Northwestern College
Spring 2012 


Dear friends of the music department,


A few months ago, I attended a meeting of college music executives from around the country, and the moderator posed the question:  "Given that 1 in 5 children in our world go to bed hungry, why do we study music?"  The question can be framed in a number of ways, but essentially it is always the same--in light of human suffering, why study music (or art, or theatre, or literature, or anything else that does not do something to directly alleviate that suffering)?


The question seemed to spark a great deal of energy in a room full of people who have devoted their lives to the art. I do not recall all the answers, but they were variations on similar themes: "I can't feed that child, but maybe my music-making will soothe his/her soul." Or, "My music-making will inspire and energize the people who can help that child." Or, "Music will make that kid smarter so he can get a job and feed himself." These very pragmatic comments got lots of heads bobbing in the room, but a few comments went deeper and seemed to find consensus that there is something innate in human nature to seek music and other art forms--no matter how bleak the personal or global circumstances.


There is something innate within each of us that craves beauty. We decorate our homes and offices with art and artifacts. Our iPods provide a constant soundtrack to our lives. We marvel at the beauty of a sunrise, a mountain range, or the architecture of the St. Paul Cathedral. So, based on this evidence alone, it seems my colleagues were right:  we will all seek out beauty to enrich our daily lives. However, that stops short of justifying a decision to study one of these arts instead of devoting that time to a more "worthy" and practical pursuit such as the alleviation of human suffering. Recognizing that we are created in the image of God helps us understand where this comes from--both a desire to create (God as Creator) and a desire to see true beauty (God said His creation was good).


All of us, regardless of calling, should certainly be concerned with the physical and spiritual suffering around us, and we should do something about it. But those of us who have made the decision to study music can rest assured that our calling is valid. We were created in God's image; therefore, we can create. We were created to glorify God; therefore, we can offer our talents back to Him in worship.


Jeremy Kolwinska, D.M.A.

Chair, Department of Music

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Congratulations to 2011 NATS finalists 



Maria Moua
Lindsey Dammar
Julia Pagh, First Place (College Women Division - through age 19) 
Michele Seiffert, First Place (College Women Division - through age 20)
Anthony Potts, Second Place (College Men Division - through age 18)
T. Hastings Reeves, Second Place (College Men Division - through age 20)

Erika Sawyer (High School Girls Division - 14-15 year-olds)


Student of Professor Doreen Hutchings and daughter of Professor Timothy Sawyer




Alyssa Laansma, Music Performance major

Miss Minnesota Teen 2011


Alyssa Laansma is a freshman and a Music Performance major at Northwestern College, and in July she was crowned Miss Minnesota Teen (NAM). The National American Miss (NAM) pageant system has brought a new dynamic to competitions by not only emphasizing poise and personality but by rewarding intellectual achievement and leadership. The focus is less on outward beauty and more on the development of inner beauty through community involvement, academic achievement, and interpersonal skills. Laansma's community involvement includes volunteering at a nursing home and donating books to IOCP (Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners) in her home town of Plymouth.


At the Miss Minnesota Teen pageant, Laansma was not only awarded the title of Queen, but also was awarded Winner in these categories: Academic Achievement, Talent, Casual Wear, Actress, and Spokesmodel. She received 1st Runner Up in Best Resume, and Top Model. In November, Laansma represented Minnesota at the National competition in California, where she was awarded 1st Runner Up in Talent and 2nd Runner Up in Spokesmodel. Throughout her pageant experience, she says "I learned confidence, eye contact, interviewing and many other skills I would need to get through life."


Alyssa hopes to combine her love for music with her other passions to form a career in music. "After I do my four years of vocal performance, I want to get my masters in musical therapy with children who have special needs," she said.







Freshman Chanel Madson: A Double Major Beyond the Classroom

Taken from an article written by the NWC Office of Athletics (Chanel Madson is a Music Major, with an emphasis in Music Ministry).

Coming off of her best week of college basketball at the time, where she averaged 15.5 points per game and shot 60 percent or better from the entire court and from behind the three-point line, Northwestern College freshman Chanel Madson barely had time to breathe. After tackling an afternoon basketball practice on December 2, Madson was off to her first performance as one of just three freshmen in the Northwestern College Choir as it took part in the annual Christmas at Northwestern concert series. 


What most people don't know is that Chanel was at choir practice before basketball practice too. Saturday was the same story.... Then... one more time on Sunday afternoon. For most people, that weekend full of activities would be considered a marathon. For Madson, this is a way of life. Since the official start of the college basketball season on October 15, Madson has been pulling double duty nearly every day. Her typical afternoon schedule features an hour and 15 minute choir rehearsal and then basketball practice immediately afterwards.... (For the full story, go to
Christy Anderson (Vocal Performance '08) and Kurt Bender (Music Minor '11) will sing in the chorus for the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company's production of Patience at the Howard Conn Theater in Minneapolis March 9 through April 1, 2012. Tickets and other information are available at www.gsvloc.orgKurt Bender will also perform the lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Calvary Church in Roseville on January 20 - 22, 27 & 28. Tickets can be purchased here.  
Kevin Christopher (General Music '11) has accepted the call to become the Associate Pastor of Worship at Grace Church in Gladstone, Michigan. Kevin and his wife, Lydia (along with their three sons), have accepted this full-time ministry position with the enthusiastic support of Minnesota friends and family, and they head to Michigan in January to begin their new adventure. Christopher will be in charge of all musical ensembles, sound engineers, power point teams, leading small group studies on worship, musical workshops, and most expressions of art that happen at Grace, as well as heading up mentorship and teaching programs for the young or inexperienced musicians within the church and community.   Grace Church's website states, "Kevin is a gifted pianist who brings with him a passion for leading God's people deeper into worship."
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14       7:30 p.m.       Jazz Ensemble performs at Roseville

                                  Jazz Blast Concert (MH)*

24       7:30 p.m.       Faculty Artist Series: Faculty Collage (NC)

26                             Orchestra/Opera local school tour (OC)

27-29                        Orchestra Praise Tour (OC)





 4       1:00 p.m.       Concerto-Aria Competition (NC)

16      1:00 p.m.       Symphonic Band performs at MMEA

                                    Mid-Winter Clinic (OC) **

                                    Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom

                                    1301 Second Ave. S., Mpls, MN 55403

17       5:30-7 p.m.    MMEA Music Alumni Reception, Hilton Mpls

18       10:30 a.m.     Symphonic Band performs for MMEA band

            session**  "Chosen Gems" by Dr. Rikard K. Hansen

16-18   7:00 p.m.      Musical Theater Production: How to Succeed

23-25   7:00 p.m.            in Business Without Really Trying (MH) *

27        7:30 p.m.      Faculty Artist Series: Frisch & Friends (NC)

                                     Roger Frisch, violin, William Schrickel, bass,

                                     and Mary Jo Gothmann, piano





1-8 (spring break)       College Choir Arizona Tour (OC)

18        4:00 p.m.         College Choir Homecoming Concert (OC)

                                        Salem Covenant Church

                                        2655 5th St. NW, New Brighton, MN 55112

19        6:30 p.m.         Flute Master Class: Adam Kuenzel (F2211)

22        7:30 p.m.         Faculty Artist Series:

                                   Birding -- Flights of Song (NC)

                                        Michele Frisch, flute, Catherine McCord Larsen,

                                        soprano, and guest Mary Jo Gothmann,


24                                Piano Solo Festival (F2106, F2211, NC)

27       6:30 p.m.          Trombone Master Class: Doug Wright (F2211)   

31-April 2                     Women's Chorale Tour (OC)





20-22                            Varsity Men's Chorus Tour (OC)

23        7:00 p.m.          Chamber Ensembles Recital (NC)

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

                                         Homecoming Concert (MH)





 1       12:40 p.m.           Chamber Singers Concert (NC)

 1        7:30 p.m.            Orchestra Concert with

                                          Concerto-Aria Winners (MH)

 3        7:30 p.m.            Jazz Ensemble Bon Voyage Concert (MH)

 4        7:30 p.m.            Symphonic Band Bon Voyage Concert (MH)

15-22                             Symphonic Band/Jazz Ensemble East Coast

     Tour (OC)



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

All events free (except as noted*) and open to the public.

*Tickets available in Ticket Office at 651-631-5151 or

** MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic Registration required at

(For more MMEA details, see article below.)







 2         12:45 p.m.           Jr Recital: Soprano & Mezzo-Soprano (NC)

 9         12:45 p.m.           Sr Recital: Soprano & Soprano (NC)

23        12:45 p.m.           Sr Recital: Clarinet & Flute (NC) 





15         12:45 p.m.           Sr Recital: Trombone & Trumpet (NC)  

22         12:45 p.m.           Sr/Jr Recital: Clarinet & Baritone (NC)   

29         12:45 p.m.           Sr Recital: Tenor & Soprano (NC)





12         12:45 p.m.            Jr Recital: Bass/Baritone & Soprano (NC)

26         12:45 p.m.            Sr Recital: Tenor (NC)




 3           12:45 p.m.            Sr Recital: Tenor (NC)


NC=Nazareth Chapel

All recitals free and open to the public.

All recitals pending the passing of PRJ

Orchestra and Opera Children's Concert

Last November 17 and 18, the Northwestern College Orchestra presented its third annual Children's Concert, this year in partnership with Opera Workshop, with "Fables and Fairy Tales," including selections from The Magic Flute and Hansel and Gretel. Over 30 Orchestra performers, directed by David Kozamchak, and 10 Opera students, directed by Doreen Hutchings, presented a beautifully performed and staged one-hour opera production.


The Thursday "school group" matinee was "sold out" (free admission) with 1300 in attendance. There were 24 school groups represented, ranging from homeschool families, small private arts and Christian schools, to larger elementary school groups from the metro and St. Paul urban area, including the Academy for the Blind. All the children were amazingly attentive, and students later sent thank-you cards that included these comments:


"... If there was like a league about operas, you would win!!


"Thank you for putting on the best opera I've ever seen and thank you for giving us those wonderful coloring books." - Lawrence


"I will think about going to Northwestern for college."  - Maxine, 5th grader


And from Amber Fletcher, a teacher at the Urban League Academy, as well as NWC alumnus ('09):

"What a great experience for our students who do not have many musical encounters at home or school."  


The Friday evening concert was also well attended (nearly 1000) including NWC students & parents, visiting parents and children. Before and after the concert, the Academy of Music hosted children's activities to engage children in the opera experience. Before the concert, they pre-registered for a SING-A-LONG (learned a song with movements from Hansel and Gretel), PLAY-A-LONG (learned a simple piano piece from The Magic Flute in our piano lab), MAKE A MASK (a handmade character from the opera), or PLAY THE HARP (where children took turns strumming this beloved instrument). After the concert, some received a BACKSTAGE TOUR while others greeted the Opera characters in the lobby and got AUTOGRAPHS. All children at both concerts received a coloring book created for this event by one of our graphic designer students, including characters from the opera and headshots of the student actors. Here's comment from a parent (Karen Mack) at the Friday evening concert: "We had a great time on Friday evening!  Please pass on to everyone that we thought it was great - it was so nice to expose my 5 year old daughter to classical music and the Opera."


College Choir with the Two Rivers Chorale 

Transfiguration:  From Death to Life

On November 13, the Northwestern College Choir was the guest ensemble at the Two Rivers Chorale concert, both choirs directed by Timothy Sawyer, in the Benson Great Hall at Bethel University, St. Paul. The Two Rivers Chorale is a critically acclaimed community based choir, and the concert featured a joint performance of Requiem by Maurice Durufle, as well as several performances by each choir. Joining the choirs was NWC faculty members Leonard Danek, organ, and Catherine S. Victorsen, harp, and NWC student Benjamin Osterhouse, cello, as well as Angela Young Smucker, mezzo-soprano, Gerard Sundberg, Baritone, and Keith Bear, Native American flute.


MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic at the Minneapolis Convention Center


Symphonic Band Concert

Thursday, February 16, 1 p.m.

Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom

The Northwestern College Symphonic Band, under the direction of John S. Herlihy, has been invited to perform at the 2012 MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic. This concert of classic wind band repertoire features the works of such noted composers as Kenneth Hesketh, Morten Lauridsen, John Barnes Chance, Launy Grĝndahl, W. Francis McBeth, and Dmitri Shostakovich, as well as featured guest trombone soloist, Jeremy Kolwinska. Registration is required at; however, parents of band students may contact the music office for a free pass to this event, at 651-631-5218 or 


Dept. of Music Alumni Reception

Friday, February 17, 5:30-7 p.m.

Hilton Minneapolis, Directors' Row 1

All Department of Music Alumni, faculty and current students are invited to stop by. This is in conjunction with the MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic, but you do not need to be registered at the Clinic to attend this reception. Free and open to music students and alumni.



Symphonic Band performs for Band Compositions Reading Session:

Chosen Gems, presented by Dr. Rikard K. Hansen

Saturday, February 18, 10:30 a.m.
This session will focus on a list of 10-15 wind band compositions written in the last 15 years. Hansen's presentation will focus on the merits of each composition and why he considers them to be important additions to the wind band repertoire. Registration is required at


Orchestra/Opera Tour:

On January 26, the Orchestra and Opera will tour their fall production of "Fables & Fairy Tales" (selections from The Magic Flute and Hansel and Gretel) to local high schools in the Twin Cities area.


Then on January 27-29, the Orchestra will head out on a Praise Tour to local churches and Christian schools, along with the worship band from Constance Free Church, watchword:truth, led by Dan Leverence, Creative Arts Pastor at Constance Free Church and NWC adjunct instructor in the new Music Ministry program.  The tour agenda can be found on the music website.



College Choir Arizona Tour:

The Northwestern College Choir Arizona March 2012 Tour, Streams in the Desert, is centered around Psalm 116: 1-9, 15. Musical selections include works by composers G.P. da Palestrina, Dominick Argento, Maurice Duruflé, Charles Forsberg, David Dickau, F. Melius Christiansen, Jonathan Harvey, Craig Courtney, John Ness Beck, as well as hymns and spirituals, including a premiere performance of a new memorial setting (for our fathers) of the beloved Deep River (and Amazing Grace), by NWC faculty composer Dr. Philip Norris.  The program will also feature faculty artists Philip Norris (trumpet) and Carol Eikum (soprano).  The tour agenda can be found on the music website



Symphonic Band & Jazz Ensemble Tour:

This May the Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble, directed by John S. Herlihy, will head to the East Coast, touring to churches in Pennsylvania and New York. The tour agenda can be found on the music website.


Bob Adney will be celebrating 35 years of service to MacPhail Center for Music in a performance with the other percussion faculty on February 26, 7 p.m., at MacPhail Center in Minneapolis. The performance includes works by Christopher Rouse and Red Norvo, as well as a marimba ensemble piece being composed for the event. Adney is asking local composers with whom he has worked to write a few measures for the piece; the piece is then passed on to the next composer who adds their music. Participating composers to date include Cary John Franklin, Libby Larsen, Carol Barnett, Tristan Fuentes and Mary Ellen Childs.


Michele Frisch, flute, and Kathy Kienzle, harp, of the Bell' Alma Duo, just released their newest CD "Music of the Dance," as recorded at Orchestra Hall in August 2011. The CD can be purchased in the music office, or at   O Bell' Alma is a hauntingly lyrical addition to opera's 'instrumental' repertoire, with ravishing arias and interludes by the masters of the golden age of opera: Bellini, Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, and Massenet. Captured in these virtuoso performances are two newly commissioned works: Musetta Dreams by Daniel Sturm, a fantasy/reverie based on the familiar Musetta's Waltz from Puccini's La Boheme, and O Bell' Alma, the title piece, by David Evan Thomas, a concert paraphrase on themes from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.  The Gramophone declares O Bell' Alma one of the "Best New Recordings from North America" noting the players' "thoughtful artistry, solid technique, and...glowing tone."




John Herlihy has been asked to serve on the team of guest conductors for the MN Inter-collegiate Band, sponsored by the College Band Directors National Association-MN Chapter.


On November 6, Richard Lange conducted a master class for Jessica Hong at the Roseville Schmitt Music center.  Students were coached on works by BartÓk, Chopin, Debussy and other composers. 


Phil Norris provided NWC with several new arrangements and compositions. For the dedication of the Billy Graham Community Life Commons in September, Norris composed a new SATB choral-brass-organ setting of Great Is Thy Faithfulness titled "Summer and Winter, Springtime and Harvest," and a 4-part trumpet fanfare for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. This Spring, the College Choir, directed by Tim Sawyer, will premiere a newly-commissioned setting of "Deep River" for bass solo, trumpet, SATB choir and piano. Norris' arrangement includes a verse from "Amazing Grace," and is dedicated in memory of Tim Sawyer's father, Buzz, who went home to Jesus in May 2010, and to Phil's own father who died in December 1970.


Director of Choral Activities Timothy Sawyer was one of five featured guest conductors for the All-East Tennessee Honor Choir festival held in Chattanooga, TN on November 16-18. Six hundred students from eastern Tennessee took part in the high school choral festival, which included select choirs drawn from middle school, freshmen mixed, upper class mixed, women's and men's (of which Mr. Sawyer was the conductor). Adam, one of the men in the festival men's chorus wrote this to Mr. Sawyer: "Thank you for being such a wonderful conductor.  You taught me not only a lot about singing but also about myself. Again thanks so much!"


Matt Wilson, horn, and Phil Norris, trumpet, performed on Nov. 20, 2011, with the Bethlehem Baptist Church orchestra as part of the church's 140th anniversary celebration service held at the Minneapolis Convention Center.


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


Northwestern College

Northwestern College