Northwestern College
Fall 2012
We are looking forward to another great year in the Northwestern College Department of Music. Our faculty, students, and alumni were very busy over the summer, as evidenced by this jam-packed edition of the Accent newsletter. Once again, we have a full calendar of concerts and other events throughout this year, including the return of the annual Homecoming Showcase concert on September 28th (details below). I hope to see you at a concert or two this year!


Last spring, Northwestern College had the privilege of hosting singer, songwriter, and author Michael Card on campus for several events. He had many good pieces of wisdom for our community, but the quote that has stuck with me ever since is: "Work at the level of your own inadequacy so it won't succeed unless God shows up." As a performer, it is very easy for me to trust my own abilities. This misplaced trust quickly leads to pride. When that happens, it is right and proper for me to humbly turn back to God, the giver of my gifts, with gratitude. Another result of this inward focus is that it restricts my creativity. When I am preoccupied with myself, focused on my own giftedness, and trusting in my talents, my abilities become the boundaries of my creativity.


I took Mr. Card's advice and decided to create/perform at the very edges of my ability--a place where I feel very inadequate and artistically self-conscious. I performed on two gigs well outside my stylistic comfort zone this summer. (My comfort zone is admittedly a very small, cozy place, but still....). Once I signed on for the gigs, I did a whole lot of praying and practicing, but in the end, God showed up! I played fairly well, and what's more, I actually enjoyed creating outside my comfort zone! Now, you won't see me forming my own ska band anytime soon, but I'm looking forward to more opportunities to create outside my comfort zone!


Yours for Music,


Jeremy Kolwinska, D.M.A.

Chair, Department of Music 

Fall Events Calendar
Homecoming Showcase
Musical Theater Production
Faculty Artist Series
Orchestra Children's Concert
Featured Articles
Faculty News
Student News
Piano Institute
Northwestern Pianos
Rachel (Clark) Elam ('10) continues her flute journey with the United States Naval Forces Europe Band, stationed in Naples, Italy.   

Natalie Cromwell (2010 vocal music education) is currently working on her first full-length album in Nashville, to be released in December. She has written music & lyrics for all of the songs, and Dove-award winning male vocalist Doug Anderson will join her on one of the tracks. A new addition to the project will also include a duet with Grammy and Dove Award winning male vocalist Wes Hampton. Her original music has been praised by several well-known producers, including her own producer, Gordon Mote, who has played piano on over 35 Grammy-award winning songs and/or records. Natalie will be having an album release show at Colonial Church in Edina this winter. 


Kurt Kissinger (2007 music education) is currently the Director of Instrumental Music at Algona High School in Algona, Iowa. In his third year at Algona, he directs the concert band, marching band, jazz band, pep band, and several small ensembles; he also gives private lessons and teaches a guitar class. He recently earned his Master of Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa, while teaching fulltime. Kurt is married to Abby (Wind) Kissinger, (2007 General Music grad) who stays home to care for their three children, ages 4 months, 2 years and 4 years, while working part-time as a medical transcriptionist.


Megan Wagner (2000 Vocal Performance, studied with Karen Wilkerson) graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2010 with a Master of Music in Voice Performance.   While pursuing her degree, Ms. Wagner traveled to Lichtenberg, Germany as a scholarship and stipend recipient to study with Siegfried Jerusalem at the Internationale Musikbegegnungsstätte Haus Marteau, and was one of the guests of honor at the Eleventh Annual Founders Day Dinner for the Richard Wagner Society of the Upper Midwest. 

 Megan Wagner

This summer, Ms. Wagner received a scholarship from The Wagner Society of Ohio to participate in the Wagner Intensive at Baldwin Wallace University, and in the fall, Ms. Wagner will begin her doctoral studies at the University of Oklahoma.   


Andrea (Needham) Sheppard ('10, General Music) performed in an August recital for Fusion Arts, an Arts Ministry based in the Twin Cities.


Elisa Tally ('11) recently won a position (receiving high praise) in the flute section of The Medalist Band in the Twin Cities, and the flute choir "Sounds of Silver."



Alumni! Submit your news at

(our apologies for any errors or omissions).   

Emily Ohman - Beacon Academy, Middle School choral


Joanna Gunderson Fliegelman - elementary instrumental music at St. Bernard's in Cologne, MN


Laura Hebert - elementary strings in Roseville


Alicia Vigness - Faribault Middle School, choral music


Carlee VanDuzer - Maranatha Christian Academy


Mike Hebert - DaVinci Academy in Blaine, middle school instrumental 


Beth Behling - Elementary Vocal music in two Anoka elementary schools


Shaylee (Carlson) McComb - Weaver Elementary School in Maplewood, vocal music


Tristan Hanson - elementary vocal music at Heritage Christian Academy


Hillary Arundel - R.L. Stevenson Elementary, vocal music


Kathleen (Deming) Postel - Andover and Rum River Elementary Schools in Anoka, vocal music


Peter and Allison Swanson - new music positions in Florida


Mary Ebanks - Big Lake High School and Middle School, choral music


April (Stiles) Paden - Elementary strings in the Saint Cloud Public School



A recital organized and presented by violinist Sarah Grimes (daughter of Sonja Grimes, staff accompanist) at Salem Covenant Church on Sunday, August 19, featured several Northwestern students as guest artists.  Seoyon Susanna Lim was the pianist in the second movement of the Beethoven Sonata in C Minor for Piano and Violin. Lim was joined by cellist Benjamin Osterhouse for the fourth movement of the Franck Sonata in A Major. Sonja Grimes partnered with her daughter in the Debussy Sonata for Violin and Piano. Osterhouse returned to join others of Sarah's friends for the final work on the program--the first movement of the Schubert Cello Quintet.


In late July, Bunce Backyard Productions in Maple Grove performed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to six enthusiastic backyard audiences (a total count of 3500). Cast members included NWC current students Sharayah Bunce, Marina Fisher, Andrea Lawrence, and Hannah Lindahl; as well as alumni Jeff Dreblow ('12 music composition), Heather Erickson (Fall '09), Stephanie Gates (2009 M.A.), Todd Hanson (Fall '06 general music), Eric Janssen ('09 general music), Krista Kastle (Fall '11), and Liz Yoder ('12). Liz Yoder was also Costumer, Hannah Lindahl was Choreographer, and NWC student Jay Carlson was Stage Manager. Todd Hanson serves on the Board of Directors.

Looking for work?!

Take advantage of our Center for Calling & Career...  Not just open to students, but here for ALUMNI as well! Alumni and students can work with the CCC on resumes, cover letters, job search strategies, interview prep, and any other career-related issue.  Meetings with a career counselor are free and can be scheduled just by calling 651-631-5265. Or contact a counselor and find excellent resources at   

Academy of Music offers a 10% discount to NWC alumni and children of alumni.

The Academy of Music offers:

  • Private Lessons
  • Group Lessons
  • Ensembles

Locations include: NWC Campus, Roseville, Shoreview, and New Brighton.




Visit our webpage  


Contact us at:


call us at: 651-631-5108

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Fall Music Events
28       7:00 p.m.     Showcase Concert (MH) and Reunion (GC)
                              Music Department Reunion (GC)*
                                   All ticket holders may join us for a reception following
                                   the concert.  The reception will include a reunion for
                                   music department and ensemble alumni.
                                       Combined concert and dessert reception tickets:
                                       Adults/Alumni: $10; Student/Faculty/Staff: $8
                             Showcase & Reception/Reunion tickets on sale now*
1        11:00 a.m.     Christmas at Northwestern tickets go on sale.*
                                         Concert tickets: Adults $14; Alumni $12
                                         Students/Seniors (65+) $9; NWC Students $5
                                         Dinner tickets: See website for prices*
3         3:20 p.m.     Cello Master Class: Simona Barbu (NC)
4         8:00 p.m.     Guest Artist Recital: Simona Barbu, cello and
                                  Nariaki Sugiura, piano (NC)
5       12:40 p.m.     Piano Master Class: Nariaki Sugiura (NC)
8        6:30 p.m.      Saxophone Master Class: Eugene Rousseau
                                  (Choir Room, F2211)
21-23                      Piano Tour (OC)
25     12:45 p.m.     Piano Tour Homecoming Recital (NC)
27                           Varsity Men's Chorus/Women's Chorale
                                  at St. John's Choral Festival (OC)


1-3      7:00 p.m.     Musical Theatre Production: Side Show (MH)*
13       7:30 p.m.     Varsity Men's Chorus, Women's Chorale, and
                                 Jazz Ensemble Concert (MH)
16       7:30 p.m.     Symphonic Band Concert (MH)
19       7:00 p.m.     Chamber Ensembles Recital (NC)
26       7:30 p.m.     Faculty Artist Series: Christmas Blessings (NC)
                                     featuring Sachiya Isomura, cello, and
                                     Catherine Victorsen, harp
29       1:00 p.m.     Orchestra Children's Matinee: Christmas
                                 Sleigh Ride (MH)**
                                       for homeschool families and schools only 
                                       (registration required)
29       7:00 p.m.    Orchestra Children's Concert: Christmas
                                Sleigh Ride (MH)
                                        with pre-concert children's activities (pre-concert
                                        details to be posted by Sept. 15, registration
                                        begins Oct. 15)**


7        7:30 p.m.     Christmas at Northwestern (MH)*
8        7:30 p.m.     Christmas at Northwestern (MH)*
9        4:00 p.m.***  Christmas at Northwestern (MH)*
9        6:30 p.m.***  Christmas Dinner (BR)*
    MH = Maranatha Hall   GC = Graham Commons   NC = Nazareth Chapel
                    BR = Blue Room               OC = Off Campus Location
All events are free (except as noted *) and open to the public.
All events are subject to change; up-to-date Event Calendar information at
*  Tickets available in Ticket Office at 651-631-5151 or
** Reservations required, beginning October 15, at
***Note later times this year for the Sunday Christmas at Northwestern performance and dinner.
Homecoming Showcase

Calling all Music students and Alumni, including all Music Ensemble and Faculty/Staff Alumni! You're all invited to a Music Department reunion (with dessert!) after our Homecoming Showcase concert on Friday, September 28, at 7 pm, in Maranatha Hall. The concert will highlight the College Choir, Symphonic Band and Orchestra performing a variety of American and patriotic pieces, including classical, choral, contemporary, film, gospel, and Broadway. Immediately following the concert, a dessert reception for all concert goers will be held in the second floor Graham Commons while a jazz combo performs. Music Department Reunion: There will also be a special reception for all Music Department & Ensemble students and Alumni on the same level.   TICKETS can be purchased at, and one $10 ticket will admit you to both the concert and the reception! (For current students and faculty/staff, tickets are $8.) We look forward to seeing MANY of you here for this year's reunion, reconnecting with old friends, colleagues and instructors.

Musical Theater: Side Show

Thursday - Saturday, November 1-3, 7 p.m.

Maranatha Hall

NWC theatre presents Side Show, based on the touching true story about conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, Depression era vaudeville stars. Directed by Dr. Don Rainbow, with music direction by David Kozamchak and vocal coaching by Doreen Hutchings, the cast includes many music students in both lead and supporting roles. Tickets will go on sale at 11 a.m. on October 10.


Faculty Artist Series: Christmas Blessings

Monday, November 26, 7:30 p.m.

Nazareth Chapel

Usher in the Christmas season as faculty members Sachiya Isomura, cello, and Catherine Victorsen, harp, are joined by guest artist Barbara Leibundguth, flute.  Open to the public, free admission.

Orchestra Children's Concert: Christmas Sleigh Ride

Family-friendly Christmas concert, including Sleigh Ride, selections from The Nutcracker Suite, and other Christmas favorites.


November 29, Thursday, 1 p.m.:  Matinee for Homeschool, Elementary and Middle School Groups

Public and private school groups and homeschool families are invited to this one-hour matinee. Seat and bus reservations are required; register at Registration begins Oct. 15.


November 29, Thursday, 7 p.m.: Public children's concert

(doors open at 6:40 p.m., general seating, reservations required)

This one-hour evening concert is open to the public, children and adults, and registration is required. Pre-Concert Children's Activities begin at 6 p.m., sponsored by the Academy of Music.  Pre-concert activities include a variety of music classes (percussion instruments, piano, guitar, tuba and cello), as well as treats and a snowman craft. Additional activities this year include a children's artwork contest, family photos, and collection for Operation Christmas Child. See more details on the Academy of Music website. Reservations for the concert and children's activities are required by registering at  Registration begins Oct. 15.


These events are FREE and require registration at


Featured Articles


Congratulations to Dr. Mary Kay Geston, named Choral Director of the Year by ACDA-MN.

Northwestern College associate professor of music Dr. Mary Kay Geston has been named Minnesota's 2012 Choral Director of the Year by the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. Geston returns to NWC after serving as visiting associate professor of choral studies at University of Colorado (Boulder) for the 2011-12 academic year while on leave from NWC.  In February 2012 she conducted an all-state choir in Kentucky and was a panelist at the Southwest American Choral Directors Association conference in Dallas. In May, Mary Kay traveled to Taiwan to work with choirs at National Taiwan University and Kaohsiung Medical University.



Congratulations to Rodney Loeffler, MUSIC HALL OF RECOGNITION, 2012

This fall, Rodney J. Loeffler is being inducted into the Music Hall of Recognition at Northwestern College (NWC). In the early 1990's he was asked to be a judge for the department's Concerto-Aria Competition, later appointed to the Department's Music Advisory Board, and then was hired as Associate Professor and Chair of the NWC Music Department. Rod earned a B.M. in Music Education (University of Michigan) and a M.M. in Music Education (University of the Pacific) and spent 18 years as a public school music educator, four years as Assistant to the Dean of the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music, and 15 years as Assistant Director of the University of Minnesota School of Music, until 2003. In both California and Minnesota, he served the music communities as percussionist, adjudicator, clinician, and guest conductor, as well as serving with educational and musical organizations.


As Chair of the Northwestern College Department of Music, 2003-08, Rod streamlined and standardized many procedures and processes; hired key faculty positions; served ensemble tours; and commissioned a new opera, Ruth, written by NWC faculty member Dr. Barbara Rogers and performed by the NWC Orchestra and Opera Workshop. Rod demonstrated servant-leadership during his time at NWC, helping others be successful. He often reminds people that "when we get to heaven, we will recognize Jesus as the one with the towel around his waist."


Rod continues to partner with the NWC Department of Music: assisting with student teacher supervision, providing scholarship and other support for music students, bringing outstanding clinicians to campus, helping to develop the department's Music Ministry Emphasis, and helping with job placements. Rod and his wife Eloise-Marie attend Grace Church in Eden Prairie and volunteer with Hope Academy and New Life Family Services. In January they will spend three months in Kenya at a school for the children of missionaries, where Rod will be the interim band director, grades 6-12. They look forward to where God leads them in serving Him.



Congratulations to Janet Scovill, Advocate for Choral Excellence (ACE) Award

Congratulations to Janet Scovill, NWC Staff Accompanist, who received theJanet Scovill Advocate for Choral Excellence (ACE) Award from the ACDA-MN (American Choral Directors' Association of Minnesota) at the Summer Dialogue Banquet held at St. John's University on August 9. The ACE Award honors people across Minnesota who do outstanding work for their communities to nurture and serve choral art in our state. Ms. Scovill was nominated by choral directors in the Anoka-Hennepin district, where she has accompanied in the schools and community for about 25 years. The following excerpt is from NWC faculty Dr. Mary Kay Geston's congratulatory speech from the event: "Jan Scovill is the quintessential rehearsal pianist: she is a talented musician and a skilled accompanist, she is incredibly hard-working and remarkably humble, she gives generously of her time and energy, and she is always supportive and encouraging to everyone with whom she works. I am extremely fortunate to have had Jan as my "right arm" on countless occasions. Jan is most deserving of receiving the ACE award--she is highly regarded in the Twin Cities choral scene and has made countless contributions to the choral art. She is a treasure--a treasured and skilled rehearsal pianist and choral accompanist, a treasured maker of music and supporter of the choral art, and most importantly, a treasured friend and colleague." 





Faculty News

Welcome new faculty Fall 2012

Joel Alexander, percussion adjunct

Heather Hood, Music Ministry adjunct
Melody Johnson, online Intro to Music adjunct

Jeff Warren, online Intro to Music adjunct


Dr. John Benham delivered four presentations at the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Conference in Orlando in July as part of receiving their National Citation for his work in music advocacy. Benham is author of Music Advocacy: Moving from Survival to Vision, and his area of expertise is saving and restoring music programs in the face of budget cuts. Benham has been doing crisis intervention work saving school music programs that were facing cuts for the last 30 years. You can find out more about his work at His personal knowledge and experience provide unique understanding to help music advocates go before a school board and administration with language they understand and methods that work. He has taken his message from coast to coast in the United States and Canada. His methods are responsible for saving over $72 million in budgetary reductions in music, leading to the restoration of over 2,000 teaching positions and the continuation of music programs for over 500,000 students.


Roger (violin) and Michele Frisch (flute), appeared as soloists at the MasterWorks Performing Arts Festival in Indiana.  In addition to a recital and master classes, Roger and Michele performed Bach's Brandenburg V Concerto with orchestra.  Roger also performed Bruch's Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra.   

Dr. Cheryl Kelley (contrabassoon) performed with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for June concerts of Haydn's "The Seasons," and she also performed bassoon with the Minnesota Orchestra in July's Sommerfest concerts of Strauss works.


Dr. Jeremy Kolwinska (trombone) performed with the Skylark Opera's production of Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town. Summer Opera Festival performances were at E.M. Pearson Theatre at Concordia University

June 8-17, 2012.

Catherine McCord Larsen (soprano) taught and performed with Lutheran Summer Music once again this summer at Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) and also served as the Voice Department Chair.


Dr. Barbara Rogers completed a term as Chair of the Composers Group of the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum, and continued as Advisor to the Judge Education and Certification Committee of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association.   


Director of Choral Activities Timothy Sawyer returned to Ukraine for the eighth time, touring as a performing member of the semi-professional choir Evangelion Chorale on that ensemble's tour (July 5-18), with concerts in Cherkassy, Poltava, Zhytomir, Luts'k, Rivne, L'viv and Kyiv. NWC alums Gwen Clanton Budish ('96), Nathan Bird ('06 Music Performace), and former student Beth Clanton were also members of that ensemble. Following the Evangelion tour, Mr. Sawyer continued on in Ukraine until July 26, fulfilling his role as a Music In World Cultures board member to encourage former students, leading a 3-day male chorus festival, and laying the groundwork for future projects and visits, including a possible Hungary-Poland-Ukraine tour with the Northwestern College Choir in May 2014. During that time, he was invited to become guest conductor with the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, both ensembles made up of professional Ukrainian musicians under the auspices of Music Mission Kiev, a musical and humanitarian mission organization. In addition, he received an official government citation from the Zaporizhzhya State Music Academy where he presented a seminar on American choral music in May 2011.



Student News

Rachel Bauske (flute) participated in the Walfrid Kujala (Chicago Symphony) Flute & Piccolo Class in Orchestral Performance in Chicago, IL.


Hannah Lindahl (senior vocal Music Education major) traveled to Ukraine (Cherkassy and Zolotonoshoa) from June 29 through July 15 with three other women (including Beverly Solberg, 2011-12 interim NWC Women's Chorale director) where she helped run an ESL music camp for junior high and senior high girls. The camp consisted of teaching English through choral pieces, Bible studies and fun activities, presenting the basic gospel message to the girls while also building relationships with the families during home stays and involvement in church services and events. A highlight for Hannah was the encouragement received from the believers in Ukraine, who live so passionately for Christ and reach out to their immediate neighbors, challenging Hannah in her own faith.


Pianist Seoyon Susanna Lim spent June 2012 in Los Angeles, CA, participating in the SongFest program.  There she participated and performed in numerous master classes and concerts, as well as rehearsals and coachings, working with nine different singers and learning from such greats in the collaborative piano field as Margo Garrett, Martin Katz, and Graham Johnson, as well as composers William Bolcom, Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, and John Musto.

This summer Benjamin Osterhouse (cello) participated in the four-week MasterWorks Performing Arts Festival (Winona Lakes, Indiana), where he performed in the orchestra program, chamber music program, and took lessons from Allen Harrell, Fred Chao, Leo Altino, and Jake Muzzy. He also composed a short string quartet ("Festival at the Acropolis") and premiered it with NWC alumni Mikki Johnston ('10 Music Performance) and Julie (Powell) Guidry ('09 Music Education), violinists, and Benjamin Davis, viola, at the Fusion Arts benefit concert for the White Earth Indian Reservation.


Amanda Potts (flute) performed in the Aria International Summer Academy as a student of Bonita Boyd, in South Hadley, MA.


Katelyn Torell (flute) attended the MasterWorks Performing Arts Festival (Indiana) as part of the Woodwind Intensive program. She entered and won a photo "likes" contest on Facebook (below), which entered her into a drawing


for a $1,000 scholarship to MasterWorks (which, unfortunately, she did not win). However, she did get interviewed, which you can read on the MasterWorks blog. 


Piano Institute (Academy of Music)
The 2012 Piano Institute hosted 36 students (ranging from age 11-18) during the July 23-28 camp.  The sudents each performed two recitals -- an ensemble recital and a solo recital -- at the end of the week to close out the camp.  Faculty included Luke Norell ('07 Music Performance) and his wife Mary Rose Norell, Dr. Paul Wirth, Renee Fletcher, Kim Lange, Nancy Bachus, and NWC faculty Dr. Barbara Rogers, Dr. Leonard Danek, and Dr. Richard Lange. College counselors were NWC students Brienna Rossiter, Emily Baltzer, Julia Clearman, Bethany Pertzsch and recent graduate Grace Peterson ('11 Music Performance). Recitals were given by the college counselors as well as Luke Norell and Reed Tetzloff. It was an inspirational and motivating week for all involved.
Northwestern Pianos Need Your HELP
Did you know there are over 40 pianos on the campus of NWC?! We have pianos of all shapes and sizes--from the 9-foot Steinway Model D in Nazareth Chapel to the smaller grand and upright pianos in faculty studios and practice rooms. Many of the pianos have been donated by generous people in the past, and some of them are in need of repair or replacement. There is a plan in place to trade in, buy used, and purchase new pianos depending on the condition and use of our current fleet.   
Would you consider investing in our current students?  Our immediate goal is to raise $100,000 by December 31, 2012.  If you are prompted to be a part of this exciting project, you may make a gift by check to the address below. Simply put "Piano Fund" in the memo line of your check. 



Attn:  Brian Molohon
Northwestern College
Development Dept.
3003 Snelling Ave. N.
St. Paul, MN 55113


If you have questions or wish to make a donation, please contact Brian Molohon, Sr. Director of Development at 651-631-5237.  


Department of Music Mission
The Northwestern College Department of Music teaches, mentors, and equips students to think, perform, lead and worship with creativity and conviction, to the glory of God.

Lori Bunce
Northwestern College