Northwestern College
Spring 2013
Latest News
Spring Music Events
Faculty News
Student News
Musical Theater
Nominate an Alum
Spring Tours
Alumni News 


Northwestern College Alumni, April Fredrick ('02), Soprano, has released her debut recording on the Somm label with the Orchestra of the Swan.

On the album she is featured singing Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Copland's Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson and Gershwin's Summertime. April is an experienced recital, oratorio, and concert performer, with a particular interest in song. Her literary background has given her a passion for text and nuanced delivery which gets to the heart of both music and character. She was a semifinalist in the 2009 Kathleen Ferrier Awards and the 2009 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition as well as appearing on BBC Radio 4's "Robert Winston's Musical Analysis: Ivor Gurney." She has performed at St. John's Smith Square, the Holywell Music Room and Queen Elizabeth Hall, was part of the 2008 Young Songmakers Almanac, and was a RAM representative for the first Europaisches Liedforum in Berlin. She is a Young Artist on the Somm record label, and she was named Young Outstanding Musician of the Year at the 2010 Brighton Early Music Festival. Her opera roles have included Dido in Dido and Aenaes, Iris in Semele, Medea in Handel's Teseo, the Governess in Britten's Turn of the Screw, Fido in Britten's Paul Bunyan, and Zora in the world premier of Gloria Coates' Stolen Identity.


Jim('83) and Lynne 

Jackson are seeing an explosion in their ministry to parents, "Connected Families," which launched in 2002 (after 12 years at TreeHouse).  Jim, who was a member of the College Choir for five years while majoring in Biblical Studies & Social Sciences at NWC, travels the region with his wife, Lynne, speak-ing in churches and parent groups, inspiring and equipping them to live out God's grace and truth at home. Their two books, "How to Grow a Connected Family" and "Discipline that Connects with Your Child's Heart," have been well received regionally and opened doors to ministry across the country. Their website at

is equipping 30,000 parents a month with numerous free and paid resources. They have also been invited by internationally known author and speaker Mark Holmen to be regional Faith@Home ambassadors for this rapidly growing movement to unite church and home for the task of passing faith to the next generation. Their daughter Bethany is currently a senior vocal performance major at NWC. 
Angela Van Loon (Dec. '10) sings on the worship team for Hope Community Church in Minneapolis.  Last summer the band recorded an album called "Hope Hymns: Volume 1," with Angela as a featured soloist.  The album features old hymns (some known, some unknown) made "new" arranged with a current Indy rock twist.  The digital release of the album was October 23 on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp, and the physical release was November 10.  Also this past fall, Angela was hired as the music director for Seussical Jr., the fall musical at Maple Grove Junior High, along with NWC theatre program grads Liz Yoder ('12), director, Kurt Bender ('11), costumes, and Zach McClellan ('12), set.

Rebecca (Osten) Visser ('10) completed a M.A. in Liturgical Music from St. John's University in February 2012, culminating with a solo organ recital featuring works by Bach, Hindemith, Alain, Widor, and Naji Hakim, with whom she studied in France in August 2011. In September 2011, Rebecca accepted a position at All Saints Catholic Church in Lakeville, MN, as the Assistant Director of Music and Liturgy.



Congratulations to

December 2012 graduates:



Daniel Emerson



Chantal Abendroth

   (Magna Cum Laude)

Hannah Lindahl

   (Magna Cum Laude)

Stefan Swanson

   (Cum Laude)

Ashley Tuley


Marissa Vossen



(Graduates, be sure to keep us informed. Our apologies for any errors or omissions)


Hannah Lindahl (Dec. '12), K-5 music/6-8 choir, at Calvin Christian in Edina, Minnesota.


Stefan Swanson (Dec. '12),  Band and Choir Teacher at Marshall County Central School (near Thief River Falls, MN)


University Status


After years of discussion, reflection, and consideration, the Northwestern College Board of Trustees has voted to officially transition from "college" to the more accurate title of "university."  In many ways, Northwestern has been operating as a university for some time, so implementing this decision to align the institution's name with its current reality is wise as the institution continues to adapt to the changing educational needs and demands of its students, the economy, and the world.


The Board of Trustees plans to announce the new name of the institution sometime late spring/early summer with the official transition in place for the 2013-14 school year. So, look for a big announcement in the months ahead.

Join Our Mailing List
Fall 2012

Dear Accent Readers,


I frequently counsel prospective students (and their parents!) who are Jeremy Kolwinska considering a Music major. Instead of asking: "Should I major in Music?" The question I encourage them to ask is: "What should I be doing right now if I think I might be called to be a Music major?"


I like to use the example of NCAA athletics to help families understand what I mean. Students who play basketball here at Northwestern College love the game, but that passion is not enough. Before they got here, they played on their high school teams. They also put in countless hours of personal practice time and attended basketball camps and clinics in the summer. Once they arrived on campus, they were not guaranteed a spot on the team-they had to try out.


In music, that tryout is called an "audition." Your preparation as a musician involves both countless hours of personal practice time as well as participation in musical groups and lessons before you get here. Loving music is not enough. Here are my recommendations for things you should be doing now to prepare to be a Music major:

1. Take private lessons on your main instrument or voice. If you cannot do anything else on this list, this is the number one priority. Becoming proficient on one instrument or voice is key to being a successful musician.

2. Join a music ensemble. Sing in choir or play in band or orchestra at your school. If you are a home school student, you may be able to join the ensembles at a local private or public school. There may also be church or community ensembles you can join. Even if you play a "solo" instrument like piano or guitar, seek opportunities to sing in a choir or perform with other musicians. 

3. Take piano lessons. Even if piano is not your main instrument, all Music degrees require proficiency on piano. Piano skills are very useful no matter what you end up doing in the music field. 

4. Find other ways to expand your music knowledge and ability. Attend clinics, master classes, and summer music camps. Listen to a variety of recorded music, and attend concerts in your area.  (We offer many free concerts and master classes here at NWC, and we encourage you to check out our Events on

These four pieces of advice will not only help you prepare to be a Music major, but they will help you determine if being a Music major is what you are called to do. As you develop your skill and get more familiar with the music industry, your calling to a Major (and eventually a career) in music will either be confirmed and refined, or you will find your sense of calling moving away from music.


Now, I imagine that this letter is "preaching to the choir," as most Accent readers are probably musicians themselves, but I hope that some of you will pass along this advice to your students and other young musicians in your life who are considering a major and a career in music.


Yours for Music,


Jeremy Kolwinska, D.M.A.

Chair, Department of Music

Spring Music Events

22     7:30 p.m.      Guest Artist concert: Timothy A. Schmidt, piano (NC)

29     7:30 p.m.      FAS: Faculty Collage,The Bible Tells Me So (NC)

                                featuring more than twenty faculty artists



  9     1:00 p.m.    Concerto-Aria Competition (NC)

15   5:30-7 p.m.    MMEA Music Alumni Reception (OC)     

                               Hilton Minneapolis

        1001 Marquette Ave S

        Room: Director's Row 1

19     6:30 p.m.     Horn Master Class: Ellen Dinwiddie Smith (Choir Room)



  5     7:30 p.m.     Symphonic Band concert (MH)

6-11                      College Choir/Orchestra Spring Tour (OC)

22     7:30 p.m.     CC/Orch Homecoming concert (OC)

                               Calvary Church

                               2120 Lexington Ave. N.

                               Roseville, MN

26     7:30 p.m.     FAS: Chamber Music Treasures (NC)

                               featuring Sachiya Isomura, cello, 

                               and Richard Lange, piano 



5-6    7:30 p.m.     Opera Workshop: Mozart's Cosi fan tutte (MH) 

16     7:30 p.m.     FAS: Duo Piano (NC)

                               featuring Barbara Rogers, piano

19     7:30 p.m.     Jazz Ensemble Concert (MH)

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

26-28                    Varsity Men's Chorus Tour (OC)

26-29                    Women's Chorale Tour (OC)

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

                               Homecoming concert (MH) 



  7   12:40 p.m.     Chamber Singers Concert (NC)

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

10     7:30 p.m.     Symphonic Band Bon Voyage Concert (MH)

22-June 2             Symphonic Band Ireland Tour (OC)



Student Recitals 



28      12:45 p.m.    Sr Recital: Horn & Mezzo Soprano (NC)



 4       12:45 p.m.    Sr Recital: Composition (NC)

11      12:45 p.m.    Sr Recital: Saxophone (NC)

30      12:40 p.m.    Sr Recital (half): Piano (NC)



 2       12:45 p.m.    Sr Recital: Baritone (NC)

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


All Jr/Sr Recitals pending final approval.


MH=Maranatha Hall, GC=Graham Commons, NC=Nazareth Chapel,

FAS= Faculty Artist Series, BR=Blue Room, OC=Off Campus location


All events free and open to the public.

All events subject to change. Up-to-date info at (events).

In the event of inclement weather, please call 651-631-5218 for cancellation information (decided 2 hours before event start time).


Faculty News


Dr. Mary Kay Geston, associate professor of music at NWC, receiving the 2012 Minnesota Choral Director of the Year Award (presented by the American Choral Directors Association of MN) on November 17, 2012 during its annual fall conference.  Picture below: ACDA-MN State President, Steven Albaugh, presented the award to Dr. Geston. 


Dr. Jeremy Kolwinska performed with the Minnesota Orchestra in their historic concert at the Minneapolis Convention Center on October 18, when the Locked out Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra performed Dvorak's Cello Concerto and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 under the direction of Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.

Dr. Phil Norris recently performed solo trumpet on Frank Erickson's Concertino for Trumpet & Band with the NWC Symphonic Band, John Herlihy, conducting, on November 16, 2012. He also 
performed with the Minnesota Brass at its Christmas program at Colonial Church, Edina, on December 9, 2012. The Minnesota Orchestra brass section was augmented with local free-lance players for this performance. Henry Charles Smith conducted along with Charles Forsberg on organ. 


Dr. Barbara J. Rogers had her newly- composed Christmas carol, "The Son of God, the Eternal King" selected for performance at a concert sponsored by the Schubert Club.  The concert, performed by a professional vocal quartet and pianist, took place on Thursday, December 20, 2012, as part of the Schubert Club's Lunchtime Courtroom Concert Series in Saint Paul.   


Student News


Benjamin Osterhouse Concerto Winners Concert 

Benjamin Osterhouse, a junior Cello Performance major at Northwestern College who won the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra's Concerto Competition last April, performed Édouard Lalo's Cello Concerto in D Minor with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra on November 18 at Roseville Lutheran Church (pictured below). Ben is a student of Sachiya Isomura.



Northwestern College Trio at MTNA competition  

Current music majors at Northwestern College, Carl Christenson (clarinet), Benjamin Osterhouse (violoncello), and Seoyon Susanna Lim (piano), formed the Northwestern College Trio in Spring 2011. The Trio has been coached by faculty members Sachiya Isomura, David Kozamchak, Barbara Rogers, and Jan Scholl, and has performed at Northwestern College and other venues in the Twin Cities including a pre-competition concert at Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul.  On January 13, the Trio represented Minnesota in the 8-state West Central Division Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Chamber Music Competition at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS, playing for three judges and an appreciative audience.  They were named alternate to the winning trio (clarinet, viola, and piano) from UK, Lawrence.   The winning ensemble will go on to compete with the other Division winners at the national MTNA conference in Anaheim, CA in March.  


NATS Success

Department of Music singers, voice teachers and accompanists attended the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Minnesota State Auditions held at St. John's University on November 2-3, 2012. Of the 13 Northwestern singers who performed at the auditions, five students made it to Semi-Finals in their competition divisions (names listed below).  We are very proud of them!! In addition, Erika Sawyer (daughter of Tim Sawyer and student of Doreen Hutchings, through Academy of Music) placed Third in Finals of the High School Girls Division - age 16.



Maggie Benham
Alyssa Laansma
Julia Pagh

Hastings Reeves
Michele Seiffert


Musical Theatre: Side Show 


In November, the theatre department produced the musical, Side Show, based on the true life story of conjoined twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton. In a joint effort between the theater and music departments, Don Rainbow (theatre) directed the show, while David Kozamchak and Doreen Hutchings provided musical and vocal direction, contributing greatly to the overwhelming success of this moving production. The cast of 38 included ten music majors and minors as well as many NWC choral ensemble members: Jonathan Horn, Brandyn Tapio, Julia Pagh, Alyssa Laansma, Anthony Potts, Bethany Jackson, Austin Lewis, Shawn Nelson, Gabriella Abbott, Sharayah Bunce, Chelsea Lawrence, Forrest Anderson Mares, Mason Henderson, Lauren Griggs, Marisa Jacobus, Peter Farnam, Benjamin Witt, Andrew Blatchley, Kaleb Hammes, and Austin Demeter.  The orchestra included 26 student musicians, plus several faculty and guest performers.  Pictured below (L to R):  Bethany Jackson, Sharayah Bunce, Forest Anderson Mares, Meg Graham, Austin Lewis, Mitch Geiken, and Alyssa Laansma. 


Nominate an Alum for the Music Hall of Recognition


The purpose of the Music Hall of Recognition is, "To recognize those individuals who best exhibit the spirit, integrity, and Christian commitment that exemplify Northwestern College and the Department of Music. Former music majors and other individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of music and have brought honor to the Department of Music are eligible for selection to the Music Hall of Recognition." We need your help nominating Northwestern College alumni for the Music Hall of Recognition award. To make a nomination, please



Spring Tours                          
College Choir and Orchestra Tour Jointly during Spring Break '13

The Northwestern Orchestra (David Kozamchek, director) and College Choir (Timothy Sawyer, director) once again join forces for a collaborative tour, the first one since a memorable 2008 Texas joint tour. With concert venues in northwestern Minnesota and the Fargo/Moorhead area, the choir and orchestra present a series of concerts in Alexandria, Osakis and at several venues in Fargo, North Dakota including Bethel Evangelical Free Church, and choral exchanges with Oak Grove Lutheran High School, Fargo North High School and Park Christian School in Moorhead. The Orchestra's repertoire includes masterworks by Johannes Brahms, Edvard Grieg, Antonin Dvorak; the College Choir will perform a wide variety of choral music including hymns, gospel music and spirituals, featuring the Midwest premiere of Langston Hughes' poem "Fire" by Illinois composer John Orfe. Together, the combined ensembles will perform "Meteor Shower" by Owl City's Adam Young and selections from Ralph Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs.


Women's Chorale Tour April '13 

The Women's Chorale (Mary Kay Geston, director) will be touring to the Rochester, Minnesota area this spring and plans are underway to perform at several Christian high schools and a church. The women will present a concert for the Sisters of Saint Francis in Lourdes Chapel at Assisi Heights. The Franciscan Sisters founded the Mayo Clinic, now a world-renowned health system, in 1889, and are committed "to be a compassionate presence for peace in our world, striving for justice and reverence for all creation." The tour theme is focused on stewardship of the earth and the beauty of creation and will include visits to family farms owned by members of the Women's Chorale. Repertoire includes The Prayer of St. Francis, a treble choir arrangement of a composition by René Clausen, that was commissioned for the NWC Women's Chorale. Other works include All Good Gifts by Stephen Schwartz, Radiant Sister of the Dawn by David L. Brunner, African-American spirituals and Scandinavian and Estonian folksongs. 


Varsity Men's Chorus Tour April '13

The Varsity Men's Chorus (Timothy Sawyer, director) has an exciting 2013 spring tour planned. They will perform in a collaborative concert with the men of the St. Mary's University Concert Choir and their director, Dr. Patrick O'Shea in the breathtaking acoustics of St. Mary of the Angels Chapel on SMU's Winona campus. Following that, the men will head south to Stewartville, MN (just west of Rochester) to participate in worship and interact with the youth group at Grace Evangelical Free Church together and its youth pastor Andrew Langseth (NWC music grad '07). Rounding out the men's tour will be a third and return visit to the Red Wing Correctional Facility, where they will perform for the assembled inmates and collaborate with RWCF's resident choir The Soul of Red Wing led by Metropolitan Boy Choir director Bea Hasselman.


Symphonic Band International Tour to Ireland May 2013

The Symphonic Band (John S. Herlihy, director) has an amazing international tour planned to "cross the pond" and visit the Island of Saints and Scholars known as Ireland (The Emerald Isle). The Symphonic Band will have the privilege of ministering through music in several venues across Ireland's countryside including Dublin, Ireland's capital city, and Cork, the country's cultural center, as well as Belfast, Elkana, Limerick and Waterford. This year's theme is entitled American Soundscapes, showcasing American composers and the music of our growth as a nation, along with the grandeur and beauty of the American landscape.


Julie Johnson is the Department of Music Tour Manager, and she would love to hear from churches or schools interested in a visit from one of our excellent performance ensembles. 


Julie Johnson, Tour Manager
651-628-2080 | 866-532-8687 



If you have noteworthy news to share with us about students or alumni, please send your comments to
Lori Bunce, Project & Events Coordinator
Northwestern College Department of Music