More than 350 bios of Wittenberg students who graduated with a degree in music. These bios demonstrate the versatility of a music major: some alums enter music careers, some enter related fields, and some enter other fields.
Music alums, let us know what you are up to!
2010s+ | 2000s | ’90s | ’80s | ’70s | ’60s | ’40s–’50s
2010s - present
Lillyan Gaertner (BME ’22) is a music teacher at Snowhill Elementary School in Springfield, Ohio. In addition, she is teaching private music lessons at Elements Music Studio. email
Christian Babyak (BME ’17) earned a M.Ed. in higher education administration at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and is now Circulation Assistant at Vanderbilt’s Peabody Library. At Wittenberg Christian played saxophone in Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble. He was a Thomas Library student manager and Writing Center Advisor. Christian did his student teaching at Springfield High School. email
After Wittenberg, Isabelle Beegle-Levin (BA in Music ’12) spent six years working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and during that time earned an M.A. in global security studies at Johns Hopkins University. She joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 2018 and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 2019. Isabelle works on government contracting for an emergency fuel logistics company, and attended Shipley Business Development Bootcamp to increase her proposal skills. Isabelle now has her own PR, marketing, and government affairs small business. Since Wittenberg, Isabelle has continued to practice the violin and learn new music. She both takes lessons and teaches. Isabelle is a substitute conductor for a local youth orchestra and plays in small groups and orchestras whenever possible. email
Tyler Bly (BA ’16) lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his wife and their two young children. In addition to his day job, he plays trumpet for church and in the city’s adult community band, as well as occasionally playing in the University of Saint Francis Jazz Combo. email
Andrew Bowen (BA ’13) works in ministry as a pastor of worship for Bethel Baptist Church in Troy, Illinois. He has been in full-time ministry since 1918. He and his wife Lindsay live with their daughter Evangeline in Troy. Andrew writes: “On Sundays, I lead a worship team and worship band along with a full-tech ministry that helps lead our local church in singing praise to God in Spirit and truth. I also work throughout the week to develop resources and training for volunteers and lay people to further their music education and enjoyment of Christ through music.” email
Laura Bucher Peck (BME ’19) teaches K-5 general music at Tilton Upper Elementary and Walnut Square Elementary in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Before that, she taught K-6 general music with the Worcester Public Schools for two years. Laura is in graduate school at Anna Maria College (Paxton, Massachusetts) in partnership with the Kodály Institute in Boston, working to obtain a master’s degree in elementary education with Kodály emphasis. Laura also gives private piano, voice, and ukulele lessons after school at Zach Field Drum and Music Studio. She resides in Holden, Massachusetts, with her college sweetheart, Ethan, and their two basset hounds, Gibson and Taylor. email
Jack Burdwood (BA in Music ’16) worked at Schulmerich Bells (Hatfield, Pennsylvania), making new handbells and servicing old ones, while also traveling around the country to represent handbells at various music events. Jack rang handbells professionally with the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble and functioned as their resident percussionist when a piece called for percussion. Jack writes: “I moved to Texas last year and started playing with the Austin Civic Orchestra. I became self-employed to provide the time to really commit to furthering my musical education through private lessons, my own individual study, and watching and learning from the semi-professional percussionists around me in the ACO. I’m continuing to ring handbells with the Austin Handbell Ensemble and as part of Handbells of America’s biannual mass ring event Distinctly Bronze. I’ve also started to build up my own cabinet of percussion instruments, which currently includes triangles, maracas, cymbals, a marimba, and LOTS of mallets! I’m really excited to be diving head first back into the world of music and can’t wait to see where I can go with it.” email
Joy Carter (BME ’15) teaches music in grades 1-12 at the Keifer Academy (part of the Springfield, Ohio, City Schools).
Xavier Davenport (BA in Music, BA in Chinese Language & Culture, BS in Physics ’18) completed a master’s degree in electrophysics at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan in 2020, where he focused on one-dimensional, strongly correlated condensed matter theoretical physics. He will soon complete a master’s degree in music composition at DePaul University (Chicago), and plans to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall to begin work on a DMA in composition. At Wittenberg, his primary instrument was classical guitar, but he also played jazz guitar (in the jazz ensemble), tuba (in the concert band), and Renaissance lute. Xavier has recently composed for and collaborated with many groups and musicians, including Rage Thormbones, The Vista Trio, The New Hong Kong Philharmonia, and Ensemble Dal Niente. email
Kendra Ebanks (BA in Music ’20 and Early Childhood Education ’20) is a kindergarten teacher at Calvary Baptist Christian Academy in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Kendra writes: “I currently direct the youth choir at my church and share my love of music through singing. The knowledge, experience, and skills gained while at Wittenberg have translated into my deep desire to continually share music and to invest in other youth. Working with the youth choir brings me great joy.” email
Anastasia Eggerman (BA in Music ’11) is a teacher’s assistant at Willow Tree House Preschool in Cincinnati, Ohio. email
Angelique Gabrielle (BA in Music ’17) was education coordinator for the Springfield Symphony Orchestra during 2018 and is now Chancel Choir Director at Neal Avenue United Methodist Church in Newark, Ohio. She writes that she is “a self-published composer in affiliation with BMI, writing new music all the time!” email
Olivia Guetle (BA in Music ’13) completed a master’s degree in cello performance at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. email
Hannah Hatch (BME ’16) teaches K-2 general music in the Bloom-Carroll (Ohio) Local School District.
Megan Hentges (BME ’10) is working on an MBA at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, and is Product Manager at Bittersweet Farms, a company whose mission is to positively impact the lives of individuals with autism by selling products created by individuals with autism. Before that, Megan worked in Tacoma, Washington, where she was Outreach and Education Project Coordinator at Citizens for a Healthy Bay, an environmental organization whose mission is to represent and engage citizens in the cleanup, restoration, and protection of Commencement Bay and the surrounding waters and natural habitat. While at Wittenberg, Megan was involved in environmental efforts on and off campus. She worked with students, faculty and staff to create Wittenberg’s Sustainability Taskforce and helped start a campus-wide recycling program, which led to her receiving a Charles J. Ping Student Award from the Ohio Campus Compact. In addition, Megan was involved in anti-coal efforts in Ohio and Appalachia. After Witt, Megan spent a year with the Border Servant Corps in New Mexico. email
Benjamin Holbrook (BME ’14) received a master’s degree in music history at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is now a graduate assistant and doctoral student (Ph.D., musicology) at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Previously, he worked at Campbell City Schools in Campbell, Ohio (near Youngstown) where he taught choir to all students grades 5-12 and was drama director at Campbell Memorial High School.
Kieran Hunter (BME ’19) works as a substitute teacher in Federal Way Public Schools and Seattle Public Schools, both in Washington state. Kieran writes: “Recreationally, I am playing bass guitar in a band with my older brother and a few friends. I am also still writing music a little in my free time.” email
Rhea Jones-Price (BA in Music and BA in English ’10) is an associate at Joe Black Law Office (Vincennes, Indiana), specializing in Social Security Disability and family law. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and was a summer legal extern at the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office (Dayton, Ohio) and a summer legal intern at Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County. At Wittenberg Rhea was a member of IMANI Gospel Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Wittenberg Singers, and Wittenberg Handbell Choir.
Alexa Konowal (BA in Music ’15) is a board-certified music therapist working at a behavioral health hospital in Cincinnati, OH. After graduating from Wittenberg, she attended Shenandoah University to work toward her music therapy certification and completed an internship with University Hospitals in Cleveland. Since then, she has provided therapeutic services to people of all ages with mental illness and/or disabilities in Indiana and Ohio. email
Madeline Kraft (BA in Music ’16 and BA in Business ’16) is currently based in Chicago, Illinois, and works as the Events and Engagement Specialist for Wind Point Partners, a middle market private equity firm. Most recently, she earned a master’s in meeting and event management through San Diego State University’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. In her spare time, Madeline performs with the Lakeview Orchestra, trains for open-water swims in Lake Michigan, and rock climbs. During her time at Wittenberg, Madeline was the Lead Student Manager at the Student Center, Lead Orientation Assistant for New-Student Days, Events Chair for Union Board, and a member of the Swim and Dive Team. Madeline was concert mistress in the Wittenberg Chamber Orchestra. email
Kali Lawrence (BME ’12) is the Executive Director of the Springfield (Ohio) Promise Neighborhood, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the development of the south side of Springfield, including youth success and family engagement. Her background in education and her Wittenberg service experiences enhance her passion for Promise’s approach to building thriving schools and the thriving neighborhoods that surround them. Kali conducts the handbell choir at Northminster Presbyterian Church, is the 2019–2021 president of the Springfield, Ohio chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), is the vice president of Springfield’s Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA), and is a member of People for Safe Water, a citizen’s action group that advocates for the removal of toxic waste at the Tremont City Barrel Fill (just north of Springfield). In 2017, Kali was recognized as an Extraordinary Woman of Clark County by the Women’s Partnership Funds, an affiliate of the Springfield Foundation.
Katie Lyle (BME ’15) is a K-6 general music teacher at Fulton Elementary School in Springfield, Ohio. At Wittenberg Katie played flute in Wittenberg Symphonic Band and was Symphonic Band Manager. email
Bethany (MacMillan) Carr (BME ’15) received a master of science in student affairs in higher education with a certificate of college teaching at Miami University, Ohio, in 2017. In 2020, Bethany started her legal education at the University of Dayton School of Law, following a path to university general counsel. She currently serves as the regional director of New Student Programs & Engagement at Miami University Regionals, overseeing student organizations, campus programming, leadership initiatives, and orientation. Bethany also serves as the international chair for the North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA), promoting gamification and game-based learning initiatives. email
Jordan Mathews (BA in Music ’15) is Coordinator of Music Life at Faith United Church of Christ in Richmond Heights, Ohio. He also teaches piano at Strongsville (Ohio) Academy of Music. Jordan has played both piano and organ in many churches, working with choirs and directing. email
Amanda Marenchin Wolgast (BA in Music ’10), a violinist, worked in the music industry at Shar Music (the country’s top provider of string instruments and string supplies) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, from 2011 to 2015. While in Ann Arbor, she and her husband, Steven Wolgast (BM ’09 and BS in Physics ’08), sang with the Zion Lutheran Church choir. She is now a stay-at-home mom to their son Benjamin. email
Sean McCullough (BA in Music and BA in English ’15) is pursing a master’s degree in rhetoric and composition at Florida State University. He serves as a graduate assistant in the FSU Reading/Writing Center and in first-year composition courses.
Katie McNeal (BA in Music and BS in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology ’12) earned a master of sacred theology degree at Yale Divinity School and is now Coordinator of Youth and Families Ministries at Saint James Lutheran Church in Southbury, Connecticut.
Morgan Miller (BME ’17) earned a master of science in education (MSE) degree in the University of Dayton’s College Student Personnel program and is now an academic advisor at University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College. At Wittenberg Morgan played trumpet in Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, and Tiger Pep Band (newly revitalized by Morgan).
Luke Mullins (BA in Music ’16) lives in Columbus, Ohio, and is attending The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy to obtain a PharmD. He also tours and records saxophone and keys with Thomas and the Work-Men, a five-piece alternative rock band. email
Marisa Perez (BA in Music ’11) was an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer at Clark County Community Habitat for Humanity immediately after graduation. She graduated from Baldwin Wallace with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in December 2021, passed the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination), and is now working as an emergency room nurse at Cleveland Clinic Avon Hospital Emergency Department. email
Irene Reising (BA in Music ’17) a coloratura soprano from Cincinnati, graduated summa cum laude. At Wittenberg she sang arias from La fille du régiment (Marie), Don Giovanni (Zerlina), Die Fledermaus (Adele), Werther (Sophie), The Mikado (Yum-Yum), Le nozze di Figaro (Susanna), and Pirates of Penzance (Edith). Ms. Reising has also performed as soloist in Schubert’s Mass in G and Handel’s Messiah. Recently, Ms. Reising covered the role of Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème with Toledo Opera as well as Peach State Opera. She has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Opera Birmingham, Opera Naples, and Opera Project Columbus. Reising has also performed in several operas at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, including Turandot, La bohème, and Werther. In 2019, she performed the role of the Saloon Girl in The Ballad of Baby Doe with Toledo Opera. In 2020, Ms. Reising will be performing in Opera Birmingham’s production of Massenet’s Cendrillon, where she will be performing the role of Spirit #3 and covering the role of Noémie, the soprano stepsister. Currently, she studies with Paul McCready at the Cincinnati Music Academy. email
Elisabeth Schueler Jetter (BM ’10) is a freelance composer, sound designer, and business owner of TheNoteWeaver, LLC. Her most recent project has been serving as sound designer for the video game Drift, which was released on Steam Early Access in May 2023. Her involvement in the video game industry extends to participating in the Cincinnati chapter of the International Game Developers Association, attending gaming/development conferences, and providing audio for teams at game jams. She has also given a couple talks on the process of making video game audio. Previously, Elisabeth taught at West Chester Academy of Music and Dance, where she helped out with voice, piano, steel drums, Music Pups, and Music for Young Children. Elisabeth has performed in church choirs as well as with the Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre, Footlighters, Lebanon Symphony Chorus, May Festival Chorus, and Miami University Summer Steel Band. She also worked for a few years in the human resources field. email
Brien Sewell (BM ’09 and BME ’10) teaches high school music at Horizon Science Academy Toledo (Ohio), a private high school. He has been performing with the Toledo Repertoire Theatre recently, including performances of The Drowsy Chaperone, A Christmas Carol, and Young Frankenstein. email
Kristina Sharpe (BA in Music ’13) teaches piano in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2014 she was a featured performer at the Indianapolis Art & Soul Festival.
Jarred Sorauf (BA in Music ’12) is pursuing a graduate degree in piano at Cleveland State University, where he serves as a graduate assistant. He is also organist at Middleburg Heights (Ohio) Community United Church of Christ.
Elias Symons (BA in Music ’15) is an independent composer specializing in film, with pieces ranging in style from techno to classical to jazz. His recent credits include composing music for the 2015 PixieDayWalker Films documentary An Educated Woman and for the 2016 Hot Iron Production film Beyond the Call of Duty. email
Lucille Timko (BME ’17) teaches band at Hayward Middle School and Schaefer Middle School, both in Springfield, Ohio. Before that, she taught at Catholic Central (Springfield, Ohio) from 2017 to 2019, where she founded their band program. At Wittenberg she performed in Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble, Handbell Choir, and Pep Band, and was part of a student-run saxophone quartet. In addition, she was first treasurer and later president of the Wittenberg chapter of OCMEA. email
Caity Valley (BA in Music ’13) moved to Cincinnati after graduation to work at CityLink Center as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. During her year in Cincinnati she performed as an alto with the Young Professionals’ Choral Collective. Caity recently accepted a job in Washington, D.C. as a grants associate at American Rivers, a national non-profit conservation organization. email
Nick Weissman (BA in Music and BS in Chemistry ’21) is in medical school at the University of Cincinnati. He is in a small choir of other medical students that performs at ceremonies and events for the medical school. In addition, he continues to practice bassoon and piano when he has free time.
Heepke Wendroth Knickel (BA in Music and BS in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology ’13) received her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where she is now in her fourth year of an internal medicine & pediatrics residency. She sings (currently via webcast) in the Young Professional’s Choral Collective, a community choir in Cincinnati. In addition to her work in music at Wittenberg, Heepke won the award for the outstanding senior biochemistry/molecular biology major. email
D. Ben Williams (BME ’10) is working on a master’s in music education at the University of Louisville. For four years, Ben has been choir director and humanities teacher at Louisville Central High School. He re-started their choir program, which had been in and out of existence for decades. Each year, Louisville Central has been increasingly represented in all-county, all-state, and honors ensembles. Under Williams’ direction, the choir has improved their ratings at the Kentucky Music Educators Association’s large ensemble assessment in three consecutive appearances. In addition to his full-time job, Ben directs the high school choir at Christ Church United Methodist, where he also plays in the handbell choir. Ben plays oboe in both a woodwind quintet and in the Indiana University Southeast Orchestra. email
Tyler Wyche (BME ’14) teaches pre-kindergarten through 8th-grade general music in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Prior to returning to the music classroom, Tyler spent nearly three years working as a site manager and summer camp lead at Open Doors Academy, a nonprofit that provides out-of-school enrichment programming for middle and high school youth in Cleveland. He spent over three and a half years in Columbus, Ohio, where he taught music to students in both public and private school settings and worked with the Columbus-based nonprofit Directions for Youth and Families, serving as the Music Prevention Specialist. In May of 2022, Tyler will have earned a master’s of education in curriculum and instruction at the University of Cincinnati. email
Allison Zentarski (BA in Music and BS in Biology ’12) lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and recently earned a master of science in nursing (MSN) at Xavier University. She will be working as an RN at Atrium Medical Center in the ambulatory care unit and with UC Health on a cardiac/telemetry unit. Allison is also a member of Queen City Bronze, Cincinnati’s premier handbell ensemble. email
Sara Zinn Leslie (BME ’15) is an admissions counselor at Sinclair Community College, in Dayton, Ohio. She earned an M.Ed. with a higher education administration concentration at Tiffin University. email
2010s+ | 2000s | ’90s | ’80s | ’70s | ’60s | ’40s–’50s
Rebecca Ajer (BA in Music and BA in Religion ’09) serves as pastor of Shepherd of Life Lutheran Church in Lake Elsinore, Calif. She graduated from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 2013 with a master of divinity degree. Rebecca writes: “My greatest passions are worship and liturgy, especially how liturgy forms and informs the lives of believers. I am deeply connected to music, using music to create unique worship experiences and performing with community choirs. My education at Wittenberg gave me the foundation for my current ministry and provided me with great examples of musicians, teachers and pastors.” email
Karen Bailey (BA in Music and BA in English ’03) works for Oregon BRAVO Youth Orchestras in Portland, Oregon, a non-profit program that partners with Portland Public Schools to bring orchestral music education to underserved schools. Karen writes: “Working for BRAVO has provided me a place where I can use my music degree, my violin teacher training, and my graduate work in non-profit management and development.” Karen serves as administrative assistant to the executive director of the program, the in-school program manager at a new BRAVO school site, and the manager of the BRAVO Community Orchestra. In addition, she teaches group violin classes to second and third graders. Karen is a member of St. Andrew Lutheran Church, where she has been an active member of both the choir and bell choir. She is also a member of the Waters musical group, which leads worship on the third Sunday of each month. When not busy at work, Karen is an avid reader and quilter and loves watching action/adventure movies. She enjoys taking a variety of dance classes and can often be found attending performing arts events with friends. email
Micah Berner (BA in Music ’00) was born and raised in Springfield, Ohio. At the age of 13 he got a guitar and taught himself to play and soon after he decided to try piano. Micah focused on piano at Wittenberg. He serves as music minister at Grace Fellowship Church in New Carlisle, Ohio. Micah is active as a song writer and he has performed at many venues in Ohio, including the Springfield Arts Festival, New Carlisle Heritage of Flight Festival, Cecil & Lime Café, and, most recently, Victoria Theatre in Dayton, Ohio. email
Sarah Bragdon Bucher (BA in Music and BA in Management ’03) earned a master’s degree in music at Wright State University in 2011. Her expressive, lyric soprano voice has led to the roles of Lisa in Bellini’s La sonnambula, Geraldine in Barber’s A Hand of Bridge, and Lucy Lockit in John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. She has also sung title roles in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Strauss’s Arabella. Sarah was the winner of Wright State’s concerto-aria competition and was a finalist in the university’s honors recital competition. She has been a featured soloist in the Wright State University Arts Gala and with Musica, a professional choral ensemble in Dayton. Sarah participated in the OperaWorks Advanced Artist summer program in Los Angeles and is an active member of the Dayton Music Club and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She recently created and directed Vocal Improvisation Night at Wright State. Sarah sings with the Dayton Opera Chorus and was recently heard as a principal with Opera Project Columbus. She is the founder and owner of Bella Musica, a lesson studio and music retail store in Miamisburg, Ohio. The studio employs more than a dozen teachers and offers lessons on a variety of instruments in private and group settings. It is the only studio in the Miami Valley area to offer the “Music for Young Children” program, a keyboard-based, multi-sensory approach to learning music for kids ages 2 to 12. Most recently, Sarah has become vocal director for Children’s Performing Arts of Miamisburg, a non-profit children’s theater, where she directs kids ages 12 to 18. She lives in Miamisburg, a south Dayton suburb, with her husband Eric and daughter Lydia. email
Jessie Calhoun (BME ’04), a preschool teacher in Albany, New York, is working on his first CD for preschool age children. Jessie is lead singer in Ameros, a band that combines rock, reggae, hip-hop, and funk. Jesse writes that the band “combines thought-provoking lyrics, incendiary guitar, party vibes, and solid harmonies into a musical revolution.” Their debut album, Backs Against the Wall, was picked as one of the best of 2011 by The Daily Gazette in Schenectady. I Am Entertainment Magazine gave it 4 out of 4 stars for songwriting, and a 3.5 out of 4 overall rating. email
Seth Colaner (BM ’05) earned a master’s degree in music composition in 2007 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he studied with Mark Engebretson and Thomas Dempster. Seth is news director for both Tom’s Hardware, one of the oldest and most respected enthusiast tech publications on the web, and its sister site, Tom’s IT Pro. He resides in Columbia, Missouri, with his wife (professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Missouri) and their two young daughters. email
Jaime Cole (BME ’02) is Director of Smart Start Academy Child Care and Learning in Springfield, Ohio. email
Alex Daniels (BME ’08) was orchestra director at Willard City (Ohio) Schools (grades 4-12) for three years, then earned an MPH (master of public health) at the University of Cincinnati, and is now an epidemiologist at the Texas Department of State Health Services. email
April Davis Estep (BME ’01) teaches music at Northwestern Elementary School (Springfield, Ohio), where she teaches K-4 general music and directs the 5th and 6th grade choirs. In addition, she sings on the worship team and plays piano in the worship band at Maiden Lane Church of God. email
Sarah Dennett Huber (BA in Music ’09) graduated from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, in 2011 with a master of arts in church music. She currently lives in the Boston area, where her husband, Mark Huber (BA in History from Witt, ’04), is starting a church called Sanctuary. Sarah is the Creative Director at Sanctuary as well as the music director at Harbor United Methodist Church in Scituate, Massachusetts. She teaches violin, piano, guitar, and voice privately at her home and will soon start working with singer-songwriters at a local high school. Sarah plays whenever and wherever she can—from coffeehouses to large youth gatherings. She and Mark have led worship, taught workshops, and worked with worship bands in churches throughout New England. Since it’s tough to make a living as a church musician in New England, Sarah took a retail job with Apple in 2011. She left there a year later to start designing websites for churches and non-profits. email
Annette Dennis (BA in Music ’07) was Activities Coordinator at Oakwood Village, in Springfield, Ohio, for several years. She is now the Manager of Assisted Living at Oakwood (“a Lutheran church-sponsored organization whose mission is to serve older or infirm persons through loving, caring Christian communities”). As a pianist and singer of the jazz band Down Beats, Annette has performed throughout the Springfield area: at the Springfield Art Museum, in Arts in the Park, at CultureFest, in Columbus at the Ohio bicentennial celebration, and at many other venues. email
Jessica Dennis (BME ’05) teaches vocal music at Fassett Middle School, which is part of the Oregon, Ohio, school district. email
Luke Dennis (BA in Music and BA in Theatre ’00) was Executive Director of The Muse Machine in Dayton, Ohio, for three years and is now General Manager of public radio station WYSO, the NPR affiliate for greater Dayton. Prior to landing in Yellow Springs, Luke served as vocal coach to an improv troupe, curator of the Harvard University Theatre Collection, and Education Manager for Boston Lyric Opera. He completed the coursework for a Ph.D. in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory at Tufts University, where he focused on nineteenth-century operetta. While at Tufts, he received the university’s Outstanding Contribution to Undergraduate Education Award, for which he gives credit to his mentors at Wittenberg. (Photo credit: Andy Snow.) email
Margaret Dill (BA in Music ’08) is music director and organist at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Vandalia, Ohio, and she directs the handbell choir at Sinclair Community College in Dayton. email
Bethany Dourson Hansen (BA in Music ’03) completed her master’s degree in communication at Northern Kentucky University in 2014. She worked in the admission office at Cincinnati State for six years before becoming a stay-at-home mother. Bethany published her first album of original songs, which is available at Bandcamp. She is currently the Communications Specialist for two different non-profits, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment and Toxicology Education Foundation. She volunteers at her home church, Crossroads, and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband Dave and their three daughters Samantha, Sophia, and Stella. email
Amanda Evans (BME ’05) earned a master’s degree in library and information science at Kent State University in 2008 and was a music librarian at the Kent State University Performing Arts Library for fourteen years. In addition, as an alto singing with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus from 2009 to 2018, she performed at Severance Hall in Cleveland and toured with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus to Miami, Paris, Luxembourg, and Frankfurt, as well as Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Amanda recently transitioned back to her public library roots and is an Adult Services Lead Librarian at Worthington Libraries and is enjoying exploring Columbus and being closer to family and friends in central Ohio. email
Kristen Gleeson Williams (BME ’01) teaches elementary music at Graham South Elementary School, in St. Paris, Ohio. She teaches all students in grades 3 through 5 and directs a 4th- and 5th-grade choir that meets after school. In addition, Kristen is director of the Champaign County Youth Choir and she leads the choir and directs the praise team and praise band at Urbana Church of the Nazarene.
Jennifer Gordon-Olson (BM ’07) earned a master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While at Wittenberg, Jennifer performed in My Fair Lady and Mozart’s Magic Flute. She studied opera in Milan, Italy, for a semester, and opera and art song for a summer in Quebec. She is now working on a DMA at the University of Minnesota.
Brad Hall (BM ’05) is director of music and organist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition, he works with Trinity’s elementary school (pre-K through 8th grade), assisting with the music program and teaching a music appreciation course. Previously, Brad was organist at Calvary Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) in Portland, Oregon, and director of music at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio. Following a national competition, Brad won the 2004 Ruth and Paul Manz Organ Scholarship while a student at Wittenberg. email
Chris Henke (BME ’00) is in his eighth year teaching junior high vocal music at Kittatinny Regional High School, New Jersey. Previously he spent eleven years as director of choirs in Springfield Local Schools, in Holland, Ohio (just outside Toledo). Chris was recently guest conductor of the New Jersey School Music Association High School Honors Choir and the Central Jersey Music Educators Association Junior High Honors Choir. He has also been asked to return as guest conductor for the Junior High Honors Choir of Sussex County, N.J. Chris earned an M.S.Ed. at Walden University, specializing in curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and he completed an Ed.S. in curriculum, instruction and professional development. In addition, Chris serves as Director of Music and Organist at Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, N.J. email
Anna Jones Williams (BME ’07) lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where she directed Yampa Valley Singers (a community choir) from 2011 to 2016, and is currently working as a veterinary technician. She hopes to get back to singing in a select choir in Steamboat Springs, Colorado once they begin rehearsals again (post-pandemic) and perhaps begin directing again if the opportunity presents. email
Sean Kelley (BME ’01) is Associate Professor of Music and Associate Director of Bands at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. His primary responsibilities include teaching courses in instrumental conducting and directing several ensembles, including the NCC Chamber Players, a music education laboratory band, the Cardinal Marching Band, two basketball bands, and The Naperville Winds (a professional, art-music-focused wind ensemble). Sean is also an active composer; his works for winds and percussion have received “highly recommend” endorsements from The Instrumentalist magazine and have been performed by high school and collegiate ensembles throughout the United States. His research contributions center on wind band conductors’ interpretive career-long development, with major studies including “The Interpretive Development of Four Successful University Band and Ensemble Conductors Concerning Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Grainger and Symphony in B flat by Paul Hindemith” and “Early- to Late-Career Interpretive Development of Successful University Band and Wind Ensemble Conductors Concerning Music for Prague, 1968 by Karel Husa.” Sean is an in-demand guest conductor, guest composer, and clinician for elementary, middle, and high school band programs, as well as a consultant for colleges and universities wishing to emulate the success of North Central’s concert and athletic band programs. In addition to a BME from Wittenberg, Sean holds a master’s degree in music education from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, a master’s degree in conducting from Wright State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from The University of Oklahoma. Prior to moving into higher education, Sean served as Director of Bands in the Hillsboro and West Clermont school districts in southwestern Ohio. email
Sharon Koster Safley (BME ’04) earned a master’s degree in music at Wright State University and has taught in the Springfield (Ohio) City Schools since 2004. She teaches general music for grades K thru 6 at Lincoln and Perrin Woods elementary schools and directs the 5th and 6th grade choirs. In addition, Sharon teaches private piano lessons at Wittenberg’s Center for Musical Development and is in charge of music for grades 1-5 at Concord United Methodist Church in Englewood. In 2012, the Education Committee of the Springfield Symphony selected Ms. Safley as the second winner of the SSO Music Educator of the Year Award. Robyn Zimmann (then SSO Director of Operations & Education) wrote: “Sharon Safley truly embodies the spirit of this award. She infuses the joy of music into everything she does and everywhere she goes. For Sharon, music education is not what she does for a living. It is a calling to a higher purpose.” email
Carly Kuhn (BM ’06) teaches at Vance Music Studios in Lakewood, Ohio. While a student at Wittenberg, Carly took a semester abroad to study music history, performance, and culture in Vienna, Austria. Carly performs with a variety of vocal groups in the Lakewood area. email
Kathryn Kulma (BM ’09) lives in Columbus, Ohio, where she teaches private piano and voice lessons full-time. After graduating from Wittenberg Kay continued her studies at the Early Music Institute at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. email
Jaime Langston Quatman (BME ’07) teaches K-6 music and 5th grade beginning band at Fort Loramie Elementary School in Ohio. email
Roxanne MacLaughlin Eller (BME ’06) earned a master’s degree in music education at Ohio State. She is choir director at Nelsonville-York Junior High and High School, in Nelsonville, Ohio.
Greta May Eber (BME ’01) taught K-4 general music at Brantwood Elementary in Riverside, Ohio, before taking time to be a stay-at-home mother for her four children. She currently is a school librarian at Donnelsville Elementary in Tecumseh Local School District in Donnelsville, Ohio. She enjoys performing in church and teaching music during children’s church activities. She teaches voice lessons in her home and presents a music education for children at her church’s annual music conference for the state of Ohio. email
Emily McClay (BA in Music ’07) is Patron Services Manager at The Wagnalls Memorial Library in Lithopolis, Ohio. Emily writes, “The Wagnalls Memorial’s original library, auditorium, and banquet hall were dedicated in 1925 by Mabel Wagnalls Jones, an author and concert pianist, in honor of her parents, Adam and Anna Willis Wagnalls. Adam Wagnalls and his co-founder of the publishing company Funk & Wagnalls, Isaac Funk, were both Wittenberg graduates.” email
Gregory McCoach (BM ’08) is a composer and sound designer working at Sony, doing sound design for PlayStation games. His responsibilities include creating sound effects and scripting how they behave and interact in virtual environments. He has worked on titles such as Days Gone, Concrete Genie, and The Last of Us Part II. Greg currently lives in Bend, Oregon, working on a new PlayStation title. email
Soprano Halle McGuire-Hobbins (BM ’07) earned a master’s degree in sacred music in voice at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. She is a development associate for the South Bend Symphony Orchestra and is a cantor at Sacred Heart Parish, Notre Dame.
Andrea Migliozzi (BA in Music and BA in Psychology ’09) is an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Springfield, Ohio, a position which includes event planning and grant writing for Think Tank and data tracking for Clark County Circles.
Chad Morrison (BM ’01) is general manager of Theatre Projects Consultants (New York City), an organization that creates extraordinary performance spaces around the world through programming, architectural planning, design, and construction. As the key decision maker, manager, and administrator of Theatre Projects’ U.S. operations, Chad’s duties include advising the board of directors, overseeing operations, business development, finance, human resources, marketing, contracting, and day to day management of the company. Before joining Theatre Projects, Chad worked as a freelance writer in Boston and spent several seasons singing with Opera Boston, Boston Lyric Opera, and Columbus Opera (Ohio). Chad earned a master’s degree in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Erin Mowrey Mies (BA in Music and BA in Economics ’04) received a master of human resources and industrial relations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005. Following her degree, she spent 14 years in a variety of human resources leadership roles with General Mills and Land O’Lakes. In 2018, she co-founded People Spark Consulting, a human resources consulting firm for small- and mid-sized businesses and works with clients on coaching, HR strategy, and change management. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, teaching a course on successful change management. She and her husband Joe live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with their three children (all budding musicians, with a pianist and a violinist). email
Monica Neal (BA in Music ’06) is pursuing a master of divinity degree at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Kentucky, where she also directs Seminary Ringers (a handbell choir) and is a member of the Seminary Choir. Monica is student pastor at Meadowview Presbyterian Church (also in Louisville).
Justin Peters (BM ’02) is choral director and chair of the Performing Arts Department (beginning Sept. 2013) at Moses Brown School, a college-prep Quaker day school in Providence, Rhode Island. Before that, Justin taught at Lincoln School (a Quaker school for girls in Providence) for several years, where he conducted the upper and middle school choruses and faculty chorus and taught music theory, digital-video editing, and general music. An active arranger, songwriter, and composer, Justin’s musical Shower premiered at Lincoln in 2005. Justin is a former member of the Providence Singers, one of New England’s premier symphony choruses. With that group, he performed Dave Brubeck’s Gates of Justice (with the composer and his quartet) at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2004. The Singers’ second appearance with Brubeck, at Lincoln Center in New York City, included the world premiere of Brubeck’s The Commandments. Other world premieres by the Singers include Trevor Weston’s Ma’ at Musings and O Daedalus, Fly Away Home, Julian Wachner’s Jubilate Deo, and Christopher Trapani’s O now the drenched land wakes. Justin appears in the chorus on the Providence Singers’ and Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s recently released recording of Lukas Foss’s The Prairie. From 2002 to 2003, Justin was also active with the Boston Pops Festival Chorus, appearing at their July 4th festivities on the Esplanade in Boston, as well as at holiday concerts at Symphony Hall (Boston) and throughout Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. email
Georgia Petroudi (BM ’01) earned a master’s degree in piano performance and a Ph.D. in historical musicology at the University of Sheffield, in the United Kingdom. Her doctoral thesis was entitled Revised Works of the 20th Century. Georgia explains: “The aim of my thesis in historical musicology was to analyze and compare selected works of the twentieth-century repertoire which underwent revision and reworking, and to explore the reasons behind these revisions.” In 2007, Dr. Petroudi was appointed lecturer at the Department of Arts, European University Cyprus. She served as the co-coordinator of the music program and now is an assistant professor of musicology and is chairperson of the Department of Arts. Her research interests include Western composers of the first half of the twentieth century and Greek and Greek-Cypriot composers. More specifically, she focuses on revised compositions and issues that relate to the revising process, such as creativity, politics, and methodologies. Georgia has presented her work in international conferences and has published papers in professional journals. In her free time, Georgia plays piano and the oboe in several choral and symphonic ensembles. email
Erika Popp (BME ’06) is a music teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Euclid, Ohio. She teaches music in grades K-5 and also assists with the high school choir program. email
Roberta Rowland-Raybold (BM ’04) is organist/director of music at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She teaches organ and piano privately and teaches a church-sponsored class in music appreciation entitled “A Study of Songs of the Old Testament.” She serves as dean of the Grand Strand (South Carolina) chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Roberta graduated from Wittenberg with honors. Her honors thesis was funded by the McGregor Foundation of Detroit and was titled “The British Organs of Gray and Davison and Their Influence on Early American Organ Building.” During her two summers of research she concertized in England, Scotland, and Wales. After graduating from Wittenberg Roberta did graduate work at Houghton College and the Eastman School of Music. She served as organist/choirmaster at Christ Episcopal Church in Cooperstown, New York, until 2012 when she relocated to South Carolina, where she was organist at First Baptist Church in Conway. Roberta returned to New York in 2015 and was director of music at First Lutheran Church in Albany. She served as dean of several chapters of the American Guild of Organists as well as the district convener for Western New York. Roberta holds certification as Colleague with the A.G.O., is a member of the Organ Historical Society and their Library and Archival Division, a member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and is a board member of the Palatine Society of New York, coordinating summer concerts in that venue (which dates back to 1770). She is a recitalist, organ teacher, and leader of workshops and seminars on organ history and restoration, as well as on the importance of careers in sacred music. Roberta was featured as lecturer on New York State organ builders for the American Institute of Organ Builders and teaches each summer at Hartwick Seminary’s Institute for Theology at Hartwick College. Her seminars have included, “The Spiritual Lives of Great Composers,” “Bach and other Lutheran Composers,” and “A Spiritual Study of Handel’s Messiah.” Wittenberg honored her in 2011 with a Distinguished Alumni Award. She is a published composer of music for organ, piano and flute for Augsburg Fortress Press and Lorenz/Sacred Music Press. She collaborated as music writer with Brian Wren, a British hymn writer, under the hymn tune “Cooperstown” (Hope Publishing). email
Christopher Scheuermann (BA in Music ’01) is Production Coordinator at Viterbo University’s School of Fine Arts in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Before coming to Viterbo, he worked as a stage manager and recording engineer. Scheuermann is a member of the Audio Engineering Society. He received training in recording technology at The Recording Workshop in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Sarah Schick (BA in Music ’06) received a master’s in arts administration at Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana, where her course work included arts marketing and audience development, fund development, public relations for non-profits, economics of the art and cultural sector, and performing arts center management. Sarah is Marketing Assistant at Seven Venues, in Norfolk, Virginia. Seven Venues is the Entertainment Bureau for the city of Norfolk, under the Department of Cultural Facilities, Arts & Entertainment. The seven venues are Scope Arena, Prism Theatre in Scope Arena, Chrysler Hall, Attucks Theatre, Wells Theatre, Harrison Opera House, and Harbor Park. email
Shantel Sechrist (BA in Music ’07) is events coordinator at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, one of only 12 autonomous pre-collegiate music schools in the country accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. email
Brittany Steinbrecher (BA in Music ’09), has combined her interests in music and management (her minor at Wittenberg) by moving to St. Louis, Missouri, to accept a position as store manager of Music and Arts, which is the largest retail music chain of band and orchestra instruments in the U.S. In addition, she teaches string bass lessons. email
Jacqueline A. Stevens (BA in Music ’03) teaches choral music at Staten Island Academy in Staten Island, New York. She received a master’s degree at Case Western Reserve University and has done training in the Kodály method, completing Level II certification. email
Rebecca Weaver Hamm (BM ’00) is Director of Music and Arts at the YMCA of Hornell, New York, where she also teaches voice lessons and voice classes. In addition, she is adjunct instructor of voice at Alfred University, where she has taught since 2003. Rebecca is completing doctoral studies in the voice and literature program at the Eastman School of Music and she received the William McIver Memorial Scholarship for excellence in voice teaching. Rebecca earned a master’s degree in voice pedagogy at Ohio State. Her operatic roles include Olga in The Merry Widow, Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw, La Suora Zelatrice in Suor Angelica, Announcer in Gallantry, the Second Knitter in A Game of Chance, and the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro. A frequent recitalist, Rebecca made her international debut in 2005 in Varna, Bulgaria, and most recently performed in the Miller Theater at Alfred University, Memorial Art Gallery of Rochester, and Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music. She has sung the masses of Mozart, Fauré, and Rutter, the Bach’s Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ, and Vivaldi’s Gloria. She can be heard on several examples recorded with pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout for Steven Laitz’s 2009 textbook Graduate Review of Tonal Theory: A Recasting of Common-Practice Harmony, Form, and Counterpoint, published by Oxford University Press. Rebecca has presented workshops on the technical aspects of singing and soloistic singing for chorus to the Orpheus Chorale, conducted the Almond Union of Churches Chancel Choir for four years, led Alfred’s Bicentennial Choir, and taught voice for actors at Alfred University’s Summer Theatre Institute. She has adjudicated voice for Allegany and Steuben County’s NYSSMA festivals and for the Allegany County Music Teachers Association scholarship competition. Rebecca conducted the Steuben County Senior High All-County Chorus in 2006 and the Orleans County Junior High All-County Chorus in 2009. email
Michael Weller (BME ’04) teaches music at Springfield’s Ridgewood School, the oldest independent elementary day school in Ohio. Michael was winner of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s 2017 Music Educator of the Year Award. email
Bradley Wilson (BA in Music and BA in Management ’08) is Director of Music at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dayton, Ohio. In addition, he works full-time in Information Technology with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. email
Steven Wolgast (BM ’09 and BS in Physics ’08) completed a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Michigan in Dec. 2015. He is currently a doctoral research associate in the department of electrical engineering at Princeton University. He and his wife Amanda Marenchin Wolgast (BA in Music ’10) live near Princeton, N.J. with their son Benjamin.
2010s+ | 2000s | ’90s | ’80s | ’70s | ’60s | ’40s–’50s
Eugenia (Ginny) Andino-Caban (BA in Music ’97) teaches general music and directs the chorus, recorder, and guitar clubs at Kings Chapel Elementary in Perry, Georgia, where she has taught since August 2007. Before switching to a career as an educator, she was the youngest person to serve as Activities Director at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music (where she worked from 2001-2005). Ginny writes: “My experiences at Wittenberg, certainly prepared me for this achievement. Even though I’m not performing as much as I would like, my work ‘backstage,’ making it all happen, is exciting and rewarding. We have over 100 performances a year, a Music Education Forum, Percussion Festival, Clarinet Festival, Opera, as well as guest artist recitals, student and faculty recitals, master classes, and special events.” Ginny began working for the Conservatory three years ago as Activities Coordinator, and she thanks her voice teacher, Prof. Gwen Scheffel, “for being an example and mentor.” Ginny’s son, Jorge Luis, is a student at her school and participates in all the musical ensembles. email
Marcy Baruch (BM ’91), a singer-songwriter in Denver, Colorado, has received rave reviews for her CDs and live performances: “A crystalline voice, gifted with passionate phraseology, and an adaptability to play venues both grand and intimate, Marcy Baruch is a must see (or rather hear) musician in the pop folk category” (Riff Music Magazine). “This Denver area performer’s second full-length CD has a buoyancy upon which her strong, melodious voice floats, reminding some of us of Dar Williams and Shawn Colvin” (Music Connection Magazine). Album of the Month: “Marcy Baruch strides confidently through her kick-up-the-dirt songs with steel-toed vocals and a carefree, reckless zest for life” (Allen Foster, Songwriter’s Monthly). “Baruch takes her music-making seriously, and has carefully crafted an inviting record and a tight band that reflect her talent for songwriting, lyrical phrasing, and melody” (Judy B., GoGo Magazine). Regarding Marcy’s CD Clearly: “This is the best new album I’ve listened to in a long while” (Tim Noyce, GoGirlsMusic.com). “Clearly is one of the best independent CD’s I’ve heard this year” (Alex Teitz, Editor-In-Chief, FEMMUSIC.com).
Daniel Boomhower (BA in Music ’98) is a musicologist and librarian whose research has focused on the manuscript transmission and reception of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He served as the Assistant Music Librarian at Princeton University, the Head of the Performing Arts Library at Kent State University, and as the Head of Reader Services in the Music Division at the Library of Congress. He is currently the director of the library, rare book collection, and image collection and fieldwork archives at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, a research institute affiliated with Harvard University. email
Kevin Cubick (BME ’97), a vice president at Chase Home Lending (a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase) performs with the Columbus Symphony Chorus and the Columbus Bach Ensemble. email
Dan Fogarty (BME ’90) teaches at Englewood Elementary in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. For more than twenty years, he has taught general music, chorus, and show choir, from pre-school through 12th grade. He co-chaired the Nash All-County Chorus and served as board president for the Nash Arts Council. In addition to music, Dan has a master’s degree in school administration from East Carolina University (Greenville, North Carolina), where he was a Principal Fellow. Dan performed the role of the villain Buck in the new musical Letters from Laura, written by local playwright Jim Lee. He provided additional lyrics for and was cast in a production of Christmas Carol in the roles of Narrator, Mr. Fezziwig, and Roderick. Most recently, he performed in the musical Peter Pan as the pirate Starkey and had lead roles as Phil Davis in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Lakeland Theater Company and as Captain Reginald Strong in Anything Goes at the Imperial Center. Dan is a founding member of, and the sound technician for, the Rocky Mount Chamber Singers. (Photo from Letters from Laura, with Maitland Johnson, who played the role of Maggie.) email
Dianne Frank Williams (BM and BA in English ’96) was a double major at Wittenberg, earning a bachelor of music in flute performance and bachelor of arts in English, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a master’s degree in flute performance at the University of Akron, and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor society. Dianne recorded her first CD, Simplicity, in 2001. Minneapolis-based music critic Bill Binkelman, reviewing the CD on his web journal Wind and Wire, said Simplicity “is a solid and enjoyably unpretentious collection of well-known melodies. What elevates this album of ‘standards,’ played on silver flute (by Williams) and various other instruments, is both the creative arrangements and the overall feeling of sincerity and warmth on the part of the artist. She’s one ‘helluva’ good flutist” Flute Talk wrote this in November 2001: “The arrangements are interesting and Williams” flute performance is excellent. Her lovely tone-quality suits this recording.”
Dianne released her second album, Tinsel, in 2002 “featuring well-known and lesser-known traditional holiday melodies from around the world.” The album generated 40 concert bookings. Dianne’s third CD, Lovesong, a collection of romantic melodies chosen from classical, folk, and popular sources, prompted the journal International Musician to state that Dianne was becoming “America’s Favorite Flutist.” It praised her arrangements as “completely original.” Dianne maintains a studio of private flute students in Canton, and she has taught several courses at the college level, including music theory, at Mount Union College. She is an active participant in after-school informational programs through the Canton Symphony Educational Outreach program and is an associate flutist with several professional orchestras, including Columbus, Akron, Canton, Ashland, Mansfield, Wheeling, and Tuscarawas. email
Barbara Garrett (BM ’97) plays violin with the Springfield (Ohio) Symphony, where she also serves as orchestra librarian. And she performs with the Seraphim String Quartet. email
Michael Godina (BA in Music ’98) is Vice President and General Manager of the Chicago Theatre and he works for Theatre Dreams, a Tony-award winning, multifaceted company based in Chicago that specializes in venue management and Broadway producing, as well as concert, Broadway, and dance promotion. Theatre Dreams also operates the Kodak Theatre (Home of the Academy Awards) in Los Angeles and works with many of the largest promoters in the world, such as Clear Channel, Anschutz Entertainment Group, House of Blues, and JAM Productions. Prior to this position, Michael was employed by the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts in Ohio.
Aimee Kluiber (BA in Music ’92) is a costume designer who resides in Lakewood, Ohio, and she sings at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Cleveland. Aimee earned a master’s in voice at the Cleveland Institute of Music and completed studies in fashion and millinery design at The Virginia Marti College of Art and Design. Her theatrical associations include Cleveland State University, Lyric Opera Cleveland, The Cleveland Play House, The Cleveland Institute of Music, Cain Park, Case Western Reserve University, Cesear’s Forum, Red Hen Productions, Dobama Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, Beck Center for the Arts, Willoughby Fine Arts Association, and the Cleveland Jewish Community Center. Regarding her work for the stage, The Lakewood Observer wrote: “Costume designs were simply exquisite, and costume designer Aimee Kluiber paid attention to the finest detail.” email
Scott Kumer (BM ’92) is director of music at Chicago Sinai Congregation. He joined the senior staff of this synagogue with over a thousand members in 1999. Scott did graduate work in music at the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago. He has extensive experience as an organist and pianist, accompanist, arranger, and choir director, and has co-produced (with organist Thomas Weisflog) a critically acclaimed CD of organ transcriptions of major symphonic works (Symphonic Organ: Transcriptions of Orchestral Masterworks, London-based Meridian label). Regarding this recording, the Chicago Tribune wrote, “They have gone about their job with the utmost taste and musicality! The sound is superb! In sum, a CD that should delight organists and lay listeners alike.” email
Peter Kvetko (BA in Music ’95) teaches courses in ethnomusicology and music theory at Salem State College in Salem, Massachusetts. He earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in music at the University of Texas in Austin. At Salem State, Peter directs the World Music Ensemble and teaches private lessons on sitar and tabla. He joined the Salem music department in 2007 after teaching at Tufts, Brandeis, Northeastern, and the University of Texas in Austin. email
Elizabeth Mumford Cowan (BM ’90) earned a master’s degree at Southern Methodist University and a Graduate Diploma at the New England Conservatory, with additional study at Westminster Choir College and the Chautauqua Institute. She has taught at Florida International University and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. Elizabeth has sung with opera companies across the U.S., including the Santa Fe Opera and Dallas Opera, and has been the featured singer in master classes for such well-known teachers as Robert Merrill, Margaret Harshaw, Martina Arroyo, Shirlee Emmons, and Rosalind Elias. Cowan was the 1994 Metropolitan Opera District winner in Dallas, was named the North Texas Singer of the Year, and was the featured recitalist for the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) convention at North Texas State University. A winner of the Wagner Society solo competition in Dallas, a Dallas Opera Guild career grant winner, and a concerto competition winner at SMU, she was also a finalist in the San Antonio Vocal competition and the D’Angelo vocal competition. Cowan has been an adjudicator for many major vocal competitions, and her own students have sung around the world and have won major national and international singing competitions. She has worked with such notable conductors and stage directors as John Copley, John Crosby, Marc Astafan, Dejan Miladinovic, and John Moriarty, and has performed with singers such as Frederica von Stade, Dawn Upshaw, Kevin Langan, Timothy Noble, and Erie Mills. Elizabeth is on the voice faculty at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. email
Cindy Olson Larson (BA in Music ’91) received a M.Div. degree and a master’s degree in church music at Trinity Lutheran Seminary (Columbus, Ohio). She is Minister of Music at Grace Lutheran Church, in Hastings, Michigan, where she plays organ and piano for services and directs the choirs. Since 2005, Cindy has been Director of the Hastings Kids’ Choir (an after-school ensemble for 3rd to 5th graders, with 55-70 singers) at the Community Music School of Hastings, where she has recently begun teaching piano and flute. email
Joshua Pifer (BA in Music and BS in Biology ’97), a pianist, pedagogue, and chamber musician, is lecturer in piano at Auburn University (Alabama). He previously held positions at Wittenberg (as staff accompanist) and Florida State University (as visiting professor). In the summer, Joshua serves on the faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. He has previously served as faculty at Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy. Joshua has an active performance schedule throughout the United States and Europe. He has premiered music written by André Cormier, Justin Aftab, Gary Shields, Douglas Townsend, and Andrea Clearfield. He is a founding member of the Oto Trio, which explores the interconnections between the music and art of Japan, along with the internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Chikuen Kato, whose art is on display at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum. In addition, Joshua leads masterclasses and provides clinics at universities, music teacher associations, and international conferences. His favorite presentations include “The Piano Music of Alexander Tcherepnin,” “Arm Usage and Injury Prevention in Piano Playing,” and “Teaching Improvisation.” In December 2015, Joshua released his first solo piano CD “Alexander Tcherepnin: My Favorite Piano Works,” with Puros Records. Joshua holds a master’s degree in piano performance at Miami University, Ohio, and a DMA in piano performance with honors from the University of Southern California, with secondary study in piano pedagogy, choral conducting, and music history. When not performing or teaching music, Joshua can be found playing tennis or practicing culinary arts with his family.
Jean Pretz (BA in Music and BA in Psychology ’97) is professor of psychology department chair at Elizabethtown College (Penna.). Dr. Pretz received a Ph.D. from Yale University in 2004. While in graduate school, she served as church musician at Resurrection Lutheran Church in New Haven, Connecticut, and sang with the Yale Camerata. email
Kevin Rizzo (BME ’98) teaches general music at Central Elementary School in the Chestnut Ridge School District, located in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He is also a brass instructor for the Greater Johnstown School of Music. Kevin lives in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Heidi Jones Rizzo (BA in Music ’98), and their two boys, Alex and Nicholas. email
Ashley Schomburg Hill (BME ’98) received a master’s degree in music education with Kodály emphasis from Capital University (Columbus, Ohio) in 2004, along with Level III Kodály Certification. In addition, she completed her Orff-Schulwerk Level I at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in July 2016. She is currently teaching general and vocal music at Reid Primary and Middle School in the Clark-Shawnee Local School District, Springfield, Ohio. She also performs with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra as a member of the Springfield Symphony Chorale, and in the Chapel Choir at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Springfield. She lives in Springfield with her husband, Jason, and their two daughters. email
Laura Schott Shipley (BME ’97) is the middle school and high school choral director for the Charleroi Area School District (Pennsylvania). In addition, she is the vocal director and rehearsal accompanist for the spring musical. Laura became director of the marching band in 2014. email
Pamela Schuetze-Pizarro (BM ’91) is an associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a developmental psychologist specializing in the development of at-risk infants and children. Pamela obtained both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Virginia Tech. She held a postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia. email
Gregory Slawson (BM and BA in Psychology ’92) earned a master’s degree in piano performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Greg has performed piano regularly since eighth grade, as a freelance pianist and with various ensembles, including Kassaba (a quartet playing a blend of jazz, classical and world music), a group that Greg founded with Candice Lee in 2002. The group’s CD Dark Eye was played on more than 125 radio stations throughout North America and Europe. Kelly Ferjutz of CoolCleveland.com called the CD “infectious, imaginative, improvisatory, jazzy—you name it. Just when you think you might wander off and do something else, the music reaches out and grabs you, forcing you to pay attention.” The group’s concert venues include Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York City, New England, Toronto, and Belfort, France (at the Festival International de Musique Universitaire). As a composer, Greg has written commissions for Arnold Steinhardt (of the Guarneri Quartet), Anita Pontremoli, Lawrence Angell, the Dayton Jazz Orchestra, and saxophonist Harold Ashenfelter. He was a prizewinner in ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer competition and the IBLA Grand Prize/European International Composers Competition. Most recently, Greg released a solo album called Waterflow, an album inspired by nature. email
Renee Sprang (BA in Music ’95) teaches in the Loudonville-Perrysville (Ohio) school district.
Elisabeth Stewart Robertson (BM ’96) earned a master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Illinois and she trained for five seasons at Interlochen Arts Camp, Interlochen, Michigan, with an emphasis in vocal performance and opera. Elisabeth has been a full-time vocal instructor at the Cincinnati Music Academy since 1998, guiding several of her students to contest and competition wins at Ohio Music Education Association and Overture Award events. Elisabeth has performed with Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble and was employed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for four years, in the Group Sales Department. She is a member of the Victory Choir at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. A career advancement for her husband Matt will soon take Elisabeth, Matt, and their daughter Ellen to Ft. Collins, Colorado. They are all eagerly anticipating the Western “great outdoors!” email
Neil Stewart (BM ’90) teaches music at the Academy of World Languages in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Academy “prepares students for a globally linked society through excellence in world languages, cultural studies, and high academic standards.” email
Robert F. Stockton III (BM ’90) received a master of music education degree at Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio), was a music teacher at Holy Angels School and Lehman Catholic High School, and is now on the faculty at Wright State, as an adjunct instructor (he teaches a class on African-American music), and director of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Chorale. email
Kimberly Twesme (BM ’91) lives in California and has performed in a variety of theatrical productions in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas including My Fair Lady, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and the world premiere of Requiem by John-Kevin Hilbert. She was a member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus from 2003 to 2007, performing in such works as Mahler’s Second Symphony, Beethoven’s Fidelio, and Verdi’s Requiem. In 2004-05 she appeared in the chorus of Opera San Jose productions of Tosca and The Flying Dutchman.
In the winter of 2012, Kimberly made her debut as Amelia in Verismo Opera’s production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, and she has since made regular appearances there, including the role of Tosca and the role of Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana. In Feb. of 2013 she was soprano soloist in Fauré’s Requiem at Westwood Presbyterian Church, Los Angeles; and in July of 2013 she participated—one of just fourteen singers—in the Baldwin-Wallace University Wagner Intensive training program, where she worked with opera luminaries Jane Eaglen and Timothy Mussard, performing scenes from Lohengrin (as Ortrud) and Tristan und Isolde (as Isolde).
More recently, Kimberly has been a featured soloist in a concert with Capital Opera in Sacramento, as well as Part I of Handel’s Messiah. In June-July of 2016, Kimberly spent four weeks in Florence, Italy participating in the Bel Canto Institute summer program, training in the styles and traditions of music by bel canto era composers including Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Puccini, and Verdi. Upcoming roles include Leonora in La forza del destino with Verismo Opera in Vallejo, California, as well as performances with West Edge Opera in Berkeley, California. email
Heather Vulgamore Rager (BME ’90) is a dance and drama teacher at Linganore High School, in Frederick, Maryland.
Michele Wentz Vargo (BME ’92) teaches K-8 music at St. Joseph School and Immaculate Heart of Mary School, both in Austintown, Ohio, where she has taught for over 15 years. Her responsibilities include general music classes, the school choir and the bell choir. She also teaches piano and voice lessons from her home studio. Michele is a frequent soloist and worship music leader at Zion Lutheran Church in Youngstown, Ohio. In 2005, she recorded a CD of favorite songs entitled With A Song in My Heart. She is an adjudicator for the National Federation of Music Teachers annual festival. Her favorite “collaborators” are her two young children, Erik and Alexa. email
2010s+ | 2000s | ’90s | ’80s | ’70s | ’60s | ’40s–’50s
At right: Wittenberg music alums (’70s to the ’80s), in attendance at the ALCM (Association of Lutheran Church Musicians) Biennial Conference at Valparaiso University in Indiana, July 2013. From left to right: Karol Kimmell (’80), Kathy Reier (BM ’82), John Morris (BA in Religion and BA in English ’83), Paul Otte (MSM ’75), Robert Hobby (BM ’85), Barbara Kaufmann Larson (BM ’78, MSM ’80), Nancy Keller Delaney (BM ’78, MSM ’80), Scott Weidler (MSM ’85), Royce Stroup Hubert (BM ’74, MSM ’75), Susan Knop Gobien (BME ’68), Debra Sasse Jones (BM ’77, MSM ’79), Joanna Pretz-Anderson (BM ’77), Jim Johnson (BM ’73, MSM ’74), Jane Miley Elliott (BME ’71), Jeff Pannebaker (MSM ’74), Susan Palo Cherwien (BM ’75), and Brian Larson (BME ’78).
Tom Anderson (BA in Music ’87) studied piano at Wittenberg. He received an MBA with a concentration in finance from Boston University in 1998 and has held a number of IT positions in several large corporations, including State Street Bank, ADP, GTE, and Investors Bank and Trust. Tom is Assistant Vice President in Systems for Brown Brothers Harriman. email
Nancy Atkins Joy (BME ’81) received a bachelor of music education degree at Wittenberg, then completed a master’s degree in horn performance at New Mexico State University, where she is now horn professor. Nancy is principal hornist of the Las Cruces Symphony at NMSU, and Second Horn of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and El Paso Opera Company. In 1998 and 1999, Nancy was a featured clinician at the New Mexico Music Educators Association All-State Music Festival, where she gave two clinics on horn pedagogy. Nancy is the owner of the “Horn of Joy” music studio, teaching private horn from beginning through high school level and is a frequent clinician and solo performer in the Southwest. She has given solo performances with the Coronado High School Symphonic Band, Clovis High School Band, Mayfield High School Symphonic Winds, Mesilla Valley Concert Band, and NMSU University Singers. Nancy performed two solos at the Western United States Horn Symposium in Las Vegas, and she was a featured guest artist at the International Horn Symposium (IHS) in June, 2005. Ms. Joy was elected from the IHS membership as a member of the Advisory Council and also serves as the International Horn Symposium Coordinator for the IHS. She is on the board of directors for the Interactive Video Audition Service International and presents clinics and demonstrations internationally for this company. Ms. Joy is a Conn-Selmer Educational Artist.
In her first year at New Mexico State University, Nancy created a new Horn Choir which has been very active in premiering new works. The NMSU Horn Choir was invited to perform at the International Horn Society Workshop in Athens, Georgia in 1999. Nancy commissioned all new works for the Choir to perform in three different concerts at the Symposium. From this performance, the horn choir was invited to be a premiere performing ensemble at the 2000 IHS Convention in Beijing, China. Most recently, the Choir performed at AIR Horns in Arizona and the International Horn Symposium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in June 2005. email
Pamela Baltimore Marceau (BME ’84) is choral director in the Hillsborough County School District in Florida. email
Kathy Bickerton (BA in Music ’80 and BA in French ’80) is director of children’s ministries at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, New Jersey. email
Clifford Bowerman (BME ’82) directs the band at Orville Wright Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio. email
Mark Carlisle (BS in Music Education ’80), a tenor, teaches studio voice and directs the Chamber Singers at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. He received a master of music degree at the University of Michigan and a doctor of musical arts degree at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Carlisle has sung extensively as tenor soloist in recital, oratorio, and major choral works with such ensembles as the Ann Arbor Cantata Singers, Austin Choral Union, Austin Pro Arte, and the Terre Haute Choral Society. He has conducted numerous performances with Indiana State’s Madrigal Singers and Sycamore Singers, and served as music director for Opera Workshop performances of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Copland’s The Tender Land, and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Carlisle is active throughout Indiana as a vocal and choral adjudicator at both the high school and collegiate levels, and has served as guest conductor-clinician for such events as the Wabash Valley Christmas Choral Festival, the Turkey Run Choral Festival, and the Wabash County Honors Choir Concert. He serves as vice president of the Indiana chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. email
Asa Carns (BM ’85) is director of music at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Altoona and accompanist for the State College Choral Society. Asa was the first student to double major in both sacred organ performance and piano performance at Wittenberg. He attended the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule in West Germany for two years where he studied organ and piano. Carns has performed on many historic and celebrated pipe organs throughout the world, in Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, West Germany, and Ireland, as accompanist for the Chamber Chorale and the Regent Chorale (touring choirs of Juniata College, Pennsylvania).
Greg Carpenter (BM ’84) is the first individual to hold the title of General & Artistic Director in the 38-year history of Opera Colorado. He has served in this capacity since 2007 and guides both the artistic and administrative operations of the company. Greg joined Opera Colorado in July of 2004 as the Director of Development. During his tenure at Opera Colorado, Greg has initiated a new artistic vision for the company which embraces new and rarely performed works presented in innovative ways. This initiative began in 2016 with Opera Colorado’s presentation of the world premiere of Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter and has continued in subsequent seasons with Laura Kaminsky’s As One in 2017, the world premiere of Gerald Cohen’s Steal A Pencil for Me in 2018, Tom Cipullo’s one-act operas titled After Life and Josephine in 2019, and in 2022, Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell’s The Shining. Greg has been the chief architect behind collaborations with the Denver Art Museum, Museum of Nature and Science, Colorado Railroad Museum, Buntport Theatre, Davis Contemporary Dance, the Mizel Arts and Cultural Center, Rocky Mountain Public Media, and numerous other Denver based cultural institutions. Greg led the collaboration with conductor Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra to record the 2008 production of John Adams’ Nixon In China on the Naxos label, and the world premiere of The Scarlet Letter with the Opera Colorado Orchestra which was released on Naxos in August of 2017 to significant critical acclaim.
Prior to joining Opera Colorado, Greg worked for four years for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, first as a special project coordinator for the President of the National Symphony Orchestra and then as the Director of Development. Greg also served as the Artist and Events Manager for the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, where he managed the Marion Anderson International Vocal Arts Competition and Festival, and the William Kappel International Piano Competition and Festival. Mr. Carpenter was a professional opera singer from 1984–1998 singing leading and supporting roles at Glimmerglass Opera, Central City Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Cleveland Opera and Lyric Opera Cleveland. Mr. Carpenter has served on the Board of Directors of OPERA America, the national service organization to the field. He served as Chairman of the Fundraising Committee for the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention held in Denver, CO, and in 2009 was awarded a Livingston Fellowship in Leadership from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation. Greg also serves as a judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has judged the Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation Annual Voice Competition in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Wittenberg University; a Master of Music in vocal performance from Michigan State University and completed Post-Graduate Studies with the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland School of Music. email
Kirstine Christiansen (BM ’81) is Managing Director of the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts in Columbia, Maryland, which, as reported in a National Endowment for the Arts Spotlight, “provides educational and entertaining theatrical experiences for students in the Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. region.” The organization includes more than a hundred teachers, directors, writers, actors, musicians, technicians, and consultants.
Philip Cordell (BM ’81) teaches part-time at Music and Arts in Worthington, Ohio (piano, theory, composition, organ, and harpsichord). He serves as pianist and organist for St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church and performs at various other locations in central Ohio. He is a Music Teachers National Association Permanent Professional Certified Teacher of Music. As a member of the Ohio Music Teachers Association, Philip participates in Scale Olympics and prepares students for district festivals and other events. He usually plans for at least one or two studio recitals annually at Graves Recital Hall in Worthington, Ohio. Philip earned two master’s degrees at Ohio University, one in performance and pedagogy and one in composition. He is an active composer while also teaching private piano and music theory. His work for professional accompanying continues as he receives work for OMEA contests, competitions, studio recitals, and more. email
Stephen and Linda (Keck) Cordle (BME ’80) are active at Crossroads Methodist Church, a new congregation in Oakdale, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. Steve serves as pastor, plays keyboard, and oversees the music program. Linda sings as soloist and in the choir and plays keyboard. She also teaches privately part-time. Each of the Cordle’s three sons play at least one music instrument.
Patrice Crowell Ross (BME ’80) studied music education and flute at Wittenberg. She earned a master of music in choral conducting at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a Ph.D. in Comparative Arts at Ohio University. Dr. Ross is professor of humanities and music coordinator at Columbus State Community College (Ohio), where she oversaw the formation of a gospel vocal ensemble. She also directs a small church choir. email
Sharon Crowl Kope (BM ’80) is music director and organist at Mt. Hope United Methodist Church in Aston, Pennsylvania. She served as director of music at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Norwood, Pennsylvania, from 1981 to 2000. Sharon accompanies shows for Rose Valley Chorus and Orchestra and is the director and accompanist for the Sunshine Singers. email
Jeffrey Davidson (BME ’80) has been chairperson of the music department at Walt Whitman High School (Bethesda, Maryland) for nearly 20 years. Under his direction, the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Treble Chorale have consistently earned superior ratings at district, state, and national festivals. In 1999, the Concert Choir was the only group (from 27 high schools) to earn a perfect score at MusicFest in Orlando, Florida. Davidson has adjudicated high school choral festivals in many regional school systems and he has lectured on choral techniques at Catholic University. In 1996, the Maryland Music Educators Association named him Secondary School Choral Educator of the Year. The Walt Whitman High School Chamber Singers has attained many honors over the years, including first place awards at competitions in Quebec (1992), Atlanta (1994), Boston (1996), Orlando (1998), and Chicago (2000). In 1995 the group performed at the Music Educators National Conference Eastern Division Convention in Rochester, New York, and in 1997 they appeared at the Maryland Music Educators Conference in Baltimore. In December 1999, they performed with the Washington Chorus in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.
Philip Everingham (BM ’89) has collaborated with singers and instrumentalists throughout the United States in a variety of art song, opera, and chamber music repertoire. Most recently, he was on the staff of Opera in the Ozarks summer season (Eureka Springs, Arkansas) as coach/accompanist for productions of Don Giovanni, Hansel and Gretel, Postcard from Morocco, and Die Fledermaus. Philip is working on a doctorate at the University of Minnesota. He is director of music at Valley Community Presbyterian in Minneapolis and accompanist for One Voice Mixed Chorus, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Gail Fellendorf Swanson (MSM ’81) is pastor at Atonement Lutheran Church in Rochester, New York, and serves as the Worship and Music Coordinator for the Upstate New York Synod Assembly. She previously served as pastor and director of music at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Dublin, Ohio, where she founded the Music at Seven Concert Series. She also served as pastor of Lutheran congregations in East Rochester, New York, and Mayville, New York. Gail received a master of divinity degree at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1989. She and her husband, The Rev. Craig Swanson, have two children. email
Kathryn Fellows Beckman (BA in Music ’87) is executive director of the Mesa Symphony Orchestra in Arizona and plays trombone in the orchestra and with the Broadway Palm Theatre.
Rhonda Ficca (BME ’81) was a general music teacher (K-5) and choral director for New Brighton Elementary School in New Brighton, Pennsylvania. She retired in 2017, having taught at New Brighton for 31 years (1986-2017), in New Carlisle, Ohio, for four years (1982-1986, teaching grades 6-8 general music and chorus), and in Ansonia, Ohio, for one year (1981-1982, teaching grades 5-12 general music and chorus). Miss Ficca initiated the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District V Elementary SongFest in the 1990s. She was a member of the New Brighton Education Association (former secretary and P.R. chair), Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for Women Educators (former vice president, communications and practical and fine arts chair), Beaver Valley Community Concert Association (current co-president and board of directors), Beaver County Arts Education Consortium (governing board member and steering committee), New Brighton PTA (executive board), Teacher Excellence Center New Brighton District Coordinator, Pennsylvania State Education Association, National Education Association, Pennsylvania Music Education Association, and Music Educators National Conference.
For 12 years, Miss Ficca was co-chairperson of the Caring Team for Children for the New Brighton Area School District, raising money for uninsured children ages 18 and under. She also served on the Health and Wellness Council as a member and Secretary. Miss Ficca was a presenter for in-services for the New Brighton Area School District and the Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit. She is the music director and is a frequent soloist at Beaver Falls Christian Assembly and past president of the Dorcas Women’s Ministries for 15 years (currently treasurer, musical director, children’s church teacher, and sound system manager). Miss Ficca was the choral director for three years with the United Hosanna Ministries as well as the musical director for nine years for the New Brighton Ministerial annual Thanksgiving service. Her fifth-grade students performed every year at the Townsend Park in New Brighton for the annual Memorial Day service to honor veterans.
Miss Ficca has received many awards: the Lee Canter Award for Assertive Discipline (1995), New Brighton Area School District PTA Founders’ Day Award (1995), Teacher Excellence Award from the Teacher Excellence Foundation for Southwestern Pennsylvania (2000), awards for Teacher of Distinction (2001 and 2002), Random Acts of Kindness Award from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield (2001), Album of Distinction for Delta Kappa Gamma Society for Women Educators (2001 and 2002), a Beaver County Peace Links Award (2001 for her efforts teaching peacemaking skills to children), and a Beaver County Sheriff’s Department Award for outstanding devotion to NBASD elementary students for drug prevention (2003). In 2002, she was an Athena Award nominee. In 2006-2007, Miss Ficca was a nominee from the New Brighton Area School District for the Pennsylvania Southwestern Teacher Excellence Center. Ficca was named to the ’03, ’05, ’07 Who’s Who of American Women and the ’08 Who’s Who in American Education. email
Sylvia Fogal Streufert (BM ’81) has served as organist at churches in New Jersey, Illinois, and Minnesota. She now lives in Lake City, Iowa where she teaches piano, substitutes for area organists, works part-time at Mid-Iowa Insurance and is a hospice volunteer. Her husband Jim works for Dobson Organs in Lake City. Sylvia accompanied Jim when he was on the install crew for the new organ built for Merton College in Oxford, England in July, 2013, during which time she had a delightful visit with Mary McPherson Morgan (BME ’78) and her husband Rob, who live in Somerset. email
Joyce Gallo Brandt (BME ’83) teaches music at Scioto Darby Elementary School, part of the Hilliard City (Ohio) School District.
Philip Auman Godlewski (BM ’80) became the Parish Administrator at St John’s Episcopal Church Getty Square (Yonkers, N.Y.) on September 28, 2020. He continues to serve as Organist & Director of Parish Music (part time) at Trinity St Pauls Episcopal Church in New Rochelle, a position he has held since September, 2007. Philip resides in Yonkers with his husband, William DiBartolo. email
Carl E. Guenther (BME ’80) has recorded an album of piano music (a blend of traditional hymns and contemporary praise and worship songs) to raise money for the American Cancer Society in memory of his wife who died recently. Carl performs regularly with a praise band.
Pamela Hancock Kinsey (BME ’84) is the K-12 music director for the Easton (Maine) School Department, where she teaches general music, band, chorus, and jazz. In fact, she is the entire music department! The only music teacher for the school district, a position she has occupied for more than 25 years. Pamela performs with the Northern Maine Chamber Orchestra and the University of Maine at Presque Isle / Community Band. She has been chair of the Northern Maine Music Educators Association on two separate occasions and is a flute adjudicator for Maine’s all-state auditions.She spent many years serving as secretary for the Maine Music Educators Association, and was president of the group for the 2014-15 school year. Pamela has been a guest performer with the Fredericton (New Brunswick, Canada) Symphony Orchestra and she participates on a regular basis with the Maine Director’s Chorus, Band, and Orchestra, as well as the Acadia Wind Ensemble. In past years, she has been a member of McLaughlin’s Big Band and a guest conductor for several district festivals in Maine. Pamela is active at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where she is choir director, a substitute organist, and a member of the New St. Paul’s Quartet. email
Robb Haskins (BM ’88) studied voice with Kenneth Scheffel and Margaret Kommel at Wittenberg. He received a master’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music. An accomplished chorister, producer, and director, Robb especially enjoys working with children. Among his many activities, he has served as Director of Vocal Music at Tuskawilla Montessori Academy in Oviedo, Florida, vocal director for the production of Funny Girl by the Cincinnati Music Theater, and Director of Music at Wilmington United Methodist Church in Wilmington, Ohio. He has performed roles in Jesus Christ Superstar, South Pacific, Secret Garden, and The Marriage of Figaro.
Marc Heeg (BM ’84) is an active pianist, conductor, and teacher. After Wittenberg, Heeg earned a master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a DMA at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and he completed additional studies at Cornell, Harvard, and the University of Tübingen (Germany). Dr. Heeg has performed as a soloist in the U.S., Germany, Austria, Ukraine, Egypt, and Japan. He has accompanied singers associated with many of the world’s great opera companies—the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Wiener and Berliner Volksoper, Chicago Lyric Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Bayreuther Festspiele, San Francisco Opera, Houston Opera, Covent Garden Opera, Cairo National Opera, and Vienna State Opera. As a chamber musician, he has played with instrumentalists from the Pro Arte, Cavani, and Manhattan string quartets, as well as instrumentalists from some of the major orchestras of the U.S. (Chicago Symphony, Colorado Symphony, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony), Germany (Munich Symphony), Austria (Vienna Philharmonic), and Japan (Kyoto Philharmonic and Osaka Philharmonic). Dr. Heeg was resident artist and choral director at Doshisha University in Japan and taught piano in Kyoto. He worked in Egypt under the auspices of the American Embassy and the Egyptian Ministry of Culture as resident-artist at the Cairo National Opera House, and he performed at American University in Cairo.
Dr. Heeg taught and performed with the faculty of the Internationales Jugend-Festspieltreffen in Bayreuth, subsequently relocating to the home of Richard Wagner’s international opera house. Heeg coached, collaborated, and performed throughout Germany. Dr. Heeg has received many prizes, scholarships, grants, and awards for both his performing and academic talents. His research has addressed a gamut of interests, including Viennese history from Metternich and the Biedermeier Era through the Fin-de-Siècle; the American avant-garde (Cage, Cowell); Schubert and Liszt; and performance practice from the late 1770s to the 1890s. In the tradition of Taoist philosopher-musicians, Dr. Heeg received certification in both Japan and America in traditional Chinese medicine, Taoist studies, and Zen Shiatsu, with additional studies in shamanistic healing techniques. He has taught Chinese medicine and lead seminars in mental and spiritual healing practices. Through artistic residencies and various appointments, Dr. Heeg has made his home in places as diverse as Kyoto, Cairo, Bayreuth, Tucson, Denver, and now in Cyprus, where Dr. Heeg is an assistant professor of piano at Eastern Mediterranean University in northern Cyprus.
Holly Helderman Leach (BME ’88) entered her 28th year in education in the fall of 2020. Her teaching career has included Richmond (Indiana) Community Schools, Kings Local Schools (Ohio), and her current position at Guardian Angels School in Cincinnati. At Guardian Angels, Holly teaches general music, chorus, and theatre; and she runs the school library as well. Holly completed a master of education degree at Xavier University in 1998. She has been married to Alan Leach since 1990, and they are the proud parents of Caitlin, Normandy, and Tanner. Tanner is attending Wittenberg now, as a member of the class of 2024. email
Tammi Henninger Angle (BM ’80) earned a master’s degree in music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982, followed by a law degree (J.D.) at the University of Dayton in 1994, magna cum laude. Tammi practices law in Springfield, Ohio. email
Jean Hildebrand Moran (BA in Music ’80) completed a master’s degree in music education at Bowling Green State University, where she worked extensively in piano pedagogy and music theory. She previously taught in the preparatory department at Heidelberg College. Jean has been a clinician at Capital University and Kent State University Suzuki Institutes since 1990, and is employed as a music specialist with the Sandusky City Schools. She is the mother of two Suzuki daughters.
Janet E. Hill-Guetle (BME ’82) earned a diploma in sacred music and piano at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. After earning a music degree at Wittenberg she earned a master’s in vocal performance at Northwestern University, where she performed as soloist with the University Chorus. She is pursuing post-graduate studies (in music education) at Ohio State. Janet has performed throughout Ohio—as soloist in oratorios (Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Schubert’s Mass in C, Bach’s Magnificat, and Fauré’s Requiem), as soloist with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra Chorus, in music theater roles at the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield (including Elsa in The Sounds of Music), and in various other church and recital appearances.
Janet teaches choir at Malabar Middle School and accompanies the high school choir. She has been coaching and accompanying student singers and instrumentalists for events adjudicated by the Ohio Music Educators Association for over 25 years. Janet is a member of O.M.E.A. and the American Guild of Organists. She studied organ with John Gilbert (Ashland University) and David Boe (Oberlin Conservatory). She serves as organist and handbell choir director at First United Methodist Church in Massillon, Ohio. Janet has two daughters, Elisabeth and Olivia, both of whom are cellists and were music majors at Wittenberg.
Robert A. Hobby (BM ’85) is Director of Music at Trinity English Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana, a congregation of nearly 3500 members. His responsibilities include playing for worship services, overseeing the graded choral program, and managing concerts. During his tenure, he has established a choral series at Trinity (with 16 composers commissioned so far), hosted a regional convention of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, produced four recordings, and expanded the church’s opportunities for music ministry. Hobby received a master’s degree in organ performance from the University of Notre Dame in 1987. His organ teachers have included Donald Busarow and Craig Cramer, and he has studied composition under Donald Busarow, Richard Hillert, and Andrew Carter.
Mr. Hobby has published over 100 compositions, with Augsburg Fortress, Choristers Guild, Concordia, G.I.A., MorningStar, Northwestern, Pavane, and Warner Brothers. His music has been heard on nationally syndicated radio programs such as “The Lutheran Hour,” “Pipe Dreams,” and “Sing for Joy.” Hobby has played at several of the national conventions of the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada, for national and regional conventions of the Association of the Lutheran Church Musicians, and for conferences of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He has been a featured artist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, performing Poulenc’s Organ Concerto and Haydn’s Organ Concerto No. 2 in C. He has presented clinics on service playing and creative hymn singing throughout the U.S. and is currently Chair of Young Lutherans Sing, a national summer choral program for children. He also serves as a member of the Program Committee for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Robert and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents of three daughters: Hannah, Lydia, and Elizabeth. Mr. Hobby received an honorary doctorate from Wittenberg in 2014. email
Nancy Hudson Snell (BM ’80) is music director at Garfield Memorial Church. She earned a master’s degree in vocal performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Nancy is married to James Snell (BME ’79).
Stephan Jackson (BA in Music ’87 and BS in Psychology ’87) and his wife live in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he is a member of a R&B band called 3G. He is a lead vocalist and plays percussion. Stephan recently completed a performance in the musical The Color Purple in which he played the roles of the preacher and the African chief, as well as ensemble roles. Over the past few years, he has appeared in 12 Angry Men, The Other Side of Atlantic City, and a movie project called “Standing Ovation.” Stephan is actively involved in Atlantic City. As an ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Stephan serves as an elder at Resurrection New Covenant Church and works as parish administrator at St. Andrew By The Sea Lutheran Church. email
Loretta Jones Henderson (BME ’89) is a music teacher with Kettering (Ohio) City Schools and serves as director for the Kettering Children’s Choir. She lives in Huber Heights, Ohio. email
Barbara Kaufmann Larson (BM ’78, MSM ’80): see Brian R. Larson (BME ’78).
Ruthmarie Kelley (BM ’87) is a cataloger for Costabile Associates, in Bethesda, Maryland. Ruthmarie writes, “Though much of the company’s work is medically oriented, I periodically get to enjoy cataloging music in Braille for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.” Previously, she was a reference librarian at the Himmelfarb Library at George Washington University (Washington, D.C.). Ruthmarie holds a master’s degree in music. She received an M.L.S. (master’s in library science) at the University of Maryland at College Park. email
Kevin Kinsey (BME ’84) was the instrumental music teacher for grades 5-12 in Fort Fairfield, Maine from 1987 to 1999 and the fifth-grade band director in Presque Isle, Maine from 1999 until 2012, as well as director of the University of Maine at Presque Isle / Community Band from 1999 to 2012, increasing membership from 8 to 65. Over the years, Kevin has played with the Bangor (Maine) Symphony, Fredericton (New Brunswick, Canada) Symphony, Maine Director’s Chorus, Band and Orchestra, as well as the Acadia Wind Ensemble, Northern Maine Chamber Orchestra (where he is now the director), and McLaughlin’s Big Band (as a founding member). In addition, he has been guest conductor for several Maine district festivals. Kevin was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church in June of 2012, retired from teaching music in August 2012, was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church in Jan. of 2013, and is now full-time priest for the Aroostook Episcopal Cluster of five churches (in Caribou, Fort Fairfield, Limestone, Mars Hill, and Presque Isle, Maine). In addition, Kevin is a member of the New St. Paul’s Quartet. email
Nancy Kirlin Gibbons (BME ’80) grew up in New Jersey but has lived in South Carolina since 1988, where she is director of music at Pilgrim Lutheran Church Music Director in Lexington. She is former artistic director of the Dutch Fork Choral Society, a community chorus.
Michael Lawrence (BA in Music and BA in Political Science ’89), is Lieutenant Commander with the U.S. Navy. He served as senior judge advocate aboard the Navy’s aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk before becoming Executive Officer of the Region Legal Service Office, Naval District Washington, which is in command of Navy judge advocates (attorney officers), military enlisted paralegals, and civilians who handle criminal prosecutions and provide legal advice on all matters to local area commands in the D.C. area. email
Judith Limbacher Horne (BA in Music ’85) teaches and coordinates the pre-school music program at St. John’s Church, in West Chester, Ohio.
D. Scott Loose (BME ’80) received a master’ s degree in music from West Chester University (West Chester, Pennsylvania) in 1989. He retired in 2013 as director of instrumental music in the Lampeter-Strasburg School District, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. From 1981 to 2001 he directed the Lampeter-Strasburg High School Band, which won numerous awards (including the 1998 and 1999 state championships in the Cavalcade of Bands) and served as honors band for such events as the opening ceremonies of the Penn State Farm Show and Governor Tom Ridge’s inaugural parade. He finished his career as director of the Martin Meylin Middle School Band. Scott performs with the Susquehanna Brass Quintet, the Lancaster British Brass Band, and (as principal trumpeter) at the historic Fulton Theater. His trumpet teachers have included Walter Geer, Bart Woomert, Richard Chenoweth, Charles Pagnard, Dick Shearer, and Kenneth Laudermilch. Many of Scott’s students have become successful music educators. Scott is a past president of the Lancaster-Lebanon Music Educators Association and is an active judge with the Cavalcade of Bands, where he has also served as Vice President. He arranges music for many local ensembles. Scott resides in the town of Willow Street, Pennsylvania.
Lisa Ludwig Wichman (BME ’84) recently performed at Carnegie Hall as an accompanist for an invitational choral concert. An active accompanist, Lisa accompanies several choral groups in northern New Jersey, including the Drew University Chorale and New Jersey honor choirs. A recipient of the Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award, Lisa teaches vocal music in the Kinnelon school district. She has presented workshops for music teachers at local, state, and division conferences. Lisa is the organist at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, and resides in Rockaway, New Jersey, with her husband Jeffrey Wichman (’83) and their two sons. email
Suzanne Mackey Feltner (BME ’82) teaches music in the Wooster (Ohio) City Schools and is director of arts and music at Trinity United Church of Christ in Wooster. email
Doreen Mattson (BME ’81) teaches vocal and general music at the School of Fine Arts in Willoughby, Ohio. Doreen did graduate work at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati and has Level I Orff-Schulwerk Certification. She studied at Lakeland Community College and with Irving Bushman at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Doreen has also taught in Lake County, Ohio, schools.
Kelly McGinn Williams (BM ’81) lives in Northville, Michigan, and serves as director of worship and music at Redford Aldersgate Methodist Church. In addition, she teaches piano and organ, writes children’s musicals, and attends Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit. email
Melanie Moon Wilt (BME ’88) taught middle school vocal music for several years in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, after graduating from Wittenberg and sang in the Columbus Symphony Chorus and Columbus Light Opera. Next, she served as music director at a Presbyterian church, had an active voice and piano studio, and especially loved directing high school musicals and summer community theater, all while working at her family’s printing company in Greenfield, Ohio. In 1996, Melanie married Chad Wilt, a band director, and, Melanie reports, “we made beautiful music together, not to mention three beautiful kids—Parker, Lydia, and Pearson.” The family moved to Lewis Center, Ohio, in 1999, where Melanie is a stay-at-home mother, occasional vocal soloist in the area, very active choir participant, and a praise team singer at Grace Brethren Church in Powell, Ohio.
Gayle Morton Holtman (BME ’86) is President and CEO of VSA Indiana, Indiana’s State Organization on Arts and Disability. In 2008, Gayle was named the Special Needs Art Educator of the Year by the Art Education Association of Indiana (the state’s professional organization for visual art teachers). Award recipients, nominated by their peers, demonstrate outstanding service in education. The award recognized Ms. Holtman for helping educate students with disabilities by providing training for future visual art teachers. Holtman was nominated for the Award by Bradford Venable, an assistant professor of art education at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. The two worked together for over six years to provide information about disabilities, adaptations, and differentiated instruction and hands-on training for students with disabilities for Venable’s ISU students who are preparing to become visual art teachers. In addition to practical skills and knowledge, the ISU students learned that students with disabilities are first and foremost students. VSA Indiana (VSAI) is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to making the arts accessible to people with disabilities. VSAI is the Indiana affiliate of VSA arts, an international nonprofit founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith (ambassador to Ireland, 1993-1998). Based in Indianapolis, VSAI has been serving people of all abilities around the state for over 20 years. email
Debra Alexander Nesbitt (BA in Music ’80), a songwriter, musician, and educator, is a veteran of the Nashville, New York, Austin, Boston, and Toronto music scenes, and is the creative director of Word Maven Music / Song Maven Studio. She works with wordsmiths and musicians to craft memorable songs. Debra has fostered the progress of many songwriters and musicians as an instructor of songwriting at Trebas Institute and of music theory at Metalworks Institute, as song assessor and panelist for The Songwriters Association of Canada, as regional coordinator for the Nashville Songwriters Association International, as mentor for the School Association of Student Songwriters, and as a workshop clinician for The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Debra’s songs have won multiple awards in international songwriting contests and have been recorded on seven CDs by indie artists with national radio airplay. As a singer-songwriter, Debra has been featured in prestigious songwriting events and venues, including NXNE, Tin Pan North, Winterfolk, Club Passim, The Bluebird, The Cactus Café, and the Free Times Café.
Debra provides this update: “On the folk-roots songwriting front, my long-time co-writer David Leask released his new recording Underneath in late 2013 and I’m honored that six of my songs, including the title track, are on it. Dave and I also recently had our gospel song “Everybody Sing” in the finals of the International Songwriting Competition. I’m writing regularly with four co-writers and I’ve signed three single-song contracts with a Nashville-based publisher in the last year. On the classical-musical theatre-jazz standard genre songwriting front, “Cold Enough For Christmas,” written with composer James Grant, was given a premiere performance by Sarasota, Florida’s professional choral group Gloria Musicae this past December, with a chamber orchestra comprised of members of the Sarasota Orchestra and Maria Wirries as soloist. I’ve been dividing my time between Siesta Key, Florida, and Oxtongue Lake, Ontario, in order to work with James Grant, and our first grade-3 band piece, under our nom de plume “Alison Stuart” has been published by Potenza Music. We’ve had wonderful performances already by three bands, including a band at the University of West Georgia, and we’ve had great fun Skyping in to band rehearsals.” email
Elizabeth Holloway Oer (BM ’81) teaches piano in Kreiensen, Germany.
Kim Petot (BME ’81), a pianist and singer, specializes in early childhood music. She teaches at the All Newton Music School in West Newton, Mass., and is director of their Summer Creative Arts Program. Kim arranges and sings for the music group Silk Tones and she sings with her church choir. Kim and her husband Ross (’80) live in Natick, Mass.
Ross Petot (BM ’80) earned a master’s degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He focuses on jazz and stride piano and performs as a regular member of The Blue Horizon Jazz Band, John Clark’s Wolverine Jazz Band, and The Back Bay Ramblers. Ross has performed in numerous jazz festivals throughout the country both as a band member and as a featured soloist. He teaches at the All Newton Music School in Newton Massachusetts and performs frequently throughout the New England area. The Bar Harbor Times wrote that Ross’s “energy and lightning-fast hands on the keyboard left the audience breathless when he was set loose in a solo turn.” Ross has made several recordings, including Red Hot Band, Cuttin’ Up, (with the Back Bay Ramblers) and Stride Piano (a solo CD).
James Rio (BM ’86) is Company Manager at the Arizona Broadway Theatre in Peoria, Arizona, and director of its touring troupe Bits & Pieces. His stage credits include The Phantom of the Opera (Andre, Lefèvre) in Hamburg, Germany, and regional performances of She Loves Me (Georg), Man of La Mancha (Cervantes), Into the Woods (Baker), Guys and Dolls (Benny Southstreet, Arvide Abernathy), Jubilee (Eric Dare), The Student Prince (Karl Franz), and The Merry Widow (Camille). James has performed at Sonic Boom (Knitting Factory, New York City), the East-West International Music Festival (Altenburg, Germany), the Belarussian Autumn Music Festival (Minsk), and the Moscow Autumn and St. Petersburg Sound Ways Festivals in Russia. Solo NYC venues include Lincoln Center, The Rainbow Room, and Merkin Concert Hall. After Wittenberg, James pursued further education at the Indiana University School of Music and he was an apprentice at Sarasota Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. James was the tenor soloist in the Jose Limon Dance Company performance of Kodály’s Missa Brevis and he was a participant in the premiere of Jon Magnussen’s Psalm at the Cultural Olympiad of the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. email
Katherine Reier (BM ’82) lives in the Philadelphia suburbs, where she is one of the organists and choir directors at Christ Ascension Lutheran Church in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. She is a full-time staff registered nurse in the hospice unit at Holy Redeemer Hospital. Her nursing career over the years has primarily been in intensive care and emergency department settings. Katherine holds a master of arts in religion (concentration in worship and music) from the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University/Divinity School (1984). She served Lutheran and Episcopal churches in Roanoke, Virginia, and Blue Bell and Hilltown, Pennsylvania. Katherine is active in the Philadelphia chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and tries to attend conferences of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians as often as possible. email
Judith Rownd Schlabach (BME ’81) came to First Presbyterian Church (Wooster, Ohio) to direct the children’s choirs part-time, and then developed children’s ministries programs for infants through sixth graders as a full-time employee. For more than ten years, Judy has served as director of the Cantaré Children’s Choir (the entry-level ensemble for second and third graders) of the Wayne Center for the Arts Children’s Chorus program.
W. David Runk (BME ’81) is married to Beth Bowsher Runk (BA ’82) and they are the parents of three boys. After teaching music at the elementary and high school levels, David joined CSS Publishing Company (founded by his father, Wes Runk, BA ’56 and M.Div., Hamma ’59), which publishes printed and on-line resources for pastors of mainline Protestant denominations, specializing in preaching, worship and other areas of parish ministry. David became president of the company in May, 2008. David directs the adult choir at English Lutheran Church in Bluffton, Ohio, a post he has held since 1986. In addition, he serves as a member of the board of directors for Oesterlen Services for Youth in Springfield, Ohio. email
Grace Seamon Kopitske (BM ’83) is organist at Christ United Methodist Church in Maplewood, Minnesota. email
Elizabeth Schultz Ayers (BM ’80) earned a master’s degree in piano performance and pedagogy at Ohio University and later taught piano privately for about five years. She then went to law school (Capital University in Columbus, Ohio) and received a J.D. in 1994. Elizabeth has actively practiced in Columbus, Ohio, as a litigator and estate-planning attorney. She became interested in planned giving during law school and has worked in this capacity at both the Columbus Foundation and Ohio State University. She began serving as Associate Director of Planned Giving at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in March 2008 and is now Executive Director of Gift Planning at the university. In addition, she serves on the National Board of Partnership for Philanthropic Planning. Elizabeth lives in Durham, North Carolina.
Richard Scranton (BM ’82) plays principal trumpet with the Westerville Symphony and solo cornet with the Scioto Valley Brass and Percussion Company. He has appeared as soloist with the Springfield Symphony and the Upper Arlington Community Orchestra. Richard performs frequently throughout Ohio. His trumpet teachers have included Eugene Blee, Charles Pagnard, Richard Chenoweth, Basil Drew, and Paul Baver. Richard earned a master’s degree in music at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Barbara Secrist Tobin (BME ’81) is band director at Coulwood Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ruth Seltzer Gorman (BM ’83) and her husband John have conducted two children’s choirs for over 20 years at First Presbyterian Church in London, Ohio. They have two children, Tucker and Chelsea. Ruth is outreach coordinator at the London Public Library and performs regularly at care facilities.
Steven Keister Shaner (MSM ’84) is Director of Music and Arts Ministries at Mount Olivet United Methodist Church in Arlington, Virginia. He has served as ecumenical church musician at churches of several different denominations. He has been minister of music and organist at St. Joseph Parish (Jasper, Indiana) and Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ (Bethesda, Maryland). Steven has conducted touring adult, children’s, and youth choirs (as well as handbell choirs), and he has performed organ recitals at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, the Washington National Cathedral, and other venues throughout North America and Europe. He is a graduate of Shenandoah University Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Virginia, with a double major in music education and organ performance. Dr. Shaner has studied church music, composition, improvisation, and organ with Donald Busarow, Steven Cooksey, Trudy Faber, Jerald Hamilton, David N. Johnson, Marilyn Keiser, and Oswald Ragatz. He is a frequent organ recitalist, church music clinician, choral conductor, and artistic director for hymn festivals. Steven earned a doctor of sacred music degree at the Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend, Indiana.
Robin Strickler (BME ’83) studied piano at Wittenberg with William Walters, who also encouraged her interest in East Asian Studies and social justice. After four years teaching music at Magsig Middle School in Centreville, Ohio, Robin returned to school and got a master’s degree in English Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While she worked her way through school, she developed a second career for herself—in administration and training for after-school programs. Robin worked on developing new programs for 800 elementary school children in Madison’s After School Program, now called the Wisconsin Youth Company. A move to Colorado led her to similar programs with the YMCA and, eventually, a stint as personnel manager at Boulder’s YMCA. In 1996, she took a job in English as a Second Language at Kansai Gaidai University (Wittenberg’s sister school in Japan), where she taught English for eight years and learned Japanese.
In 2001, on a return trip to the USA, Robin met John Rutsindintwarane, a Rwandan Lutheran pastor who was studying Conflict Transformation. When they decided to marry in 2003, her life made a major geographical shift—to east Africa. In 2005, Robin founded the Rwanda School Project, a non-governmental organization focused on quality secondary education in Rwanda. She now lives in Rwanda and is the Head of School for a secondary school in the city of Rwamagana which uses Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound as its pedagogical framework and focuses on environmental sustainability. Robin is studying Kinyarwanda (the chief spoken language in Rwanda), enjoys chatting with Japan International Cooperation Agency volunteers in Japanese, and loves bird watching. Robin invites any Wittenberg music alums who’d like to develop a secondary school choir in east Africa’s mountainous “Land of Eternal Spring” to contact her! email
Grace I. Scarle (BME ’84) attended Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and earned a M.Div. She served several churches as Christian educator and youth minister before becoming pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Belmar, New Jersey, where she served for 24 years. Grace has sung with the Ocean Grove Auditorium Choir, New Jersey State Opera Chorus, and Mid-Atlantic Opera Chorus, including performances at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. She also continues to play trumpet. Grace married Michael Taylor in 1999. They perform together and have recorded three albums as “The Taylors.” Their most recent album, Ruah, is available on Amazon and iTunes. In 2019, they moved to Stuart, Florida, where Michael serves as music director at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and Grace does supply ministry and teaching. email
Jim Townsend (BME ’80) teaches music in the Springfield, Ohio, school system. email
Catherine Truesdale (BME ’82) earned a master’s degree at Barry University (Miami Shores, Florida). She is a music teacher at Canterbury School (Fort Myers, Florida), Children’s Chorus Conductor with the Southwest Florida Symphony, and the alto section leader with the Symphony Chorus. email
Soprano Laurie Vargo Hays (BME ’83) has performed with the Carmel Bach Festival, Monterey County Symphony, San Diego Symphony and Master Chorale, and Oahu Choral Society (Honolulu). Her most recent operatic roles include Annina in La Traviata, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Edith in Pirates of Penzance, and Ida/Sally in Die Fledermaus. Her recent performances in musical theater include Pippin (Fastrada), Carousel (Nettie), The Music Man (Mrs. Paroo), Camelot (Nimue), The Secret Garden (Rose), Fiddler on the Roof (Tzeitl), and Sweeney Todd (Quintet). Ms. Hays’ performances in oratorio include the Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, St. Matthew, and St. John Passions, Schubert’s Mass in G, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Messiah, and Fauré’s Requiem. Hays directs the 100-voice Annapolis Youth Chorus (a division of the Annapolis Chorale and Chamber Orchestra), which recently sang at Carnegie Hall under the direction of John Rutter. Hays is the Upper School music and choral director at The Severn School in Severna Park and is a soloist at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis. She lives in Severn, Maryland, with her husband, Kevin, and their three daughters, Meghan, Brenna and Kelly. email
Linda Venable-Boehk (BM ’80) received the DMA in voice at the University of Michigan in 1992. She has a private voice studio of about 50 students. She writes: “My education at Wittenberg was a very valuable experience for me. In fact, much of what I learned at Wittenberg (diction, literature, performing skills, etc.) carried me through the rest of my education.”
Scott Weidler (MSM ’85) serves the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as Associate Director for Worship and Music. He is a board member and the Curriculum Writer for the Leadership Program for Musicians. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree at Concordia College (Seward, Nebraska) and master’s degree at the University of Notre Dame (Indiana). email
Baritone John Whittlesey (BA in Music ’85) performs regularly in opera, concert, and recital, having appeared with Opera Tampa, Opera Fusion, Palm Beach Opera, Gulf Shore Opera, the South Florida Symphony, Boston Lyric Opera, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, New England Light Opera, Cape Cod Opera, Longwood Opera, Chorus North Shore, the Salisbury Singers, the Louisville Master Chorale, the Middletown Civic Chorus, the Master Chorale of South Florida, the Choral Artists of Sarasota, and the Chamber Music Series for the Outer Cape. John’s operatic roles include Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, the Father in Hansel and Gretel, Silvio in I Pagliacci, Sam in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Robert Mission in Romberg’s The New Moon, Ben in Menotti’s The Telephone, Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, the Traveler in Britten’s Curlew River, Simone in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Ozzie in Bernstein’s On the Town. John has also created several roles in operas by Brian Hulse, Jeffrey Brody, David Paul Gibson, Roger Rudenstein, Thomas Oboe Lee, Charles Shadle, James Yannatos, and Michael Ross. John was the founder and artistic director for Intermezzo: The New England Chamber Opera Series, which produced contemporary chamber operas, including ten commissions. Recent performances include Jake Heggie’s A Question of Light, Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Handel’s Messiah, Barber’s Dover Beach, Simone in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Brahms’ Neue Liebeslieder. email
Don Widmer (BA in Music and BA in English ’88) received an MFA in interdisciplinary book and paper arts from Columbia College Chicago in 2012. His art practice incorporates papermaking and artist bookbinding. Music makes an appearance in some of his art, such as his tunnel book, inspired by traditional music of the Pacific Northwest, and his series of pulp-painted organ pipes. Prior to his art career, Don was music librarian at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, after earning a master’s degree in music history at Bowling Green State University and an MS in library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. email
Joy Wigal French (BA in Music ’89) is pastor at United Methodist Church in Zanesville, Ohio. email
John Wigal (BM ’85) is organist and director of music at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. email
David Wion (BM ’82) is Executive Director of the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center in Troy, Ohio. email
Robyn Zimmann (BME ’81) served as the Executive Director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) from 2013-2014. Prior to that, she served as the Director of Operations & Education for eight years, during which time the educational offerings of the SSO were expanded to include a Children’s Chorus and Youth Chamber Music program, in addition to the already existing three youth orchestras. After her appointment as Executive Director, Robyn retired from a 35-year career as a professional musician, during which time she served as Assistant Principal Horn of the SSO and 4th horn of the Lima Symphony Orchestra. As a freelance performer in the Miami Valley, she performed in countless events at La Comedia Dinner Theatre, Dayton Playhouse, Wright State University, Wilmington College, Clark State Performing Arts Center, Victoria Theatre, and the Schuster Center, as well as numerous area churches and schools. Robyn also had a 17-year career as a guitarist with four different rock bands, including several recording projects and performances at numerous venues in five different states. Prior to taking on administrative roles with the Springfield Symphony, Robyn’s career path also included stints in the retail music business, as marketing director for a chain of six photo/video stores and, most recently, 10 years as a systems analyst in the IT department of the Dayton Daily News.
2010s+ | 2000s | ’90s | ’80s | ’70s | ’60s | ’40s–’50s
Before attending Wittenberg, Jonathan Abernethy-Deppe (MSM ’78) received a bachelor of music degree in church music at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, and a master of divinity degree at Evangelical Lutheran Theological Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. He was assistant pastor and minister of music at Zion American Lutheran Church, Waterloo, Iowa. Since then, he has served as associate pastor and minister of music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Mason City, Iowa, where he directed three choirs (middle school, high school, and adult) and assisted with a handbell choir and playing organ; pastor at Lutheran Church of the Atonement Lutheran Church in Clinton, Iowa; and minister of music at Christ the King Lutheran Church in downtown Chicago. While serving as minister of music at Berwyn United Lutheran Church (Berwyn, Illinois), he was on the staff of the Division for Global Mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Later, Jonathan was minister of music at Immanuel Lutheran Church (Alameda, California) and Resurrection Lutheran Church (Dublin, California). In the first years of living in California, he was also a member of the staff of the Sierra Pacific Synod of the ELCA. Later he became Administrator for Gift Planning and Stewardship in the Episcopal Diocese of California and then Executive Assistant in the Episcopal Diocese of California (both positions in San Francisco). In 2008, he was received as a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of California, San Francisco, and was assisting priest at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Danville, California. Jonathan is now assisting priest and parish administrator at the Episcopal Church of St. Paul in the Desert, in Palm Springs, California. email
Ray Adams (BM ’77) earned an M.A., M.F.A., and DMA from the University of Iowa. He served as Director of Music and Organist at the Community Church of Vero Beach for 19 years, from 1983 to 2002. Ray retired from the Indian River Charter High School in June of 2021 and is now the Artist in Residence at the First Baptist Church of Vero Beach, Florida, and serves as the artistic director and scholarship chairman for the Treasure Coast Jazz Society. Adams lives in Vero Beach with his wife Phyllis (BA in Music ’78). email
Julie-Ellen Anderson (BME ’73) teaches music at West Bath School in Bath, Maine. She received a master’s degree in education at the University of New England (Biddeford, Maine) in 2002.
Kathy Anderson Rausch (BME ’70) provides support services for faculty members at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She earned a master’s degree at the Seminary in 2004. email
Marjo Anderson (BME ’76) is pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a congregation with a lively music program. Prior to going to Salem in 2011, she spent 18 years as co-pastor of Tabor Lutheran Church in Branford, Connecticut, where she co-founded the Tabor Community Arts Center in 1997. In 2002, she was persuaded to start a praise band at the church, for which she recruited (among others) her husband Mark Dollhopf for vocals/guitar, their older son Hans for percussion, and their younger son Conner as her backup pianist. “It actually ended up being great fun,” she writes, “and when we moved our contemporary service to the main time slot, attendance grew by 12%.” Pastor Marjo Anderson’s vocal outlet has been the Yale Alumni Chorus (founded by her husband in 1998), which has performed throughout the world, including China, Russia, Argentina, and Great Britain. email
Anne R. Archer (BME ’78) received a master of music education degree at West Chester University (Pennsylvania) and teaches music to elementary students at two private schools.
Paul Bauer (BME ’78) is a regional sales manager for Music & Arts Centers in Itasca, Illinois. email
Janet Beck Kaltenbach (BA in Music ’78) is the executive director of the Charlottesville Symphony Society in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since graduating from the Wittenberg School of Music, she has enjoyed a rich and rewarding career in arts administration as the general manager of the Springfield (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra; technical director of the Springfield (Ohio) Summer Arts Festival; general manager of the Saginaw (Mich.) Symphony Association and School of Music; Director of Development and later Vice President of Institutional Advancement at the New Brunswick (N.J.) Cultural Center; and general manager of the world-renowned American Boychoir and vice president of advancement at the American Boychoir School. Janet is an education and visitors program and special events volunteer at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and a grant application evaluator for the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She serves on the board of directors of the Westminster Presbyterian Church Organ Concert Series and is a member of the steering committee of Create Charlottesville: A Cultural Plan for Charlottesville/Albemarle. She also chairs the steering committee’s Marketing and Cultural Tourism Task Force. email
Laurel Benson Brown (MSM ’77) is director of music at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fall Church, Virginia.
Nadine Boyd Sutcliffe (BM ’72) teaches music at Stonybrook Elementary School in Kinnelon, New Jersey.
Charles Brown (BM ’77) is the vocal music instructor at Maumee Valley Country Day School in Toledo, Ohio, where he has been teaching middle school vocal music and upper school vocal music, music appreciation, and music theory since 2002. Previously, he taught in the Lima City Schools for 20 years. Charles is the organist at Church of the Cross United Methodist in Toledo. He has accompanied two community choruses and sung in the Monroe Street United Methodist’s Palm Sunday Chorus for the last 16 years. For two years, Charles worked in customer service at Musical Resources, a vocal/choral music supplier for schools, churches, and community choirs. Charles received a master of music degree at Bowling Green State University in 1990, where he studied choral conducting under Richard D. Mathey and the late Ivan Trusler. email
Susan Brown Guse (MSM ’79) is director of music ministries at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Poughkeepsie, New York. email
David Buchenroth (BM ’75) is pastor of Galilee Lutheran Church in Russells Point, Ohio.
Judith Burbank (BM ’73) is assistant professor (voice and vocal pedagogy) at Lenoir-Rhyne College in North Carolina. She is active as a concert singer in Charlotte, Asheville, and Winston-Salem. In the fall of 2004, she returned to Wittenberg to sing a recital featuring music by Debussy and Strauss, German operetta, and William Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs. Burbank holds a master’s degree from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and a DMA from Rutgers State University. She lived in Germany for an extended period of time, performing and teaching, as well as singing in several German opera houses, including Heidelberg (Theater der Stadt), Erfurt, and the Salzburg Landestheater. She has performed a variety of soprano roles, including Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck, Agathe in Weber’s Der Freischütz, Marguerite in Berlioz’s Faust, Malinka Janacek’s Die Ausflüge des Herrn Bourcek, Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Venus in Wagner’s Tannhäuser.
In the U.S., Burbank has performed with the Pittsburgh Opera, Augusta Opera, Intermountain Opera of Bozeman, Montana, New England Opera, New England Operetta, New Jersey State Opera, National Opera of North Carolina, and the touring National Opera Company of the New York City Opera. Burbank recently sang Poulenc’s Gloria with the Hickory Choral Society and Handel’s Messiah with the Green Bay Symphony. Judith has performed recitals in France, England, and Germany. In the spring of 1999 she gave a lecture-recital at Rutgers on Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck, focusing on the vocal techniques used by the female lead Marie (a role that she sang in Heidelberg and Erfurt, Germany). Judith especially enjoys the serious works of noted film composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold; she gave a recital featuring his seldom sung Abschiedslieder (Farewell songs) in Minneapolis. She also gave private classes while in Minneapolis at Augsburg College, specializing in German diction for singers. email
Gary L. Callahan (BM ’72) is a music professor (and chairperson of the music department) at Livingstone College, in Salisbury, North Carolina. He earned a master’s degree in music at the University of Michigan-Flint and a doctorate in music at Ohio State. Gary was recently elected arts and sciences chair for the National Network for Education Renewal Tripartite Council. email
Linda Calvert Eriksen (BM ’72) studied piano with William Walters, organ and harpsichord with Trudy Faber, and voice with Michael Chang while at Wittenberg, where she was a member of the national music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota. She earned a master’s degree in piano performance at Boston University in 1974 and continued her education by taking numerous courses at Westminster Choir College in conducting and church music. Linda has worked as a church musician, professional accompanist, and instructor in piano and organ. She has held positions in both Lutheran and Presbyterian Churches and has recently accepted the position of Director of Music Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. For several years, Linda served as accompanist for Ridge Light Opera, a semi-professional theater company in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, performing The Mikado and “September Song,” an evening of light opera. She has played for the Stony Hill Players performances of The Mikado, The Magic Flute, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Suor Angelica. Linda is staff accompanist for the Millburn High School (New Jersey) honors recitals and concerts. Over the past few years, she has been assistant director and accompanist for the Summit Chorale and has played for the South Mountain Chorale, the Choral Arts Society, Calvary Chorale, New Jersey Youth Chorus, and numerous professional and amateur soloists and instrumentalists, and both school and community productions in New Jersey. She serves on the executive board and is the certification exam coordinator for the Metropolitan New Jersey Chapter of the AGO, is an active member of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, American Choral Directors Association, and Choristers Guild, and sings with the Harmonium Choral Society under the direction of Dr. Anne Matlack. Linda is a resident of New Providence, New Jersey, where she lives with her husband Ray and their three grown children: Christian (a police officer in the city of Summit), Diana (a graduate of Gettysburg working in Human Resources for Ajilon in New York City), and Scott (place kicker on the Lycoming College football team).
Ruth Cecil Donahue (BME ’75) writes (March 18, 2010): “I remember my days at Wittenberg School of Music with fondness. Playing cello with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra was a lot of fun. After graduating, I taught for a year in the little town of Piqua, OH (about an hour north of Springfield), dealing with a high school, two middle schools, and four elementary schools! I had 23 private students, too. My then-fiancé, Jim, told me that he really wanted to go to Cincinnati Conservatory to work on his master’s degree (bass performance), so I followed him there—the best decision I ever made! We played together in the Cincinnati Ballet and Opera orchestras and had a blast delving deeper in the art of music (and socializing with like-minded friends). Jim and I taught in Cincinnati for two years after that till he got a full-time job with the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra. After eight years, in 1988, we moved to Vienna, VA where he worked on a DMA at the University of Maryland and I took a teaching job. He performs with the Fairfax and Alexandria Symphonies, and I teach full-time at Spring Hill Elementary in McLean. I have 354 string players! We gave a concert last night and it’s like having a whole city of (small) people in front of me—and I know everybody’s name! We have a daughter who just turned 19, and life is good.”
Valerie Chakeres Baker (BA in Music ’78) is Vice President of Chakeres Theatres in Springfield, Ohio, and director of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral Choir in Columbus.
Christine Claggett Lowe (BM ’76) teaches at Meadowlawn Intermediate School in Sandusky, Ohio. email
Jan Clark Douglass (BME ’75) is pastor at Clarkson Presbyterian Church in Rogers, Ohio.
Michele Clingman Lazarus (BME ’76) conducts the orchestra at McCormick Junior High in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and she is orchestra vice president for the Wyoming Music Educators Association.
Cheryl Colantonio Storey (MSM ’77) studied organ and church music at Wittenberg with Frederick Jackisch, conducting with John Williams, and composition with Jan Bender. After graduating from the MSM program, Cheryl accepted a position which took her to Minnesota, where she served two ELCA congregations until 1995, at which time (as an Associate in Ministry in the ELCA) she began serving as director of music ministries at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Washington. Since then, Ms. Storey has taken choirs on concert tour to Germany, Scandinavia, and the U.K., and has planned music and liturgy for worship, conducting choirs, orchestras, handbell choirs, and numerous ensembles. In her present position as Director of Music Ministries at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church (since 2001), Cheryl enjoys the ministry of pastoral care, along with composing and arranging music for her congregation. In addition, she administrates a concert series at Mercer Island Presbyterian that draws many attendees from the greater Seattle area. Cheryl resides in Kirkland, Washington, with her husband Ben and her their sons, Christopher and Matthew. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her border collies. email
Catherine Cox (BM ’72) majored in voice at Wittenberg. Since then, she has had a distinguished career on the stage and in television. Acclaimed for her Broadway performances, she has appeared in a variety of musicals, including Oh! Coward, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 1987. In 1983, she created the role of Pam Sakarian in Baby, for which she received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. She received a Drama Desk nomination for the role of Viola in George Abbott’s Music Is, and she appeared as Ado Annie in the Broadway revival of Oklahoma! in 1980 and in Footloose on Broadway. Catherine succeeded Glenn Close in the role of Chairy Barnum in the long-running Broadway hit Barnum and appeared with the national touring company of City of Angels, where she played the roles of Oolie and Donna. Her television credits include The Guiding Light and The Cosby Show. Miss Cox appeared in the A. R. Gurney’s play Love Letters in Chakeres Theatre at Wittenberg with Wittenberg alum James Rebhorn, who graduated in 1970 with a double major in political science and theatre.
Melissa Cox Douglas (BME ’76) is program coordinator for the Community Music Scholars Program, an initiative of the Music Preparatory Division of the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University. The program provides a comprehensive program of jazz and classical music instruction for school-aged Philadelphia children who have limited financial means. Melissa holds a graduate degree in vocal performance. She came to Temple in 1997 after a decade at the New England Conservatory (Boston), where she was an academic advisor and Associate Dean for Students.
Nancy Cripe Davis (BM ’70) is Coordinator for Wittenberg’s Center for Musical Development. She received a master’s degree at the University of Dayton email
India Dennis D’Avignon (BME ’74) earned a master’s degree in piano pedagogy and choral conducting at Ohio State. She teaches class piano at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, having previously served as professor and keyboard department chair at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. India has performed throughout the United States and abroad, accompanying on the piano, harpsichord, fortepiano, and harp, including performances at the Festival International de Musique (Nancy, France), Festival International de Sarrebourg (France), Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC), and International Mozart Symposium (St. Gilgen, Austria). D’Avignon has presented research papers at the Music Teachers National Conference and at conferences internationally. The Glass Music Ensemble, with India as director, appears on the CD Christ Hall (Hommage a Marc Chagall). D’Avignon co-produced Titanic Records’ CD of Alexander Reinagle’s The Philadelphia Sonatas.
Ellen Derra Hopkins (BA in Music ’70) teaches music in the Indianapolis Public School District.
Mary Dillard Daniels (BME ’71), a.k.a. Jazzmary, is one of the busiest jazz musicians in central Ohio. Mary’s blend of piano, vocals, and electronics offers a full palette of jazz ranging from the classics to present-day divas. Her self-produced debut CD, Circle, contains a selection of her writing and arrangements. Mary has also recorded the CD JzzPop. She cites as some of her influences Mary Lou Williams (for piano skills), Quincy Jones (for arranging and producing), and Nina Simone (for her spirit). email
Linda Dobbins Sears (BME ’75) teaches music at St. Francis of Assisi School in Gates Mills, Ohio. email
Sandra Doyle Feichter-Murphy (BME ’74) teaches music at Harrison Hill Elementary School in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Susan Draper Cormier (BM ’76) is Children’s Services Consultant for the Connecticut State Library. email
Cheryl Duerr (BM ’74) has been Music Director at The Church of Our Redeemer in Lexington, Massachusetts, since 1999. She earned a master’s degree in music at Boston University and is an Associate of The American Guild of Organists. Cheryl is a member of the Guild’s Executive Board and serves as a member of the Program Committee and the Young Organists’ Initiative. She serves as Region I (New England) Coordinator for Education for The American Guild of Organists. email
Diane DuVal (BME ’73) has taught elementary general music and middle school vocal music for more than 25 years, including 20 years in the Kettering (Ohio) City Schools. She received a master’s degree in education with music concentration from the University of Dayton. Diane’s research on cooperative learning in the elementary music classroom was recently published in Triad (the official publication of the Ohio Music Education Association). email
Kenneth Elkin (MSM ’73) has been pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (Williamsport, Pennsylvania) since 1996. Pastor Elkin served three parishes prior to his arrival at St. Mark’s: He interned at Memorial Church (Harrisburg) and stayed to become Associate Pastor and Parish Musician (1975-1982) and he led two congregations to form Christ United Church in Catawissa, Pennsylvania, where he served as pastor (1982-1996). Rev. Elkin received a B.A. in Music at Thiel College (Greenville, Pennsylvania) in 1971 and a master of divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 1977. His interest in the music of the church was fostered first by his grandmother Aleda Nichol, and then by teachers such as Mary Zeitler, Dr. Charles Anders, Ms. Margaret Kommel, and Dr. Frederick Jackisch. Pastor Elkin’s spouse of many years is fellow Witt music alum Donna Zierdt Elkin (MSM ’72). They have three children: Katy, a musician in Barcelona, Spain; Sean, network administrator for Citizens and Northern Bank in Wellsboro; and David, in graduate studies in horn performance at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh.
Clarice Engleman Snyder (BM ’70) is minister of music at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Bethesda, Maryland. email
Ford Ewaldsen (MSM ’70) began work at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in High Point, N.C. as Director of Music and Christian Education soon after graduating from Wittenberg. In 1977 he became the organist and choir director at Calvary United Methodist Church, also in High Point, a position he held until 1984. From 1984 through 2000 Ford was the organist and choir director at Oakview United Methodist Church in High Point. From 2000 to 2003, Ford was organist and choir director at Grace Lutheran Church in Thomasville, N.C. In 2003, Emmanuel Lutheran invited him to return as organist, and he has been there ever since. Ford has performed in Piedmont Artist and in American Guild of Organists (AGO) concerts. He is a member of the AGO and of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. Ford was manager of hosiery and men’s departments at High Point’s Kmart 1978-2006 and has recently retired from working full time at Stein Mart in High Point. Ford has been married to Geraldine Fleisch (MSM ’70) since 1972. They live in High Point N.C. and have two children—Chris and Marianne—and six grandchildren. email
Jane Flanagan Rittenhouse (BME ’71) teaches music at Dorr Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio. email
David Foerster (MSM ’75) works at Liturgical Publications in Cleveland, Ohio. email
Cynthia Fok Lawing (BM ’71), a native of Hong Kong, holds a degree in Dalcroze Eurhythmics. As a pianist, she has performed concertos with the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and Chamber Orchestra of Macao. She has been very active as a solo recitalist and clinician. Many of her recitals have focused on the compositions of a single composer, including Franz Liszt, Alexander Scriabin, Maurice Ravel, and Samuel Barber. Cynthia is a charter member of the Chamber Music Society of Charlotte and a founding member of the Rhodora Wind Quintet. In addition to her activities as a performer and a clinician, Cynthia Lawing is an active composer and church musician. She has composed over a hundred works for voices and for instruments and has served as organist and choir director for many congregations. email
Stephen Folkemer (BA in Music ’74 and MSM ’76) studied at the Spandauer Kirchenmusikschule in Berlin, Germany, for a year (1974-1975) and earned a master’s in divinity (1980) and doctorate in ministry (1988) at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), where he is now professor of church music and cantor. The Reverend Dr. Folkemer serves as principal organist for the Seminary’s 36-rank Andover tracker instrument and has directed (since 1986) the 30-voice Schola Cantorum of Gettysburg, which specializes in Lutheran liturgical music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Folkemer studied composition with Jan Bender at Wittenberg University and with Heinz Werner Zimmerman in Berlin. His project for the D.Min. degree was Of the Land and Seasons, a folk-song paraphrase setting of Holy Communion which is now used by congregations throughout the country. Folkemer has published original compositions with Chantry Music Press, Augsburg Fortress, Concordia Publishing House, G.I.A. Publications, and MorningStar Music Publishers. Some of Dr. Folkemer’s arrangements of hymns can be heard on the live CD recording Hymns of History and Hope, a 2001 hymn festival performed by the Schola Cantorum and Seminary choirs in honor of the 175th anniversary of the Seminary. From 1982 to 1985, Folkemer served as co-pastor (with his wife the Rev. Beth Bergeron Folkemer) at the Bendersville Lutheran Parish. He has served as part-time music director, choir directory, and/or organist at numerous congregations, as well as at Gettysburg College. Dr. Folkemer has served at Gettysburg Seminary since the fall of 1979 and also serves part-time as cantor of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He and his wife are the parents of three children, Joel, Margaret, and Nathan.
Glendon Robert Frank (BM ’74) has been appointed US Army Ceremonial Organist at Old Post Chapel and Memorial Chapel, Fort Myer, Arlington, Virginia. His duties include playing for funerals for all branches of the military for Arlington National Cemetery. After thirty years in California, most recently assisting at Stanford University, he has relocated to Arlington, VA. While at Wittenberg, Glen studied at the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule. His teachers have included Frederick Jackisch, Trudy Faber, Jan Bender, and Karl Hochreither. He pursued graduate studies at Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX) with organist Robert Anderson and harpsichordist Larry Palmer. email
Michael Gerberich (BM ’79) directs the symphonic band, orchestra, and jazz ensemble at Shawnee High School in Springfield, Ohio.
Sandra Gibson (BM, BME ’77) grew up in northwestern Ohio, with deeper roots in the West Indies. After attending Wittenberg, she received a master’s degree in historical musicology from Northwestern University and completed doctoral work at UCLA. Gibson began her work in arts presenting and cultural programming at the American Film Institute, where she held several senior-level programming and operational positions, managed a seven-acre, four-building campus with a $10.9 million budget, and ran the Independent Filmmaker and Distribution Program, an NEA re-granting program.
In 1990, Gibson was appointed Executive Director of the Public Corporation for the Arts (Long Beach Arts Council, California). She served as a consultant to the City of Long Beach for cultural affairs and the arts and helped the city create its first community cultural plan in 1993. While working in Long Beach, Gibson took an interest in state arts advocacy and was appointed to the advisory boards of the California Arts Council and the National Association of Local Arts Agencies. Next, she joined the newly formed Americans for the Arts, as its Executive Vice President and CEO. Her responsibilities included strategic planning; program and resource development; human, technological, and financial systems; and external relations.
In 2000 Gibson was appointed President and CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, which joined with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in 2001 to sponsor the first nationwide survey of the performing arts. To promote global arts exchange, Arts Presenters joined with Cultural Contact (US-Mexico Fund for Culture) to form the Gateway to the Americas Initiative, which works to create new opportunities for integrating Latin America into the promotion and expansion of the performing arts in the international arena. Art Presenters also works closely with the National Music Partnership (a collaboration with seven of Arts Presenters’ sister organizations that strives to connect music to all people by building stronger musical institutions and presenters, by creating an infrastructure of guidance and support for its constituency) and the Performing Arts Research Coalition (a collaborative project of five national arts service organizations to improve and coordinate the way performing arts organizations gather information; funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts). Gibson and husband, Steve Bittle, live in Maryland with their two sons, Geoffrey and Austin.
Carolyn Gross Gracy (BM ’75) retired from Springfield City (Ohio) Schools in May 2014. She is organist/pianist for the First United Methodist Church in New Carlisle, Ohio. She is married to Dail William Gracy. They have four married daughters and eight grandchildren. email
Elsa Hahn (BME ’73) recently retired after teaching music for over 20 years at Franklin School, an elementary school in Westfield, New Jersey. email
Daniel Hannemann (MSM ’76) studied organ with Frederick Jackisch and harpsichord with Trudy Faber. He was surprised years later to learn that, although most grad students did study harpsichord with her, he was the only one who gave a full recital of its music, which turned out to be in the same semester as his full organ recital, as well as accompanying the full opera “Die Fledermaus” on piano. (Well, why not? Career in music, here we come!) His first three-year stint as music director was at First English Lutheran in Lockport, New York, followed by 27 years at Emmanuel Lutheran, Lincolnton, North Carolina, involving much teaching, accompanying, performing on piano and harpsichord, and filling in all 48 lower states in the travel department. The last ten years have brought a change of pace and position at Grace Lutheran Church, Winchester, Virginia, and an extension of foreign travel to now 37 countries and near-retirement. Concert opportunities at the large Shenandoah Conservatory there have been brilliant and broadening, and the area beautiful.
Lisa Hanson (BME ’77) earned a master’s degree at Cleveland State University and DMA at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She has adjudicated for the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA), served as clinician in Cleveland-area festivals, was president of OMEA District 4 (2005-2007), and served on the OMEA Board of Trustees as editor of TRIAD (2009-2011). At Lakewood High School (Lakewood, Ohio), her Symphonic Mixed Choir has consistently received the highest ratings possible (I) in the most difficult entry class (AA) at the State OMEA Large Group Adjudicated Event. They have been invited to a variety of festivals and have performed nationally, most recently in Chicago and in old town Williamsburg, Virginia, at Bruton Parish. The Lakewood High School Chamber Choir and Vive L’Four (a men’s quartet), both under Hanson’s direction, performed in the rotunda of the Ohio State Capitol Building at the swearing-in ceremony for Governor Ted Strickland in January 2007. Lakewood High School’s Symphonic Mixed Choir was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall (May, 2007). Lisa was given the 2012 Outstanding Music Educator Award by OMEA (Ohio Music Education Association). She retired from her public school career in 2012 and now directs a choir at Case Western Reserve University and teaches a class for the master’s in music education degree at Kent State University. email
Bruce M. Harrover (BM ’75) received a master’s degree in piano performance at Rice University in 1989. He has studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Fontainebleau, France, and has studied privately with Nadia Boulanger and Gaby Casadesus. Bruce teaches privately in Houston, Texas, at the Downtown Piano Studio. email
Laurie Hartzel Haller (BM ’76) served as director of music at Stratford United Methodist Church in Stratford, Connecticut, from 1976 to 1981 while she earned master of music and master of divinity degrees at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music / School of Music and Yale Divinity School. Rev. Haller subsequently served as a pastor at United Methodist churches in Michigan: Ogdensburg UMC, Ludington UMC, Hart UMC, First UMC, Grand Rapids (co-pastor with husband Gary), Aldersgate/Plainfield UMCs, and First UMC in Birmingham (co-pastor with husband Gary). She was also a district superintendent for six years. In 2016 Haller was elected to be a bishop in The United Methodist Church from the North Central Jurisdiction. Bishop Haller is currently serving as the episcopal leader of the state of Iowa.
Keith Herrmann (BM ’73) is the composer of the Broadway musical Romance/Romance, for which he received a Tony nomination and won an Outer Critics Circle Award. The show, which received a total of five Tony nominations (including Best Musical Score and Best Show) has been produced at London’s West End (at the Gielgud Theatre), and in Australia and Japan. Keith has served as composer, vocal arranger, and musical supervisor of Onward Victoria, which ran both on and Off-Broadway, and for the cult favorite Prom Queens Unchained!. He was the first pianist of Broadway’s Cats and performed on its Grammy Award winning cast album as both pianist and synthesist, later becoming its conductor as well. Other credits include work as conductor for Whoopee!, conductor and keyboardist for The Magic Show, and musical supervisor of Censored Scenes from King Kong. Keith scored the ABC-TV After School Special Taking a Stand, which resulted in an Emmy Award for its creators, and Romance/Romance for A&E (the Arts and Entertainment Network), for which he received a Telly Award. He is represented on the Tri-Star animated holiday video Buster and Chauncey’s Silent Night.
At Wittenberg he tried out his early composing efforts with the Jazz Ensemble and with Catharsis (a rock band made up of fellow music students). As a performer, Keith has played for such notables as Joel Grey, Betty Buckley, Nell Carter, Andrea McArdle, and many others, including Wittenberg stars Catherine Cox and Jane Seaman, at Wittenberg’s Rathskeller and in New York City. Keith is still chasing his dream of writing a colossal Broadway hit, which could generate millions for years to come! Herrmann’s new musical Suspect enjoyed a sold-out run at the New York International Fringe Festival and his Lucky Lindy, a new musical about the aviator hero Charles Lindbergh, has just been optioned by the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia for inclusion in its 2008 season. email
Edie Hockspeier (MSM ’78) is organist and choir director at Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Jacksonville, Georgia. email
Carol Holck (BM ’77) is director of worship and music ministry at Triumphant Love Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas.
Joan Holder McConnell (BM ’78) is an instructor of piano and organ, as well as staff accompanist, at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. She is organist and music coordinator at Tiffin’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Joan is married to Doug McConnell (BA in Music ’76).
Pam Hootman-Glazier (BME ’79) spent the first half of her 31 years in music education in Hartville, Ohio, and the last half teaching in Granville, Ohio. She retired 2011. Pam has played for many musicals throughout her career and still enjoys doing so. She lives in Columbus with her husband and dogs. email
Bonnie Hurnyak Brenner (BM ’70) is an elementary music teacher in the Simsbury Public School District in Connecticut. email
Jill Janda Kanner (BME ’71) recently retired as music teacher and department chair for Beachwood (Ohio) City Schools. email
Laura Johe Grodrian (BM ’77) teaches piano at Spring Valley Academy in Centerville, Ohio. email
Brian Johnson (BM ’70 and MSM ’71) has been an organist at Broad Street United Methodist Church (Columbus, Ohio) since 1992. He earned a specialist diploma in Orff-Schulwerk at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria, and completed Kodály certification at Capital University. In addition he earned a graduate degree in school administration at the University of Dayton. Brian is a past-chairman of Area V of The American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (AGEHR). His original composition A Simple Celebration has been rung as part of the national young ringers festival. He has been actively involved in handbells for over thirty years and was a member of the twenty-fifth anniversary AGEHR choir. In addition to serving Broad Street United Methodist Church as organist and handbell director, Brian teaches elementary music in the Columbus Public schools. email
James H. Johnson (BM ’73, MSM ’74) recently concluded 35 years of full-time parish ministry to accept two new jobs: Executive director of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and adjunct instructor for liturgical ministries at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina.
Marsha Johnson Weiss (BM ’75) earned master’s degrees in music at both the New England Conservatory and Lesley University. She teaches in the Chelsea Community Schools and is a music therapist at New England Baptist Hospital in Boston.
Steven Jones (BM ’79) teaches music at Whitaker Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Nancy Keller Delaney (BM ’78, MSM ’80) is organist and director of music at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Roanoke, Virginia. email
Karen Kester Areheart (BM ’79) received a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Columbia College and a master’s degree in piano performance from the University of South Carolina. While at Wittenberg she sang under Dr. Donald Busarow in the Bach Choir and accompanied Opera Workshop under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Scheffel. Karen was faculty/staff accompanist at Columbia College (1986-2005) and accompanist for Sandlapper Singers, a semi-professional choral group (1996-2014), both in Columbia, South Carolina. She served several area Lutheran churches in Columbia as organist and/or director of music ministries. Karen was cantor at Lutheran Church of the Nativity in Arden, North Carolina, from 2005 to 2016, where she coordinated a 12-choir program that included adult, youth, children, handbell and chime choirs, as well as brass and instrumental ensembles. Karen is now Director of Music at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she has served since August of 2017. She is the accompanist for the Williamsburg Choral Guild and serves as rehearsal pianist for the Williamsburg Women’s Chorus. She teaches piano at Walsingham Academy. She is also an Augsburg Fortress resource associate. email
Karen Kline Ginsburg (BM ’75) sings in the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, which frequently performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops. email
Mary Beth Krupinski McFall (BM ’76) is accompanist for the Choral Art Society of New Jersey and both pianist and music director for Westfield Community Players (New Jersey).
Patti Lamkin Duthie (BA in Music ’74) teaches piano in Portland, Oregon. email
Heather Langdon Carlson (BM ’76) earned a earned a master’s degree in music education at Edinboro University (Edinboro, Penn.) in 1981, and taught music grades K-6 for five years. She joined Mary Kay Cosmetics in 1985 and retired in 2019 as a Mary Kay National Director. Heather writes: “I have so many fond memories: the Wittenberg Choir under the direction of John Williams, and studying with Dr. Orcenith Smith. My husband, Larry, and I live in Stow, Ohio. We have three grown children, all married, and seven grandchildren. I am still very active in singing in the church choir and doing solo work.” email
Brian R. Larson (BME ’78) and Barbara Kaufmann Larson (BM ’78, MSM ’80) live in Port Orange, Florida. Brian is Cantor at Trinity Lutheran Church in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Barbara is a collaborative pianist in the School of Music at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, and both assistant director of music and organist at Ormond Beach Presbyterian Church, Ormond Beach, Florida. email
Jimrae Kelsee Lenser (MSM ’78) is organist and Director of Music at St. Mary’s-In-Tuxedo Episcopal Church, in Tuxedo Park, New York. email
David Liles (MSM ’74) received a bachelor’s degree in church music and voice at Trevecca Nazarene Universitybefore attending Wittenberg and a DMA in voice performance from Ohio State after Wittenberg. Dr. Liles has taught in public schools (in Ludlow, Kentucky) and at the Stamps-Baxter School of Gospel Music during their summer programs. Since 1969, he has served as minister of music in Ohio and Kentucky. He is currently Director of Chancel Choir and Resounding Bells at First United Methodist Church in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. Liles is on the faculty of Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, where (as of 2006) he has taught for 30 years. He writes: “My years at Wittenberg were life changing, especially the time I spent with Orcenith Smith and being in Wittenberg Choir, under John Williams.”
Peggy Lockman Sanders (BME ’73) is minister of music at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Laura, Ohio.
Doug McConnell (BA in Music ’76) is a professor of theory/composition and chair of the department of music at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. He has also taught at Mississippi State University, St. Mary’s College, and the University of Dayton. His compositions have been performed throughout the U.S. and internationally, including Canada, England, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Russia. In the United States, Doug’s commissioned works have been premiered by the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus, Indianapolis Symphony and Chorus, and Dayton Bach Society, as well as a number of college faculty artists and ensembles. Dr. McConnell has written for a variety of performing mediums, but he especially enjoys writing for voices; his work in this area includes a variety of works for chorus. He has also composed several song cycles, including Langston’s Lot, a song cycle for tenor voice, alto saxophone, and piano based on the poetry of Langston Hughes. McConnell has composed for the theater as well: incidental music for several plays and two operatic works, including his most extended composition, Lily, a ninety-minute opera based on a short story by Walter Wangerin.
Doug has been the recipient of several teaching honors, including a Faculty Achievement Award for Undergraduate Teaching from the Mississippi State Alumni Association and a Grisham Faculty Achievement Award. He won the Composition Prize awarded by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters in recognition of his chamber composition Songs of the Beloved. Most recently, he was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Roger Wagner Choral Composition Competition for his choral piece, Look to this Day!, which was recently published by Gentry Press. The Ohio Music Teachers Association chose Doug as their Ohio Composer of the Year for 2006. For this honor, Doug was commissioned to compose a new work; he composed a piano trio which then received its premiere at OMTA’s 2006 state convention in Columbus. Doug has enjoyed artist residencies at several institutions in the past, including the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Millay Colony for the Arts. He is most grateful to be professionally employed as a musician and teacher some thirty years after his graduation from Wittenberg. His biggest regret: “there is never enough quality time to compose, especially since I went into administration!” His primary joys: “premieres of new compositions (when I can squeeze them in) and my wonderful family.” His wife, Joan Holder McConnell (BM ’78) works with Doug on the music faculty at Heidelberg, teaching organ, music theory and aural training. Joan and Doug have two teenage daughters, Rachel and Susan. email
Mary McPherson Morgan (BME ’78) teaches music at Wells Cathedral School in Wells, Somerset, United Kingdom (southwest of England).
Jane Miley Elliott (BME ’71) is Director of Music Ministries for Youth and Young Adults at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. In addition to Wittenberg, she received degrees at Virginia Intermont College, Berliner Kirchenmusikschule, and Lutheran Theological Seminary Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Bette Melhorn (BM ’75) is owner of Capistrano Valley Yamaha Music School in San Juan Capistrano, California.
Suzanne Meyers Sawa (BM ’72, BA in History ’72) is assistant music librarian at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. She coordinates reference and interlibrary loan services, and provides bibliographic instruction in library use. Her principal area of research is women in Arabic music, from medieval to modern times. She is currently preparing a translation of medieval accounts of the lives of four Arab women musicians of the late 7th and early 8th centuries, as well as articles for the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Her publications include “The Role of Women in Musical Life: The Medieval Arabo-Islamic Courts” in Canadian Women’s Studies (Les cahier de la femme) and “The Odyssey of Dahlia Obadia: Morocco, Israel, Canada” in The Canadian Folk Music Journal, reprinted in Canadian Music: Issues of Hegemony and Identity. As a percussionist and vocalist with the Traditional Arabic Ensembles since 1979, she has given numerous concerts and workshops, and made appearances at folk festivals all over North America. Suzanne earned master’s degrees in both musicology and library science from the University of Toronto. She has studied classical Arabic at the University of Toronto and Arabic percussion in Egypt. email
Mary Miller Johnston (BM ’79) was appointed to the Superior Court of Delaware in 2003. She received a master’s degree in music at Northwestern University and J.D. (cum laude) at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Judge Johnston is past chair of the Delaware State Bar Association’s Women and the Law Section, a recipient of the Bar Association’s Women’s Leadership Award, and was a member of the Pro Se Litigation Assistance Committee. She is a member of the Delaware Supreme Court’s Permanent Advisory Committee on the Delaware Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct and the Court’s Professionalism Committee. Judge Johnston serves as a member of the Washington and Lee School of Law Council. She is past president of the Board of Children & Families First. email
Gary Mills (BM ’77) holds an associate of arts degree in linguistics from San Marcos University (Lima, Peru), a master of divinity degree from Luther Theological Seminary (St. Paul, Minnesota), and a doctor of theology degree from the University of Chicago (Illinois). He has served Lutheran parishes in Chicago and New York City, and most recently served for 16 years as executive assistant to the bishop (and chief of staff) of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He has also worked extensively on behalf of the Lutheran church in Africa and Latin America. Pastor Mills retired in August 2019 and continues to live in New York City. email
Lorenz (Larry) Minth (BME ’72), a bass-baritone, is an active opera singer in Germany. His repertoire includes major roles in operas by Beethoven, Berlioz, Bizet, Britten, Glass, Hindemith, Puccini, Rossini, Roussel, Schoenberg, Richard Strauss, and Wagner. He has performed throughout western Europe (France, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain), but especially in Germany: in Bern (Stadttheater), Braunschweig, Bremen, Dortmund (Theater Dortmund), Freiburg (Städtische Buhnen), Hannover (Niedersächsische Staatsoper), and Ludwigshafen. As an opera soloist, he has recorded three CDs: Richard Strauss’s Capriccio (Orfeo D’or, 1999; with the Vienna Philharmonic), Gerhard Rosenfeld’s Kniefall in Warschau (Thorofon, 2000), and works by Kurt Weill and Hindemith (Capriccio, 1995). Lorenz studied at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music after attending Wittenberg.
Melissa Sharp Moon (BA in Music ’79) writes: “In 2016, I ended my career as a music therapist after working for Broome Developmental Center (Binghamton, New York) for 32 years. A most rewarding career which I dearly loved. In those years, I learned about the power of music and the benefits it can provide to all people, not just those with disabilities.” email
Ann Moreland Badertscher (BME ’77) is director of music at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Garden Grove, California.
Marcia Morton (MSM ’77) is registrar at Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. She also serves as organist for First Presbyterian Church in the same town. email
Rebecca Mudd Lewis (BM ’76) is an MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in piano. She holds a master’s degree in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University and has taught a variety of music courses at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She is a board member of the Pittsburgh Piano Teacher Association and, as the former Pennsylvania Music Teacher Association Chair for Arts Awareness and Advocacy, she lectures and writes on the benefits of music study. Rebecca frequently adjudicates piano festivals and competitions, has published in Keyboard Companion and American Music Teacher, and reviews educational music software for Alfred Publishing. Rebecca became a board-certified music therapist in August 2013 after earning a BM in music therapy at Slippery Rock University (Pa.). She is owner of Whole Life Music Therapy, a music therapy contract business in Pittsburgh. In addition, Rebecca continues to operate an independent piano studio and to serve as church music director for Mt. Nebo United Presbyterian Church, in Sewickley, Pa. email
Ann Myers Snyder (BME ’79) teaches music in the Kettering City School District, Ohio. email
Yasuko Nakayama (MSM ’70) lives in Japan where she does intensive volunteer work in church music for the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church, at both the district and national level. She worked to revise the Lutheran Hymn Book in Japan in 2000 and made a Karaoke CD-ROM of all 502 hymns that includes all of the hymn texts in Japanese. She is a member of the Japan Hymn Society and a member of the working committee to represent the Lutherans, an interdenominational society that includes the Japanese Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church, Cumberland, United Church of Christ, and others. She is the lead committee member of the “Lyra Precaria” of Japan, dealing with music and thanatology (matters dealing with dying, death, and grief). Yasuko has been involved in a program, new in 2006, to train students in a manner holding to the Christian faith to serve people who are suffering from a terminal disease in Japan’s non-Christian society. In addition, Yasuko has (for more than ten years) made monthly musical (singing) visits to a Lutheran senior citizen’s home. Yasuko sings a great variety of music, from classic to pops, sacred to secular. For nearly 20 years, she has served as an interpreter to many conductors, singers, and artists from overseas to perform Handel’s Messiah, in order to raise funds to help the Japan Volunteer Center assist citizens of developing countries. Yasuko Nakayama serves as an organist and choir director of the Japan Evangelical Musashino Lutheran Church, Tokyo. She is married, with three children and three grandchildren. A piano student of Yasuko, Kaoru Hoshino, recently graduated from Wittenberg. email
Anne Nispel (BM ’79) Anne Nispel is visiting assistant professor of voice at Michigan State University. She has performed more than thirty opera roles, including Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Despina in Così fan tutte, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, and Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore. In a review of her New York recital debut, The New York Times wrote, “Ms. Nispel has a clear, attractive timbre, ample power and a good command of languages. She also has a fine sense of style. In her opening group of Purcell songs and Handel arias, she sang with the crisp articulation and careful shading modern performances of Baroque music require. [Her singing] had a charged, dramatic quality, and the soprano brought a silky sensuousness to Poulenc’s ‘La courte paille’.” Anne has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Alabama Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Lansing Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, New England Symphonic Ensemble, Pennsylvania Festival Orchestra, and Virginia Symphony. She has performed more than thirty leading roles with opera companies throughout the U.S., including the Kentucky Opera, Virginia Opera, Mississippi Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Portland Opera, Kansas City Lyric Opera, Cleveland Opera, Opera Company of Mid-Michigan, Chattanooga Opera, Dayton Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Toledo Opera. Anne made her Canadian debut with a series of concerts at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec. In conjunction with baritone Harlan Jennings, Anne has released a CD of American Art Songs entitled Crosslights of American Song. email
Ruth Nussbaum-Borden (BM ’72) has been teaching pianists of all ages for over 40 years—at Wittenberg University, at the New England Conservatory, and currently in her North Asheville, North Carolina, studio. She annually chairs the North Carolina Music Teachers Association District I Piano Contest/Festival for Music Teachers National Association members. She enjoys both solo and collaborative coaching and performing. Ruth’s teachers have included Janet Lehman, Sara Estrada Fletcher, Robert Howat, William Walters, Robert Wynne, and Gabriel Chodos. email
Susan Nussbaum Lisle (BM ’76) is the music associate for the First United Methodist Church in Gastonia, NC, where she is accompanist for the chancel choir, contemporary choir, and youth choir. She also leads one elementary choir and one youth handbell choir. Susan is the music director for the local community theater and drama director at Gastonia’s First Church.
Mary Kay Olson Lake (BM ’72), soprano, is Director of Opera Workshop and assistant professor of voice at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She did graduate work at Northwestern University and earned a master’s degree at Ohio State. Her voice teachers and coaches have included Richard Alderson, Paul Hickfang, Helen Swank, Barbara Corbin, and Walter Foster. Her operatic training was with Michael Chang, John Gay, and Boris Goldovsky. Mary Kay is an active recitalist and soloist, and she performs opera and musical theater roles in regional and university opera theaters. She has sung with the Cecilian Singers, the Tuesday Musical Club Women’s Chorus, and the Huntsville Bach Choir. Lake has performed as guest soloist with the SHSU Chorale (at the 2006 Texas Music Educators Association Convention), the SHSU Wind Quintet (at the 2005 International Flute Convention), the Houston Masterworks Chorus, and the Brazos Symphony Orchestra. Prior to teaching at Sam Houston State, Mary Kay taught at Ohio State and North Harris College. In addition to her teaching duties, she has served as music director and pianist/organist for several churches in the Woodlands, Texas, area.
Robert C. Oster (BME ’74), founder of the 120-voice Lakewood (Michigan) Area Choral Society, is in his 30th year as artistic director and conductor. Bob began his teaching and conducting career in 1974 in Lakewood Public Schools in Lake Odessa, Michigan. He founded the Choral Society in January of 1986. Bob retired from public school teaching in 2009 after completing his 35th year of teaching grades 7-12 choral music in the public schools—26 years at Lakewood and 9 years at Jenison Junior and Senior High Schools in Jenison, Michigan. From 1999 to 2007, Bob served the Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) on the executive board of directors in charge of state events. He is currently active as an adjudicator, guest conductor, and clinician throughout Michigan and was invited to be an adjudicator for the Canadian UNIFEST in 2000 and 2005. He was elected to conduct state honors choirs in 1987 (high school SATB), 1996 (junior high and middle school SATB), 2014 (high school TTBB), and was the recipient of MSVMA’s Carolyn Leep Scholarship in 1992. Bob was a finalist for Michigan Teacher of the Year in 1998, and the MSVMA honored him as their Teacher of the Year in 2004. In January 2010 the same state-wide organization awarded him life-time emeritus status. In addition to conducting the choral society, he maintains a small music studio, teaching voice, piano, and theory. In January 2015, Bob authored and published his first book, Singers, Zingers, and Humdingers: Choral Conductor Do’s and Don’ts, available through Schloss Publishing. Bob graduated from Greece Arcadia High School in Rochester, New York and he studied French horn and piano at the Eastman School of Music. His collegiate training includes a bachelor of music education degree in instrumental and vocal music at Wittenberg University, a master’s degree in music (choral emphasis) at Western Michigan University, and a doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting at Michigan State University. He resides in Hastings, Michigan, with his wonderful wife, Joanie. email
Paul Otte (MSM ’75) is Minister of Music at Peace Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, Minnesota, having previously served parishes in Ohio, Iowa, and Missouri. Paul has written for The Choral Journal, Cross Accents, and Creative Worship for the Lutheran Parish. His music has been published by Belwin-Mills, Augsburg-Fortress, and Concordia Publishing House. Paul has been active in the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians since its inception, directs the Crow River Singers, and serves on the board of the Crow River Area Youth Orchestra. He writes, “Wittenberg was very formative for my career in church music. Friendships and colleagues from those days continue to be major influences in my life and that of my family.”
Karen Page Sobol (BME ’74) taught music with the Toledo (Ohio) Public Schools for four years, including two years as Director of Choral Music at Start High School and two years teaching elementary music. Karen had a voice studio in her home for many years and sang solos for weddings and choral productions in the Toledo area until 1986. She was also director of the youth choir at Trinity Episcopal Church in Toledo during the 1980s. Karen stopped teaching music in the public schools in 1978 and pursued her second major, special education, receiving a master of education degree from the University of Toledo in 1980. She writes, “I was drawn to this field due to having a brother who was physically and mentally disabled.” She worked for the Maumee (Ohio) City Schools for the next 26 years as an intervention specialist and department head for special education. Karen retired from public education in 2003 and was hired by the University of Toledo to be an adjunct professor, to teach courses dealing with special education law and all specific disabilities, as well as to supervise student teachers. She worked in this capacity for nearly nine years, when she retired again (in August 2012) and moved to Savannah, Georgia, to be close to her family. She expects to teach at the college level again in Savannah. email
Jeffrey Pannebaker (MSM ’74) is Director of Music and Linda Haines Pannebaker (BM ’72, MSM ’74) is Director of Children’s Choirs, both at Saint Luke Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. Jeffrey received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Penn State and a master’s and Ph.D. (in historical musicology) from the University of Pittsburgh. His teachers have included June Miller, Frederick Jackisch, Trudy Faber, Jan Bender, and William Haller. Dr. Pannebaker served as Director of Music and Christian Education at First Lutheran Church in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from 1974 until 1988. He is an Associate in Ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, he served two terms as National Secretary-Treasurer and Chair of the 2005 Biennial Conference. He has presented workshops, organ recitals, and hymn festivals throughout the eastern United States. His doctoral dissertation, “Early Lutheran Music in America: The Hymnody of the General Synod,” examines the hymn repertory of the English-language Lutheran Churches that composed the General Synod in nineteenth-century America. In addition to her Wittenberg degrees, Linda Haines Pannebaker studied church music at the Kirchenmusikschule in Berlin, Germany. Her teachers have included Frederick Jackisch, Trudy Faber, Jan Bender, and Karl Hochreither. She served as Director of Music at First English Lutheran Church (Lockport, New York) from 1974 until 1976 and as Junior Choir Director at First Lutheran Church (Johnstown, Pennsylvania) from 1977 until 1988. She is an Associate in Ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In addition to directing the children’s choirs, she is a pre-school teacher and music resource person for the Saint Luke Christian Day School. Linda has led children’s choir workshops in several synods. The Pannebakers are parents of two children, Emily and Aaron.
Linda Parman (BME ’71) plays and teaches guitar in the Spokane, Washington, area.
Diane Parrott Archer (BME ’78) is minister of education and youth at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Durham, North Carolina.
Sanya Phillips Oldland (MSM ’70) is reference librarian at Elizabethville Library, part of the Dauphin County Library System, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Cynthia Pinnick Banaszak (BME ’76) is music director at J.I. Case High School in Racine, Wisconsin.
Lourin Plant (BME ’76) is an assistant professor at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, where he teaches conducting, choral literature, and studio voice. He has served as coordinator of the vocal division and conductor of the Rowan University Concert Choir and Chamber Choir. Ensembles under his direction have performed at regional music conferences, at the New Jersey State Legislature (four appearances), and at Carnegie Hall (three appearances). Plant earned a master’s degree and DMA in choral conducting at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He has served as Assistant Director of the Chicago Children’s Choir and has taught at Sinclair Community College (Ohio) and Humboldt State University (California). Dr. Plant is a member of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Marian Anderson Guild, American Choral Directors Association, and New Jersey Music Educators Association.
Dr. Plant performs regularly both as countertenor and baritone. He has performed with the Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, Philadelphia Classical Symphony, Voces Novae et Antiquae (Philadelphia), and Piffaro (a Renaissance band); in the touring ensembles of Michael Crawford, Barbra Streisand, and Russell Watson; and at the Cincinnati May Festival and Amherst Early Music Festival. He has performed in ensembles with the Opera Company of Philadelphia and with the Philadelphia Singers Chorale (at the Philadelphia Academy of Music). Dr. Plant’s presentations on African-American spirituals have been featured in state, regional, and international conferences, and his articles have appeared in the Journal of Singing (National Association of Teachers of Singing) and in the magazine Classical Singer. His conducting, Renaissance harp playing, and solo and choral singing are featured on the CD Magdalene and the Other Mary: Songs of Holy Women (Church Publishing, 2005). During a concert tour of Ukraine, Plant performed African-American spirituals at conservatories in Kharkiv, Poltava, and Sumy. email
Martin Porter (BME ’74) is the founding and current director of the Toledo (Ohio) School for the Arts. He earned a master’s degree in trumpet performance at Bowling Green State University. Before opening the Toledo School for the Arts in 1999, he was director of public events for the BGSU College of Musical Arts and, later, executive director of the Lima Area Arts Council. An active performer with the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Jazz orchestras, he has appeared with many noted artists as a freelance musician. He also has served on the boards of several area arts organizations, including the Toledo Jazz Society and Toledo Ballet Association.
Susan Potter Phillips (BME ’77) began her preparation for working in the field of music therapy began when she was still in college: She worked at Lutheran Memorial Camp (Fulton, Ohio), which included special-needs children in a regular camping program and later she encountered students in special education while doing student teaching. After two years teaching elementary music in Millersburg, Ohio, Sue went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas. (She followed Sally Smith Hough, BM ’78, who went there immediately after she graduated from Wittenberg, also to study music therapy. Melissa Sharp Moon, BME ’79, also attended SMU.) Sue completed a master of music therapy degree at SMU in 1985. (She took off a few years to get married and begin a family before writing her thesis.) Sue has worked as a music therapist in public schools, private practice, and private and public hospitals in the mental health field. She is currently working full-time at San Antonio State Hospital, providing music therapy in group and individual sessions to adolescents and adults in both short-term and long-term care. Sue has also been involved in a multi-site research study for several years, with adolescents and young adults who have cancer and are undergoing stem cell transplants. “Both music and non-music interventions are used in a treatment protocol. It’s a study that is based at Indiana University; Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio is one of six study locations across the country. This latter work is something that kind of fell into my lap several years ago: I was in the right place at the right time to become involved with it and it’s been a really neat experience, to be part of a research study that’s funded by both the National Institute of Health and the Children’s Oncology Group” Sue directs a five-octave handbell ensemble at Windcrest United Methodist Church, in San Antonio, Texas, where her husband is senior pastor. email
Jane Powell Moheyer (BME ’70) teaches music at McBroom Jr. High School and St. Marys Memorial High School, both in St. Marys, Ohio.
In November 2019, Joanna Pretz-Anderson (BM ’77) retired from public ministry as a Deacon in the ELCA. Her calls as director of music positions were at Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church 2001-2019 (Brecksville, Ohio) and First Lutheran Church 1983-2001 (Strongsville Ohio), organist at Bethany English Lutheran Church 1977-1983 (Cleveland, Ohio), and director of music and Christian education at Greene Street United Methodist Church (Piqua, Ohio). Joanna developed many groups to lead worship, including handbell choirs, children, youth, teen, and adult choirs, and instrumental groups to lead a variety of styles of assembly song (including a 12-piece brass choir in Strongsville). Highlights of her years working in worship and music were two organ installations: in 1989, a Berghaus Pipe Organ (2 manuals, 27 ranks) at the church in Strongsville and in 2011 a 1973 Schlicker pipe organ (2 manuals, 21 ranks) at the church in Brecksville. While at Wittenberg her key educators were Fred Jackisch, Trudy Faber, Jan Bender, and Donald Busarow. She earned a master’s degree in church music at Trinity Lutheran Seminary (Columbus, Ohio) in 2000. Joanna is a Deacon in the ELCA and an active member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. She lives in Ashtabula, Ohio, with her husband, Pastor David P. Anderson (M.Div., Hamma, ’77), who retired from active ministry in the ELCA in 2014. They were blessed to serve together in Strongsville for 14 years before Dave was called as assistant to Bishop Marcus Miller in the Northeastern Ohio Synod ELCA office. He finished his career back in parish ministry in Medina, Ohio. Their two daughters live in the Cleveland area: Meredith is an R.N. working in the Cancer Outpatient Clinic at Metro Hospital and Marikka is manager of legal affairs for the Cleveland Browns. They have one grandchild.
Robin Rausch (BM ’78) is a Music Specialist at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. A piano major at Wittenberg, she went on to earn graduate degrees in music history (Bowling Green State University, Ohio) and library science (University of Maryland, College Park). She is a contributing author to A Place for the Arts: the MacDowell Colony 1907-2007 (2007); American Women: A Library of Congress Guide for the Study of Women’s History and Culture in the United States (2001); and Music History from Primary Sources: A Guide to the Moldenhauer Archives (2000). From 2001 to 2002 she was a fellow in the Library of Congress Leadership Development Program. She served as Assistant Music Librarian of the Edinburgh City Library in Scotland during a one-year job exchange from 1996-1997. While living in Edinburgh she sang with both the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus. Robin has sung with the Choral Arts Society of Washington since 1991. email
Sherrill Renick Carr (BA in Music ’71) is organist and program director at Trinity-Sarasota United Methodist Church in Sarasota, Florida.
Timothy Reynolds (BME ’79) is Artistic Director of the Hilton Head Choral Society in South Carolina.
Steve Rich (BM ’77) received a master’s degree in music education in 1984 at the University of South Carolina. He is an active clarinetist and saxophonist, and he performs in many styles, including classical, pop, Dixieland, modern jazz, and big band. Steve has performed across much of the Midwest and Canada with the Buddy Young Orchestra and he has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, the Port Royal Sound Dixieland Jazz Band, Cheryl at Cheryl’s Le Cabaret, Terry Grant (“All That Jazz”), Fred Nimmer’s Swingtime Orchestra, the John Fox Orchestra, the John Bell Orchestra, and many other groups.
Sue Robinson Schneider (BME ’77) recently retired after 32 years teaching music in public schools. Sue started her career in Springfield (Ohio) Local following graduation from Wittenberg. After 2 years she moved back to her hometown of Rochester, New York, where she received a master’s in education from Nazareth College and taught for 30 years in Greece Central School District. Sue has taught all levels, K-12, both vocal and instrumental. Her final years of teaching were at the secondary level, where she conducted the symphonic and concert bands, jazz ensemble, and pit orchestra for musicals, and taught music theory. In 2012 Sue was the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Music Educator Award Winner in instrumental music. In the past Sue has directed her church choir and served as pianist/director for the worship team. Following retirement, she and her husband Steve relocated to Ephrata, Pa. to be near their children and grandchildren. email
Debra Sasse Jones (BM ’77, MSM ’79) is responsible for all worship and musical programs at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Cincinnati. She has Orff level I and II certification from Bowling Green State University. email
Robert Schultz (BME ’76) is superintendent of Tipton Community Schools in Tipton, Indiana.
Rae Ann Sitler Anderson (BM ’79) directs the children’s choir at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Lynn Sloan Steger (BME ’77) teaches music at Frontier Central School in Hamburg, New York.
Sally Smith Hough (BM ’78) is president of Kindermusik in Columbus, Ohio. email
Karen Snyder Brown (BM ’71) is director of music ministries at First Lutheran Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. She pursued further training in music in Berlin, Germany, and received a MSM degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Sue Stancu (BM ’72) is music librarian at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. email
Michael Sutcliffe (BME ’72) is principal at Peter Cooper Elementary School in Ringwood, New Jersey. email
Dianne Tingen Silliman (BA in Music ’74) teaches piano in her home, in Upper Arlington, Ohio. email
Dale and Twila Rider (MSM ’73): Dale initially pursued study at Wittenberg for coaching in composition with Prof. Jan Bender. Dale and Twila Rider were assigned housing as backdoor neighbors of Jan and Charlotte Bender and enjoyed teasing “The Professors” after getting him to admit to what they saw him do several mornings in the fall: Jan picked up and counted 1,000 beautiful fall leaves (all before breakfast) and then completed his morning routine of composing a minimum of 10 measures of music before taking a jaunt to the School of Music for lessons or classes. Dale served Dr. Frederick Jackisch as Graduate Teaching Assistant and was Chapel Organist from 1971 to 1973. Both Dale and Twila studied with Prof. John Williams (choral conducting) and with Dr. William Walters and Elmer Blackmer (graduate research and numerous courses on church music). And they greatly enjoyed studying voice with the ever-popular Aurora Smith (who, because of her education at Union Theological Seminary, brought her students into the teacher-student lineage of Dr. Clarence Dickinson, whom she served as graduate teaching assistant in New York City).
The Riders share many fond memories of very special Witt faculty, students, and events. Dale cherishes the memory of being asked to work with and accompany vocal music chair Dr. Orcenith Smith in two off-campus concerts and being mentored in music publishing by Rev. Dr. Frederick and Georgia Otto at Chantry Music Press. This association led to the Riders’ apprenticeship at Henniger Music Engraving Studio in Wiesbaden, West Germany (during the summer of 1974) and the establishment of Rider Music Graphics and White Harvest Music Publications. Subsequent engraving work included projects for Augsburg-Fortress, Chantry, Concordia, Broude Brothers, White Harvest, and Herald House (publishing division of the RLDS/Community of Christ denomination for which they engraved the 1981 volume Hymns of the Saints). Both Dale and Twila have combined work for schools and universities with church music posts (as organists and choir directors with combined positions in ELCA, Episcopal, American Baptist, Disciple of Christ and RLDS churches). For many years, the Riders were members of the Board of Directors of the Independence Concert Series which hosted Prof. Trudy Faber in a wonderfully performed concert of harpsichord and organ music at the Community of Christ Temple in Independence, Missouri. Dale and Twila have served as volunteer staff organists for more than twenty years at RLDS/Community of Christ world headquarters, presenting half-hour demo organ recitals and playing for worship services at The Temple and The Auditorium (The auditorium’s 5,800-seat Conference Chamber is home to the 114-rank Æolian-Skinner pipe organ installed in 1959, which was the voice for 37 consecutive years of the radio broadcast “The Auditorium Organ.”) The Riders have two daughters, both of whom love and make music: Anna Elizabeth (very active in musical theater and ballet) and Tiffany Noel (a publication design specialist). email Twila
Constance Rhyne (BM ’74) received a master of music in opera at Florida State University in 1975 and joined the faculty of Queens University in 1984, where she has taught voice, directed the opera theatre, and taught general education (cultural appreciation) and honors courses, as well as voice-related courses. Connie has also taught as an adjunct at Davidson College, where she founded the opera workshop. She has performed and directed throughout the North Carolina area with organizations including Opera Carolina. She has been a member of NATS, MTNA and NCMTA. Connie has two sons, Tyler Bray, 24, who graduated from Duke University and Eric Bray, who is majoring in theater at Wake Forest University. She is very proud of them both and considers them her greatest accomplishments. email
Caroline Sargent (BM ’72), a soprano, continued her vocal and dramatic studies at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She has been a singing member and soloist of Schola Cantorum on Hudson, a highly acclaimed choral ensemble in the New York metropolitan area. In addition, she served as a member of Schola Cantorum’s board of directors for many years, leading its development efforts and serving most recently as its Vice Chair. This 35-member ensemble toured Austria and the Czech Republic in August 2008, performing the European premiere of American composer Randall Svane’s Mass at Salzburg Cathedral in Austria. Now in its 14th season, the group performs regularly at the Actors’ Chapel in mid-town Manhattan and at venues throughout New Jersey. Schola performed Video Games Live! with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in December 2008 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Carol Sargent also sings in the Schola Sings Solo annual series. An active church musician, Carol sings with the choir of First Presbyterian Church (Ramsey, New Jersey) and, for many years, has sung as a section leader, soloist, and substitute for Episcopal and Catholic churches in New Jersey and New York. A student of Dr. Deborah Simpkin King, Carol won first place in the Upper Adult Division of the 2002 New Jersey Festival of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She is Director of Advancement at Far Brook School (Short Hills, New Jersey) and has worked as a fundraising consultant with Ruotolo Associates, a major U.S. firm devoted to fundraising and public relations for nonprofit organizations. email
Jane Scharding Smedley (MSM ’76) has been Organist-Choirmaster since 1980 at St. Peter Catholic Church, the oldest Catholic church in Memphis, Tennessee. The church has a 1923 Casavant pipe organ with four manuals and 34 ranks, as well as a four-rank portative chapel organ. A former dean of the Memphis chapter of AGO (American Guild of Organists), Jane now serves as the chapter’s Placement Coordinator and chair of the Scholarship Committee. She holds the CAGO (Colleague) and ChM (Choir Master) certificates from AGO. In 1992, Jane was named Member of the Year by the Director of Music Ministries Division of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, the organization for musicians serving in the Catholic Church. Jane is married to Dr. Bruce Smedley, a musicologist and choral conductor. Both serve on the Board of Directors of the Sewanee Church Music Conference. email
John F. Schuder (BM ’70) received a master of sacred music degree at Union Theological Seminary in 1972 and a DMA at the Juilliard School in 1978. He has served as Minister of Music of the Scarsdale Congregational Church since 1972 and he also serves as Director of Music of The Interchurch Center in New York City, where he administers a Wednesday Noonday Concert Series, directs the Interchurch Center Chorus, and plays for major services. In addition, he is organist at Congregation Rodeph Sholom, also in New York City. From 1982 to 1997, Schuder was on the organ faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. email
Jane Seaman (BA in Music ’72) received a professional diploma in voice and opera at the Juilliard School. She teaches voice in the Theatre Arts Department at Marymount Manhattan College. In fall 2006, she taught in the Department of Drama, Theatre, and Dance at Queens College, teaching their Musical Theatre Workshop and she has taught at LaGuardia High School as director of Opera Workshop. Jane has taught for the Collaborative Arts Project 21 in Manhattan, at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, for the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s “Creating Original Opera’s program,” and she continues to teach private vocal technique at Jane Seaman’s International Voice Studio. Michael Feingold (in The Village Voice) wrote, “The best performance [in Street Scene] is by Jane Seaman, as the frustrated heroine: Here is a performer whose singing is never an excuse to stop acting for a moment, and whose acting is never a cover for musical inferiority.” Jane is a member of the New York Singing Teachers’ Association, Actors’ Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and United Federation of Teachers. email
Karie Schroer Templeton (BME ’76) earned a master’s degree in music at Ithaca College and has done additional graduate study at the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester). She is instructor for middle school choral and musical theater programs at Pittsford Middle School, choral instructor for Music Horizons, and teaches at the Eastman Community Music School. Karie has been active with the Eastman Children’s Chorus, Eastman Youth Chamber Singers, and Eastman Children’s Choir Camp. email
Mary Sherburne (BM ’70) has studied in Germany with Wilhelm Ehmann and took the exam for church music and performed her organ graduate recital at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen. From 1976 until 1980 she was cantor in the Bayenthal district of Cologne. Since 1980 she has held this position at the Erlöserkirche in Lüdenscheid. Since 1981 she has been district cantor for the Lüdenscheid church district and since 2000 she has been district cantor for the Lüdenscheid-Plettenberg district. In addition, Mary is employed as a choir music consultant for the regional churches of Westphalia, the Rhineland, and Hannover, as well as the Internationaler Arbeitskreis für Musik. As a conductor, she has performed with the Hilliard Ensemble, the German Bach Soloists, Hans-Peter Blochwitz, Andreas Schmidt, and Klaus Mertens, among others.
Kathleen Siegfried Yenter (BM ’73) teaches voice at her own music studio in La Mesa, California.
Linda Siegfried McClarren (MSM ’71) received a BME from Mt. Union, Alliance, Ohio. She retired after 35 years as an elementary music teacher at West Branch School in Beloit, Ohio. She is organist and director of music at Kountz Memorial Lutheran Church in Louisville, Ohio. email
James (Jamie) Snell (BME ’79) holds master’s degrees in both music and in music education and has done post-graduate work in arts management and arts education. Jamie joined the faculty of Orange City Schools in Pepper Pike, Ohio, in 1984 and has served as department chair since 1987. As director of choirs, he leads seven choirs at Brady Middle School and Orange High School. Under his direction, choral groups from Orange have been invited to perform at numerous locations and events throughout Ohio. In addition to many local performances, Orange choirs have performed in Chicago (Daley Center and DePaul University) New York City (Lincoln Center), Virginia (Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens), Florida (Walt Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens, and Universal Studios), and in the Bahamas (Princess Hotels). Jamie is also the director of the Chancel Choir at Garfield Memorial United Methodist Church. As introits, anthems, and solos, Jamie’s original compositions and choral arrangements are staples at the services of Garfield. A performing musician for more than thirty-five years, Jamie Snell has sung with many choral groups across the United States and Europe, most notably Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, Robert Shaw in the Carnegie Hall Masters Series, and Robert Page and Robert Porco with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. He was selected as one of the 100 singers from across the country to sing in a choir created to perform at Carnegie Hall to kick off the Hall’s centennial celebration. Jamie is listed in Who’s Who of America and Who’s Who of American Teachers. Locally, Jamie has won recognition from area news agencies and service organizations. He is married to Nancy Hudson Snell (BM ’80).
Philip Spencer (BM ’75) is professor of music and director of choral and vocal music at Joliet Junior College, where he conducts two choral ensembles and teaches applied voice, class voice, and world music. Prior to this appointment, he was chair of the music department at Grand View College (an ELCA school), in Des Moines and a full-time church musician in several Ohio, Minnesota, and Illinois congregations. Mr. Spencer is founding conductor emeritus of the Edina Chorale, one of the Minneapolis area’s finest community-based choral ensembles. Spencer completed an academic year of music study in Berlin, Germany, while a student at Wittenberg, earned a master of music degree at the Yale University School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, and has done doctoral work in choral conducting and pedagogy at the University of Iowa. In addition to his college teaching, Spencer is founder and conductor of Lutheran Youth Choir International (a select touring ensemble of high school singers from throughout the United States and Germany) and he is founder and artistic director of the biennial Festival of American Vocal Music at Mansfeld Castle in Mansfeld, Germany. As a composer, Spencer was named winner of the 2014 Illinois American Choral Directors Association choral composition contest, was awarded first prize in the Roger Wagner International choral composition contest at the University of Southern California, and was a finalist in the Ithaca College choral composition contest. He serves on the executive board of the American Choral Directors Association Central Division as the chairperson representing over 200 two-year colleges in a four-state area. In 2011, Phil received the twenty-fourth annual St. Genesius Award from Lewis University “for extraordinary achievement in choral music and music education.” He is married to Pamela Gunsaullus Spencer (BA ’75) and lives in Naperville, Illinois.
Peter Steinmetz (BA in Music ’76) has been choir director at Stratford High School in Houston, Texas, since the mid 1990’s. Members of the choir recently performed on the World War II battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, presenting a patriotic program. Steinmetz earned a Texas Teaching Certificate at the University of Houston and a master’s degree (applied voice) at Michigan State University.
Ruth Heidmann Stoltzfus (BM ’71) is Program Coordinator at the School of Music of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned a master’s degree in music at the University of Iowa and did post-graduate work at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik (in Detmold, Germany) and at Yale University. email
Royce Stroup Hubert (BM ’74, MSM ’75) studied organ with Elmer Blackmer and Frederick Jackisch, composition with Jan Bender, and harpsichord with Trudy Faber while at Wittenberg. She also attended the Kirchenmusikschule in Spandau, Berlin her junior year, studying organ with Karl Hochreiter and composition and liturgical organ playing with Heinz Werner and Renate Zimmermann. Later studies include composition with Richard Hillert at Concordia, River Forest, Illinois, where she won the Richard Hillert composition award in 1992. Her “Two Rainstick Pieces” is published by Choristers Guild. Royce served St. Timothy Lutheran in Naperville, Illinois, as director of music from 1995 to 2001. Since moving to central Illinois with her pastor husband Timothy, she has served as choir director and organist at several parishes in the area, as well as for festival worship services in the Central/Southern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and has been on synodical worship committees. Royce and her husband Timothy now live in Springfield, Illinois. They have three children and recently became grandparents with the birth of twin daughters to Dan and Amy Hubert. Royce serves as full-time director of music ministries at St. John’s Lutheran Church (ELCA), Springfield, Illinois. email
Janet Sturman (BM ’78), Ph.D., is emerita professor of music at the University of Arizona, where she taught courses in ethnomusicology, general education, and honors studies. While serving as associate dean in the UA Graduate College, she founded the graduate interdisciplinary program in Applied Intercultural Arts Research. Among her publications are the books Zarzuela: Spanish Operetta American Stage (University of Illinois Press), The Course of Mexican Music (Routledge), and, as general editor, the SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture. Dr. Sturman currently resides in northern Virginia. email
Jordan Tang (MSM ’71) studied with Jan Bender and Heinz Werner Zimmermann at Wittenberg. Further, he earned a master’s degree in composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Ph.D. in composition at the University of Utah. He was on the faculty at Missouri State University, teaching theory, composition and conducting its university orchestra. He next served as associate conductor of the Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Pops Orchestra, and music director of the Youth Symphony of the Carolinas. In 1986, he became music director of the Jackson Symphony in Tennessee, and has served in that capacity for 27 seasons. Concurrently he served as music director of the Paducah Symphony in Kentucky for 23 years. He has also made appearances as guest conductor with the Nashville and Memphis Symphonies, and with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, including a recording of his own Symphony No. 3. His compositions have been performed by the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Utah, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Springfield, Jackson, Paducah, Victoria Symphonies, Rochester Philharmonic, Indianapolis and Gainesville Chamber Orchestras. His compositions have also been performed in England, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong. Currently he is music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Jackson, Tennessee, where what he learned at Wittenberg comes full circle around to be of great service. email
Hannah (Taylor) Jedeed Krening (BM ’76) teaches piano in Larkspur, Colorado.
Robert C. Thomas (BM ’76) has been living in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, since 2008, where he has been teaching English as a foreign language for Bertelsmann Media and for Miele, while making contacts in the extensive German musical theater scene as a choreographer. Before moving to Europe, Bob lived in Boston, where he was very active as a dancer, musician, story teller, and jokester. His hundreds of performances drew crowds and adulation: “An appealing storyteller whose dancing recalls Steve Martin” (Orlando Sentinel). “A marvelous dancer and mime, he is also a brilliant storyteller, (Vue Magazine, Canada). “Bob E. Thomas finds a warmly entertaining off-the-wall energy somewhere between Mr. Rogers and Robin Williams, (Edmonton Journal, Canada). “He takes his audience to a place that is so honest and true only someone with a heart of stone couldn’t be moved,” (See Magazine, Canada). With an original show of American dance and comedy, Bob was a featured performer in pops concerts with the Houston Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and New Mexico Symphony. He performed with the Boston Pops (a July 4th concert attended by 325,000 people and broadcast live on national television) and danced with the Artie Shaw Orchestra on their Asian Tour. In recent years Bob worked in musical theater, doing the choreography for Anything Goes (Boston College) and On Your Toes (Dean College, Franklin, Massachusetts). As a choreographer and dancer, he collaborated on Clara’s Dream: A Jazz Nutcracker (original music based on Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite), touring annually throughout New England and New York City from 2001 to 2006. As a teacher, Bob taught advanced tap and vernacular American dance at Dean College and, prior to that, at Roger Williams University (Bristol, Rhode Island). He was a featured teacher and performer at the Portsmouth (New Hampshire) Percussive Dance Festival and the accompanying Sound of Movement concerts for a decade and presented lectures and masterclasses at the American College Dance Festival, Kennedy Center Theater Festival, Boston University, University of New Hampshire, and Harvard University. Bob earned an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction at Goucher College in 2006. His final project focused on a particular summer in the 1970s when, at age 18, he played tuba in (and traveled with) the Hoxie Brothers Circus. He is currently doing a re-write of the book before sending it to two interested literary agencies. email
Michele Tomaski Pfrogner (BME ’79) teaches at Wayne High School, part of the Huber Heights (Ohio) City Schools. email
Thomas Pfrogner (BME ’79) is choral director at Brookville Intermediate School in Brookville, Ohio. email
Sue Vandlik Fox (BA in Music ’75) is director of music at Messiah Lutheran Church in Park Ridge, Illinois. email
Lynne Walters (BME ’75) teaches vocal music at Howland Springs Primary School in Warren, Ohio.
Karen S. Weaver (BM ’79) has been active in the Cleveland music community for more than 25 years as a singer, choral conductor, and private voice instructor. She holds a master’s degree in choral conducting from Cleveland State University. In addition to being the founding director of the vocal ensemble Good Company, Karen is the artistic director of Windsong, Cleveland’s feminist chorus, and has served as director of the Cleveland Messiah Chorus and has performed as soloist with the Bach and Handel and Choral Arts Societies of Cleveland. She has sung with numerous church, synagogue, and community choruses, including the Fairmount Temple Choir, the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, the Old Stone Singers, and the Robert Page Festival Chorus. Karen has held posts as director of music at several area churches. She is the director of the Chancel Choir at Lakewood Presbyterian Church and she maintains a private voice studio in her home.
Wayne L. Wold (MSM ’79) retired in 2020 after thirty years as Professor of Music at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. He continues at Hood as College Organist and Adjunct Instructor of Organ, Harpsichord, and Composition. In the fall of 2020 he began a part-time position at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, as Adjunct Associate Professor of Music, teaching organ and directing the summer Church Music Institute. He continues as Director of Music Ministry at First Lutheran Church in Ellicott City, Maryland. An active composer, author, performer, church musician, and clinician, Wold holds a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree from Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia; a Master of Sacred Music (MSM) degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio; and a Bachelor of Music (BMus) degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. In 2015 he received the Alumnus of Excellence Award from Shenandoah Conservatory, and in 2020 he was awarded the Laughlin Professional Achievement Award form Hood College. He earned the certification of AAGO (Associate of the American Guild of Organists) in 2010 and was elected Regional Councillor for the Mid-Atlantic region of the AGO in 2018. For five years he was editor and frequent author of a monthly column entitled “Musicians on the Side” in the journal The American Organist. Wold is the author of three books, numerous articles, and dozens of anthem and hymn texts. His hymn texts and tunes appear in numerous hymnals in the U.S. and Australia, and his hymns have won three awards in the past few years. Over 350 of his compositions have been published by companies in the U.S., Australia, and England, and they include works for organ, choirs, and various instrumental ensembles. From 1996-2013 Wold served as Director of Chapel Music at Camp David, the presidential retreat. He served on the editorial committee for the hymnal Evangelical Lutheran Worship. He has presented numerous recitals and improvised hymn festivals across the U.S. and in Europe and has performed as harpsichordist with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the Hood Chamber Players, the National String Sinfonia, the Frederick Symphony Orchestra, and the Bach in Baltimore Orchestra. Wold has presented lectures and workshops for the AGO, the Hymn Society, Choristers Guild, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. His website is waynelwold.com. email
Georgia Woolrich Dalton (BME ’70) teaches music at Lincoln School, part of the South Haven (Michigan) school district.
Pamela Yarnell (MSM ’78) teaches piano as an adjunct instructor at the College of Wooster. Before receiving her MSM degree at Wittenberg, Pamela received a bachelor’s degree in music at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Pamela has served as full-time and part-time organist and choir director at many churches in Michigan and Ohio, and she performs regularly as solo recitalist, chamber musician, and accompanist to collegiate choirs and opera companies. email
Stephen Yenger (BM ’75) is chair of the piano department and coordinator of faculty and guest recitals at the Community Music Center of Boston. He joined the faculty in 1996. Stephen received a master’s degree in piano performance at Boston University, where he studied with Leonard Shure. Stephen is a frequent performer throughout the New England area and is particularly known for his many collaborative ventures with some of the area’s best chamber musicians. He has served as a faculty member for summer music festivals (including a prestigious music camp in Haiti) and is the founder of Chamber Music at Corrymore House, a summer music festival on the island of Achill in Ireland. Stephen collaborated with Intermezzo (The New England Chamber Opera Series) for a production of Menotti’s The Telephone and he served as music director for Intermezzo’s productions of Menotti’s The Medium, Dominick Argento’s The Boor, Seymour Barab’s A Game of Chance, and Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, and Lee Hoiby’s The Scarf. email
Mary-Jo Yunaska Bedsworth (BME ’73) teaches at Lake Shore Elementary School in Pasadena, Maryland, and is music director at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Severna Park, Maryland.
Donna Zierdt Elkin (MSM ’72) is a music teacher at Salladasburg Elementary School and Jersey Shore Elementary, both in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, and she is Synod Cantor of the Upper Susquehanna Synod. Donna earned her bachelor’s degree at Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania). She is married to fellow Witt music alum Kenneth Elkin (MSM ’73).
2010s+ | 2000s | ’90s | ’80s | ’70s | ’60s | ’40s–’50s
Judith Adams Rauch (BME ’68) teaches music in the Lakewood, Ohio, school district.
Shelley Anderson (BS in Music ’66) retired from teaching in 2000, from the South Bend Community School Corporation. email
Emily Ballentine Gates (BS in Music Education ’60) retired from full-time music teaching in the Novato Unified School District (California), where she taught music for 30 years, at San Marin High School (and still teaches jazz choir and musical theatre as a volunteer). Emily has been honored as Teacher of the Year for Marin County and was inducted into the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame. She has served in several capacities for the California All-State Honor Choirs and still hosts jazz festivals for California Music Educators. Four years ago she became a founder and producer of Marin Summer Theatre, a summer program for students ages 13-23 that produces three full shows in six weeks each summer. She also leads a women’s vocal group called Mondays@6. Emily writes, “This plus my four children, their spouses and 14 grandchildren keep me busy.” email
Douglas J. Bower (BM in Sacred Music ’69) studied organ with Fredrick Jackisch at Wittenberg and participated in the junior year abroad program at the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule in West Berlin, Germany, where he studied organ with Karl Hochreither. Doug received a master’s degree in organ performance in 1980 from Kent State University, where he studied organ with John Ferguson and Larry Smith. He has recorded an album of Christmas music with the Jackson High School Choral Department in Massillon, Ohio, for Delta Records (Chicago). Doug is Director of Music at Zion Lutheran Church in Canton, Ohio, where, in addition to playing the pipe organ, he directs vocal and handbell choirs. He performs as a member of Harmony Ringers of Ohio—Stark County’s auditioned handbell choir. Doug recently retired from his full-time job as Manager and Technical Director for the Jackson Center for the Performing Arts in Massillon, Ohio, where he was responsible for lighting, sound, rigging, and set construction for the stage, as well as training the student stage crew. He has been involved in over thirty musical theatre productions. Doug started a bicycle touring club in 1998 called Folks On Spokes and enjoys long-distance cycling averaging 3,500 miles each summer. email
Kenneth Brenneman (BS in Music ’64) teaches music at Hilliard High School in Hilliard, Ohio. email
Kenneth Davis (BS in Music ’67) operates Davis Piano Service in Springfield, Ohio, as both tuner and technician. email
Patricia J. Deihl (BS in Music Education ’61), a retired music teacher, directs a community choir that sings in churches and nursing homes, as well as a festival choir that has toured the United States and Europe. email
Donna Dixon Ervin (BM ’69) is organist and minister of music at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Annapolis, Maryland. email
Jere Flint (BM ’65), a cellist, has been a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for more than three decades. He is a frequent conductor of the Symphony, leading the orchestra’s popular Family Concerts and its Symphony Street concerts for youngsters, and regularly conducting on the outdoor Classic Chastain pops series. As Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, where he holds the Zeist Foundation Chair, Flint directs weekly ASYO rehearsals and three major concerts per year, as well as other special concerts throughout the season. At Wittenberg Jere was assistant director of the Wittenberg Choir. While still a student, he arranged and conducted two Christmas recordings by the choir for Columbia Records. Jere received a master’s degree in music in 1967 at the University of Washington in Seattle, while also serving as manager of the University Festival Opera Company and music director for the School of Drama. Mr. Flint has also conducted at the Brevard Music Center, the Sewanee Summer Music Center, and the Southeastern Music Center in Columbus, Georgia. His recordings include a performance by the Atlanta Symphony on the Telarc label.
Margaret Frease Steele (BME ’62) has taught vocal music for many years, first for two years in Springfield and then (after raising two sons), in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, starting in 1978 (while also directing choirs in Cleveland and Detroit). She has sung with semi-professional choirs in Wisconsin and Michigan. Margaret writes, “Perhaps one of my most memorable opportunities was to sing with Robert Shaw in Cleveland as part of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. I sang with the group the two years that Shaw lived in Cleveland and conducted every rehearsal; he personally auditioned all members every year. Each week he gave us notes and comments which pertained to the music we were preparing. The week after one particularly poor rehearsal, his comments were in the shape of a dagger. Those are cherished keepsakes.” Margaret retired in June, 2006, after working in Grosse Pointe for 28 years. Her years included service as elementary music teacher, high school choral director, music department chair, and music supervisor, culminating in the position of fine arts coordinator for the district. Margaret writes (Sept. 2012): “My husband and I just returned from a trip to Europe during which we visited three of the locations where I was in 1961 with the Wittenberg Choir: Regensburg, Wurzburg, and Rothenberg Germany. It was really fun to revisit these spots and looking for the location(s) where the choir performed.” email
John F. Geib (BM ’68) is the music director at All Souls Episcopal Church in North Fort Myers, Florida. Born in Canton, Ohio, John began piano lessons in first grade, organ as a teenager, and then, While in high school started substituting as organist in his home Lutheran parish. John majored in organ performance and church music at Wittenberg. He spent his senior year studying in Berlin, Germany, at the Kirchenmusikschule in the Evangelisches Johannesstift. Throughout his life, John has worked part-time in churches as organist and/or choir director, including seventeen years each in Roman Catholic and Lutheran parishes, as well as at Methodist, German Protestant, and Episcopalian churches. After receiving a master of science in social work in 1972 at the University of Wisconsin, he worked for 29 years as a social worker for the state of Wisconsin focusing on foster care, adoptions, drug abuse treatment, and probation/parole. In 2014 John presented a recital entitled “50 years in 50 minutes” to celebrate his half-century as a church musician. email
Sarai Grimes-Rader (MSM ’68) is retired after serving as a professional church musician in Springfield (Ohio) churches over forty-two years. She also served as staff accompanist and instructor in the Music Department at Wittenberg. She and her husband, Don, reside in Rogers City, Michigan, where they enjoy sailing their racing yacht, White Cat and cruising the Great Lakes.
Thomas Guthrie (MSM ’69) was chosen as one of 37 organists to play at the 50th anniversary of the Organ Historical Society, in southeastern Massachusetts. Thomas received a bachelor’s degree at Asbury College. He is organist and director of music ministries at Grace Lutheran Church in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Linda Harman Howard (BM ’69) is orchestra director at James Whitcomb Riley High School in South Bend, Indiana.
Robert J. Haskins, Jr. (BM ’61) is professor of music at Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio.
Judith Heiman Behrend (BM ’68) teaches vocal music at Eggert Elementary School in Orchard Park, New York.
David Herman (BM ’66) is Trustees Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Music and University Organist at the University of Delaware, where he served as chair of the department of music from 1987 to 2001. Prior to this he was professor of music and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Drake University. A native of Pennsylvania, David earned degrees from Wittenberg University, the University of Michigan and the University of Kansas. In 2006 he was awarded an Established Artist Fellowship by the Delaware Arts Council, which enabled him to study and record music by Hugo Distler and Jan Bender (late professor emeritus at Wittenberg). In 2007 the Episcopal seminary Nashotah House awarded him the degree doctor of music honoris causa, for his contributions to the field of church music. Dr. Herman is the author of The Life and Work of Jan Bender as well as numerous articles and reviews for professional journals. His compositions and editions have appeared in the catalogues of seven American publishers. He has served on the faculties of five Pipe Organ Encounters, sponsored annually by the American Guild of Organists, and spoke at the AGO Region III Convention in Washington on “Recruiting and Teaching the New Organist.” His presentation “The Organ Works of Samuel Wesley” was featured at the 2004 AGO National Convention in Los Angeles. Herman has been active as a church musician for more than 50 years. He is also a recitalist, and has performed in the United States and abroad (throughout Germany and Scotland, and in Dublin). He has performed in London (St. Michael’s Cornhill, St. Lawrence Jewry and the Temple Church), the Oxford Town Hall, and in eleven English and Welsh cathedrals as well as London’s four historic cathedral foundations: St. Paul’s, Westminster and Southwark Cathedrals and Westminster Abbey. His recording of organ works by Samuel Wesley at Coventry Cathedral was released in 2003 on the Redcliffe (UK) label and his CD of the University of Delaware’s Dobson organ, Great Mixture!, was released in 2006. A New Song, a recording of choral and organ works by his teacher Jan Bender and Bender’s teacher, Hugo Distler, was released in 2012. David Herman and his wife, Lauri Snyder Herman (BME ’66; retired teacher and church musician), have two daughters and four grandchildren. email
Donald Hinkle (MSM ’68) founded the Berks Classical Children’s Chorus in 1992 and served as Music Director until the spring of 2000. He was then named Artistic Director, and served in this capacity until his retirement in 2005. Donald holds a bachelor of music degree in organ from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He did post-graduate work at Union Theological Seminary School of Music (New York) and Westminster Choir College (New Jersey). In 1996, Hinkle retired as Director of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church (Reading, Pa.), after nearly 30 years in that position. He currently maintains a voice coaching studio in his home, specializing in boys’ changing voices. In addition, he is organist at Reformation Lutheran Church and is vocal director for the Governor Mifflin High School musicals.
Karen Hoaglund Meese (BME ’67/’68) is retired from 39 years of public school teaching in Hawaii, Chicago, Charlottesville (Virginia), Houghton (Michigan), and St. Petersburg (Florida). She holds a master’s in music education from the University of Hawaii (’69). Karen volunteers three days a week in the kindergarten at Sanderlin Elementary School in St. Petersburg. She sings with her husband, George Meese (’67), in an a cappella group of 18: Chorus Angelorum. The group gives performances around Tampa Bay, including at Busch Gardens and First Night St. Petersburg. Karen and George sing in the Maximo Presbyterian Church choir. They have sung with the Michigan Tech Concert Choir in the Dalmatian countries, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, the Balkans, and in Russia. Most recently, Karen and George participated in Eric Whitacre’s “Virtual Choir 6,” performing Sing Gently along with over 17,000 voices from around the world. Karen writes: “Even during COVID we got a chance to lift up our voices in song.” email
The Rev. S. Cyril Hurnyak (BM ’66) is kantor at First Trinity Lutheran Church in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He earned a master of divinity degree at Wittenberg’s Hamma School of Theology and has been an ordained clergyman of the ELCA for over 40 years. In 1975 he earned a master’s of church music at Concordia University of Chicago, concentrating in choral conducting. In 1983 he was a recipient of a Trexler Grant to study church music at the Royal School of Church Music in Croydon, England. He has taught theology and church music as adjunct faculty at Niagara University and Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York, and has pastored congregations in Chicago; Lancaster, New York (as Director of Music and Associate Pastor); Niagara Falls, New York; and Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. Pastor Hurnyak retired from Zion Lutheran, Penn Hills, in 2010. Now in retirement, Cyril has undertaken a more active pursuit providing “Relaxing Music for Fine Dining”—performing at numerous country clubs in western Pennsylvania and composing jazz arrangements. email
Evelyn Iversen (BM ’64) is principal harpist with the Kalamazoo Symphony.
Barbara Irvine (BM ’68) has had more than 35 years of experience as a music director, pianist, vocal coach, accompanist, arranger, music transcriber, and music transposer. She has been involved in more than 125 musical theatre productions in the United States and Europe and has taught courses in audition techniques and musicianship for actors. After graduating from Wittenberg she did graduate work in music at the University of Texas at Austin. During 15 years in New York City, Barbara worked directly with most many Broadway composers, including Charles Strouse (Annie), Cy Coleman (The Will Rogers Follies), David Shire (Baby), Harvey Schmidt (The Fantasticks), Galt MacDermot (HAIR), Robert Waldman (The Robber Bridegroom), Mary Rodgers (Once Upon A Mattress), and John Kander (Chicago). In addition, she has worked with such stars as Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman, Patrick Cassidy, Dave Willetts, and Julie Wilson, and has done music preparation work for Yoko Ono, Warner Brothers Publications, Sony recordings, and many others. In 1998 Barbara founded The Other Side of Broadway, a project devoted to the performance of classical music written by theatre composers. Ms. Irvine wrote the introduction and extended commentary for Alfred Music’s 2007 Singer’s Library of Musical Theatre, vol. 1. (Photo: Richard A. Bowe II.)
Robert J. Johnson (BM ’62) has served several parishes, as pastor and as organist and choir director. He is retired and occasionally serves as an organ sub at the congregation were he is a member. He served 12 parishes as an interim after his retirement. And, surprise!, Robert was also Fire Chief of Troy Township Fire Department, Wood County, Ohio. email
Eloise Jones Pulsifer (BS in Education ’62, BM ’67) teaches piano independently and is now in her third decade of teaching. Eloise serves students from Xenia, Beavercreek, and other Greene County communities in her home studio. Some of her former students are now in school music teaching positions and church music leadership, while others are working as independent music teachers. Eloise is married to Thomas R. Pulsifer (MSM ’67).
Theresa Keilitz Perry (BM ’65) is retired CEO of Hailun Distribution (Lilburn, Georgia), devoted to piano craftsmanship, technology, and performance. Theresa continues to operate her consulting company, Atlantek Network, Inc. and, with her husband Al, act as full-time parents to their young grandson Timmy. Active in animal rescue and the development of new legal standards for animal care, she manages a household which includes five dogs and five cats. email
Karl W. Kinard Jr. (MSM, ’65) is an adjunct instructor in music at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. He received his bachelor’s degree at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, North Carolina. Kinard, a tenor, is Music Director Emeritus at St. John’s Lutheran Church, having retired in 1997. A native of South Carolina, he was founding director of the Concert Choir of Salisbury, and he has served churches and colleges in Georgia, South Carolina, Ohio, and North Carolina. At Catawba College, Kinard directs the Handbell Ensemble, which is composed of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The group performs for concerts sponsored by the music department as well as services of worship in the college’s Omwake-Dearborn Chapel.
Susan Knop Gobien (BME ’68) retired from her position as organist and director of music at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Virginia, on April 17, 2022. She writes: “It was a fabulous 40 years!” email
Lois Lerud Jensen (BA in Music ’69) is the owner of Jensen’s Yamaha Music School in San Antonio, Texas.
Robert M. Lezenby Jr. (BM ’63) is retired from the Peebles-Herzog Organ Company in Columbus, Ohio.
Elizabeth Longo McKinnon (BM ’65) is personnel manager of MusicaNova Orchestra, in Scottsdale, Arizona. She maintains a studio of cello students and is a free-lance cellist in the Phoenix metropolitan area. email
Carl Mathis (MSM ’68) has lived in eastern Canada since graduating from Wittenberg. He taught voice and choral music at Acadia University (Wolfville, Nova Scotia), and in 1972 moved to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where he taught voice, choral music, theory, and composition at the University of Prince Edward Island. He retired, as associate professor, in 1997. He has been Precentor of the Cathedral Church of St. Peter (Anglican) since 1972 and has written several pieces for use in their liturgy. In 2001, he formed the Indian River Festival Chorus for the Indian River Festival, held in a lovely historic church in rural Prince Edward Island. Over the years, several performances of the chorus have been broadcast across Canada on the CBC. Mathis conducted Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury and The Gondoliers in Charlottetown for ACT (a community theatre) and he has composed and conducted incidental music for their performances of The Mousetrap (2003), and The School for Scandal (2006). In 2010, Mathis and his singers left the Indian River Festival and formed a new chorus, “Coro Dolce,” which has performed in several venues across Prince Edward Island, continuing as a mostly summertime chorus.
Charles Oldland (BM ’69) is chaplain at Susquehanna Lutheran Village in Millersburg, Pennsylvania. He studied at the Kirchenmusikschule at the Johannesstift in what was then West Berlin, Germany. While in Germany, he was a member of the Spandauer Kantorei and the Bach-Chor, which sang a Bach cantata every two weeks in downtown Berlin at the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche. Charles received a M.Div. from Hamma School of Theology at Wittenberg in 1974.
Douglas Perry (BM ’65) is a professional opera/concert singer currently living in New York City. He began his professional singing career as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera, a company with whom he appeared as soloist for twelve seasons. He made his New York City Opera debut in 1971 and his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1992. Douglas has performed with the Vienna Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Teatro Real (Madrid), as well as with every major opera company and most regional companies in the United States. He has over 120 diverse roles in his repertoire ranging from Peter Quint in Benjamin Britten’s Turn of The Screw, to Goro in Madama Butterfly. He created the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the word premiere of Philip Glass’s Satyagraha with the Netherlands Opera, and went on to perform it at the Brooklyn Academy, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, and is on the premiere CBS Masterworks recording of the work. He also performed the role of the Analyst in the world premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place, which was televised throughout Europe and recorded on Deutsche Grammophon. Other recordings include him as featured soloist with the Gregg Smith Singers, the New York Choral Society, Virgil Thompson’s The Mother of Us All, and Philip Glass’s best selling Songs from Liquid Days. Also active in the concert repertoire, he is especially known for his interpretation of the Evangelist in J.S. Bach’s Passions. He has performed with many symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra. The New York Times calls Perry a “masterful tenor.” email
Barbara Pfeifer Hoffman (BM ’69) is director of music at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, California.
Gary Pinter (BM ’65) is organist and choir director at Fairlawn Lutheran Church in Fairlawn, Ohio, near Akron. He came to the church as organist in 1967. He has been serving as both organist and choir director since 2002. Gary earned degrees from the University of Washington (1970) and the University of Akron (2000). email
Thomas R. Pulsifer (MSM ’67) taught music in the Xenia, Ohio, schools for 12 years, and then, for 22 years, worked in marketing, advertising, public relations and association administration. Tom now owns Arts Approach, LLC, a music and entertainment agency serving southwest Ohio that books talent for events hosted by individual and corporate clients. Arts Approach is also a franchised agency of the American Federation of Musicians. Since 1974 Tom has served Faith Lutheran Church of Dayton, presently as organist and director of music. In 1987 he had a major role in planning and overseeing the complete rebuilding and enlarging of the former M.P. Moller pipe organ in Faith’s chancel. Tom is married to Eloise Jones Pulsifer (BS in Education ’62, BM ’67).
Carol Purdy (BME ’66) is retired from the North Merrick, N.Y. school district (where she served as District Orchestra Director and string teacher for 35 years) and from the North Shore Suzuki School (where she taught very young cellists for 17 years). Purdy also spent five years in the Long Beach, N.Y. school district teaching strings and classroom music. She continues to perform as a cellist with the Weave Improv Ensemble and the Island Symphony Orchestra. Carol teaches private cello students and presents workshops for musicians and music teachers on free-style improvisation. Her hobbies include cross-country skiing, folk dancing, kayaking, hiking, and singing in a German-language chorus. She has many fond memories of her four years at Wittenberg. email
Judy Ripper Flint (BS in Music ’64) teaches preschool and elementary music at The Walker School in Marietta, Georgia.
Jack Scandrett (BM ’65) was an associate professor of music at Indiana University, where he has taught from 1980 to 2014. Jack received a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied with John Barrows. Jack played horn in the Indianapolis Symphony and New Jersey Symphony before returning to his native Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he then continued his studies with Forrest Standley. For the past 30 years he has been a leading freelance performer in the Pittsburgh area, playing everything from pop to grand opera and performing with artists ranging from Rod Stewart and Tom Jones to Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti. He has been principal hornist for the Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet Orchestras as well as the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Orchestra, and the Johnstown, McKeesport, and Westmoreland Symphony Orchestras. For 25 years, Jack was a member of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and frequently performed as a soloist for that group, both in Pittsburgh and New York. Jack plays third horn in the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and recently received a doctorate in education and technology at the University of Pittsburgh.
Thomas E. Short Jr. (BS in Music Education ’66) was the first African-American tubist in the Naval Academy Band, a group in which he performed from 1966 to 1970. Thomas completed a master’s degree in music education at the University of Maryland in 1984. Over the years, he has performed free-lance on the tuba, performed acoustic bass and electric bass in many Broadway shows (including Annie, Ain’t Misbehavin’, and Cabaret), performed in the Washington National Symphony and Baltimore Symphony, performed on the Today Show with Lionel Hampton, and toured with the late Pearl Bailey and her husband Louie Bellson on tour. Thomas retired after teaching for 30 years in the D.C. public school system. He has taught for more than a decade in Prince George County public schools. Mr. Short serves as department chair and as director of band, orchestra, and handbell choir at Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland. Thomas writes of his “debt to the foundational learning acquired at Wittenberg University.”
Randall S. Simon (BSM ’68) earned a master’s degree in choral conducting at Eastern Michigan University and then had a short career in sacred music in the New York - New Jersey area before going into real estate. Since 1998 he has owned and operated The Wilton Plaza (a retail/office center) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As of 2012, he and his partner, Norris Miller, have been together over 39 years. Randall writes, “We are also approaching the 30-cruise level, including going around South America and The Antarctic in 2010, with visits to the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, and Ankor Wat, as well as extensive tours of Thailand and Europe.” email
Stanley Sneeringer, Jr. (BM ’68) is senior pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. email
Jeannine Smith Stephan (BME ’68) teaches music at Fawcett Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington.
Yoke Lan Tan Machen (BM ’62) teaches piano and organ in Doncaster East, Australia, near Melbourne. She earned a master’s degree in music at Monash University.
Terry Marc Theis (BM ’67) retired from teaching music in Omaha, Nebraska, after 34 years of service. Currently, Terry is director of music for Saint Luke United Methodist Church and director of the Tangier Shrine Men’s Chorus.
Linda Waltonen Sneeringer (BM ’68) is principal at Harrison Hill Elementary School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. email
Miriam Weber Brown (BME ’68) studied piano at Wittenberg with Robert Wynne and later studied harp with Jean Harriman at Ohio State. She earned a master’s degree in counseling at the University of Dayton in 1986. Incorporating Kodály, Orff, and Dalcroze techniques, she has taught elementary music in the public schools of London City (three years), Gahanna (25 years), and most recently Columbus (five years). An article in the February 1994 issue of Airfare (WOSU’s monthly magazine) features Miriam, with a description of her exemplary teaching project, whose mission is to foster music appreciation in children and their families: Third and fourth graders were assigned to “Make Time for Music” during dinner one evening by playing a recording of classical music and then to report the reactions of family members. As a professional harpist, Miriam regularly performs for weddings, fundraisers, corporate events, and private parties in the greater Columbus area. Her long-term engagements have included Franklin Park Conservatory Candlelight Tours, Sunday Brunches at the Hyatt Regency (five years), and FiftyFive at Crosswoods (eight years). She also performs in a flute-harp duo. As a member of the Central East Ohio Music Teachers Association, Miriam is VP of Student Activities. As “Out & About” Chairperson, she sets up playing opportunities in hospital lobbies, senior living places, shopping malls and more, for students who have performance-ready music and come recommended by a teacher member. Miriam maintains a home piano studio and enters her students in National Piano Guild Auditions as well as Scale Olympics held at Otterbein. Miriam is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM). She was named 2022 Ohio Nationally Certified Music Teacher of the Year. Miriam writes: “I am proud to be a graduate of Wittenberg University and I appreciate its impact and uniqueness more and more as each year goes by.” email
Kitty Woods O’Donnell (BA in Music ’68) is choral director at North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Johanna Yount Baldwin (BM ’68) teaches piano at the James C. Harper School of Performing Arts in Lenoir, North Carolina. She earned a master’s degree in piano performance at the University of Wisconsin. Before the Harper School, Johanna taught at Beloit College (Wisconsin) and at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee. email
2010s+ | 2000s | ’90s | ’80s | ’70s | ’60s | ’40s–’50s
Grace Adolphsen Brame (BM ’51) served for 15 years as minister of music and later director of music at two churches. At Trinity Lutheran, in Madison, Wisconsin, she founded four choirs and was youth director and counselor for three age groups: junior high, high school, and young adult. Grace began her concert and opera career singing Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with the Madison (Wisconsin) Symphony. She sang comprimario roles with Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills, Renata Tebaldi, Gabriel Banquier, and others and later she sang major roles in Carmen, Aida, Il trovatore, I Am the Way (Jerome Hines), and Amahl and the Night Visitors. Jerome Hines chose Grace to represent his four musical friends as the mezzo-soprano in his presentation Jerome Hines and Friends. In later years, Grace began a career as retreat leader, something that has filled much of the past 40 years and has taken her across the United States, Tanzania, and the Caribbean. Grace has written books and journal articles, has contributed chapters and poems to books, and she discovered, edited, and introduced four of Evelyn Underhill’s five missing retreats, which she found in archives in King’s College, London, housed under lock and key with Britain’s military archives. Dr. Brame earned a Ph.D. in religion at Temple University. She has taught theology, spirituality and mysticism, and comparative religion in Philadelphia, at Villanova University and at La Salle University.
John Chowning (BM, ’59) has had an illustrious career in sound technology. Described by the New York Times (Dec. 3, 2006) as “a pioneer in computer music,” he is widely credited with bringing music into the modern computer age. Dr. Chowning is Osgood Hooker Professor of Fine Arts emeritus at the School of Humanities and Sciences of Stanford University. After earning a bachelor of music degree at Wittenberg, he studied composition for three years in Paris with Nadia Boulanger before completing a master’s degree and DMA at Stanford, where he studied with Leland Smith. In 1964, with the help of Max Mathews of Bell Laboratories and David Poole of Stanford, he set up a computer music program using the computer system at Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the first implementation of an online computer music system. In 1967, he discovered the frequency modulation (FM) algorithm in which both the carrier frequency and the modulating frequency are within the audio band. This breakthrough in the synthesis of timbres allowed a very simple, yet elegant, way of creating and controlling time-varying spectra. Over the next six years he worked toward turning this discovery into a system of musical importance. In 1973, he and Stanford University began a relationship with Yamaha in Japan which led to the most successful synthesizer series in the history of electronic musical instruments.
For over thirty years Dr. Chowning taught computer-sound synthesis and composition at Stanford University’s Department of Music and he was founder and director of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), one of the leading centers for computer music and related research in the world. He has received numerous grants and awards, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Diplôme d’Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Minister of Culture, and from Wittenberg he received the Canticum Novum Award and the honorary degree doctor of music. He is universally hailed as one of the fathers of digital music. According to The Oxford Companion to Music (2002), Chowning’s compositions “are among the most beautiful and sophisticated achievements in computer music.” Most recently, Dr. Chowning has been a generous benefactor to Wittenberg’s Music Department, helping to endow a state-of-the-art Music Technology Laboratory, which is named in his honor. email
Allan Fetherolf (BS in Music Education ’58) retired from Tecumseh High School in New Carlisle (Ohio) in 1988. He has fond memories of the old houses that formed the Wittenberg School of Music in the early ’50s. Currently he is living in Scottsdale, Arizona, and acting as Musical Director for the Stagebrush Theatre. email
Barbara Goodall Agne (BME ’53) studied with John B. Hamm while at Wittenberg, and she performed in the choir (under then-director John Williams). Barbara has taught in public schools for half a century, first full-time and more recently as a substitute teacher (near Versailles, Ohio), and she has been active as a church choir director. Barbara enjoyed attending the 2001 Wittenberg Choral Reunion Concert—in her words, a “memorable, awesome, and exciting event.”
Shirley Hoover Kmet (BS in Music Education ’53) is soprano soloist in the Faith Lutheran Celebration Choir and a charter member of the Grace Notes Handbell Choir, with whom she toured Europe in 1990, playing handbells and singing a solo at each performance. As a member of the St. Cecilia Choral Society for over 15 years, she gave ten recitals and held the offices of secretary, vice president, concert manager, and president. She works with vocal coach Betty Dornan. After graduating from high school, Shirley and fellow thespians Jack Horner and Marian Mercer formed a musical theatre production in an old barn in Suffield, Ohio, and she sang the lead in the musical Oklahoma. Next, Shirley became a music major at Wittenberg, and was soloist in the choir. After graduation she returned to Akron, auditioned at the Goodyear Operetta Society, and sang lead in the operetta Chimes of Normandy. Next, she sang a lead part in the Goodyear Musical Theatre production of High Button Shoes. Shirley taught elementary music in Akron, Ohio, public schools for 32 years, retiring in 1993, and she sang first soprano in the Akron Symphony Chorus for 43 years, retiring in 2011. Shirley was a member of the Tuesday Musical Association for ten years and held the office of vice president / program chairman.
Ruth Mullin (BM ’55) received a master of library science degree at George Peabody College for Teachers (now a part of Vanderbilt University) in 1964. Her first library position was as reference librarian at the Columbus (Ohio) Public Library. In 1966, Ruth relocated to the Newark Public Library and retired in 2003. She has sung alto in church choirs since her high school years and is now a member of the Second Presbyterian Church in Newark and piano accompanist for church services at several assisted-living homes in the area. Ruth is a member of Vintage Voices of Granville, a group of about 70 singers, all over the age of 50. She belongs to the Newark Music and Study Club and is an active member of the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs, where she serves as Adult Composer Contest Chairman and Corresponding Secretary. email
Mary Jo O’Morrow Disler (BM ’58, church music and organ) earned two master’s degree in music at the University of Michigan School of Music, one in music literature and organ (1965) and one in music theory (1991). She has served a variety of denominations as organist and music director. Classical guitar became a prominent second instrument for Mary Jo about 45 years ago and she is a charter member of the Guitar Foundation of America. Guitar classes that she initiated for beginners at the University of Michigan, Dearborn and the former Mercy College of Detroit, became the foundation for her book Guitar QuickStart: A Guide to Playing and Understanding Music Reading and Chord Techniques (published in 1994, by Lyra House Music Publications). Mary Jo concluded classroom teaching after 10 years as adjunct instructor at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Michigan. She has published sheet music for classic guitar solo, duo, and trio, and a volume of hymn tune arrangements: Hymn Harmonies for Organ: Alternative Verses for Congregational Singing. Recent releases include Beethoven’s Adagio WoO43b (originally for mandolin and cembalo) arranged for classic guitar and organ. American Carillon Music Editions (Naperville, Illinois) recently published A Collection of Guitar Music for Carillon by Mary Jo, consisting of approximately 20 arrangements. Mary Jo’s arranging and publishing for carillon continues, with a total of 42 pieces (12 publications) available at either AmericanCarillonMusicEditions.com or SheetMusicPlus.com (search “for carillon” or “Disler”). Her work has won awards from the Yale University Guild of Carillonneurs (“Ladies Dancing Suite: Lute Pieces by John Dowland” published in Twilight Concert Contest book for GCNA Carillon Congress of 2016) and the GCNA Sally Slade Warner Arrangements & Transcriptions Competition (www.gcna.org/arrangements-competition#results). email
Maralyn Alice Spenny Flinner (BS in Music ’54) played piano and organ and learned how to play many instruments in order to be both a choral director and instrumental director in K-12. She taught choral music in two elementary schools and a junior high school in Illinois for two years, where her husband-to-be, Jack Flinner, was working on a master’s degree in physics (at the University of Illinois). He was a Wittenberger too, and a dorm leaguer, and a tenor singer in the winning Dorm League group for the Men’s Campus Sing Competition in 1953. Maralyn writes: “I was the sing leader for our sorority (Alpha Delta Pi) in 1953-54, and I won the Women’s Sing Competition during spring 1954. I was a freshman when choir director John Thomas Williams took us (about 30 singers) to New York and many places in between. I sang alto then and was a member of the Wittenberg Choir for all four years. My husband, Jack, decided to go to the Chicago Theological Seminary at Maywood after finishing his master’s degree in physics. And there I had to teach a third-grade classroom to keep the money coming in. Dr. Art Lutz at Wittenberg needed another physics teacher and convinced Jack to come to Hamma Seminary at Wittenberg and teach physics at the same time. After that year, physics won Jack’s heart and he decided to stay at Wittenberg until 1969. By then, we had three children. We both sang in choirs at Second Lutheran Church, south of downtown Springfield, and later at Grace Lutheran Church. I also had a Cherub Choir there that was satisfying. Our children were active in music—piano competitions, choirs, and later cello, violin, and a little viola. I began to teach piano to young people, and when we moved to North Mankato, Minnesota, I also taught a few adults. Jack taught physics at the large Mankato State University. I had a children’s choir for several years at Grace Lutheran Church in Mankato and sometimes helped out directing the senior choir. More recently, after Jack retired, we attended and sang in the adult choir every Sunday, at First Lutheran Church, St. Peter, 10 miles north of us near Gustavus Adolphus College. Sad to say, Jack died on April 1, 2012, of complications from MS, and I am determined to keep singing soprano now, as I have for a number of years.”
Helene VonSteuben Erhart (BS in Music ’58) teaches piano in Castle Rock, Colorado. email
Mary Lu Wagenheim Bowen (BME ’52) served as executive director of the New York State Council of Churches since 1998 and retired in 2011. She worked for the Council before that as director of public policy and regional organizer in the Southern Tier. Her ecumenical work began in 1979 with the Broome County Council of Churches, where she initiated a ministry in Broome County nursing homes. Prior to her ecumenical work, she taught at schools in Ohio, Texas, West Virginia, and New York. Mary Lu spent a sabbatical in 1996 on the staff of a congressional election campaign. Born and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia, she earned a master’s degree in social sciences from the University of Binghamton after attending Wittenberg. She has been active with the Upstate New York Synod (ELCA) Church in Society Committee, Lutheran Statewide Advocacy, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church Mission in Appalachia Council. She loves to travel, and now lives in Endwell, New York and spends winters in the Virgin Islands. email
An Alumni Moment
Spring 1988: Music Skills students lounging in the student lounge.
Elizabeth Mumford Cowan (BM ’90), Kimberly Twesme (BM ’91), Marcy Baruch (’91), Karen Schaeffer Weinrich (BA in Education ’91, with a music minor), Pamela Schuetze Pizarro (BM ’91), Cynthia Olson (BA in Music ’90), Michael Lawrence (BA in Music and BA in Political Science ’89), James Townsend (BME ’90), and Heather Bell.
Tributes to Dr. Frederick Jackisch on the occasion of his 91st birthday
Thank you for this opportunity to honor our beloved "FJ", as he is known by students from my era (MSM '76).
Five years after I completed my degree under his gentle and knowledgeable guidance, I accepted the position of Organist-Choirmaster at St. Peter Catholic Church in Memphis, my hometown. This week I mark 33 years of ministry here. Every liturgy I have played, every rehearsal I have conducted, every worship service I have planned - I owe much of what I do well to FJ.
This morning at church we acknowledged a leading educator in our midst. As part of the ceremony, this quote was offered by the priest: "Teachers affect eternity - they never know where their influence stops". I thought it so fitting to hear that on the very day I learned of FJ's upcoming birthday. He is one of two teachers (the other being my college organ professor, David Ramsey) who affected my life profoundly - not only through the musical training he shared with me, but the kindness and concern he always displayed toward me. Yes, he definitely influenced me - and I am eternally grateful!
God's blessings on you, dear FJ.
Jane Scharding Smedley, MSM '76
Happy Birthday to a wonderful teacher and beautiful person. You were a great inspiration to me!
Sharon Minge, M.S.M. 1968
Berlin, Germany, where he spent a term teaching. And if that wasn't enough, add in that he was a mentor and "father confessor" to many of us both here and abroad.
He was organist and Chapel Choir director for my wedding just 38 years ago November 1st at Weaver Chapel. I remember vividly the day I excitedly told him of my engagement to marry my husband Tim. He sighed and said, "Royce, don't do it. He's a seminarian, and where do new pastors go? To small churches with bad organs." However, love prevailed, and he graciously consented to play our wedding. (And he was right, of course. Tim's first parish was a small one in South Dakota with a Hammond Drawbar organ!) Through the years, though, I was involved in synodical work, serving on music and worship committees, giving workshops, playing for synod convention services, until the openings to serve at a bigger parish arose.
Today, as Director of Music Ministries at a large parish, I am grateful for the time I had at Wittenberg and in Berlin. I learned much about organ music, church music and myself from Fred. Without his instruction and mentoring I would not be able to serve Christ and the church as I do now. (And I still have the letters he sent to me in Berlin so long ago, encouraging and challenging me.)
So I now add my voice to the many voices of students past as I say, "Happy 91st Birthday, Fred!! Let's sing Jan Bender's "Medieval-Baroque-Waltz" on Happy Birthday once more!"
Royce Stroup Hubert, '74, MSM '75 Director of Music Ministries St. John Lutheran Church Springfield, Illinois 62702
Dear Dr. Jackisch,
This letter comes with birthday greetings for one of my favorite teachers. I actually have been thinking of you lately and wondered where you lived. I remember you moved to Florida I believe, shortly after I graduated. I can’t believe how fast the years have passed by. The last time I saw you was at a concert you presented close to my hometown. I remember you telling me that you were glad I put a little meat on my bones (several pounds) as you thought I was too thin when I was at Wittenberg.
I graduated with an MSM in 1971 and remember my two years at Wittenberg as though it was yesterday. I lived in an apartment behind the music school with four other students in the Master’s program. I remember one day when we brought pistachio ice cream to class as you told us it was one of your favorites. Another memory is an assignment you gave us. We had to catalog all the records in the library. We wondered why you gave such an assignment, but realized after the work was done, we discovered a lot of music and performers we were not previously familiar with. I don’t know if that was the reason you gave the assignment, but we did learn from it. I believe it was a music research assignment. Now, I’m sure the records have been replaced with CDS. I also remember our lessons in Weaver Chapel and preparing my graduate recital complete with a paper analyzing all the music. You were quite an inspiration to me. You were not only a great teacher, but also a good friend. I have fond memories of that time and owe much to you for my success as a musician.
I retired from teaching in 2006 after 35 years of teaching and now serve as organist and Director of Music in a local Lutheran Church in Louisville, Ohio where my husband I reside. My daughter, her husband and three children live about two miles from us. I am quite busy as I babysit these grandchildren while my daughter teaches music in the same school district where I taught elementary music. I hope that this finds you well and I thank you for all you did for me as my teacher and friend.
Linda Siegfried McClarren
Dr. Frederick Jackisch was more than just Professor of Music, Dean and University Organist. He also directed the Chapel Choir, oversaw the Master of Sacred Music program and the program to spend one's Junior year abroad studying at the Kirchenmusikschule in Spandau, Berlin, Germany, where he spent a term teaching. And if that wasn't enough, add in that he was a mentor and "father confessor" to many of us both here and abroad.
He was organist and Chapel Choir director for my wedding just 38 years ago November 1st at Weaver Chapel. I remember vividly the day I excitedly told him of my engagement to marry my husband Tim. He sighed and said, "Royce, don't do it. He's a seminarian, and where do new pastors go? To small churches with bad organs." However, love prevailed, and he graciously consented to play our wedding. (And he was right, of course. Tim's first parish was a small one in South Dakota with a Hammond Drawbar organ!) Through the years, though, I was involved in synodical work, serving on music and worship committees, giving workshops, playing for synod convention services, until the openings to serve at a bigger parish arose.
Today, as Director of Music Ministries at a large parish, I am grateful for the time I had at Wittenberg and in Berlin. I learned much about organ music, church music and myself from Fred. Without his instruction and mentoring I would not be able to serve Christ and the church as I do now. (And I still have the letters he sent to me in Berlin so long ago, encouraging and challenging me.)
So I now add my voice to the many voices of students past as I say, "Happy 91st Birthday, Fred!! Let's sing Jan Bender's "Medieval-Baroque-Waltz" on Happy Birthday once more!"
Royce Stroup Hubert, '74, MSM '75 Director of Music Ministries St. John Lutheran Church Springfield, Illinois 62702
Dr. Jackisch was my very first organ professor at Wittenberg University in 1977. I learned so much from him about the very basics of organ playing. Today I continue organ playing at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Westerville, Ohio. Many of my thoughts go back to his great understanding of all keyboard instruments, especially the organ. Thanks so much for teaching and working with me. I’m still practicing and performing to this day and enjoying every minute of it because of my great organ studies at Wittenberg University with Dr. Frederick Jackisch and Tom Smith. Thanks again for your support and encouragement! Happy 91st birthday!
Philip Cordell, NCTM
Capital University Adjunct Faculty, Conservatory of Music
If only I can relive those magical moments when Dr. Jackisch presented his organ recitals in Weaver Chapel.
It would be a time of day when the sun's ray would filter through the stained glass window during a late afternoon organ recital.
The interplay between superbly played organ music and color was what gave rise to the magical moments, the fact that applause was never part of the scene also preserve the sanctity of the moment.
I was Elmer Blackmer's organ student, and I was privileged to have enjoyed both their gifts in music and liturgy, and I am still an active organist and choir director to this day in spite of my busy performing and teaching schedule!
What wonderful news about Dr. Jackisch's birthday!! It was a privilege to have had him as professor and organ teacher. He was at once a superb teacher and consummate mentor. My wedding was enriched immeasurably by the gift of his music at the organ. "Thank you" is SO inadequate when it comes to Fred Jackisch and his contribution to Wittenberg and to his many students/fans! Happy birthday from a grateful alum!!!!
Theresa Perry. '65
Both of us remember special times at the Wittenberg organ. Congratulations from the Detroit suburbs on your 91st birthday!
Karl & Mary Jo (O'Morrow) Disler
My goodness, I certainly DO remember Dr. Jackisch! I was at Wittenberg from the fall of 1960 to graduation in 1964. I met him around the second week of class, when I joined what was the Chancel Choir, designed to help singers prepare to audition for the Wittenberg Choir for the following year. What an incredibly POSITIVE person he was. I remember being blown away by his prowess on the organ--incredibly powerful and inspiring.
I recall that he went to Germany for about a year to study, and upon his return, became DOCTOR Jackisch. His absence at the organ during that time was sorely missed. Once he returned, he gave any number of organ recitals that just BLEW the audiences away--magnificent! He was LOADED with personality, loved to share his knowledge, and truly wanted us to grow beyond our naïve level of musicianship. He forged the Chancel Choir into a single voice capable of delivering a very high quality of musical message.
Those days were the BEST! Congratulations to him on the many years of musical inspiration he has provided to the world. The finest musician I believe I have ever known!
Jacquelyn (nee May) Burson
It’s been fun to have caught up with you the past year or two. I’m so glad for our conversations and correspondence. But so much more, I’m so grateful for all you taught me in my two years at Wittenberg. You were a real mentor, not only in music, but in life. You will be admired for as long as any of your former students survive. Thank you once again, and Happy Birthday! Keep on truckin’.
Director of Music/Organist Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church Winchester, Virginia 22602
Please extend my heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Jackisch on his 91st birthday. Dr. Jackisch was my organ teacher while I was an MSM student at Wittenberg from 1976-78. He was an excellent teacher/friend! My very best to him and greetings
Jimrae K. Lenser 1978 MSM Grad
Happy and Blessed 91st Birthday! That is worth celebrating!! You have been an amazing personal influence in so many ways and you have touched the whole Lutheran Church, through your work on the Lutheran Book of Worship in ways that are beyond calculation. You have certainly touched my life!
I came to Wittenberg thinking of a major in history and was soon disavowed of that thought. As you may recall, I had played a little Thomas electronic organ in my home congregation and thought I knew something about church music. Fortunately Cyril Hurnyak and David Herman roped me into organ lessons and I learned all the things I didn’t know.
I cannot praise Wittenberg’s undergraduate major in Sacred Music too highly. We were more than competently trained. We were filled with information that would remain with us throughout our professional lives. We had courses as an undergraduate (many of which you taught) which were only available in graduate schools. As I talked with Wittenberg’s own graduate students and with church musicians over the years, I came to realize how complete and satisfying our undergraduate major was. Thanks, Fred for helping to make my college years such valuable ones.
But I came to realize that I wasn’t likely to make a full-time career out of church music. You were a great teacher, but I was not a great organist. Fortunately God’s call led me into the pastorate, where over the years my church music background has been invaluable. I ended up as choir director in three of my former parishes and am choir director of my local congregation in retirement. It remains a great joy.
What changed me further, however, was your selection of me to join the Hymn Music Committee of the ILCW. I was still an immature pastor in many ways, wet behind the ears, but I had been well trained musically and liturgically by you and the other superb teachers at Wittenberg. On the HMC I sat with some of the greats in Lutheran music circles (including you, Fred). As chair of the HMC, you changed musical tastes in the church, which are still being felt 40 years later. I had the opportunity to watch that process take shape and was able to help in my own small way, because you made that possible. My education from serving on the HMC has stayed with me throughout my career. Fred, you have touched so many people you will never know about!
And then I came back to Wittenberg! Who would have thought it!! But you and Michael Wuchter made it possible for me to return as Associate Pastor to the University. How long were we partners together in the ministry of Weaver Chapel?? How fortunate I was to be surrounded by your organ playing and your directorship of the Chapel Choir. I cannot think of a more felicitous relationship. You were a pastor to the university and the wider community through your musicianship, and I was a pastor to the university through what I had learned over the years in your presence. Those were the happiest years of my life. The music of Weaver Chapel will meet me at the gates of Paradise, I’m certain.
I must confess that seeing you at Don Busarow’s funeral had more meaning for me than practically anything else that happened that memorable weekend. It was like drawing a full circle and being able to see the beginning and ending of it at the same time. Ah, Fred. We live and pass on, in God’s hands. Glimpses of Paradise light our way. Giving thanks is a necessary part of that journey.
So thanks Fred! Deep, deep thanks. May your celebration bring you joy and peace. May you know that God has used you to touch us all.
Sincerely, with gratefulness
Thank you Daniel for following through on Bob Hobby's suggestion - a very good one. I haven't heard much at all about Dr Jackisch through the years after he retired... I'm not very good at keeping in touch, and I heard he moved out of state. Here's a note to include with others you send to Dr Jackisch. Thanks, Joanna Pretz-Anderson
I remember Dr Jackisch so well... I fondly remember singing in the tenor section of the Chapel Choir in fall 1972 - 1975 and loved the music you chose, the approach you took to teach us about liturgy and worship, singing the "experiments" that found their way into the LBW publication, etc... Of course I learned so much from the formalized coursework you taught in liturgy and worship, but it was the practical lessons I observed that stick with me and have shaped how I select music for worship, rehearse the choir, etc.
About the only thing that I haven't done that you did weekly (it seemed weekly!) is clip my nails during the sermon while on the organ bench! I often smile to myself when I'm looking at my hands during the sermon and think, "I've got to trim those nails -- now if I just had my clippers handy..." I've often wondered how many nail clipping were found when that bench was finally moved!!!
Happy Birthday, Dr Jackisch! Here's a picture to make you laugh!!! Now just imagine me with brown hair, 110 pounds, no glasses and you'll see I haven't changed a bit!!! I can't imagine you've changed at all either!
God's blessings and joy and peace to you! Joanna Pretz-Anderson
Dear Dr. Jackisch,
On the occasion of your 91st birthday, I am pleased to celebrate your life with great joy and gratitude. Please know your life has a tremendous influence on my call and vocation as a church musician.
Your roles as Professor of Music, University Organist and Dean in the School of Music and Music Department at Wittenberg are an inspiration to me. You always did your best to teach, encourage and help us all to do our best as church musicians.
Thank you for the confidence and encouragement you gave me in music composition, history of liturgical music and service playing. I deeply appreciate your sense of humor and the time you took to listen, care, counsel and advise me.
One day you asked me if I would like to have a piece of advice. I eagerly took you up on it and you said, “Stay away from people who will mess you up.”
As you can see, I still remember your wisdom, wit and good counsel. God bless you to have a great 91st birthday. Remember to “Stay away from people who will mess you up.”
Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers with great joy and gratitude. Have a very Happy Birthday!
With every blessing,
Dr. Steven K. Shaner
Doctor of Sacred Music
Minister of Music: Choirmaster-Organist Mount Olivet United Methodist Church Arlington, Virginia
For 42 years I have served as an ELCA pastor who is now retired. Ironically, I have returned to my Missouri Synod Education. In 1975 I received a Masters of Church Music from Concordia University, River Forest. I currently serve as a Kantor at First Trinity Lutheran, the Missouri Synod Cathedral in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.
I so appreciated receiving your love for the Lutheran Chorale. Your humility coupled with a marvelous sense of humor and a practical approach to all of life served as an inspiration. May God continue to bless you.
The Rev. S. Cyril Hurnyak, Kantor
First Trinity Lutheran Church
Dear FJ, How WONDERFUL it was last July to see Bob Hobby at Valparaiso University for the Lutheran Church Musicians event.....and to hear that you are a member of his congregation!!
I have lost count of the times I have thought back to those wonderful years 1967-1971 (oh my, I AM getting old) on Wittenberg campus and the unforgettable opportunity to study at the Kirchenmusikschule in West Berlin! You knew, I suspect, that all of my apartment mates and I had a bit of a crush on you..... in addition to the very deep respect and appreciation for the excellent teaching, mentoring, and friendship that you offered to all of your students. I will be retiring out of full-time leadership at First Lutheran Church in Greensboro, NC, this coming June. I am committed to finding part-time work in the church for as long as my health allows me to be a quality servant in that role. It just doesn't seem possible that I am ready for this step.
Our older son just received his doctorate in conducting at Florida State last May (working with Andre Thomas and Dr. Fenton) and is associate professor at Troy University in Troy, Alabama. This son, who said he would not be a professional musician like his mother....ha ha!! I am so
thankful for the mentorship he got at the University of Akron, the support of a beloved wife, and the music bug had a big enough bite of him that his heart led him to his true calling.
My husband and sons have enjoyed many Sundays in various denominations and various roles of leadership in the church. You and Trudy Faber were absolutely the establishing groundwork for my happiness and fulfillment in my professional and personal life. I will never be able to articulate that completely, but know that my heart remembers you most fondly and will always wish for you and yours the absolute very best.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Have a good one!!
Love, Karen Snyder Brown
That special man! For just an instant— 91?
a feeling of personal gain. A smiling face for so much of his daily fare.
an invitation to get acquainted in a class of budding musicians, the professor creating new dreams while also sharing the old in a castle near Reci, enshrining faces in his memory bank instead of facts.
Climax to a fellowship with students, too majestic to define but one that brought happiness to many. even in conversations that knew no bounds.
Love shared at the organ,
That legend in his time! Hopefully that smile [even with us 90s] continues to reach out across life’s mysteries touching princes and paupers
with the grandeur that only a legend in his time could generate.
But smiles like his generated
LOVE that lives on forever— at the keyboard, at the banquet table, in the pulpit, in counseling
with a student who probably just needs another major!
Oak Ridge, TN
Fred Jackisch and I arrived at Wittenberg in the fall of ’57. I was a freshman math major from far away Southern Oregon. He was tucked into a tiny used-to-be-bedroom in the old house that was part of the maze that made up the Music Department. I had already forsaken the piano for the organ and signed up for a single unit of organ lessons. I was quickly impressed by the Weaver Chapel organ and organ playing of Fred and the other organists around – far more impressed than by algebra and trig. By the end of my first year I was ready to make the radical turn around and become a music major.
That meant that Mr. Jackisch and I were crossing paths with great frequency. I was in the chapel choir – he was the director. I took the required theory courses – he taught the keyboard portions. I took church music – he taught Liturgies and Chant. I became one of the chapel organists under his supervision. I can not forget the weekly one-on-one of my organ lessons. Long after leaving Wittenberg I could sense him standing behind me while I practiced, giving encouragement and raising questions. I never played a recital after graduation without hearing, as he said to me before my senior recital, “Fire One!” Afterwards he gave me the affirmation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”. I would say the same to him now as we look back to the days full of grace that we shared.
With my best wishes, Tim Hillerman '62
I have wonderful memories of studying under the musical guidance and expertise of Dr. Frederick Jackisch. Perhaps the most poignant memory occurred during the Iran hostage crisis, when 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days.
On January 20, 1981, I was playing the organ in Weaver Chapel during my weekly lesson with Dr. Jackisch. The chapel secretary ran in and exclaimed, "The hostages have been freed! " Without a moment's hesitation, Dr. Jackisch asked me to slide over on the organ bench as he sat down and spontaneously began a five minute improvisation on "Nun Danket Alle Gott" on the chapel carillon. The sound of the bells cascading over the campus were a joyous invitation to thank God - "with hearts and hands and voices" - for the wondrous thing he had done!
It is a privilege to be among those who were influenced by Fred Jackisch - a gifted teacher and musician, a faithful servant of the church, and the keeper of a compassionate heart.
May you be abundantly blessed by the goodness of God.
The Rev. Gail Fellendorf Swanson
Class of 1981 Master of Sacred Music
Thank you for collecting messages for Dr. Jackisch. Here is my contribution.
Dr. Jackisch, congratulations and best wishes on your 91st birthday! While I was not fortunate to have you as an organ instructor, I have fond memories of hearing you at the organ at Wittenberg Chapel where I served as student organist. Playing the organ continues to be one of the satisfying parts of my life. Except for the ten years we were missionaries in Liberia, I have been an active church organist for the past sixty years. (My first organ position was at a Congregational Church when I was 15 years old.) Now in retirement in Washington DC I substitute at a church somewhere in the metropolitan area almost every Sunday except when we are traveling (which is about a third of the time). Thank you for sharing your gift of organ performance and instruction and friendship with so many people over the years.
Nancy Danford Swingle, Class of 1959
I feel blessed to have had you as my organ instructor while at Wittenberg. You helped me feel the meaning of the music as well as focusing on technical exercises. I always felt uplifted when you played Marcello's Psalm XIX with perfect precision and majesty for chapel celebrations. Ever since it has been one of my favorite pieces. Although music was not my career, for most of my post-Wittenberg years I served as organist in churches where we happened to be living -- in Ohio, Illinois, New York, Malaysia and Connecticut. Also, my husband, Allen, appreciated the music course he took from you.
Gratefully, Alice Danford Butte
Congratulations as you celebrate your birthday. I was at Wittenberg from 1974-1978 and sang in the Chapel Choir all four years. I was one of the “daily chapel” organists for several years and was also a student accompanist for the chapel choir for one semester. We sang a great variety of music, all appropriate for use in worship, and all taught in a relaxed yet thorough way. We learned so much by your example. You also shared with us many “trial” pieces that were being tested for possible use in the LBW. Often they were handwritten “blue ditto” copies. There were also Wittenberg Festivals of Worship, Music and the Arts being held at that time, so we got to meet many of the big names in church music at the time. I visited and auditioned at Wittenberg during one of those festival weekends. You picked me up at the Dayton airport along with Paul Manz. He insisted that I sit in the front seat since I had long legs!
Jan and Charlotte Bender were there for most of our time at Wittenberg, Chantry Music Press was still in operation with Fred and Mrs. Otto somehow keeping things going, and a young Don Busarow arrived our second year filling the vacancy created when Elmer Blackmer died just before our freshman year. Trudy Faber was my organ teacher, Bob Dolbeer was my advisor, and L. David Miller was dean of the School of Music.
I also took a service playing class that you taught. We met down in the Kney organ practice room. It was a very practical course that shaped how I operate to this day. We planned services, wrote hymn introductions, and had great discussions. I remember you saying on more than one occasion that you need to sit “soft in the saddle” as you sit on the organ bench and lead worship, because you never know when something unexpected is going to happen. And you shared with us many great stories to make your point.
I remember we put a blue plastic shoe horn in the fire extinguisher compartment behind the organ bench where we sat (on the steps going up to the high pulpit) and changed into our organ shoes. I wonder if it’s still there.
I am married to Barbara Kaufmann (BM ’78, MSM ’80). We are still both church musicians. Our two grown children are also musicians. We have lived in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Hampton VA, and now Daytona Beach FL. These are challenging days for church music programs, but we can’t imagine a better vocation.
Thanks for all that you did for us. Happy birthday!
Brian Larson (BME ’78)
Barbara Kaufmann Larson (BM ’78, MSM ’80)
Dr. Jackisch is a delightful teacher. He talked me into Wittenberg, and I'm so glad! On occasion, he taught an organ lesson, and I sang in the chapel choir under his leadership. One of his sayings has become part of my vocabulary: Take care of the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves.
Mazel tov on your birthday, Dr. Jackisch!
Gerry and I just wanted to send you a Happy Birthday wish on your 91'st day.
It has been a long time leaving Springfield in 1970 and headed to High Point, N. C. I am still organist at Emmanuel Lutheran for the second time, and have also been working in retail.
Gerry taught preschool for 23 years and still plays some. We have 2 children and 6 grandchildren.
Again we both enjoyed our two years at Wittenberg and our organ lessons with you.
Ford and Geraldine (Fleisch) Ewaldsen
Greetings to you on your birthday! I have the fondest memories of the time we spent in Germany during my Junior year at Wittenberg. Music has been an important part of my life since graduation, and I thank you for providing the encouragement and support I needed to obtain my degree. I remember walks in the woods, the beautiful church, and interactions with the Zimmermanns!
Life has been good to me. Denny and I have been married for 43 years, and we have lived in Cleveland, San Antonio, Louisville, Columbus, and now, Cincinnati. I see Pat Bauer Haase occasionally, and we have maintained a close bond since our Kirchenmusikschule days! My "full-time" positions have been in health care for the last 30 years, and I obtained my doctoral degree in Health Administration. I know that is a long way away from music, but I have consistently held organist positions, too, since leaving college.
Happy birthday, FJ! You continue to hold a special place in my heart.
Debbie Czompi Chotkevys
Congratulations on your 91st birthday! What an age to celebrate big time!
Over the years, I continue to brag on our training at Wittenberg as compared to
other institutions of higher learning. You, Elmer, L. David and Trudy prepared us for our future as church musicians (whether full-time, which has become part-time for most of us due to economics). Due to your wisdom, knowledge and art of teaching us how to make it work and present it, I am thankful for your inspiration which continues to make me want to serve the church.
FYI - presently, I just retired from public school teaching as an elementary music specialist - the last twenty-five with Columbus City Schools, and eight years prior to that at St. Joseph Montessori School, also in Columbus, OH. I celebrated my twenty-first year as organist/director of handbells at Broad St. United Methodist Church, Columbus, OH, which is directly across the street from the Columbus Museum of Art. If you are curious to see all that I have done since Wittenberg, you can go our church’s website at broadstreetumc.net.
I am now the organ clinician for Stanton’s Sheet Music, Columbus, presenting two workshops (one September, the other in January) presenting twenty to twenty-five new issues of organ music from various publishers around the country. I’m trying my best to get several of the permanently out of print works re-issued, or print on demand as many of the treasures are lost.
With the help of local A.G.O. members, we’re doing our best to help young and old rediscover the pipe and all it can share through numerous venues.
Have you thought about presenting an recital of your favorite organ works in honor of your 91st birthday? This would be a great to celebrate your craft!
Have a great birthday!
Brian S. Johnson
Wittenberg University, B.M. ’70; M.S.M. ’71
Don Hinkle here wishing you a very happy birthday! I studied organ with you in 1968-69 and what a joy that was for me. You were always so very kind and considerate and encouraged me to move into some of the organ literature which I hadn't studied at Oberlin, and I thank you for that. My two years at Wittenberg were such good years. I remember when I was asked to form and direct a children's chorus to perform "The Bishop of Brendisi" with the Springfield Orchestra. I ended up with about 300 children. What a challenge and joy that was. When I left Wittenberg I took a job as organist/choirmaster at Trinity Lutheran Church in Reading, PA. I spent 28 years there and finally retired in 1996. In 1992 I formed the Berks Classical Children's Chorus. (Because of my experience at Wittenberg!) This group developed into a fine, professional chorus consisting of a Training Chorus, Choristers Chorale, and MasterSingers, a fine high school group of 30 to 40 singers. There was, and still are over 100 children and high school students involved in this group with six staff members. I retired from that, but continued playing organ at a smaller Lutheran church in the area. As of July 31st, I turned 80 and decided to call it quits. I started playing church services when I was 15. Sixty-five years is enough, I think. I'm not completely retired, caring for my wife, Joan, who has Alzheimer's and back attending church at Trinity Lutheran Church. The Lord has truly blessed me throughout my life, and two of the biggest blessings were the opportunity to graduate from Oberlin and Wittenberg and to study with such fine professors as you and Grigg Fountain. Again, I wish you a wonderful birthday and thank you for all you did for me during my time at Wittenberg. Blessings on you and your family!
It is with great pleasure that I wish you a most happy birthday. We have certainly missed you on the Wittenberg campus as swell as at Springfield activities since you left. Bill and I just this week wondered about Barry and what he is doing. I remember him as a student who was very serious about his work in the Wittenberg Orchestra when I had the pleasure of playing at the same time. The director tended to "pick on" the brass but Barry was always respectful no matter what.
Fred, I remember one story you probably don't recall from my own student days with Jack Wiley and L. David Miller. We were rehearsing "Elijah" as I remember and you had a long wait before the organ was added. It seemed that you had just disappeared but Jack Wiley called for you and suddenly you appeared in the middle of the chapel ... you were resting/napping on one of the pews and your sudden reappearance gave the students a good laugh. You were always a favorite organist and professor, and a very patient one!
We hope that you continue to play the organ at times and that life has been good since retirement. If possible, please give my greetings to Rhonda, Barry, and Emily. You were all good friends of the Naves and Liz was a dear friend to me. We stay in touch with Lisa and Mim.
Lenore Kinnison Bill Kinnison
Dr. Jackisch, my name is Doug Bower and I graduated from Wittenberg in 1969. I studied with you for several years and I took part in the "Junior Year Abroad" Program in Berlin, Germany. I just heard from Wittenberg that you will be celebrating your 91st. birthday soon and I wanted to offer my congratulations.
After I left Wittenberg, I was drafted into the US Air Force for 4 years. When I got out, I continued my organ studies at Kent State University and earned a Master of Music Degree in Organ Performance studying with Dr. John Ferguson. I have served many churches over the years, but my full time job was as Manager/Technical Director of a local Performing Arts Center where I managed a 900 seat theatre, a small black box theatre and a large scene shop. I retired from this job two years ago but I still continue my church work. I am the Minister of Music at a large Lutheran Church where I get to play a 53 rank, 4 manual Bunn=Minnick pipe organ. I am also a member of a local semi-professional, auditioned handbell choir Harmony Ringers of Ohio. Although I have directed many handbell choirs over the years, I have been performing as a bell ringer for about 10 years now.
My hobby for the past 40 years has been long distance bicycling. 16 years ago I started a bicycle club called Folks on Spokes to have like-minded people to ride with and am the President of this club. Since my retirement, I have been averaging about 4,000 miles each summer. I am also a volunteer with the local county park system to patrol the many bicycle trails in the area.
I have many fond memories of my time at Wittenberg and my organ lessons with you. I still use your phrase that "the proof is in the pudding" in teaching my students. I wish you all the best and have a wonderful birthday!!
Douglas J. Bower
I studied organ with Dr. Jackisch during my freshman and sophomore years at Wittenberg. I give thanks for his dedication to church music and to the School of Music at Wittenberg and for his gifted talents as organist and wise teacher. He introduced me to the works of Jan Bender. He paved the way for church music majors to study at the Kirchenmusikschule in Berlin - a year in which my life was transformed and through which I have been richly blessed. He served on the Commission for the LBW and after one of their meetings and while sitting in the Minneapolis airport, he wrote a hymn I've always admired: "When Seed Falls on Good Soil". (He named it "Walhof" - after Karen Walhof, the secretary of the committee). He perked my interest in vocabulary when I learned interesting new words while typing letters for him (work study); one such word I've always enjoyed being "perusal". During a lesson I remember him suggesting I "stay lose in the saddle" - good advice on the bench and off! Unable to attend my wedding he wrote: "he hoped he would one day have the pleasure of meeting the guy who had the good sense to marry me." And so, it was with high delight that I had the pleasure of introducing him to my husband a few years ago when we happened to travel through Fort Wayne. Three years ago during a road trip, Karen Fish Schurder '80 and I stopped in and enjoyed a visit with him - he sat quietly, listened intently and replied with the same sharp wit, genuine interest and insightful comments I fondly remember. Thank you, Dr. Jackisch!
Sylvia Fogal Streufert
B.M. Church Music Class of 1981
I had the privilege of studying organ with Dr. Jackisch beginning my Freshman year at Wittenberg. This was unusual because he usually taught only the advance students - seniors and those working on the MSM degree. But my Freshmen year he accepted another student, Ray Adams, and myself. During those four years he pushed me to learn lots of repertoire. In fact
he would often challenge me by saying "I think this piece is too hard for you." Immediately I would work to prove him wrong. Years later, I would refer to this as the "Fred Jackisch style of motivation." He also was very instrumental in helping me get my first car so that I could work at Trinity Lutheran Church in Springfield. He coordinated a sale between another organ student, Linda Haines Pannebaker, and myself. Following graduation in 1977, I continued my studies at Wittenberg in the MSM program. Dr. Jackisch graciously stepped aside as my organ teacher to give me an opportunity to study with another Wittenberg Professor, Trudy Faber.
Happy Birthday Dr. Jackisch and thank you for allowing me to study with you as a Freshman. Your patience, encouragement and teaching have enabled me to continue to serve all these years as Director of Music and Worship
at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Cincinnati.
Debbie Sasse Jones BM'77 MSM'79