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Augsburg Music Professor Wins Entrepreneurship Prize

A white man in a sweater, jeans, and knit hat sits with his arms crossed among keyboards and music recording equipment.Intrigued by the potential of online education, J. Anthony Allen started a small company in 2018 to provide music instruction via the web. It grew organically at first, with a handful of classes and a few licensing agreements with larger platforms.

Then came the pandemic. 

“It was really a question of the right place and the right time,” said Allen, an assistant professor of music, media, and management at Augsburg. Punkademic was already established when the world saw a huge increase in demand for online classes of all kinds in 2020. Today, it serves more than a million students from every corner of the globe. 

Allen entered Punkademic in the prestigious MN Cup entrepreneurship contest earlier this year. The competition, which is based at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business, provides seed funding and support to emerging entrepreneurs from across the state. His goal was to make it past the first round in order to connect with a mentor from the ed tech world. 

Punkademic did make the first cut. And the next one. In September, it was named a semifinalist for the grand prize and took first place in the Education and Training division. 

Allen plans to invest the $25,000 MN Cup award in marketing and general operating infrastructure for the company, which remains a slim operation despite its explosive growth. Punkademic’s flexible model offers individual class purchases as well as structured courses on a subscription basis. The site’s most popular offerings include courses on music theory, composition, film scoring, sound design, and ear training.    

Allen sees a clear connection between his “side hustle” and his work at Augsburg, where he teaches classes in music business and technology, runs the music production minor, manages Augsburg’s recording studio, and serves as interim music department chair. 

“Teaching is a practice. All of this work online has informed my teaching style and abilities,” he said. “Here in the music business program we also talk about how all of music is an entrepreneurial act in one way or another. 

“For me, Punkademic is proof of that concept.” 

To learn more, visit Punkademic’s website or follow the company on TikTok.

(Photo of J. Anthony Allen by Jade Patrick)

Reinaldo Moya Receives McKnight Composer Fellowship

Reinaldo Moya leans against a wall wearing a dark coat and blue collared shirt. Snow and trees are in the background.Reinaldo Moya, associate professor of composition, has been named one of four 2022 McKnight Composer Fellows. Funded by the McKnight Foundation, the fellowship provides $25,000 in unrestricted support for outstanding mid-career artists living in Minnesota. He plans to use the award to record an album of his compositions, and to pursue additional training and equipment to widen his musical horizons. 

A graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema music education system, Professor Moya is the recipient of the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Van Lier Fellowship, and the Aaron Copland Award, as well as a previous McKnight Composer Fellowship. He was the winner of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer Award, leading to the commissioning of his Piano Concerto for Joyce Yang and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. Professor Moya’s works have been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera, the San Diego Symphony, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, and the New Jersey Symphony. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School with masters and doctoral degrees. 

Learn more about his works at reinaldomoya.com. Congratulations, Professor Moya!

MPR Highlights Jarabe Mexicano Residency at Augsburg Music Department

Jarabe Mexicano, a “bordeño-soul-folk” band with a passion for teaching and storytelling, will be in residency with the Augsburg Music Department from March 31–April 2. MPR recently explored the group’s roots in the U.S.-Mexico border region and their diverse musical influences, which range from Ritchie Valens to Los Lobos and Chicano rock. David Myers, Augsburg’s department head for music programs, was quoted in the article about the department’s goal to expand students’ appreciation of diverse music beyond western European classical music.

In addition to working with music department students and local high school students, Jarabe Mexicano will perform free public concert at Hoversten Chapel on Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m.

Listen to the MPR story, “Jarabe Mexicano: Troubadours and teachers come to Minnesota” or view a full schedule of activities.

Augsburg Works to Help McNally Smith Students Complete Degrees

McNally Smith College signFollowing the mid-December announcement that McNally Smith College of Music would be closing this December, Augsburg University teams have swung into action to support McNally Smith students seeking to transfer in order to complete their degrees.

Recognizing the urgency many McNally Smith students, including international students, are facing, Augsburg will enroll transfer students as quickly as this spring semester, which begins January 8.

“We will do our very best to assist students through this process as quickly as possible,” said Augsburg University Registrar Crystal Comer.

Augsburg and McNally Smith have an existing articulation agreement — a formal agreement that establishes transfer policies for specific courses or programs. Augsburg also is committed to carefully reviewing students’ courses that are not included in the articulation agreement for possible credit transfers.

Augsburg staff will be on site at McNally Smith this week to help student understand their options. McNally Smith students also are encouraged to schedule an appointment with a transfer counselor at Augsburg via the web site: www.augsburg.edu/transfer.

According to Augsburg Interim Vice President of Enrollment Management Nate Gorr, many McNally Smith students have already scheduled appointments. Students also can call or email questions to the Augsburg transfer team at transfer@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1001.

“People from across Augsburg — including faculty, academic advisors, admissions and housing staff, the registrar’s team, and student affairs — immediately began working to see how we could help McNally Smith transfer students when the announcement was made last week,” said Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow. “Our hope is that our efforts and those of our sister schools will support all of McNally Smith’s remaining students in accomplishing their educational goals.”

 

Kansas City Star recommends Augsburg Choir concert

Kansas City Star - logoThe Kansas City Star recently included the Augsburg Choir’s upcoming tour stop at Immanuel Lutheran Church in an article detailing their classical music recommendations. The article describes the ensemble as “one of the finest Lutheran choirs in the country.”

Read the article on the Kansas City Star site. For more information on future choir performances, visit the Augsburg Choir Tour site.

Hastings Star Gazette interviews Abby Schultz ’17 on Barry Manilow performance

hastings star gazette - logoThe Hastings Star Gazette newspaper recently interviewed Abby Schultz ’17, a member of the Augsburg Choir who performed with singer Barry Manilow at the Xcel Energy Center last month. In addition to singing in the choir, Schultz also serves as its manager.

“It’s an experience I will always remember, not only because I got to perform with Barry Manilow, but as the choir manager I got to be interviewed by KARE 11 and FOX 9,” Schultz said. “I’m glad it happened when I was in the choir, for sure.”

The article also notes that Schultz will be performing with a mixed choir in Italy this summer. “I don’t know when I’ll get another opportunity to do this,” she said of the trip.

Read Hastings’ Abby Schultz performed with Barry Manilow, Augsburg College Choir on the Hastings Star Gazette site.

Sun Current reports on Augsburg’s involvement in Barry Manilow concert

sun current - logoThe Sun Current newspaper recently covered Augsburg Choir’s performance with Barry Manilow at the singer’s Xcel Energy Center concert on April 7. The article notes that Eden Prairie High School graduate Kaia Markovich ’17 was one of 30 choir members who joined Manilow on stage for his encore. Markovich is a chemistry major who sings alto in the choir.

Read Eden Prairie graduate performs with Barry Manilow on the Sun Current site. For more information about the performance, visit the News and Media blog.

Hudson Star-Observer interviews McKenna Selissen ’18 on performing with Barry Manilow

Hudson Star Observer - logoThe Hudson Star-Observer, a newspaper in Hudson, Wis., recently interviewed Augsburg College student and choir member McKenna Selissen ’18 about her experience performing with the Augsburg Choir as they joined Barry Manilow at the Xcel Energy Center.

“It was unbelievable to share the stage with someone so well respected and well known in the music world,” Selissen said. “I am amazed how many hit songs he’s had and with all the commercial jingles he’s wrote; he is extremely talented.”

The students who performed with Manilow were each given a pair of complimentary tickets to the concert. Selissen, a music therapy major, happily gifted her tickets to two of her clients. One of the clients uses Manilow’s music extensively in his therapy sessions.

“He knows every song and all the words so it was such a coincidence when we were asked to do this. This client was beyond excited to not only go to his first concert, but to see his very favorite singer,” Selissen said.

Read HHS alum performs with Barry Manilow on the Hudson Star-Observer site.

Auggies perform with Barry Manilow at Xcel Energy Center

Auggies sing with Barry Manilow on his well known hit, “Copacabana (At the Copa).”

Members of the Augsburg Choir sang backup for Barry Manilow during the Grammy-award winning performer’s farewell tour. The choir sang three encore songs with Manilow including “I Write the Songs,” “Miracle,” and “Copacabana (At the Copa).”

The Augsburg Choir was selected to perform by Barry Manilow’s choir director, Doug Hollenback. The ensemble is recognized for its high level of musicianship and performs a diverse repertoire under the direction of Peter Hendrickson ’76.

The performance by the students drew media attention from Twin Cities media outlets including:

Watch a YouTube video of Auggies performing Copacabana at the show.

MPR previews Maryan Mursal’s Midnimo residency finale concert

MPRLogoMinnesota Public Radio News recently published an article covering Somali singer Maryan Mursal’s concert series at the Cedar Cultural Center, an event co-sponsored by Augsburg College as part of the Midnimo program that seeks to build knowledge and understanding of Somali Muslim culture through music. Mursal rose to early fame as a teenager in Mogadishu, but was forced out of Somalia by war. She eventually found asylum–and a renewed musical career–in Denmark.

In addition to the concert performances, Mursal participated in public discussions, workshops, and community events, as well as a live radio performance on The Current that featured an Augsburg alumni jazz band and Somali musicians from around the world.

Read: Superstar, refugee, legend: Singer Maryan Mursal’s voice endures on the MPR News site.