Accent Newsletter header
January 2011

Hello, Friends of the Department of Music!
Jeremy Kolwinska
We are very excited to be launching a new degree in Music Ministry in Fall 2011 (more details in the news feature below). The Church Music degree was once a central part of our mission, but the NWC Department of Music has not offered a degree in church music since the mid-1980's. This new major -- with combined excellence in music, theology, and ministry here at NWC  -- will prepare students well for vocational ministry in today's churches, both traditional and contemporary. We'll be admitting our first class of students for this degree next fall. If you know of prospective students who are called to church music and worship leading, please send them to us.

I would like to invite alumni to some upcoming events in the Twin Cities area. First, on Friday, February 18, 5-7:15 p.m., at Hilton Minneapolis we'll host our annual Music Department reception at the MMEA Conference. The reception is open to any former music students, but I want to especially encourage those who are attending the MMEA conference to stop by the reception. Secondly, on Tuesday, March 15, noon to 1 p.m.,  I'll be giving an informal presentation about the Music Department at the Downtown Alumni Network (DAN) lunch. The DAN lunch is open to any NWC grads, and meets at Club 3 Degrees in Minneapolis. For more info about DAN and to RSVP, contact the alumni office
(  or 651-631-5236).

Over the past few years, I have sought opportunities to thank some of my music teachers for their influence on my musicianship, my life, and my career. Now that I'm a teacher myself, I know how much a "thank you" can mean. This past summer, one of my teachers told me that he was proud of me and what I have accomplished. I was surprised at how much his words meant to me, and I have made an effort to track down my former students and give them words of encouragement and let them know that I am proud of them. I would like to encourage you to do the same thing--send thanks and encouragement both to those who have influenced you and those you have influenced.

To all NWC Music Alumni--we are proud of you and glad to be part of the journey God has ordained for you.
In His service, 

Jeremy Kolwinska, D.M.A.
Chair, Department of Music


Faculty News
Fall 2010 Highlights


New Music major: Music Ministry-- check out the webpage and video here!




Sacred Bridges CD

The Northwestern College Choir, under the direction of Timothy Sawyer, has released a new CD, Sacred Bridges--a collection of live performances from their Baltic Tour in May 2010.

Also available: Symphonic Band CD Gems of the Heart from 2009 as well as past College Choir CDs-- Transformation (2008), Light of the World (2004) and Reformation (1999).

CDs are $15 each (or 2/$28) and can be purchased from the Department of Music office. If you would like a CD mailed to you, shipping is $3. Send your check to: Karen Leivian, Department of Music, Northwestern College, F2219, 3003 Snelling Avenue North, St. Paul, MN 55113.





Symphonic Band & Jazz Ensemble - Wyoming/Montana, March 2-11

   The Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble will venture west for a "Big Sky Tour" visiting Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota over spring break.  The groups will give concerts at a number of churches, high schools, and one college.  One highlight will be in Casper, Wyoming, where alumna and band teacher Sarah Zerbe Hanson will host the NWC band for a concert for area high schools and perform a concert for the community that evening, and director John S. Herlihy will present a clinic for Sarah's Junior High band.  See tour details on our website at (Ensembles/Symphonic Band/Tours).



College Choir 

Duluth/Two Harbors, April 1-3

On the heels of a successful international Baltic Tour, the College Choir, under the direction of Timothy Sawyer, heads to northern Minnesota for a whirlwind weekend tour to Duluth and Two Harbors. The tour will include a high school and collegiate choral exchange, church concerts and the enjoyment of majestic Lake Superior and North Shore scenery.


 Women's Chorale - Iowa/South Dakota,

April 2-4

 This spring the Northwestern College Women's Chorale will travel to the northwest corner of Iowa and Sioux Falls, South Dakota for concerts in schools and churches in the area. The women will present three world premieres of commissioned pieces composed for them by internationally-renowned composers including The Prayer of Saint Francis by Rene Clausen, Illumine la tenebre by Joan Szymko, and Vestigia by Daniel Kallman. Kallman's composition is based on a poem by W. Bliss Carman and was commissioned by Rod Loeffler, former NWC Music Department Chair, in loving memory of his wife Mary Loeffler. The women will join the Varsity Men's Chorus for a homecoming concert in Maranatha Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12. The concert is free and open to the public.



Varsity Men's Chorus - Red Wing/ Rochester area, April 7-9

The Varsity Men's Chorus, led by Timothy Sawyer, will begin their tour this spring with a service day at Lake Phalen's famed "Poetry Park" followed by a community concert at First Covenant Church in St. Paul. Following that, the men bring their enthusiastic songs and fraternal joy to the Red Wing Correctional Facility in Red Wing, and then on to the greater Rochester area for a high school choral exchange and church concert.



Orchestra - France and Switzerland, May 16-26

After a brief stop in London, the Orchestra will travel throughout France with concerts in Toulouse, Avignon and Paris.  They will also enjoy a brief visit to Geneva, Switzerland, where they will perform a concert, participate in worship services and stay two nights with local host families.  Please join us in sending off the Orchestra at their Bon Voyage concert on May 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Shoreview. 




Congratulations to December graduates!

Laura (Miller) Buller  
Kimberly Carlson
Shaylee Carlson
       (Cum Laude)
Jordan Cox
Natalie Cromwell
Curtis Folkestad
Angela Van Loon


Jordan Cox

Katie (Kephart) Kerns
Barrett Radziun  
     (Magna Cum Laude)


Join Our Mailing List




25          7:30 p.m.       Faculty Artist Series: Faculty Collage (NC)

Featuring a variety of music by faculty artists Leonard Danek, organ and piano; John S. Herlihy, cornet; Doreen Hutchings, soprano; Melody Johnson, soprano; Jeremy Kolwinska, euphonium; David Kozamchak, violin; Richard Lange, piano; Catherine McCord Larsen, soprano ; Glen Larson, guitar; Phil Norris, cornet and trumpet; Barbara Rogers, piano; Jan Possehl Scholl, clarinet; Janet Scovill, piano; guest artist Greg Beckwith, horn; and guest artist Paul Budde, tuba.  Also featured is an original composition for soprano, trumpet and organ by faculty composer Barbara J. Rogers.



18     5:00-7:15 p.m.    MMEA Music Alumni Reception (OC)

                                            Hilton Hotel, Minneapolis

26          7:30 p.m.       Symphonic Band/Jazz Ensemble Concert (OC) 
                                           Trinity Baptist Church
                                           2220 Edgerton Street, Map
lewood, MN  55117



1           7:30 p.m.        Orchestra Concert with Concerto-Aria winners (MH)

2-11                             Symphonic Band & Jazz Ensemble Tour:Wyoming/Montana

15         7:30 p.m.        Symphonic Band & Jazz Ensemble Homecoming Concert (MH)

17         7:30 p.m.        Faculty Artist Series: Bell' Alma Duo: Music of the Dance (NC)

                                        Michele Frisch, flute and Kathy Kienzle, harp               

25, 26   7:30 p.m.        Opera Workshop (MH)

                                         Portraits from Mozart's La finta semplice



1-3                               College Choir Tour: Duluth/Two Harbors

2-4                               Women's Chorale Tour: Iowa/South Dakota

7-9                               Varsity Men's Chorus Tour: Red Wing/Rochester area

10         7:00 p.m.        College Choir Homecoming Concert (OC)

                                         First Baptist Church

                                         1021 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN  55403


12         7:30 p.m.        Women's Chorale and Varsity Men's Chorus

                                         Homecoming Concert(MH)

19         7:00 p.m.        Chamber Ensembles Recital (NC)

28         7:30 p.m.        Symphonic Band/Jazz Ensemble Concert (MH)



6           7:30 p.m.        Orchestra Bon Voyage Concert (OC)

                                         featuring Leonard Danek, organ

                                         Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church      

                                         3920 Victoria Street North, St. Paul, MN  55126

16-26                           Orchestra Tour: France/Switzerland



Junior/Senior Recitals



24         1:20 p.m.        Sr. Recital:  composition (NC)



14         1:20 p.m.        Sr. Recital:  soprano & soprano (NC)

21         1:20 p.m.        Sr. Recital:  piano (NC)



3           1:20 p.m.        Jr. Recital: piano (NC)

5           1:20 p.m.        Sr. Recital:  soprano & soprano (NC)


MH=Maranatha Hall, NC=Nazareth Chapel,OC=Off Campus location


All events are free and open to the public.

Information: Music Event Details or Music Office 651-631-5218. 




New music major for 2011-12:

Bachelor of Science in Music (Music Ministry)

Northwestern is offering a new NASM-accredited degree in music ministry, beginning fall 2011. The Bachelor of Science in Music (Music Ministry) will equip students to serve in church music ministry and worship leadership roles. The degree is built on the essentials of musical excellence, biblical theology and practical training. Degree-specific courses will be taught by adjunct faculty who are worship leaders in the vibrant Twin Cities worship scene, and the program of study culminates with an 80-hour internship at a local church.

Check out the promo video!


MMEA Midwinter Clinic, February 18

Dr. Mary Kay Geston will present a session at the Minnesota Music Educators Association Mid-Winter Clinic on Friday, February 18, at 9:15 a.m., entitled "Making a New Case: Why We Must Change How We Talk About Music." Her presentation examines how in the recent past music's role in education has been valued because it increases student success in non-music subjects and reasons why we can no longer afford to negate music's 'soft' qualities simply because they haven't been valued in the past.


MMEA Reception   5:00-7:15 p.m. at Hilton Minneapolis. Room location will be posted at the hotel.  


NWC Music Alumni Lunch

On March 15, Dr. Jeremy Kolwinska will speak at the Downtown Alumni Network lunch, giving an update on the Department of Music.  Open to any alumni in and around the Twin Cities area, event is on Tuesday, March 15, Noon to 1 p.m. at Club 3 Degrees. RSVP to Jim Bender, Director of Alumni and Parent Relations at NWC, at




Faculty News 

Cheryl Kelley, Ph.D. bassoon and contrabassoon, enjoyed a very active performance schedule throughout the Twin Cities this past summer and fall (during her fall sabbatical) with the Minnesota Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.   Especially noteworthy were performances with the Minnesota Orchestra at Sommerfest in July, and a Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) World Premiere performance of Brad Mehldau's Highway Rider at the Walker Art Center in November, followed by a tour to New York City and performance at Carnegie Hall.  Other performances with the Minnesota Orchestra include Symphony for the Cities concerts in July, Skrowaczewski's Passacaglia Imaginaria, New Version 2010 (world premiere) in October, and Pops, Youth, family and Holiday concerts in November and December.  Other SPCO concerts included Zimmerman's Rhenish Carnival Dances in June, and Ravel's Mother Goose Suite in November.  Dr. Kelley also performed Brahms' Requiem with the National Lutheran Chorus in November.



In December 2010 Associate Professor of Music Mary Kay Geston, D.M.A., contributed articles about The Dale Warland Singers and American choral icon Dale Warland for the second edition of The Grove Dictionary of American Music published by Oxford University Press. The dictionary is considered the definitive reference work on all aspects of musical life and cultures, past and present, within the United States, and will be published as a seven-volume hardbound set and electronically as part of Grove Music Online (a reference subscribed to by the NWC Berntsen Resource Center). Dr. Geston is working on Warland's biography and a history of The Dale Warland Singers. 



John Benham, D.Ed., published a new book, Music Advocacy (Moving from Survival to Vision), which was released in November. Book cover:  A summary of the practice of music advocacy, this book compiles research and thirty years' experience of one of the nation's most successful advocates for music education. It gives music educators, administrators, school board members, and community advocates step-by-step procedures for saving and building school music programs.  John L. Benham has been in music education for over forty years and worked as an advocacy consultant saving and building music programs for thirty years. His advocacy work and the methods presented in this book have saved $70 million in proposed music cuts, equivalent to approximately 2,000 teaching positions and 400,000 music students. John is an alumnus, a former faculty member/Dept. Chair, a current adjunct faculty member, and a member of our Dept. of Music Hall of Recognition. In addition to his work with Music in World Cultures (a music mission agency he started) and heading the graduate program in ethnomusicology at Liberty University, he has been a consultant for music programs around the country as they advocate for funding and fight off program cuts.



On October 12 Leonard Danek, Ph.D., professor of music at Northwestern College, performed his original composition, Fantasy on 'By the Sea of Crystal,' on the Organ Alumni Showcase at the University of Minnesota. The organ was the 109-rank Aeolian-Skinner organ at Northrop Auditorium.



Timothy Sawyer was joined by the NWC Varsity Men's Chorus as guest collegiate ensemble when he guest conducted a unique choir festival for men called Real Men Sing on Oct. 9 at Staples-Motley High School. Participating were 280 men from 15 high schools (9-12 grade), the multi-generational Staples Area Men's Chorus (including grandfathers, fathers, sons and grandsons all in the same choir). The picture says it all!!  

 VMC in Staples, MN


Fall 2010 Ensemble and Student Highlights


Northwestern College Choir -- College Music Society 

The Northwestern College Choir, conducted by Timothy Sawyer, performed by invitation of the College Music Society on Friday, September 24 at 8:00pm at St. Olaf Catholic Church, 215 South 8th Street in downtown Minneapolis. The program featured new choral music by CMS composers (who were in attendance at the concert). The concert also featured several professional and collegiate choirs, including the National Lutheran Choir, Magnum Chorum, Kantorei, The Singers, Oratorio Society of Minnesota, and choirs from the University of Minnesota, Concordia University, and the University of Oklahoma.

The CMS National Conference attracts college and university administrators, graduate students, independent scholars, composers, publishers, and music business personnel who share a common interest and dedication to the improvement of music and its relationship to the other academic disciplines of higher education.

Excerpt from a letter from composer Dr. David DeLyser, University of Portland, OR, whose piece "Trees" we performed:  I want to reiterate again what a fantastic job you and the choir did with my piece last week at CMS. It was, without a doubt, the best performance it has yet received - the technical execution was exquisite, and the expressiveness was very moving. You and the choir brought so much to the piece and brought out parts of the music that I had not heard/considered before - you truly made it your piece, and that is simply amazing.

Women's Chorale at ACDA - MN

Congratulations to the Northwestern College Women's Chorale and director, Dr. Mary Kay Geston, for being selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) of Minnesota 2010 State Conference on November 20, 2010, in St. Cloud, Minnesota. This is the third time in the choir's history that it has been chosen to sing at the state ACDA conference. Dr. Geston commented, "Singing at a professional conference is a wonderful opportunity for choir members to grow individually and as a collective whole--it's a chance to showcase the spirit of Northwestern. The women worked with great dedication and sang a fantastic concert. They truly honored God, the Giver of their gifts."


Orchestra Children's Concert and

Instrumental Petting Zoo

                     Erin on miramba

                             A child playing marimba at the Petting Zoo.


On Saturday, November 20, the Academy of Music sponsored an Orchestra Children's Concert presented by the Northwestern College Orchestra.  An Instrumental Petting Zoo began at 5 p.m.  where children had the opportunity to go on a zoological journey through the jungle of the Totino Fine Arts Center.  Along the way, children experienced diverse animals, I mean instruments, such as the Clarinet, Violin, Harp, Drums, and Trumpet.  An arts and crafts area challenged the imagination with the opportunity to make a puppet.  The concert began at 6:30 p.m. in Maranatha Hall entitled Carnival of the Animals.  Each piece on the program had an animal theme and included such pieces as Overture from The Wasps, The Waltzing Cat, Horseplay, Horse and Buggy, The Three Bears, and, the grand finale, Carnival of the Animals.  Northwestern piano faculty members Dr. Richard Lange and Dr. Barbara Rogers were piano soloists and Dr. Janet Sommers, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, served as narrator for Carnival of the Animals.  During the concert the audience had the opportunity to "conduct" the Orchestra.  Door prizes were given away to a select number of lucky audience members.  However, everyone went away with a complimentary Carnival of the Animals coloring book.  Be sure and check the Fall 2011 Calendar of Events for the next Northwestern College Orchestra Children's Concert sponsored by the Academy of Music.


 Concerto-Aria Competition Winners

    Concerto-Aria winners


Dec. 10, 2010 - The Department of Music is proud to announce Bethany Jackson and Seoyon Susanna Lim as winners of the 2010-11 Concerto-Aria Competition. They were among the 15 contestants that participated in the annual event held on Thursday, December 9, 2010, in Nazareth Chapel:


Bethany Jackson, soprano, won the Aria Division with her performance of "Monica's Waltz" from The Medium, by Gian Carlo Menotti, accompanied by Janet Scovill.  Bethany studies voice with Carol Eikum, and is pursuing a Vocal Music Education degree. She is a junior from Chaska, Minnesota.


Seoyon Susanna Lim, piano, won the Concerto Division with her performance of the third movement of Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37, by Ludwig van Beethoven, accompanied by Barbara Rogers.  Susanna studies piano with Barbara Rogers, and is pursuing a Piano Performance degree.  She is a sophomore originally from Seoul, Korea, and more recently from Almaty, Kazakhstan.


National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS)

audition results

Twenty-nine Northwestern College singers and eight student observers attended the 2010 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Minnesota Singing Auditions held at St. John's University on November 5 and 6, 2010. Northwestern students fared well, taking home two third place titles and one second place title.  


In addition, three Northwestern voice teachers, Carol Eikum, Doreen Hutchings and Cathy Larsen, and three Northwestern accompanists, Sonja Grimes, Janet Scovill and Barbara Rogers, attended the NATS auditions. Singers from many colleges in Minnesota participated in the weekend events. All finalists in each age category performed before Minnesota voice teachers and students on Saturday afternoon. Audition results are as follows:



         Brad Halbersma

         Hannah Lindahl

         Michele Lindeman

         Maria Moua




         Bethany Jackson, 3rd Place (College Women, through age 20)

         Julia Pagh, 3rd Place (College Women, through age 18)

         Barrett Radziun, 2nd Place (College Men, age 21-23)





If you have noteworthy news to share with us about students or alumni, please send your comments to
God bless you,
Lori Bunce
Project Coordinator, Concerts & Recitals/Ensemble Tours

Northwestern College