Degrees & Programs Music
Develop your musical skills and knowledge with Christian professors who encourage your creativity and relate faith to the art and craft of music.
Engage in the serious study, composition and performance of great music at an advanced level. Discover the vital role music plays in the liberal arts and the Westmont community. Choose from the B.A. degree in music on the general, music performance, and music composition tracks or earn the professional Pre-Teaching Credential (B.M.) degree that leads to a public school teaching credential. You may also choose the Bachelor of Music (B.M.) degree in performance with a concentration in voice, orchestral instruments and piano. Study at a school accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
National Association of Schools of Music
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21
Reston, VA 20190-5248
(703) 437-0700 Phone
The 17th annual Westmont Christmas Festival appears for the first time at Santa Barbara’s famed Granada Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m. Tickets, which cost $20 each, go on sale Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 5 p.m. at westmont.edu/festival
Each year, the festival celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ through an inspiring presentation with a theme, a narrative and Christmas music from around the world and throughout the centuries, deepening our understanding of this holy season. This year’s theme is Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all.”
“It emphasizes the offer of God’s saving grace to all people,” says Michael Shasberger, Westmont’s Adams professor of music and worship. “The theme recurs throughout the festival from the sonorous opening of Russian composer Pavel Chesnokov’s ‘Salvation is Created’ to narrations for the season, and the thrilling concluding setting of ‘O Holy Night.’” Read More
The Westmont College Music Department is pleased to announce our 2021-2022 Season Concert Schedule. Please note that these events are subject to current pandemic safety guidelines. This means we cannot guarantee audience seating, event location, or if an event will be presented in-person or via live or delayed video. It's possible some concerts will be postponed. While we would love to have all of our performances in-person, we are very well versed in virtual concerts and may end up posting some of our productions online if conditions require it. To find the most up to date information regarding our concerts visit our website www.westmont.edu/music/concerts. We will continuously be updating this site throughout the year, and audience members are advised to check the website and be attentive to individual event publicity announcements. To sign up for email news updates on events please send your preferred email address to email@example.com.
Westmont presents Aaron Copland’s great 20th century American opera “The Tender Land” January 28 and 30 at 7 p.m. at Center Stage Theatre in Paseo Nuevo. Purchase tickets, which cost $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors or military, at the Center Stage box office at centerstagetheater.org. Please visit the Center Stage website to view the latest COVID-19 requirements.
“This personal, poignant coming-of-age story still resonates today,” says Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship, who directs the music. “The themes include redemption, community and faith as Midwestern farmers strive to honor their family and accept changes in the midst of challenging times.”
Copland was inspired to write “The Tender Land” after viewing Depression-era photographs of Walker Evans and reading James Agee’s “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” Horace Everett wrote the libretto for the opera. Read More
COVID-19 Spring 2021 Quarantine Concert Series
- MU 10 Principles of Music I
- MU 12 Principles of Music II
- Private Lessons
- MU 110 Principles of Music III
- MU 112 Principles of Music IV
- Private Lessons
- MU 15 Conducting
- MU 120 Music History I
- MU 121 Music History II
- Upper Division MU and/or MUA Electives
- Private Lessons
- Junior Recital
- ART 131 Theory and Criticism in the Arts
- Upper Division MU and/or MUA Electives
- Private Lessons
- Senior Recital
Composes sacred music for orchestra and choir
Unearths and performs centuries-old church music
Conductor, composer, and director of the College Choir & Chamber Singers
Pianist and organist who accompanies and conducts choral groups
Internationally acclaimed violinist and Juilliard graduate
Music department chair and maestro of Westmont’s orchestra
Active Faculty By Instrument
- David Etterbeek, Trumpet
- Eric Heidner, Trombone, Tuba
- Stephen Hughes, Trombone, Tuba
- John Mason, French Horn
- Dr. Steve Butler, Composition
- Dr. Steve Hodson, Conducting
- Dr. Michael Shasberger, Conducting
- Ensemble Directors
- Dr. Grey Brothers, Chamber Singers, Choral Union
- Eben Drost, Jazz Ensemble
- Dr. Daniel Gee, College Choir
- Dr. Paul Mori, Chamber Orchestra, Wind Chamber
- Matthew Roy, Choral Union
- Dr. Michael Shasberger, Orchestra
- Music History and World Music
- Dr. Steve Butler, World Music
- Matthew Roy, World Music
- Music Theory
- Dr. Steve Butler, Music Theory
- Jonathan Palmquist, Percussion
- Piano and Organ
- Erin Bonski-Evans, Collaborative Pianist
- Jim Connolly, Piano Technician
John Douglas, Jazz Piano
- Neil Di Maggio, Collaborative Pianist
- Dr. Steve Hodson, Piano Coordinator, Piano, Organ
- Dr. Egle Januleviciute, Piano
- Thomas Joyce, Organ
- Erik Lawrence, Collaborative Pianist
- Heather Levin, Piano
- Lonnie Ostrander, Collaborative Pianist
- Nico Abondolo, Double Bass
Christopher Ahn, Cello
- Jim Connolly, Bass Guitar
- Marcia Dickstein, Harp
- Aaron Oltman, Viola
- Barry Newton, Double Bass
- Alexander Park, Guitar
- Emily Sommermann, Violin
- Dr. Han Soo Kim, Strings Coordinator, Violin
- Dr. Nichole Dechaine, Voice
- Christina Jensen, Opera
- Bryan Lane, Voice
- Kathleen O'Brien, Voice
- Sara Rockabrand, Voice
- Chad Ruyle, Voice
- Catherine Del Russo, Oboe
- Andrea Di Maggio, Flute
- Dr. Joanne Kim, Clarinet
- Andrew Martinez, Saxophone
- Dr. Paul Mori, Wind and Brass Coordinator, Bassoon
- Adelle Rodkey, Oboe
- Laura Walter, Flute
Meet the Staff
Westmont’s principal choral ensemble and touring concert choir, is now under the direction of Dr. Daniel Gee. The choir performs the classic repertoire of the past five centuries, along with spirituals, folk song arrangements, and music of other cultures. The ensemble presents local concerts including, each year, a major work with orchestra. The College Choir also appears at Westmont events, performs in chapel, ministers in local church services, and participates in regional choral festivals. Highlights of the year include the Christmas concert and the spring tour. To learn more about the College Choir, please see this link.
This select ensemble, now under the direction of Dr. Daniel Gee, specializes in a cappella literature, including madrigals and motets of the Renaissance, contemporary sacred and secular music, folk song arrangements, spirituals, and vocal jazz. Community outreach is central to the ensemble. In addition to performing alongside the College Choir, the Chamber Singers performs on its own locally and across Southern California and the Central Coast. Performance highlights include the Fall Choral Festival, the Christmas Concert, the Spring Choral Masterworks Concert, the fall and spring Vocal Chamber Concerts, and the spring tour. Membership in the Chamber Singers is contingent upon membership in the College Choir.
The Westmont Choral Union, now under the direction of Matthew Roy and Karen Janzen, provides a choral music opportunity for all Westmont students who are not members of the Westmont College Choir. It is open to all without audition. Geared primarily toward first-year students, the Choral Union focuses on choral music fundamentals and provides opportunities for large mixed, single-gender, and chamber ensembles. The Choral Union performs a wide variety of repertoire in various configurations and collaborates with the Westmont College Choir. Performance highlights include the Fall Choral Festival, the Christmas Concert, the Spring Choral Masterworks Concert, and the spring Vocal Chamber Concert.
The College Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Michael Shasberger, performs original literature, transcriptions, and arrangements. Included in this are works for full orchestra, string orchestra, and small ensembles. The study and practice includes various style periods and composers from the Renaissance through the Twenty First Century. The orchestra performs two major independent concerts each semester, as well as a combined Christmas concert with the choral ensembles and a major works program in the spring with the College Choir and plays for the annual opera production. Typically, the orchestra is made up of circa 60 students. Faculty specialists coach each section of the orchestra, including Dr. Han Soo Kim (violin), and Dr. Paul Mori (wind, brass and percussion).
Various Wind Chamber Ensembles, directed and coached by Dr. Paul Mori, are organized for brass, woodwind, and percussion players. The various chamber ensembles perform throughout the semester. Typical groups include a woodwind quintet, 5 brass sextet, brass choir, and flute ensemble. Other ensemble forms to meet student interest and abilities.
The Jazz Ensemble performs and studies classic and contemporary literature, including the art of improvisation, and perform both on and off campus.
A wide range of music from contemporary jazz to hymn arrangements mixed with classical pieces.
Offering traditional string quartets, trios and other ensembles. These groups have an active presence on campus and throughout the Santa Barbara community.
Fall Choral Festival
Westmont College would love to offer you the opportunity to participate in our Virtual Fall Westmont Invitational Choral Festival. The focus of the festival is pedagogical and performance oriented, NOT competition.
Choral Festival Date: Friday, October 29, 2021
Application Deadline: Friday, September 17, 2021
Westmont Music Academies
Westmont Academy for Young Artists (WAYA)
The Westmont Academy For Young Artists presents a marvelous opportunity for students to sharpen their skills, meet musical friends, forge relationships with top-quality artist teachers, and infuse their summer with a dose of inspiration. The setting is beautiful and the music making is alive with spontaneity.
Career Paths for Music Majors
- Performing musician
- Music teacher
- Church music
- Music publishing
- Music management
- Music business
Aaron Wilk ’16 majored in biology, chemistry, and music with an emphasis in piano performance. He is currently an MD/PhD student at Stanford University where he studies how the immune system can protect from and contribute to viral diseases, including Covid-19. He continues to study piano at Stanford, staying active in solo performance and chamber music. “In high school, I was worried about finding ways to balance my two academic passions: science and music. Westmont provided me with the flexibility and resources to pursue both passions well. The interdisciplinary approach of the Westmont liberal arts education, combined with the vibrant community of the Music Department, presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity to holistically develop your musical craft.”
Sarah Pfister ’12: Sarah majored in violin and viola performance and earned a master’s degree in viola performance with an emphasis in violin Suzuki pedagogy at the University of Hartford Hartt School of Music. She taught violin and viola at the Greenwich Suzuki Academy in Connecticut and is now a violinist with the ruse Opera Orchestra in Ruse, Bulgaria. “Growing up I enjoyed taking private music lessons and found fulfillment in teaching. At Westmont I felt called to bring together my love for music and teaching to pursue a career in Suzuki education. My professors encouraged me and provided the tools I needed to pursue my passions. My well-rounded Christian liberal arts education has helped me both professionally and personally.”
Megan Silberstein Billings ’14: She majored in music and is working on a Master of Music in opera performance at Oklahoma City University. She is a professional opera and musical theatre singer and teaches voice and piano at Southern Hills Baptist Church Fine Arts Academy.“My Westmont professors prepared me academically for graduate school and even more for the challenges of the real music world. They equipped me mentally, emotionally and spiritually for the battle facing modern musicians. They demonstrated the true foundation of their confidence—Jesus Christ—and lived out the difficult conviction to make music for God. Westmont pushes students to excel in music for the right reasons: Christ and His kingdom.”
Luke Mizuki ‘15 and Emily Rutherford Mizuki ‘15 met as first-year Music Majors in Westmont’s Music Department, fell in love on choir tour in Russia and Lithuania, and got married two years after graduating from Westmont. They both went on to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching from the Longy School of Music in Los Angeles and currently teach general music, band, and choir at public and private schools in Orange County. “At Westmont, we were encouraged to explore all the facets of music: composing and conducting, collaborating and accompanying, and of course teaching - before Music Education was even available as a major! Having such a well-rounded education in both the liberal arts and music has proven invaluable for us as musicians and educators.”
Donor Giving Levels
These individuals and families forge personal relationships with Westmont musicians. For a donation of $100, you receive a photo card of your adopted musician and an invitation to special receptions throughout the year.
Individuals, families and foundations contributing $1,000 also get to adopt two musicians of their choosing! In addition, they choose a program during the year to sponsor, and their name will appear on the program as the concert sponsor. We couldn't do it without you!
This organization includes individuals, families and foundations that make significant financial commitments of $5,000 or more annually for the future of the music program, supporting music scholarships, the acquisition of major instruments and special projects. We always welcome inquiries; you may call us at (805) 565-6040.
The Music Guild Legacy Society recognizes members of the Guild who have included provisions for the Westmont music program in their estate plans. These members are vital partners who are passionate about Westmont's mission and ministry and wish to sustain future generations of music students who have demonstrated need for scholarship assistance and who would otherwise not be able to attend, build resources for special program initiatives of the music program including supporting Westmont's commitment to global education through our international touring program, and assisting the music program in acquiring artist level instruments to support the music growth of our students. Individuals interested in participating in the Legacy Society may contact the Music Office at 805-565-6040 for more information.
*If you've donated at the Benefactor, Guardian Angel, or Program Sponsor level and have not yet adopted a musician as part of your giving benefits, please call (805) 565-6040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. You may also visit our Adopt-A-Musician table at the next concert you attend.
To charge a gift by phone please call (805) 565-7053. Gifts to Westmont are deductible for tax purposes as allowed by law; the charitable amount of your contribution is limited to the amount in excess of the fair market value of the subscription pass you receive as a result of your contribution. For more information or to give without receiving the benefit of a subscription pass, contact Janet Sawlaw at (805) 565-7073.