Spring 2013 Graduates
Academy of Music
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Sam Anderson 

(Music Education, '06) will be the Assistant Band Director at Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this fall.  Their award-winning marching band is one of the largest groups in the upper Midwest and has performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade four times and the Tournament of Roses Parade three times, all since 1992.  LHS has four concert bands, three jazz bands, a pep band, and consistently has the highest number of All-State Band students in South Dakota. 


Jordan Cox

(Music Education/ Composition '10) won the St. Cloud Symphony New Works competition and received a performance of his piece "Soaring" by the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra on April 8, 2011.  Jordan has been accepted into the prestigious graduate program at USC School of Film Studies.


Natalie Cromwell

(Music Education '10) will become the Director of Contemporary Worship at Wooddale Church this fall.  Natalie will be touring this summer, singing from her recent CD release (January 2013) "The Reason," which is playing on the radio throughout the east coast and the south. 



Nikkia Hall

(Violin Performance '09), former student of Roger Frisch,  has completed her Master of Music degree in Violin Pedagogy ('13) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Mikki Johnston

(Violin Performance '10), a former student of Roger Frisch, has completed her Master of Music degree in Violin Performance ('13) at the University of Minnesota.


Nicole (Neuman) Jordan 

(B.A. Music, piano & voice, '09), completed her assistantship and M.A. in music history and theology at the Greatbatch School of Music, Houghton College in New York in 2011. She is currently teaching at and designing a middle school music program for Providence Christian School of Texas, a classical K-8 school in Dallas, while also working toward her Doctorate in Worship Studies through the Webber Institute in Orange Park Florida.  



Luke Norell 

(Piano Performance '07) will be teaching at West Virginia State University this fall, near Charleston. Luke recently performed as a semi-finalist at the 2012 Panama International Piano Competition, and presented a lecture recital of Bach's French Overture at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He also performs frequently with his wife Mary Rose as the Norell Piano Duo



Barrett Radziun, tenor

(Vocal Performance '10) graduated in May 2013 with a M.M. degree in Vocal Arts from the Bard College Conservatory of Music in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. At Bard, Radziun studies with Lorraine Nubar (Bard, Juilliard, NEC) and American soprano, Dawn Upshaw. During the two-year degree program at Bard, Radziun was a featured soloist in Mendelssohn's Elijah with the American Symphony Orchestra, singing alongside American baritone Sanford Sylvan, and he was also a soloist in J.S. Bach's St. John Passion, where he shared the stage with English-German tenor, Rufus Müller. Radziun will continue his studies with Ms. Nubar as he researches and applies to DMA programs. 


Lindsey Dammar
   Magna Cum Laude
Elizabeth DeYoung
Sarah Gnitka
Victoria Kopp
   Magna Cum Laude
Jason Meyer
David Naglak
Rebecca Rohland
   Magna Cum Laude
Tija Rudzitis
Katelyn Torell

Bethany Meyer

Music Performance
Julia Clearman
   Magna Cum Laude
Matthew Hagestuen
Seoyon Susanna Lim
   Cum Laude

Music Education
Kristina Iwan
Bethany Meyer
Morgan Trang
   Cum Laude

Matthew Hagestuen, baritone (Vocal Performance, '13), will be performing in Austria this summer in the Franco-American Voice Academy (FAVA) performance program, where he will perform the role of Masetto in FAVA's summer production of Don Giovanni.  
After returning from Austria, Matthew will begin a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Matthew studied with Doreen Hutchings at NWC and will begin graduate studies at Baylor with Jack Coldiron.


Kristina Iwan (Music Education, '13) has been hired for the K-12 Vocal Music position at Sleepy Eye, MN Public Schools.


Bethany (Morris) Meyer (Composition/Music Education, '13) has written a choral piece "Love is Alive" that will be published this summer by Colla Voce Music (under the Gary R. Schwartzhoff Choral Library).  



Seoyon Susanna Lim (Piano Performance '13) has begun a period of free-lance work in the Twin Cities, including the position of Worship Accompanist at First Evangelical Free Church in Maplewood.


Stefan Swanson (Music Education, Dec. '12) will be teaching band and choir in Newfolden, Minnesota.





Register here, or call: 651.631.5108

(10% alumni discount)


Show Choir Camp

Register by June 28

Ages 10-18

July 15-19

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fri: 4:30 performance

Instructors Doreen Hutchings and Evan Jones teach one week of singing, dancing, acting, devotions & fun!


Piano Institute

Register by June 21

Ages 11-18

July 29 - August 3

8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (M-F only)

Fri: 4:30 recital

Sat: 10 a.m. recital

Director Dr. Richard Lange; intermediate to advanced pianists will be challenged, motivated & encouraged.  


Academy Assistant
Part time
Starting Aug. 1

Watch for job posting online.

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Dear Accent Readers, 
Jeremy Kolwinska 

Dia dhuit! (JEE-uh Gwitch) "God to you!" That's how Liam, our bus driver and guide, greeted us in Irish Gaelic each morning on the Symphonic Band's tour of Ireland. Those familiar with Northwestern know that touring is an important part of our department's ethos. Tours certainly improve our musical excellence, help recruiting and retention, and give students an educational experience. However, keeping in mind that the mission of Northwestern College is "to give God-honoring leadership in the home, church, community, and world," we want to extend our reach beyond the shores of Lake Johanna and the state of Minnesota. For many students, ensemble tours are their first international and cross-cultural experiences, and these experiences are musically, socially, and spiritually transformational. Seeing and experiencing the culture and history of Ireland firsthand was a powerful personal experience for me. It was even more powerful to be with a group of 50 young people and to see those light bulbs coming on simultaneously.


I was "embedded" in the trombone section on this tour, so I had a great view of the students' experience. Northwestern ensembles are tightly knit communities. Tours provide opportunities for new friendships to be formed and old ones strengthened. Tours also provide leadership opportunities for students. Members of the Symphonic Band led devotionals and prayer meetings before each performance, handled the logistics of equipment loading and setup, and organized group activities (ranging from serious to fun to just plain silly!). It was great to see them in action -- serving, encouraging, and leading.


Wherever you are reading this around the country and world, keep an eye on our website. You never know when one of our tour itineraries will take us to your doorstep. See you there!

Jeremy Kolwinska, D.M.A.
Chair, Department of Music 
Mark your calendar for 
Homecoming SHOWCASE
Friday, Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m.
On May 8th, our president, Dr. Alan Cureton announced Northwestern's new name and status. 

Effective July 1, 2013, we will officially be:
If you have questions about the transition, please visit the University Conversion webpage to watch the official chapel announcement, catch up on the local media coverage, read the official TweetChat transcript, and learn more about the reasons behind this change.


Dr. Leonard Danek (organ) gave a workshop for local organists on March 29 at Hope Presbyterian Church in Richfield on the topic of "Registration for the Church Organist."

Jeremy Kolwinska (trombone) performed in VocalEssence's production of Benjamin Britten's opera Paul Bunyan. Under the direction of Philip Brunelle, the performance also featured former TV anchor Don Shelby as the voice of Paul Bunyan and folk singer Pop Wagner.

On December 28, 2012, Rod Loeffler (adjunct music education, music department chair 2003-2008) and his wife Eloise departed Minneapolis for Kenya and a fantastic experience at the Rift Valley Academy (RVA), a U.S. school, with 500 students, K-12, under the auspices of Africa Inland Missions (AIM). (For further information about RVA, see their website During the January--March term, Rod directed four bands: the 75-piece high school band, 55-piece middle school band, the 36-member 6th grade beginning band, and a 20-piece jazz band. While Rod was busy with the band program, Eloise was able to use her years of being a professional violinist in teaching lessons to 19 string students.

Rod would encourage NWC alumni to consider using their teaching gifts in schools like RVA. "There is a great need for dedicated teachers in all areas, and it is an extremely rewarding experience as the students and their parents so greatly appreciate the time and effort of the teachers."

Dr. Phil Norris (composer/trumpet) arranged a setting of "O Sing a Song of Bethlehem" for solo voice, choir and instrumental ensemble, for the Faculty Collage Recital to be performed on January 29, 2013. On April 16, he played lead trumpet for the Minnesota Military Appreciation Fund (MMFA) dinner where General Stanley McChrystal was the featured speaker; former Joint Chief of Staff General John Vessey also spoke. On May 3 and 5, Phil played trumpet along with some members of the Minnesota Orchestra, including NWC's Roger Frisch, for the South Metro Chorale performance of Schubert's Mass in C.
Attention all Trumpet Players: Dr. Norris is currently helping organize a "Trumpets at Twins" mass trumpet ensemble for Saturday, June 29, for the Twins game at Target Field. The group will perform his arrangement of the National Anthem that calls for 13 trumpet parts. Any interested trumpet, flugelhorn or euphonium player can follow/join the group on Facebook (link); players must have a ticket to the 3 p.m. game in order to play. Contact Phil Norris for more information.
Barbara Rogers (piano) joined colleague Herbert Johnson for a pair of duo piano recitals in the Faculty Artist series at their respective institutions (April 16 at Northwestern; April 23 at Bethel), performing music of Mozart, Tailleferre, Beach, Stravinsky, Benjamin, and Brahms. The last weekend of April was quite the "Northwestern College" affair at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Barbara Rogers and Sachiya Isomura both presented master classes. Sachiya Isomura also performed a recital with resident UND piano faculty member Nariaki Sugiura, and NWC student Seoyon Susanna Lim performed her senior recital.
In January, Timothy Sawyer (Director of Choral Activities) completed a week-long performing residency with The South Dakota Chorale, a 24-voice professional choir based in Sioux Falls, SD. They performed concerts at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Sioux Falls and at SDSU in Brookings. He was also guest conductor for the North Suburban Conference Music Festival. In January, together with department colleagues Doreen Hutchings (voice) and Sonja Grimes (piano), Sawyer performed Benjamin Britten's Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac for the Faculty Artist Collage recital entitled "The Bible Tells Me So," which featured art music on Biblical themes. 

From March 13-19, Sawyer returned to Hungary to conduct the 80-voice Association of Christian School International (ACSI) Europe Honor Choir. Hosted by the International Christian School of Budapest in Diósd, the honor choir concerts took place in the Basilica of St. Istvan. Four NW music majors acting as section leaders also attended: Victoria Kopp ('13), Michele Seiffert('13), Austin Lewis ('15) and Matthew Hagestuen ('13). 

A reception was held on April 30 for Dr. Mary Kay Geston, following the Women's Chorale & Varsity Men's Chorus homecoming concert.  This concert marked the final opportunity for the Northwestern College Women's Chorale to perform under the direction of Dr. Mary Kay Geston, who has served as the conductor since 2000.  In addition to writing a book about Dale Warland and the Dale Warland singers, Dr. Geston will return in the fall as an Adjunct Instructor supervising music education student teachers.   


During her tenure at Northwestern College, Dr. Geston directed the Women's Chorale, including performances at ACDA-MN Conferences, the Minnesota Music Educators Association Mid-Winter Clinic, the North Central ACDA conference, and with the Minnesota Orchestra under maestro Edo de Waart.  She also directed the Chamber Singers; taught advanced conducting, applied voice lessons, secondary choral methods, and music appreciation; and supervised music education student teachers. Last fall Dr. Geston was given an especially notable honor when she was named the ACDA-MN 2012 Choral Director of the Year. The Department of Music is grateful for Dr. Geston's many contributions to the program and its students over the past 14 years. 



This past February, Benjamin Osterhouse and Julia Pagh were winners of the 2012-13 Concerto-Aria Competition held in Nazareth Chapel, and they performed on Tuesday, May 7, as featured guest artists with the Northwestern College Orchestra, under the direction of David Kozamchak, in Maranatha Hall.


Benjamin Osterhouse, cello, won the Concerto division with his performance of Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Hob VIIb:1, accompanied by Janet Scovill, piano. Ben, a senior at Northwestern College, studies cello with Sachiya Isomura and is pursuing a Music Performance degree. This summer, for four weeks, he will be attending the Masterworks Music Festival, where he will also be an intern at the festival.

Julia Pagh, soprano, won the Aria division with her performance of Je dis que rien ne m'épouvantefrom Carmen, accompanied by Sonja Grimes.  Julia, a senior at Northwestern College, studies voice with Carol Eikum and is pursuing a Music Performance degree. This June, Julia is participating in Operaworks in California.


Emily Baltzer, piano, was recognized with Honorable Mention for her Concerto performances, and Michele Seiffert, mezzo-soprano, received Honorable Mention for her Aria performance. Guest adjudicators for this event were James Bartsch (MN Orchestra Dir. of Education), Jerome Elsbernd (college and high school Vocal instructor), and Paul Wirth (regional piano instructor).



Twelve NWC students, including ten music majors and ensemble members
Bethany Jackson, Austin Lewis, Tony Potts, Ben Witt, Sharayah Bunce, Peter Farnam, Mitch Geiken, Mason Henderson, Chelsea Lawrence, and Josiah Rice
traveled with Dr. Don Rainbow for a 10-day Theatre class to Los Angeles this past May. Students visited a number of film and TV studios as well as participated in Film, TV, Voiceover, and Musical Theater workshops. All 12 members of the class were hired as "extras" for a TV series episode, working for 10 hours on set and learning how to "act silently," experiencing what it takes to be on film without upstaging the main actors. In an "auditioning for the camera" workshop, students learned how to pull back and be more subtle in their movements and voice. They enjoyed the chance to "let loose" in their musical theater workshop, performing, as monkeys, "I Wanna Be Like You" from Jungle Book. The students were complimented as the most talented group to participate in that workshop.
(left to right) front row: Chelsea Lawrence, Bridget Russell, Sharayah Bunce, Bethany Jackson, Camrin King; back row: Tony Potts, Austin Lewis, Mason Henderson, Ben Witt, Josiah Rice, Peter Farnam, Mitch Geiken, and Dr. Don Rainbow


Rachel Bauske, flute (Sophomore, Flute Performance) will attend the Masterworks Music Festival in Indiana.


Bethany Jackson, soprano (Senior BMus) and Julia Pagh, soprano (Senior, BMus)will head to Operaworks in California this summer.


Amanda Potts, flute (Junior, Flute Performance)received an Honorable Mention in the competitive college winds category of the Schubert Club Competition in April. Mandy has also been accepted intoboth the Madeleine Island Chamber Music Camp and the Credo Orchestra Festival at Oberlin this summer.


Hastings Reeves, bass-baritone (Senior, BMus), will be attending Songfest 2013 in California this summer. Hastings was a finalist in the Schubert Club Scholarship competition this spring.


Jared Sells, cello (Senior, B.A. Music), was hired as a Worship Associate at the Maple Grove Evangelical Free Church, partnering with NWC grad, Nate Sheppard (both hired as associates to take the place of the former Worship Pastor who left to plant a church). Their main duties will be to oversee the worship teams as well as plan Sunday Services.


Symphonic Band Ireland Tour: May 22-June 2, 2013
"American Soundscapes"

John S. Herlihy, conductor, and Julie Johnson, tour director, led the Northwestern College Symphonic Band on a twelve day international tour of Ireland. Highlighted by wonderful cathedral performances in Dublin, Limerick and Waterford, as well as uplifting worship in Carryduff, Northern Ireland, the group experienced first-hand the natural beauty of the countryside and the gracious hospitality, friendliness and warmth of the people of the Emerald Isle. 

Upon arrival in Dublin City, they met their tour driver/guide, Liam, who was simply the best -- taking good care of the group and bringing the country to life with his daily "dollop of history," as he put it. After exploring Dublin, the group gave a lunchtime concert in Christ Church Cathedral. The band then traveled to Giant's Causeway, one of Ireland's natural wonders, and on to Belfast where they learned of the city's history, including "the Troubles" (northern Ireland conflict of the 1960s to 1998). They next traveled to Carryduff, Northern Ireland, where began one of the most meaningful times on tour. Their Sunday worship and homestays with the people of Elkana Christian Fellowship in Carryduff created life-long memories for all. Pastor Trent Johnson (Julie's husband) brought a wonderful message from God's word, and the band and some smaller chamber ensembles provided uplifting music, bringing all to a place of real worship. The people of Carryduff were so moved, and the group could see God at work. A special thank you goes to Frank and Yvonne Knox, friends of President and Mrs. Cureton (who also joined the tour), for helping to make this visit possible. The band homestays were simply amazing and so much fun, showing the hospitality of the Irish people.

Over the next week, the band traveled to Galway, they stood at the Cliffs of Mohr and marveled at God's creation, and they stopped at Blarney Castle and most certainly kissed the Blarney Stone! They performed in Cork, and in Limerick and Waterford had the opportunity to perform with local community bands. The beautiful cathedral in Limerick was known as Redemptorist Church, where the band's performance was streamed live throughout the world. The band's final tour performance in Waterford was special as it brought the tour to a tearful close, serving as the last band performance for several members of the ensemble.

Throughout this great tour, these Northwestern band students ministered to those they came in contact with, as well as each other, as they honorably represented their Lord and Northwestern College.
(photos by Christal Ruppert)
1. The entire tour group, including President Cureton, outside Blarney Castle 
2. (left to right) Kelly Werness, Ross Resley & Sarah Schmoeckel
3. Cliffs of Mohr

(photos by Christal Ruppert)
4. The Symphonic Band performing in Christ Church, Dublin
5. (left to right) Morgan Parsons & Erik Holm
6. Christ Church, Dublin

College Choir/Orchestra Tour: March 6-11, 2013

The cities of Alexandria, Osakis, Moorhead and Fargo may sound like an unlikely midwinter destination, but because many of our best NW students and friends are from that region, drawn in by the media ministry of KFNW Radio and with vibrant partner churches and area schools, this was a perfect destination for this year's joint tour of the Northwestern College Choir and Orchestra. Northwestern's talented and musically excellent performers and their conductors, Timothy Sawyer and David Kozamchak, brought a wide array of heart-felt, uplifting and inspiring musical selections in concert for large and appreciative audiences at Alexandria Covenant Church, Osakis High School and Bethel Evangelical Free Church in Fargo. The Orchestra gave elegant performances of classic masterworks by Brahms, Grieg, and Dvořák. The College Choir skillfully performed a variety of choral works, hymns, gospel music and spirituals, including the Midwest premiere of Langston Hughes' poem Fire by Illinois composer John Orfe. The tour also included special daytime concerts for more than 700 students at Oak Grove Lutheran High School and North High School in Fargo, and Park Christian School in Moorhead. Perhaps not as glamorous as some exotic destinations, this tour struck a chord whose impact will not be forgotten.  

College Choir & Orchestra at Alexandria Covenant Church
Varsity Men's Chorus Tour: April 27-29, 2013

What do the following have in common: a marble-pillared chapel, a church fellowship hall, a rural high school auditorium and a maximum-security prison? The Northwestern College Varsity Men's Chorus on a spring tour to Southern Minnesota! An opening concert in the resonant Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels on Saturday evening together with the men of Winona's St. Mary's University Choirs launched the tour. On Sunday morning the men headed to Stewartville (west of Rochester) to participate in worship at Grace Evangelical Free Church, followed by an amazing church potluck lunch and impromptu performance, an afternoon of relaxation, and a cookout with members of GEFC's youth group and homestay.  Monday brought a choral exchange with four choirs from Stewartville High School.  The final concert was for 150 inmates at the Red Wing Correctional Facility, a maximum security facility for young men ages 16-24, an apt conclusion for these Northwestern men ministering through music.    


Varsity Men's Chorus in St. Mary of the Angels Chapel, Winona
Women's Chorale Tour: April 25-26 & 28, 2013

The 57-voice Women's Chorale, directed by Dr. Mary Kay Geston, toured to Rochester, Minnesota. They kicked off their tour singing in chapel for the student body of Concordia Academy, Roseville. The women then headed to Rochester to perform in Lourdes Chapel at Assisi Heights where the retired Sisters of Saint Francis are in residence. After the concert the students had an opportunity to meet and engage in rich conversation with the Sisters, followed by a historical tour of Assisi Heights and a fabulous dinner with the Sisters. The next morning the choir performed at St. Marys Hospital Chapel (part of Mayo Clinic) in a concert that was recorded for live and future broadcast to all hospital patients via the hospital's television channel. The tour stopped at the Minnesota Zoo and the Old Spaghetti Factory before heading back to campus. The Women's Chorale sang at two Sunday morning services at Salem Covenant Church in New Brighton. 


Women's Chorale performing at Assisi Heights-Sisters of Saint Francis
If you have noteworthy news to share with us about students or alumni, please send your comments to
God Bless you, 

Lori Bunce
Project & Events Coordinator
Northwestern College