Department Fact Sheet

Department of Music

Department Chair: Joseph Bognar, D.M.A.
VUCA1107 | 219-464-5454

Majors offered:
Music, B.A.

Music, B.M.

Music Education, B.M.E.

Links to Web sites:
Department of Music
(department maintained)

Valpo Music rings throughout the nation. From the halls of Chicago’s Symphony Center and New York's Carnegie Hall to Valpo’s Center for the Arts, our music majors make their virtuosity known. The many tracks in Valpo’s Music Department ensure that music students cultivate their own talents and interests.

What Is Distinctive About Valpo's Program?

Valparaiso University Center for the Arts:
The VUCA, dedicated in 1995, functions as a working laboratory for performance, production, presentation, and management for concerts on campus, special events off campus, tours, and recordings. Offering a wide range of opportunities for students in performance and technical support for music and theatre, the Center for the Arts serves as a crossroads of artistic expression.

Performance Opportunities:
There is a place for every student musician at Valparaiso University. Hundreds of students from across the various colleges are actively involved in the vibrant musical life on campus.  Whether you are a beginner or an experienced performer, at VU you can study with our top performance instructors. Both music majors and non-majors take active and leading roles in ensembles, making music in our Duesenberg Recital Hall, at the Chapel of the Resurrection, and in other campus venues.
Regional, national and international tours are part of the regular performing cycle for the select ensembles.  In recent years, Valparaiso ensembles have performed across the nation at notable venues including Symphony Center in Chicago, Severance Hall in Cleveland and Carnegie Hall in New York.  Internationally, Valpo’s ensembles have performed in major European cities including Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Leipzig, Dresden, in various locations in the United Kingdom, and on the island of Malta.  Many VU music students have taken advantage of the opportunity provided by Valpo to travel and perform in China with the American Youth Symphony Orchestra and Windiana.

Valpo has a dedicated faculty of distinguished artist-teachers, committed to helping students develop as musicians and as people; studio faculty and coaches are drawn from Chicago circles.

Balanced Curriculum:
With accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music, all Valpo music major programs balance practical training and experiences in music with academic foundations in music and in general education.

Chapel of the Resurrection:
At the center of campus,Valpo’s stunning Chapel is home to a wide range of worship programs and to the state-of-the-art Reddel Memorial Organ. The Chapel resounds constantly with sounds of student musicians, practicing, praising, and performing.

Music Network:
A strong network of professional associates in the fields of church music, music education, and music related businesses is in place at Valpo, providing field experiences and potential employment opportunities.

What Can You Do with this Major?

Degree, Skills or Experience Needed for Beginning a Job in This Field:
All the music degree programs at Valparaiso University are designed to prepare you to meet the demands of musical life.  Mastery of performance, verbal, and critical thinking skills is expected in most music-related professions.  Students develop the skills to conduct, improvise, compose, and arrange through a variety of classroom and performance settings.  Proficiencies with electronic music technology are becoming important in virtually every field within music.  Some fields, such as music education, church music and music business require hands-on training through internship experiences. With a teaching-oriented faculty and small class size, the Department of Music helps each student meet his or her full musical potential.

Kinds of Work Available to Graduates in this Major:
Teaching of music in elementary and secondary schools and in private studios; professional music leadership in churches; careers in arts-related businesses. The music curriculum is also especially well designed to prepare students for graduate study in music, leading to professions in higher education, performance, and studio teaching.

Potential Hiring Institutions:
School districts (public and private), churches, art organizations, arts-related businesses and retail operations, institutions of higher education.

Graduate Schools:
Valpo music graduates pursue post-graduate studies at such schools as Indiana University, the University of Illinois, the Julliard School, the University of Chicago, the Universty of Texas at Austin, Yale University, Western Michigan University, The Ohio University, and the University of Notre Dame.

What Beyond-the-Classroom Opportunities Does Valpo Offer You in Music?

Extracurricular Activities:
As a music student, you can take part in Handbell Choir, Matins Choir, and Crusader Pep band as well as participate in professional organizations and projects with campus chapters of Pi Kappa Lambda (national honorary fraternity), Sigma Alpha Iota, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, American Guild of Organists, American Choral Directors Association, Music Enterprises Student Association, and the Music Educators National Conference.

Off-Campus Opportunities

Chicago Arts Program: The Chicago Arts Program is a 15-week semester of immersion in the Chicago artworld. The Program is designed for college students with a strong interest in the language, visual, performing, media and commercial arts, as well as arts education and community outreach.

Students live and study in Chicago, and work at a part-time internship. Participants attend events in a variety of artistic media, meet and interview guest artists and arts professionals, and write about and discuss practical and theoretical issues. Click here for more information.

Internships and professional semesters are arranged for students in Music Industry, in Church Music, and in Music Education.

Study Abroad: You can participate in any of Valpo’s 14 overseas study programs in England, France, Germany, Spain, Greece, China, Japan, Namibia, and Mexico.

Touring: Regional and national touring by the VU Chorale, The Kantorei, The VU Symphony Orchestra, and the Chamber Concert Band; local and regional appearances off-campus by the Jazz Lab Band, and select chamber ensembles.

Notable Alumni:

Kimberly Davidson, VU '81, Director of the Roanoke College Children's Choir

Frank Ferko, VU '72, composer; composer-in-residence for the Dale Warland Singers (2001-03)

Russell Schulz-Widmar, VU '66, Professor of Liturgical Music at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas; composer, author, and conductor

Thomas Schmidt, VU '05, Cantor for St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, New York City

Nathan Leaf, VU '99, Director of Choral Activities at North Carolina State University; chorus master of the Opera Company of North Carolina

EJ Ramos, VU '04, Trumpeter for the elite United States Army Band "Pershing's Own."

Sangeetha Rayapati, VU ’97, Associate Professor of Voice, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL

Theresa L. Reed, VU ’87, Director of the University of Tulsa School of Music; author of The Holy Profane:  Religion in Black Popular Music (U of Kentucky Press)

London Silas-Shavers, VU '00, Clarinet recitalist, Endorsing Artist/Clinician for Leblanc Division of Conn-Selmer Inc.