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Occasional Updates from the Music Department, September 2021

Image of email header titled Occasional Updates from the Music Department

Volume IV, No. 1 – September 2021

Dear Alumni, Parents, and Friends of Augsburg Music,
Greetings from the Department of Music! It is a distinct privilege to share with you news of our faculty and students, of alumni, and of recent and upcoming events. Perhaps over the months since our “pivot” to online instruction in March 2020, one thing driven home to us is that, in the words of British author Rebecca West, “[Music] is not a plaything, but a necessity, and its essence, form, is not a decorative adjustment, but a cup into which life can be poured and lifted to the lips and be tasted.”

Although our faculty remained positive, resilient, and, above all, creative in ensuring the quality and continuity of music learning and music making throughout these months, we all rejoice in the opportunity to return to giving the essence of music the form that allows us to taste it in person once again. To be sure, there are still concerns and cautions, so we are being prudent and judicious around issues of health and well-being even as we resume more in-person opportunities.

Welcome LunchThe opening days of this semester found enthusiastic faculty and students, an environment of energy and excitement, and an incoming class continuing our trajectory of intentional balance among talent, diversity, and opportunity. As always, our mission of service means that we seek to nurture talented students for whom the expense of an Augsburg education may be a stretch.  Many of our students work more hours than ideal in order to meet their financial obligations. We invite and encourage you to consider making a gift of scholarship support to the Department of Music so that talented students will not be deprived of our excellence due to financial need.

Though performances are the most public evidence of our work, we are busy every day with building relevant learning programs for our students. This past summer, faculty spent many hours, thanks to an Augsburg Instructional Innovation Grant, revising our music history curriculum to be global in perspective and more widely inclusive of the musics and peoples of the whole earth. We are also designing a capstone course that supports transitions into professional careers for our students. We have new minors in music production and creativity, and we are working on degrees in those areas as well. Our international relationships, particularly in Latin America, are on the rise, and this coming spring we will host Jarabe Mexicano, a west-coast ensemble, in residence. Last spring, we engaged with students in a facilitated dialogue on race and racism in music and how we may address such issues in our programs. And we hosted a semester-long residency entitled, We Are Good, with the Fifth House Ensemble of Chicago.

Below, you will find links to more detailed information regarding the many achievements and highlights of our work. Please read them and let us hear your thoughts. And now that we are back “live,” please, if you live in the area or are visiting, join us for concerts as often as possible. These performances are indicators of the level of education we are providing, and I have no doubt that you will be pleased with what you hear and see.

David Myers HeadshotSincerely,
David Myers
Head, Music Studies


Music Hall Outdoor Sign Photo

Master of Music Therapy student Audrey Zybura, MT-BC, employed at Houston Methodist Center successfully defended her thesis entitled, Individualized Playlists for Mood Modulation in Patients with COVID 19: A Feasibility Study. She worked with an interdisciplinary research team at Houston Methodist Center for the Performing Arts Medicine to conduct this study at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Undergraduate music therapy student Ana Ortiz worked with Dr. Annie Heiderscheit, Director of Music Therapy on an Undergraduate Research Grant Opportunity (URGO) project this summer. Ana served as a research assistant on a study that Dr. Heiderscheit is leading a team at the University Medical Center Las Vegas. This music listening study is exploring the effect of music listening on anxiety, stress, and resilience of healthcare workers.


J. Anthony Allen HeadshotJ. Anthony Allen, Music, Media and Management, was teaching composition and electronic music at the Alba Music Festival in Alba Italy over the summer. He ate a lot of good food.

Erika Svanoe HeadshotErika Svanoe, conductor of the Augsburg Concert Band, spent a week in August conducting the 2021 Minnesota All-State Band at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. The group was made up of 99 of the top high school musicians from across the state who auditioned to participate in the week-long summer camp. The group will meet in Minneapolis in February during the MMEA Mid-Winter clinic to perform at Orchestra Hall. Also, her composition Category 4 for concert band with iPad premiered at Kingswood High School near Houston, TX this past May. Upcoming premieres of new works this year include Journey In Time by the Sun Prairie (WI) Middle School Band, First Suite Fanfare by the Eagan (MN) High School Wind Ensemble, and Tutued Toucan Can-can by the Spartan Youth Wind Ensemble at Michigan State University. Additionally, the University of New Hampshire will be recording an album of entirely Svanoe’s compositions this November.

Annie Heiderscheit HeadshotAnnie Heiderscheit, Director of Music Therapy, was invited by the American Thoracic Society in May, to create a podcast with Dr. Linda Chlan (Mayo Clinic), entitled, Music listening to help critically ill patients manage anxiety. Dr. Heiderscheit was a keynote speaker at World Conference on Lung & Respiratory Disease hosted by the European Society of Medicine in Paris, France in April 2021 & Berlin, Germany in August 2021; presenting on her research on using patient directed music listening to address the complex needs of critically ill mechanically ventilated patients. In June 2021, she was an invited speaker at the 1st International Kocaeli Traditional and Complementary Medicine Congress at the University of Izmit in Turkey, she presented on distinguishing music therapy and music listening research, and recommended reporting guidelines for music-based research interventions. This summer, Dr. Heiderscheit published a book chapter entitled, “Non-pharmacological management of symptoms during mechanical ventilation and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in critical care: Patient directed music listening.” She published two co-authored articles this summer including: “Reconceptualizing the audition for the 21st century music student” in Arts Education Policy Review with Dr. Daniel Albert from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and “Trauma-informed care in Music Therapy: Principles, Guidelines and a Clinical Case Illustration” in Music Therapy Perspectives with Dr. Kathy Murphy from SUNY-New Paltz.

Reinaldo Moya HeadshotReinaldo Moya, Composition and Music Theory, has been chosen as the Composer in Residence for the Chicago Philharmonic, a three-year position that will see him write new works for orchestra as well as chamber ensembles. He will have his Piano Concerto premiered by Joyce Yang and the Bangor Symphony this October. In October, his work Siempre Lunes, Siempre Marzo will be heard at the brand new state-of-the-art concert hall, the Lady Shell at Jacob Park. Concert scheduled for October, 2021. The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra will premiere his new work Dark Earth in November 2021. The piece deals with the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and will include a video component to be projected while the orchestra plays.

Joan Hutton HeadshotJoan Hutton, Saxophone Studio Artist, spent the summer preparing for and then recording an album of original jazz music with Augsburg colleagues David Schmalenberger and Kameron Markworth, as well as saxophonist Sue Orfield and pianist Ted Godbout. The group is called Take That Back and they performed at Black Dog Cafe in St. Paul on Saturday, September 4. The album was recorded at Creation Audio in Minneapolis and will be released later this fall.

Mallory Alekna HeadshotMallory Alekna, Music, Human Development, and Learning, defended her dissertation “Moving from Inclusion to Equity: Counterstories of Collegiate Music Students and Their Institution’s Stories in Dialogue” in May of 2021. Dr. Alekna’s research can be found on ProQuest or email and she will send you a copy.

Riverside Winds PhotoThe Riverside Winds (Trudi Anderson, flute; Merilee Klemp, oboe; Jen Gerth, clarinet; Chuck Hodgson, horn; and Laurie Merz, bassoon) have been selected for the 2021-2022 Class Notes Artists Roster sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio. Performances are available to all Minnesota schools at no cost. Take a look at the exciting roster below and sign up for a concert with the Riverside Winds! This Fall, the Riverside Winds can also be heard in a program on November 11, 2021 sponsored by the Schubert Club featuring the music of David Evan Thomas. They will be performing his quintet, “Tales from the Sierra Madre.” 

Merilee Klemp HeadshotOver the summer months, Merilee Klemp, Music History & Oboe Studio Artist performed as principal oboe in the Bach Roots Festival concerts. Dr. Klemp also performed in the outdoor Lake Harriet Pops Orchestra, her chair sponsored by Joe Hognander. She also performed outdoor concerts with the MN Sinfonia.

Dave Schmalenberger headshotDavid Schmalenberger, Percussion Studio Artist, performed with on the “Take That Back!” recording (mentioned in Joan Hutton’s note); played with Chuck Lazarus and the Florida Symphony Orchestra in Tampa, FL (April 16-17, 2021); recorded a CD for marimba artist, Jenny Klukken, called “Color in Motion” and played the CD release party at the Icehouse (July 18, 2021);  played a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young tribute concert with the Daisy Dillman Band at Crooners (August 14-15) and at Chanhassen (June 25-26); taught at Shell Lake Arts Center for two weeks – Big B and and Combo/Improv (July 2021); played with the Jimmy Dorsey Band at Arnolds Park, Iowa (June 13, 2021); played with Cabaret legend Marilyn Maye at Crooners, May 20-23, 2021 (she was on the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson 76 times!); and recorded a CD with “The Freier Department” called “DysFunktion,” a 7-piece horn band (released in July 2021).

Kristina Boerger HeadshotDespite the pandemic’s harsh impact on ensemble singing, Kristina Boerger enjoyed some creative, COVID-safe adaptations for keeping the music alive. Her pedagogical experiment with the iApp called Acapella resulted in this performance video by Augsburg Choir, singing Nigra sum by Michael Praetorius. Her article detailing the pedagogical process involved in this project was featured in this September’s issue of Choral Journal.

In March, under rigorously COVID-safe conditions, Boerger sang in the filming of A Patient Enduring, a recital she designed and presented with soprano Sarah Brailey (winner of this year’s GRAMMY for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album) and lutenist Brandon Jack Acker. This program of Medieval conductus, Machaut ballades, English lute songs, and Italian Baroque arias was supported by and featured on the virtual concert seasons of Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana and Grace Presents (Madison, WI).

For Minneapolis’s An Opera Theater, Boerger was featured as guest conductor in the recording premiere of Found Again by Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaahaaha’ Tate (named as a 2021-2022 Cultural Ambassador for the State). This setting for SATB soloists and piano of texts by Poet Laureate Joy Harjo aired in July on An Opera Theater’s series, We Out: The Air We Breathe, placing music in the national conversation about environmental racism and climate emergency.

As a vocalist with the 2nd annual zFestival, Boerger participated in recording the digital premieres of pieces by four composers. Here are her two favorites: Everything is Tiny, Internal Affairs

Finally: Being in receipt of the gift of a new Italian madrigal setting made for her by her graduate-school mentor, Chester L. Alwes, Boerger used her new technology chops and hired four colleagues to create a digital premier of the piece, her return on the gift. The piece’s exposure on her Facebook page has brought the music of Dr. Alwes into the repertoire of UK’s elite chamber group, The Swan Consort. She hopes that you, too, will enjoy this piece.


Music, Human Development, and Learning graduates Pearl Lockwood ‘21 and Molly Tengwall ‘21 both successfully completed their student teaching and graduated in Spring 2021. In addition to student teaching, in April, Pearl and Molly initiated and hosted a panel for LGBTQIA+ music students to connect with and learn from practicing LGBTQIA+ music educators. The Augsburg-sponsored event welcomed 8 panelista and over 40 participants, all representing 14 universities from across the United States.

Image of Jennifer Grim's concert posterJennifer Grimm ‘99 will perform an upcoming concert at the Pantages Theatre downtown Minneapolis, Monday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m. (Now postponed to June 20, 2022)

After being recruited by Bob Stacke ‘71 to join Augsburg’s Gospel Praise as a featured vocalist, I attended Augsburg from ‘95-‘99 with the much appreciated help of a Performing Arts Scholarship. During my time there, I performed nearly every weekend with various bands in clubs, theaters, churches, casinos, you name it.

Since graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1999 with a degree in mathematics, I’ve been continuing my career in music appearing locally and internationally at venues including Carnegie Hall and The Metropolitan Room in NY, topping radio charts overseas, having original music placed in television shows on networks including NBC, SHOWTIME, USA, and HULU ORIGINAL, as well as working in the voice over industry as the voice of many companies including Caribou Coffee, OfficeMax, Target, HealthPartners, and voicing audiobooks and children’s books.

For my next venture, I’ve created a new collection of music that represents my viewpoint as a mother, a widow, a woman, an artist, an adult, and a soul in search of balance in my house and in my heart. Jennifer Grimm in Concert will feature this new music in all of its varying genres including jazz, R&B, and reggae. With a rhythm section, horn section, strings, backup vocals and dancers, I hope to fill the space with courage, love, vulnerability, and beauty. for tickets, for more artist info.

Molly Tengwall ’21, a recent music graduate, is starting her first teaching position at Columbia Academy in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. Hired to revive their lifeless choral program, Molly is tasked with conducting a 6th grade choir and a mixed 7/8th grade choir, as well as teaching four sections of a music exploration course. Her goals for the year are to create meaningful relationships with her students, strengthen her curriculum writing skills, and instill a dedication of music learning in her students. She is excited to see what life in the teaching sphere is like and hopes that she can find balance along the way.