunity reignited her passion for performance and solidified her plans to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Oregon.