Northwestern College
Summer 2012

Hello, Friends of the NWC Department of Music.


In this summer Accent letter, I want to continue my musings from my Spring 2012 letter on the question of "why music"? Parents of prospective students frequently ask me questions like "Why should my son major in music?" or "What will my daughter be able to do with a degree in music?" I also counsel current music majors who are wrestling with their calling to a degree and career in music, or non-majors who are wrestling with their decision to make the time and sacrifice to continue being in a NWC ensemble. The question also comes in more blunt forms such as: "Why study something that doesn't contribute to society?" or "Why study something that won't make you rich?"


Our culture's emphasis on the "STEM" subjects--Science, Technology, Engineering,

Math--often relegates music to a supportive role. Music educators have resorted to arguments such as "music makes you smarter" in order to answer the "why music?" question. In other words, if we teach people music, they will be better at science, technology, math, or engineering.


But, I think that argument sells music short. God is the creator of music. He commands us to use it in worship of Him. He ordered elaborate systems of choirs for Old Testament worship. He inspired the psalmists to include an entire book of lyrics in the Bible. He has placed a new song in our hearts. He has placed music in heaven--that glorious place He is preparing for us. He Himself "exults over us with loud singing" (Zeph. 3:17). And, because we are created in His image, we have the ability to create music (and art, literature, film, and drama).


So, as believers, we have an obligation to pursue music (or any other art) not merely for its own sake, but for God's sake--for His glory. Everything we do as believers is worship. Therefore, not every piece of music or art must elevate function to the complete obliteration of form. Not every piece of music we perform will have deep theological meaning and gospel intent. However, it is all done (by believers) for the glory of God. If God has gifted you with musical talent and a calling to pursue a music degree or vocation, pursue it with passion, and pursue it for His glory.


Jeremy Kolwinska, Chair

Department of Music



Academy of Music
Faculty News
Student News
Spring Tours
Spring Highlights

Alumni News

Natalie Cromwell (Vocal Music Education, '10)

Natalie Cromwell Alum

just finished up her first year of teaching at Southwest Christian High School in Chaska, Minnesota, directing two choirs, a wind ensemble, guitar class, piano class, all-school choir, and being the vocal director for the musical. In addition to teaching, Natalie has been very active as a worship leader in various South Metro churches. She leads worship at Colonial Church in Edina for their contemporary services and at Wooddale Church for "The Gathering" on Sunday nights, and this summer she will be the worship leader for Wooddale's college ministry. As she continues gaining valuable experience, Natalie is highly sought after to lead worship at large conferences, retreats, and other metro churches.

Natalie is involved with various musical workshops and camps throughout the area. Because of her love for choral music, she continues to sing in a select Chamber Singers ensemble at Colonial Church. Natalie and her sister, Emily Cromwell Danger, are both graduates of Northwestern College and high school choir directors in the Midwest. Natalie says, "my music education at Northwestern has prepared me for a variety of musical endeavors. My sister and I both feel as though we have entered the workplace a step ahead of our colleagues because of the quality training we received at Northwestern College."

Shawn Fletcher, tenor (B.Mus. Vocal Performance, '12)

Shawn Fletcher Alum

began a seventeen-week contract as a Performing Apprentice with the Barn Theatre in Augusta, Michigan. The Barn Theatre is Michigan's oldest professional Equity summer stock theatre company and is considered to be among the best in the nation. As a Performing Apprentice, he will have the opportunity to perform alongside top-level professional actors while establishing himself as an Equity Membership Candidate. Through the course of the summer, The Barn Theatre will produce seven shows, six of which are major musicals. In Shawn's words: "I am incredibly excited to embark on this new adventure, and I am so thankful for all of the people at Northwestern who consistently encouraged me to pursue my dream...specifically, my voice teacher, Doreen Hutchings, who always saw more in me than I was able to see in myself." To read more about Shawn's summer at the Barn Theatre and beyond, please visit his website,


Luke Norell (Piano Performance, '07) will be teaching lessons and master classes at the World Piano Festival at Bethel College July 11-21, and at the Northwestern College Piano Institute July 23-28.  


Emily Ohman (Vocal Music Education, Fall '11) was recently hired as the choral director at Columbia Heights High School.



Christine Park (General Music '11) has accepted a music teaching position at the international school that she attended in Ankara, Turkey.  She will teach band, choir, and general music.  


Barrett Radziun, tenor (Vocal Performance, '10), performed in a lead role in the world premiere of Four Sisters, an opera in one act by composer Elena Langer and librettist John Lloyd Davies. The opera is based on Anton Chekhov's play Three Sisters and features a cast of seven singers. The performances were held March 9 and 11 in the Sosnoff Theater at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.


Alicia Vigness (Vocal Music Education, '08) was recently hired as the choral/band director at Faribault Middle School


Congratulations to
May 12, 2012, graduates!


David Grimes

Jesse Moan

(Magna Cum Laude)

Justin Myhra

(Magna Cum Laude)

Kristin Myhra

(Summa Cum Laude)

Emily Nelson

(Cum Laude)



Jeffrey Dreblow

(Magna Cum Laude)



John Baumgartner

Shawn Fletcher

Brad Halbersma

(Cum Laude)

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Do, Re, for Me! Summer camps

Register by June 8

Do, Re, for Me!

Ages 3-9

June 11-15

 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.


Do, Re, for Me! Deluxe

Ages 9-12

June 11-15 

1 - 3:30 p.m.

Instructors Marlene Lee

& Michelle Thompson teach

one week of music, movement,

art, drama, dance, instruments,

and the outdoors.




Show Choir Camp

Register by June 29

Ages 10-18     

 July 9-13 

10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Instructors Doreen Hutchings

& Evan Jones teach one week

 of singing, dancing, acting,

devotions and fun!




Piano Institute

Register by June 20

Ages 11-18               

 July 23-28

           8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (M-F)

Fri: 4:30 recital

Sat: 10 a.m. recital 

Director Dr. Richard Lange;

intermediate to advanced

pianists will be challenged,

motivated and encouraged.























Faculty News


Catherine McCord Larsen, soprano, and Michele Frisch, flute, performed a chamber recital of French music with a bird theme on The Schubert Club "Courtroom Concert" Series in March at the St. Paul Landmark Center.


In March 2012, Dr. Barbara Rogers served as adjudicator for the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition, the Minnesota Music Teachers Association Composition Competition, and the Northwestern College Piano Solo Festival.  In May she judged the MMTA Level XI Comprehensive Piano Examinations at the College of Saint Benedict, and concluded a year-long term as Chair of the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum Composers Group.


This past spring, Director of Choral Activities Timothy Sawyer judged the graduate voice division of The Schubert Club competition, led honor choir festivals for the Mississippi Eight, Classic Suburban and Missota Conference music festivals (a total of 25 state high schools and over 250 select student singers represented), provided choral workshops for choirs from Winnipeg's Fort Richmond Collegiate Academy, Centerville High School (South Dakota), St. Anthony Village High School and Mounds View High School. In May, he was the only American among eight members of the jury for choral conducting exams at the Новая Академия песни Музыка (New Song Academy of Music) in Crystal, MN--a collegiate-level music conservatory for Russian speakers.


Congratulations to Matt Wilson, adjunct instructor of horn at NWC, who recently won the position of Principal Horn of the Minnesota Opera. What makes this accomplishment so miraculous is that in April of 2011, Matt fell off of a ladder at his home and suffered a broken neck. Jenny Wilson (Matt's wife) wrote the full story on her blog.  The Wilson's are very grateful for the care and support received from friends and family and especially for God's care and healing. Matt feels that his horn playing is even better now! Read Jenny's words (from her blog): "The most remarkable part of this story, to me, is how God changed us. We're grateful God spared and healed him (understatement of the year). But that wasn't the most miraculous work God did.... The most amazing thing he did was plant trust, faith, and joy in us.... [Matt] knew that the JOY he was feeling was a direct result of trusting God in every detail... The very real, very raw awareness of God's sovereignty over every detail of our lives bore so much fruit in my heart."




Student News


Congratulations to the winners of the 2012 Concerto-Aria competition, Carl R. Christenson and T. Hastings Reeves who performed on May 1 with the Northwestern College Orchestra, directed by David Kozamchak. Carl R. Christenson, clarinet, won the Concerto division with his performance of Concerto in E-flat for Clarinet, I. Allegro, by Franz Kromer, accompanied by Janet Scovill, piano. Carl studies clarinet with Jan Possehl Scholl and is pursuing majors in General Music and Biology. T. Hastings Reeves, bass/baritone, won the Aria division with his performance of "Tutto e disposto... Aprite un po'quelgi occhi" from Le Nozze di Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, accompanied by student Seoyon Susanna Lim, piano. Hastings studies voice with Carol Eikum and is pursuing a Vocal Performance degree. Benjamin Osterhouse, cello, and Amanda Potts, flute, were recognized with Honorable Mention for their Concerto performances, and Hannah Lindahl, soprano, received Honorable Mention for her Aria performance.


Pianists Emily Baltzer (student of Richard Lange) and Seoyon Susanna Lim (student of Barbara Rogers) both earned Honorable Mention in the Thursday Musical Scholarship Competition in March 2012.  Lim also performed in the MusicLink Foundation's fundraising Play-a-thon at Mall of America, raising pledged donations for the organization that links financially disadvantaged students with music teachers, instruments, and scores.


Benjamin Osterhouse, sophomore cello Music Performance major, has won the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra's Concerto Competition on April 25, 2012. Ben performed Édouard Lalo's Cello Concerto in D Minor for the competition, accompanied by Janet Scovill, and he will perform as soloist with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra ( sometime during the 2012-13 season. Ben is a student of Sachiya Isomura.


Amanda Potts, sophomore flute Music Performance major, won second place in the college/graduate division of the Woodwinds & Brass Schubert Club Finals on March 31. Amanda is a student of Michele Frisch.

Spring Tours


College Choir Arizona Tour March 2012 


[1] In concert in the acoustical splendor of Scottsdale's La Casa de Cristo Lutheran Church, a beautiful and contemporary cathedral in Scottsdale. [2] Tim Sawyer with Don and Diane Smithgall (class of '60) at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Don is pastor to seniors at Mercer Creek Church in Ellensburg, Washington. (see quote below) [3] The NWC Choir participated in a choral exchange with students at Benjamin Franklin Charter School in Queen Creek, AZ where Karl Meyers '09, is the director of their Orchestra and Choir (pictured with Tim Sawyer and Julie Johnson). [4] College Choir group photo with the famous red rock background in Sedona, AZ.


One of the highlights of a sixteen day road trip back in March was our unexpected encounter with the Northwestern College Choir at the Grand Canyon. After hearing the choir sing their "thank you song" at a lodge cafeteria, they invited us to follow their buses to the South Rim where they sang over the Canyon. After requesting an encore, we were blessed as they sang "Jesus, I Adore Thee" dedicated to us as Alumni of the 1960 Class. May God continue to bless Northwestern as it equips and trains students to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

                                 -- Don and Diane Smithgall (NWC class of 1960)



Women's Chorale and Varsity Men's Chorus Tours Locally


This Spring the Women's Chorale, under the interim leadership of Beverly Solberg, traveled locally on April 1 and 2 to both Wooddale Church campuses in Eden Prairie and Edina, choral exchanges at Minnehaha Academy Upper School, Robbinsdale Cooper High School, and in concert at Covenant Village of Golden Valley. The Varsity Men's Chorus, under the direction of Timothy Sawyer, travelled to Zimmerman and Princeton on April 22 and 23 where they partnered with the youth group of Zimmerman Evangelical Free Church, also leading in worship and performing in concert, and in a choral exchange with Princeton High School choirs.  



Symphonic Band/Jazz Ensemble Tour 2012 to

New York and Philadelphia

"Winds of Liberty" East Coast Tour


John S. Herlihy, conductor, and Julie Johnson, tour director, led the Northwestern College Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble, on an eight day tour to New York and Philadelphia. Highlighted by wonderful school and church performances, as well as uplifting worship, the group experienced a very special moment where God was at work. At the Dix Hills Evangelical Free Church in New York, Herlihy reconnected with long-time friend Laura, who had recently lost her husband of many years. She mentioned that the band's theme verse was the same verse that the pastor had preached on at her husband's funeral service, and that the evening of our concert was the first time since his passing that she had not felt the deep ache of grief in her heart. She truly felt that the band was sent to Dix Hills especially to minister to her, and the band agreed. What an amazing God we serve!


The group also had the opportunity to sight-see in "The Big Apple," visiting such notable attractions as Times Square, Ellis Island, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park and Rockefeller Plaza, home of NBC Studios. In the "City of Brotherly Love," they stood in the room where one of our nation's foundational documents was debated and signed, the Declaration of Independence. Many of the students also experienced one of Philly's most famous foods...the "real" Philly cheese steak. Due to a few interesting transportation issues, they also enjoyed a leisurely train ride from Philadelphia to Lansdale, PA, the location of our Saturday evening concert. On Sunday morning, they worshipped with the congregation of Immanuel Church of the Nazarene, where some chamber groups provided special music and the brass section joined the worship praise band. This inspiring morning of worship was followed by a great Jazz Ensemble/Chamber Groups afternoon performance at the Meadowood Retirement Community.


Throughout the tour, it was a blessing to see students ministering to those they came in contact with, as well as each other, as they honorably represented themselves, their Lord and the college. It was a great tour!


[1] A group of students visited the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [2] Dipping their toes in Long Island Sound are Megan Abendroth, Ross Resley, Naomi Brue, and Tori Klomps. [3] The band saw Godspell on Broadway, and posing for a "photo op" are Mary Cline, Morgan Parsons, Katie Daugherty, John Baumgartner, Cedric Speltz, Sarah Schmoeckel, Kelly Werness, Hannah Barrett, Patrick Tracey, and Kirsten Den Hartog.   [4] The group visited Ellis Island and passed by the Statue of Liberty, while on the ferry. [5] The Symphonic Band performed at Dix Hills Evangelical Free Church in Huntington Station, New York.
Spring Highlights 


Julie Madura Retires from Department of Music


Special recognition and sincere appreciation is extended to Julie Madura, adjunct oboe instructor since 1984, who retired from her Northwestern College teaching position this spring. Julie was honored for her 28 years of service at the Chamber Ensembles Recital on April 23. Dr. Cheryl Kelley created a "word find" insert for the programs that included fun and interesting facts about Julie (in part to honor Julie's love of word puzzles), and Dr. Kelley also spoke about Julie's teaching excellence and good humor. As a surprise to Julie, the recital ended with a double reed quartet performance in Julie's honor, featuring previous oboe students Allison Gothmann and Colton Cox, as well as Cheryl Kelley and Emily Baltzer on bassoon. The recital was followed by a retirement reception for Julie in the lobby of Nazareth Chapel. May the Lord bless you in your retirement, Julie. Best wishes from the students, faculty and staff of the Department of Music.  (Pictured below:  Dr. Cheryl Kelley with Julie Madura).

            Julie Madura Retirement


Master Classes


Two Master Classes were presented this spring. On Monday, March 19, Adam Kuenzel, Principal Flute of the Minnesota Orchestra, presented a Flute Master Class. And on Tuesday, March 27, R. Douglas Wright, Principal Trombone of the Minnesota Orchestra, presented a Trombone Master Class. (Pictured below (L to R): Dr. Jeremy Kolwinska (chair), Stefan Swanson, David Naglak, Aaron Gothmann, John Baumgartner, and Doug Wright).

                 Douglas Wright Master Class



Homecoming SHOWCASE on September 28!


The Department of Music's Showcase concert returns to Homecoming this Fall 2012. This year's event will be held on Friday, September 28 at 7 p.m. in Maranatha Hall, followed by a dessert reception in the Billy Graham Community Life Commons. Music alumni and former ensemble members are invited to come to the concert and dessert reception and reconnect with friends and faculty members. More details to come... 

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