Events & News

Music Events Calendar

In the event of inclement weather, please call 651-631-5218 for weather related cancellation information. Any decision to cancel an event will be reached no later than 2 hours prior to event start time.

Current News

Congratulations to Sharayah Bunce for advancing to NATS Music Theatre national semi-final round

Congratulations to Sharayah Bunce, 2015 graduate, for advancing to the national semi-final round of 2015 National Student Auditions of the NATS Musical Theatre College Women category. Both the semi-final and final rounds will be held on July 7 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Sharayah, the only entry from the North Central division, is one of 14 women from around the country to advance to the semi-final round.


Congratulations to Jacob Crosby, music composer for Emmy-winning 2015 Regional Student Production

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences – Upper Midwest Emmy® Chapter/Foundation announced its College/University winners of Crystal Pillar Awards for 2015 Regional Student Productions on April 12, 2015 at the Mall of America.  UNW students won all the awards for which they were nominated, as follows:

In the College Fiction (Film) Category:
Fort Firerock – University of Northwestern
    Jared Myers, Director/Writer/Animator/Editor
    William Bakken, Producer
    Sophie Meath, Director of Photography
    Jacob Crosby, Musical Composer

In the College Commercial Category:
UNW Football – Compete With Purpose – University of Northwestern
    Matthew Abeler, Director

Concerto-Aria Contest Winners Announced

The Department of Music is proud to announce Rachel Bauske and Maegan Benham as winners of the 2014-15 Concerto-Aria Competition. They were among the 17 contestants who participated in the annual event held Saturday, December 13, 2014, in Nazareth Chapel.

Aria winner Maegan Benham, honorable mention Sharayah Bunce, and Concerto winner Rachel Bauske.

Rachel Bauske, flute, won the Concerto division with her performance of Liebermann’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 39, accompanied by Herbert Johnson, piano. Rachel, a senior at University of Northwestern – St. Paul, studies flute with Michele Frisch and is pursuing a Music Performance degree.

Maegan Benham, soprano, won the Aria division with his performance of Donizetti’s “Quel guardo, il cavaliere…So anch’io la virtu magica” from Don Pasquale.  Maegan, a junior at Northwestern, studies voice with Carol Eikum and is pursuing a Music Performance degree.
The results of the competition were announced during a reception that followed in the Blue Room. Sharayah Bunce, soprano, was recognized with Honorable Mention for her Aria performance. Guest adjudicators for this event were Dr. Soojung Hong (pianist, international performer,  winner of the International Romantic Music Competition), Dr. Monica Murray (soprano, member of Minnesota Opera Company, NATS Minnesota State Governor), and Mark Russell Smith (conductor of Quad City Symphony Orchestra, artistic director of Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony, artistic director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Minnesota).
Rachel Bauske and Maegan Benham will perform as featured guest artists with the University of Northwestern Orchestra, under the direction of David Kozamchak, on Friday, March 20, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. in Maranatha Hall, on the campus of University of Northwestern – St. Paul.  The concert will also include Latin American pieces conducted by Chilean guest conductor, Lorena Vergara, conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puente Alto, Chile.

Christmas at Northwestern: Out of Darkness, Into Light

This annual concert of worship featured the Northwestern Choir, Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Women's Chorale and Varsity Men's Chorus. This year's theme was "Out of Darkness, Into Light."


Orchestra Children's Concert: A Garden of Imagination

On Thursday, November 20, the Northwestern Orchestra, conducted by David Kozamchak, was joined by Academy of Music’s Vivace Voices, directed by Doreen Hutchings. Music inspired the imagination, including movie music from Forrest Gump and Jurassic Park as well as music by Copland, Chabrier, and Anderson. The concert also featured a performance of  “The Land of Counterpane” based on poems from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, with music by Howard Blake.

Pre-concert children’s activities, presented by the Academy of Music, included a “Garden of Instruments,” story time with the Opera workshop, crafts with Orchestra students, refreshments and a “winter garden” photo booth.


Symphonic Band Concert

Friday, Nov. 21 was an evening of classical and contemporary wind band repertoire as the University of Northwestern Symphonic Band presented the music of James Clifton Williams, Jr., Mark Camphouse, Luigi Zaninelli, Samuel Hazo, Morton Gould, and Brant Karrick.


MN-NATS Singing Auditions Results

On November 7-8, 26 UNW singers and two recent UNW grads sang in the Minnesota NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Student Auditions at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Voice professors Carol Eikum, Doreen Hutchings and Catherine Larsen participated, and Sonja Grimes, Janet Scovill and Pam Sohriakoff were the accompanists.

Fourteen UNW singers and two recent UNW alums advanced to the Semi-Finals on Saturday morning, and five of those singers advanced to the Saturday afternoon Finals (listed below). Notably, more than 20% of the Minnesota NATS Auditions Semi-finalists were UNW students or alums (other students were from schools such as St. Olaf College, Concordia College in Moorhead and the University of Minnesota). Also, Northwestern singers received all three top awards for “college women through age 19” division in Finals!

Congratulations to the following Finalists and Semi-finalists:


(College Women – through age 18)

(College Men – through age 18)

(College Women – through age 19)

(College Men – through age 19)

 (College Women – through age 20)

(College Women – ages 21 - 25)

(College Men – ages 21 – 25)

JULIA PAGH - UNW Alum 2014
(Graduate Division – Men and Women through age 30)

HASTINGS REEVES – UNW Alum 2013, First Place
(Graduate Division – Men and Women through age 30)

GRACIE LUGO, First Place
NICOLE MORAN, Second Place
SARAH McCORD, Third Place
(College Women – through age 19)

JORDAN BROWN, Second Place
(College Men – through age 18)


Music Hall of Recognition

At the Showcase concert, we honored our 2014 Music Honoree:

David Osterlund, Ed.D. 
Music Department Chair 1975-89
Read more: Homecoming

David Osterlund’s distinguished career in music education includes instruction and administration in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, South Carolina, and Ethiopia. As Chair of the Northwestern Music Department from 1975–89, Osterlund led the department to Minnesota State licensure for music educators and National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) accreditation. He coordinated the design of the music wing in the Totino Fine Arts Center and even named “Christmas at Northwestern.”

Since 1989, Osterlund has worked at Columbia International University (CIU) in South Carolina. In 2004, he developed the curriculum and served as director for the CIU Prison Initiative, educating incarcerated men and women each year to receive Associate of Arts degrees and spread the Gospel in prison. He has been honored by CIU as a Distinguished Faculty and received the Undergraduate Legacy Award for 50 years of service in education.

Osterlund notes, "The Northwestern Music Department was an integral part of my life for 14 years: directing the band and women’s choir, developing the Music Education program, providing summer workshops, and leading the effort for admittance into NASM."

He now works with the CIU Prison Initiative, where they train inmates to live in accordance with biblical principles and equip them for the unique ministry opportunities available to them because of their incarceration. "I believe that music study positively affects students of all ages, including those who have been forgotten," Osterlund reflected. "As a recent graduating class at a women’s prison sang a Casting Crowns' song, 'Here in this worn and weary land where many a dream has died; like a tree planted by the water, we never will run dry. …Just to know You and to make you known, We lift Your name on high…we were made to thrive,' I saw anew that music provides a vehicle to put iinto words what people want to express from their hearts."

The Music Hall of Recognition was created to recognize those individuals who best exhibit the spirit, integrity, and Christian commitment that exemplify University of Northwestern and the Department of Music.


Guest Artist Recital: Pavia Wind Quintet
Tuesday, September 16, 12:45 p.m.
Nazareth Chapel

Pavia Wind Quintet is one of the Midwest's most exciting young chamber music ensembles. The Pavia Wind Quintet includes Erica Bennett, flute, Lindsey Thompson, oboe, Ryan Golden, clarinet, Justin Windschitl, bassoon, and Gina Goettl, horn.  Lindsey Thompson is the Academy of Music Assistant and teaches oboe through the Academy, as well as UNW adjunct instructor of Online Intro to Music.
Formed in 2005 by alumni from the University of Minnesota and St. Olaf College, the Twin Cities-based group is interested in exploring a variety of repertoire for wind soloists with an increasing focus on contemporary music. Pavia has worked with many local composers to premiere and record new works, and in 2012 premiered Timothy Takach’s “Kinetic.” Because woodwind quintet repertoire is a specialized genre of music, Pavia aspires to make this music accessible to all audiences by performing fun and varied programs.

Active performers, Pavia presents concerts and workshops throughout Minnesota, including St. Olaf College, Augsburg College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Camden Music School, Unity Unitarian, House of Hope Presbyterian, The Schubert Club, and The Baroque Room. Pavia especially enjoys working with students to encourage enthusiasm for chamber music of all kinds.

Dr. Kirk Moss Named New Department of Music Chair

The Department of Music is pleased to announce that Kirk Moss, Ph.D., has accepted the position of Chair of Northwestern’s Department of Music, effective August 2014.
Kirk D. Moss, Ph.D., currently holds an appointment as an Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Education Department at the Lawrence University (WI) Conservatory of Music. He is a past national president of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), thrice chaired the ASTA National Orchestra Festival, and served on ASTA’s Executive Board. Moss has appeared as a guest conductor, clinician, or adjudicator in more than thirty states. The University of Florida School of Music awarded him an Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award, and he has received four ASTA National Citation for Leadership & Merit awards. With twelve years of experience teaching elementary, middle, and high school orchestras, groups under his direction have earned distinction at state, national, and international events. One of his former high schools honors him by annually awarding a college string scholarship in his name. He has coauthored two method books for Alfred Music: Sound Innovations––Sound Development for Intermediate String Orchestra and Sound Development for Advanced String Orchestra.

Dr. Jeremy Kolwinska, Department of Music Chair from 2008 to 2014, transitioned to his new role as Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities during the summer months. The students, staff, and faculty are grateful for the leadership Dr. Kolwinska has provided to the music department and look forward to welcoming Dr. Moss in the coming months.


NATS Student Auditions Regional Finalists and National Semifinalists

The Department of Music is pleased to announce that Gracie Lugo, mezzo-soprano, and Anthony Potts, baritone, students of Carol Eikum, were selected to advance as Semifinalists in the very first National Student Audition program of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing). The National Semifinals was held in Boston on Sunday, July 6, and the Final round was held on Monday, July 7.

A total of four Northwestern singers were Regional Finalists in the North Central division, by finishing in the top three in their regional category: Gracie Lugo, Anthony Potts, Sharayah Bunce, soprano, and Nicole Moran, soprano. Sharayah and Nicole are students of Doreen Hutchings (along with a third Finalist from the private studio of Professor Hutchings). Of the 400 students from around the country who advanced to the NATS Student Online Auditions, 157 were selected to advance to the Semifinal live round of the National Student Auditions (up to 14 in each category).  Northwestern congratulates the following:

North Central Region Finalists advanced to NATS National Student Online Auditions
*    Sharayah Bunce (Second Place, College/Private Music Theater Women)
*    Nicole Moran (Third Place, Freshman Women)

NATS Student Auditions National Semifinalists going to Live Auditions in Boston July 6 & 7
*    Gracie Lugo (Lower College/Private Women)
*    Anthony Potts (Lower College/Private Men)



Farewell to Faculty and Staff

Jeremy Kolwinska, D.M.A., Chair of the Music Department, transitioned during the summer months to his new position at UNW as Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities. For six years Jeremy has led the music department successfully through challenging economic times, a NASM review, recruiting challenges, and the transition between college and university status. With input from area worship leaders and the music faculty, he championed the addition of a new B.S. Music Ministry degree which fully prepares students (musically, spiritually and practically) to be excellent worship leaders in today's churches.  Leading with calm decisiveness, it is Jeremy who coined the music office phrase: "there is no such thing as a musical emergency!" Faculty and staff are very grateful for Jeremy's thoughtful, humble and excellent leadership provided to the music department, advisees and music majors, and look forward to his continued guidance as Dean.

Judy Lennartson, Music Office Supervisor, has decided, after nine years of service to UNW's Music Department and its students, to return to the role of Homemaker, spending more time with her husband, parents, and growing brood of grandchildren.  She has managed the office with excellence, warmly welcomed prospective and new students to our department, and offered invaluable assistance to Jeremy Kolwinska and the music faculty and staff.  Judy will be tremendously missed here in the music office, but we wish her the very best in this next adventure.

Dan Leverence, adjunct instructor of music ministry and worship pastor at Constance Free Church in Andover, has accepted a new position at Parkview Christian Church in the Chicago area. For the past three years Dan has mentored UNW worship teams, and he led worship with his team and the UNW Orchestra in Orchestra Praise Chapels for the past two years.  Dan will be missed, but we wish him and his family the best as they transition to Illinois.

Barbara Rogers, D.M.A., Lecturer in Music, recently relocated to Lexington, Kentucky in order to join her husband, Dr. Richard Weis, who had accepted an academic position there. Throughout her fifteen years at Northwestern, Barbara was a piano instructor, taught and mentored student accompanists, accompanied students and Opera Workshop, performed in Faculty Artist Series, and composed the music for the opera Ruth in 2007-08. Piano Tour students enjoyed her company throughout her years at UNW, and many other ensemble tours were bade farewell with her creative signs and friendly smile. We are grateful to Barbara for her friendship and faithful years of service to the music department and music students.



Northwestern Choir East Central Europe Tour 2014

The Northwestern Choir, conducted by Timothy Sawyer, originally scheduled for Ukraine and Hungary, was rescheduled to Czech Republic and Hungary, due to the recent political unrest in Ukraine. Kudos to UNW tour director Julie Johnson and Steve Benham (Music in World Cultures) for accomplishing this daunting task in just three months! While in Prague, Czech Republic, the Choir sang for an International American congregation, in the Lobkowicz Palace, and in a collaborative concert with the Christian International School of Prague. In addition, the Choir made a return visit (the first in 1998) to the Nazi concentration camp Terezin and the church at the little town Krabcice, to visit and sing for dear old saints living in the Diakonie Home.

In Tim Sawyer's words: "Our students were exemplary on every level: personal, musical, spiritual. They were true ambassadors for The Kingdom wherever they went ...sharing our music and the gospel in places big and small, and going where few other choirs would dare to go. Soli Deo Gloria!"

Click here for Timothy Sawyer's report of the tour and its spiritual impact.


Now Available: Buy "Inspiration" online!

The new Northwestern Choir album, Inspiration, is now available for purchase online at the UNW Campus Store, at CD Baby, and on iTunes.  Individual songs and the entire album are available, as well as a physical CD copy. You can also purchase a CD in the Music Office in Totino Fine Arts Center on campus (see "Inspiration CD" paragraph below for more information).


Inspiration CD

The Department of Music is excited to announce the release of "Inspiration" on January 21, 2014. This is the first Northwestern Choir CD since the UNW institutional name change. The disk features selections from multiple choir years, including an array of sacred motets, hymns and spirituals sung by the Northwestern Choir (previously College Choir), and conducted by Timothy Sawyer. You can purchase a CD for $15 by visiting or calling the music office at 651-631-5218.


Read additional Music Department news.