With the help of faith-filled donors, we are thrilled to announce the Totino Fine Arts renovationFollow the link to see the new atrium and performance hall, and to prayerfully consider how you might play a part in revitalizing a place where so many have heard inspiring music and worshipped God.

Due to the construction, plan to use the front entrance to the Totino building over the summer. Arrangements can be made for handicap accessible drop-off at the back of the Totino building, but no parking will be available. If you need handicap accessibility, please let us know at music@unwsp.edu.

A recent realignment in programs brought Theatre, which was originally a branch of the Communication Department, to the Department of Music, officially combining the two as the Department of Music & Theatre.

According to Director and Professor of Theatre Jennifer Hunter, the theatre program and music department had always been involved with each other, sharing the same facilities and classrooms.

"We're like a family anyway," said Hunter. "It makes sense that we're going to live in the same house."

The decision to bring the two programs together into a singular department made sense both systematically and efficiently.

"We've always been involved [with theatre] but now we're all sitting at the same table," said Department Chair Dr. Kirk Moss. "One of the biggest benefits of music and theatre together is just the increased flow of communications."

Click here to read a full story on the realignment.


Sarah (Zerbe) Hanson ('08) was named the Wyoming 2016 Young Music Educator of the Year by the Wyoming Music Educators Association.

Hastings Reeves ('13), a second-year master's student, will sing in the Tanglewood Music Center Fellowship Program, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's two-month summer music academy. 

Julia Pagh ('14), a second-year master's student, will sing with the College Light Opera Company in Cape Cod this summer.

Emily Baltzer ('14) earned an Opera Accompanying Teaching Assistantship to attend University of North Texas next fall to pursue a M.M. in Collaborative Piano. 

Rachel (Bauske) Kilgore ('15) won Second Flute and will serve as Personnel Manager of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra.

Katie Daugherty ('15) will teach instrumental and vocal music and music theory at a community arts center in East Asia with the mission organization TeachBeyond.

Anthony Potts ('15) was cast as Marcello in Puccini's La Bohème this summer at the Miami Music Festival Opera Institute, his second year in the program. 

Benjamin Valine ('15) received a graduate assistantship at Belmont University to study with Bluegrass Ensemble instructor and Grammy Award-winner, Tammy Rogers King.


Bachelor of Arts in Music
Bryan Beck (Cum Laude)
Elizabeth Boggs (Summa Cum Laude)
Hannah Flowers (Cum Laude)
Lillian Guth (Magna Cum Laude)
Shelby Moore
Susanna Sharikov
Bailey Staber (Magna Cum Laude)

Bachelor of Science in Music
(Music Ministry)
Tyler Flatmoe
James Howard
Marissa Steien

Bachelor of Music in Composition
Jacob Crosby (Cum Laude)

Bachelor of Music in Performance
Erik Holm
Anthony Potts (Magna Cum Laude)
Renee Pyne
Benjamin Valine (Summa Cum Laude)

Bachelor of Music Education
Jacob Crosby (Cum Laude)
Kathleen Daugherty (Cum Laude)
Claire Dill (Summa Cum Laude)
Isaac Haugen (Cum Laude)
Alyssa Laansma
Austin Lewis

Certificates and degrees are awarded upon successful completion of all certificate and degree requirements. Listing of students' names does not guarantee certificate or degree completion. 


Each year, Northwestern students compete for a chance to perform as soloist in concert with the UNW Orchestra. This year's competition was held on February 23.

Winners (center): Curtis Baum, Schumann Piano Concerto; Grace Lugo, Voce di donna from La Gioconda

Honorable mentions: Erik Holm (left), marimba; Renee Pyne, violin (second left); Nicole Moran, soprano (right).


We give thanks for the service of these colleagues as they pursue new adventures. 

Lori BunceProject & Events Coord., 8 yrs

Kathleen Robinson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, 16 yrs 

Catherine McCord Larsen, Lecturer, 19 yrs

"For last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning." (Little Gidding) 
-  T.S. Eliot

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From the Department Chair
University of Northwestern - St. Paul provides an environment that fosters musical and academic excellence, Christian community, and exceptional preparation for the next generation of musicians and leaders. We hope you enjoy this issue of Accent, now published annually. Please Like UNW Music on Facebook to keep up with the latest Music news.

Kirk D. Moss, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Music & Theatre


Natalie Cromwell ('10), Adjunct Instructor of Music: Worship Teams. As a worship leader and singer/songwriter, Cromwell's experiences include churches, conferences, retreats, and most recently as Worship Leader at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. Her first project, The Reason, saw the title track chart on the radio. A reviewer praised her most recent project, Up To Something: "Cromwell not only sings well but she conveys a feeling that we are not alone in our strife. She's there with us leading us by the hand to our Heavenly Father." Cromwell regularly composes with award-winning Christian writers and is making her mark on Christian music with songs published by Sunset Gallery.

Nicole Jordan ('09), Adjunct Instructor of Music: Music History and Introduction to Music. Jordan received her doctoral degree through the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies; her thesis explores the practice of listening to music as a spiritual discipline. She was awarded a full scholarship to the Greatbatch School of Music, Houghton College in New York where she taught undergraduate music theory and received a Master of Arts in Music with emphasis in Music History. She previously served as Director of Music at Providence Christian School in Dallas, Texas where she designed and implemented a music history curriculum and choral program. Jordan, her husband, and two daughters live in St. Paul where she runs a private piano and vocal studio.

Richard Lawrence Joseph, Lecturer in Music: Voice. Joseph's Twin Cities performances include Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Chorale, VocalEssence, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, Oratorio Society, and Deo Cantamus. He graduated from Clearwater Christian College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, having participated in master classes with Elizabeth Futral (soprano) and Maestro Steven White. Joseph holds a M.M. in voice performance from Florida State University where he studied with tenor Stanford Olsen. He is A.B.D. toward a doctorate in vocal performance at University of Minnesota. Joseph has teaching experiences at several colleges/universities in the area.

Diane Tremaine, Adjunct Instructor of Music: Cello. Tremaine graduated from Indiana University in the studio of Janos Starker. A versatile freelance cellist in the Twin Cities, performances include Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Opera as a substitute, The Guthrie Theater (soloist), VocalEssence, Minnesota Sinfonia (principal cellist) and for Broadway musicals and dance companies including Joffrey Ballet, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, and Bolshoi Ballet. Tremaine is an active chamber musician and is a co-founder/member of the Alpine String Quartet. She has recorded, toured, and performed in concert with numerous well known artists from a variety of musical genres.

Paul Wirth, Artist-in-Residence, Adjunct Instructor of Music: Piano. With his Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Temple University and his Master and Doctorate degrees in piano performance from Indiana University, Wirth co-founded and is now the Artistic Director of the Wirth Center for the Performing Arts in St. Cloud, Minnesota, a bustling performing arts center with over 300 students taught by a faculty of twenty. He has taught numerous first prize-winning students of regional, national and international competitions, with thirty of his pre-college students having performed over seventy solo performances with orchestra, including numerous appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Wirth's GRAVI-DVD, a cutting edge DVD on teaching piano technique to children, is now distributed internationally.

Ishaya J. Yarison, Adjunct Instructor of Music: Theory and Composition. Yarison graduated from Nigerian Theological Seminary with a B.C.M. (Voice) and M.C.M. (Composition), received the M.S.M. (Sacred Music Choral Conducting) from Luther Seminary, and M.A. and Ph.D. (Composition) from University of Minnesota. Yarison has previously taught music theory and composition at both the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in Ogbomosho, Nigeria and served as an adjunct conductor at Bowen University in Iwo, Nigeria. As a composer, Yarison works in a variety of forms including opera, instrumental music, vocal music, and choral music.

Dr. Phil Norris Publishes Music Textbook 
Congratulations to Dr. Phil Norris for publishing
Western Music SDG: A Concise Overview.
After Kendall Hunt Publishing Company in Dubuque, IA contacted Norris in the spring of 2015, his initial thoughts of writing a book based on his Introduction to Music course became a reality. However, in his reply to Kendall Hunt, Norris informed them it would be a faith-based book, thinking that would disinterest them.
"To my surprise, the publisher representative pointed me to a number of their texts that were faith-based," Norris said.
Starting that May, for several hours each day, Norris wrote as much as he could. By mid-August, he was finished. The overall book production and editing began in the fall so that the book could be ready for the spring semester of his online Introduction to Music course. A final version, error-free and complete with index, will be ready by early August of this year--just in time for the 2016 fall semester.
"The book is for any Christian college or high school level introductory music course," said Norris. "It's for anyone who wants to learn about music from a biblical worldview perspective."
The title of Norris' book includes the words "Music SDG" with "SDG" serving as the abbreviation for the Latin phrase Soli Deo gloria ("alone to God be glory"). Not only does the book incorporate elements of faith and scripture, it also touches on music's influence in spiritual life and a variety of topics ranging from contemporary Christian music to Western music.
"I believe there is no other textbook available with this perspective," Norris concluded.
Apart from being used as the textbook for the Intro to Music course, Norris' book will continue to be marketed to Christian colleges and universities. Western Music SDG: A Concise Overview is available on Amazon or by visiting Kendall Hunt Publishing Company's website.

UNW Drumline 
This year marks the second year the UNW Drumline has had the chance to perform at games and events. It also marks the year the Drumline officially became a part of the music program. To continue expanding, new drums were purchased and auditions were held for new members to join for the fall of 2016. 
When it comes to pumping up the players and fans before a game, the UNW Drumline has taken students to new levels of excitement and anticipation. To see a full story on the UNW Drumline, visit unwsp.edu/news

Music Ensemble Library
Ever wonder what 15,000 linear inches of ensemble music moved to summer storage looks like? We're grateful for the handiwork of Becky Schleicher - Berntsen Library, Jim Rinehart - Facilities, and their respective crews. Not only did they move the collection, but they kept everything in order! As part of the Totino Fine Arts Center renovation, the music ensemble library will have a new home in the main library.


UNW Ensemble Tours
"Music opens doors, musicians build bridges, and Christ transforms lives."  -Unknown
"It's the musicians who really build that bridge between their audiences, and then Christ is the one who comes in and makes it work," said Ensemble Tours Director Julie Johnson. "That's what touring at Northwestern is all about: building bridges." 

Women's Chorale (April 22-24)
The Women's Chorale enjoyed a fun-filled tour in Rochester, MN, performing at several high schools and joint concerts in the area. During their tour they had the chance to sing for the Assisi Heights Nuns and perform in St. Mary's Chapel at Mayo Clinic. Their tour ended with a performance at the Stewartville Evangelical Free Church.

Varsity Men's Chorus 
(April 21-24) 
The Varsity Men's Chorus spent their annual tour visiting local high schools in Wadena and Delano as well as connecting with some Northwestern alumni who currently work as teachers at some of those high schools. On Friday night, before their homestays in Lake City, they performed at Lake City Church. They concluded their tour with a Sunday morning performance at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina.
It has become a tradition for Kirk Talley, head coach of Eagle's football, and Paul Bradley, Dean of Student Life, to accompany the boys during their eventful trip. Talley and Bradley once again joined VMC on their last tour in support of their music. In turn, Timothy Sawyer, Director of Choral Activities, joins the football team on their retreats in the fall.

Northwestern Choir & UNW Orchestra Tour (Spring Break)
During spring break, 2016, the Northwestern Choir and UNW Orchestra Strings toured North and South Dakota. Their stops included performances at Bethel Church - Fargo, Park Christian School - Moorhead, Bismarck Baptist Church, Sioux Falls Christian School, Lincoln High School - Sioux Falls, Cathedral of St. Joseph, and rural Viborg-Hurley School.
This year's tour, called "Experience Live Music" included works by Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Vaughan Williams, Esenvalds, and Elgar, as well as several hymns.

Click here for a full story on the Choir and Orchestra 2016 spring tour. 

Symphonic Band East Coast Tour
Following the Spring 2016 commencement ceremony, UNW's Symphonic Band is bound for the Nation's capital. This summer's 9-day trip includes performances in Washington DC, Baltimore, New Jersey and Virginia. Although it will be several days of concerts, the band is excited to spend some time touring the beautiful monuments, parks and museums.
2017 Symphonic Band Trip to Spain
Every three out of four years, UNW ensembles head out on an international tour. The Symphonic band plans to visit Spain in May 2017 performing in Madrid, Cordoba and Malaga.


Northwestern's music program is rigorous and encourages students to set high goals for themselves. In addition, Northwestern's music faculty members continue to demonstrate a passion for creative and scholarly professional activity while effectively educating in the classroom. Northwestern's programmatic rigor and passion is demonstrated in the following music highlights and accomplishments from the 2015-2016 academic year:
  • The Minnesota NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Student Auditions involved 26 UNW students. 
    • FINALISTS: Grace Lugo - 1st Place, Anthony Potts - 2nd Place, Nathan Potts - 2nd Place, Annie Tillotson - 2nd Place, Sarah McCord - 3rd Place
    • SEMI-FINALISTS: Gabriella Abbott, Maggie Benham, Jordan Brown, Corrin Lee, Nicole Moran, Josey Poppin, Emily Schrag, Josh Vehrs, Elizabeth Walton
  • Thursday Musical Young Artist Competition Results
    • FINALISTS: Nathan Potts - 1st Place, College Intermediate Voice; Maggie Benham - 2nd Place, College Advanced Voice
    • HONORABLE MENTIONS: Ellie Walton, College Intermediate Voice; Peter Liu, College Intermediate Piano; Ben Osterhouse (alumnus '13), College Strings
  • Seven Northwestern students were selected to the MN Intercollegiate Honor Band: Dylan Ross, clarinet; Grey Tison, percussion; Kristof Chara, double bass; Wesley Muilenburg, alto saxophone; Jacob Jungck, euphonium; Madeline Sytsma, French horn; Naomi Black, trombone. UNW professor John Herlihy administrated the event as Minnesota State Chair for the College Band Directors National Association. 
  • Alumnus Tony Potts (B.M. Performance '15) was selected as a FINALIST for the 19th annual Lotte Lenya Competition. Over 200 singer/actors, ages 19-32, from eleven countries, submitted audition videos. Selected from thirty-one semifinalists ages 19-32, this year's fifteen finalists represented a diverse range of performers from across the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel. International opera star Teresa Stratas led an all-star judges' panel. Potts was one of the youngest finalists in the competition.
  • Hannah Flowers, senior B.A. Music in Harp, performed in recital at Celtic Junction, St. Paul. Her Harps of Éire program served as the capstone to her Metropolitan Regional Arts Council "Next Step Fund" award. Flowers received a $5,000 grant to study with experts in the field of the Gaelic harp at the 2015 Summer School of Early Irish Harp in Kilkenny, Ireland. The Next Step Fund program, funded by The McKnight Foundation, is designed to help artists in the seven-county metropolitan region complete a project that will help them rise to the next level in their careers regardless of whether they are emerging artists or artists well established in their disciplines.
  • Three music faculty members traveled and performed with the Minnesota Orchestra on their historic Cuba tour: Dr. Cheryl Kelley, Bassoon / Contrabassoon and Music Education; Matt Wilson, French Horn; and Roger Frisch, Violin. Frisch is Associate Concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra. Read about Dr. Kelley's experiences on tour in Cuba here.
  • David Kozamchak, UNW Orchestra Director, served as concertmaster for the Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company's production of Iolanthe as well as performances of Gabriel Faure's Requiem. He also served on the selection committee for the annual Ordway Education Awards and as a judge for the four-day statewide Tier 1 Middle Level Orchestra Festival sponsored by the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association.
  • Dr. Kirk Moss, Department Chair, presented conference sessions for the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association, Illinois Music Education Conference, and Utah Music Education Association. He guest conducted the Washoe County High School Honor Orchestra, Reno, NV; Fulton County High School Honor Orchestra, Atlanta, GA; and Tennessee 9-10 All-State Orchestra, held at Opryland. His newest string orchestra arrangement, Iphigenia in Aulis Overture - Gluck, released in spring 2016 by Alfred Music. Moss chaired the National Orchestra Festival for the American String Teachers Association. Held in conjunction with ASTA's 2016 national conference in Tampa, FL, the festival brought together over 950 middle and high school orchestra students and their directors representing twenty-one ensembles from fourteen states.
  • Timothy SawyerDirector of Choral Activities, was named conductor of the Byzantine Choral Festival, an ecumenical Slavic church choir festival held annually at St. Constantine Ukrainian Catholic Church in NE Minneapolis. Sawyer recently spent two weeks singing and recording with the South Dakota Chorale for the Netherlands-based Pentatone CD label, to be released later in 2016. Entitled Music Lost in the Holocaust, the project featured the choral music of Marcel Tyberg, an Austrian of Jewish descent who died in Auschwitz in 1944. Read about Professor Sawyer's experiences singing with the Schola Cantorum of the Cathedral of Saint Paul here.

If you have noteworthy news to share with us about students or alumni, please send your comments to music@unwsp.edu. We look forward to seeing you at one of our many music events throughout the academic year.
May the LORD bless you,

Music Faculty & Staff
University of Northwestern - St. Paul