O.P. Kretzmann Award
honors alumni who have rendered outstanding service to the University as a long-time, exemplary employee
John Bernthal ’70 received his Bachelor of Music degree from Valparaiso University. He earned his Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He served as organist-choirmaster at several churches in New York, Texas, and Illinois. In 1984, John joined the faculty at Valparaiso University. He taught both music theory and organ, while also serving as Associate University Organist. He has been an active recitalist, presenting twenty-three Faculty Organ Recitals at Valparaiso University, and giving recitals at numerous churches and colleges. In 2006, John released his CD, Kaleidoscope: Reflections on 20th Century German Organ Music, which was recorded on the Reddell Memorial Organ at the Chapel of the Resurrection. He also served on a committee to oversee the enlargement of this instrument to its current specifications. Dr. Bernthal has published scholarly articles on organ music in The Diapason and Cross Accent, the journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. Lift High the Cross, a collection of hymn introductions and descants for organ and trumpet, was published by Augsburg Fortress in 1998. While at Valparaiso University, Dr. Bernthal actively served on several university committees as well as on the Faculty Senate. He was also a mentor for three Lilly Fellow scholars in music. In May 2012, he received the Orpheus Award from the Kappa Sigma chapter of Phi Mu Alpha “for the advancement of music in America, and loyalty to his alma mater.” Dr. Bernthal retired in 2012 after serving Valpo for 28 years. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Valparaiso. They have two sons, Daniel and Benjamin.