Music Active Ensemble Directors
Westmont Ensemble Directors
Eben Drost is a pastoral musician serving in both the Music Department and Campus Pastor’s Office at Westmont. His primary instrument is piano, and he has a background in jazz, classical, and popular music. He studied music at Westmont (’11) and earned a Masters in Theology at Fuller Seminary (’18).
Growing up in Redlands, California, Eben studied piano and counted Beethoven as his hero. In high school, he formed a jazz combo which came to be known as “Eben Flow.” Throughout his younger years, he played keyboard and guitar in various bands, of various genres and levels of notoriety in their local contexts.
Since graduating from college, Eben’s primary musical context has been the worshipping church. He served as an organist and choir accompanist at Trinity Lutheran Church (Santa Barbara), the Worship Director at Shoreline Community Church (Santa Barbara) and Missio Community Church (Pasadena), and was part of the team that planned and led worship at Fuller Seminary’s chapel services for two years. He played keyboard for the Urbana 18 Worship Team, which led over eleven thousand college students in worship, and served as the band’s music director. Their live album, “Faithful Witness,” can be found on all major platforms for streaming and purchasing music. He currently serves as the Worship Team Director at Westmont, teaches a course called “Music in the Worshipping Church,” and will begin leading the Jazz Ensemble in the Fall of 2020.
Eben met his wife Megann while they were students at Westmont, through their mutual friend (and now Music Department faculty member) Daniel Gee. They married in 2013, and live in Carpinteria with their golden retriever, Ollie.
Karen Janzen is co-director of Choral Union at Westmont this fall. As a child, she became fascinated with conducting while watching her mom direct their church choir. Her enthusiasm grew with her own conducting opportunities in high school and college. Karen studied music at Tabor College (KS) and graduated with a degree in Music Education from Fresno Pacific College in 1990. She earned her Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Northern Arizona University in 1992. Musical mentors for Karen include: Jo-Michael Scheibe, Edith Copley, Zenora Swanson, Roy Klassen, Katinka Daniel, and Helmuth Rilling.
Over the years, Karen has taught conducting, voice and piano, conducted elementary, secondary, collegiate, church and community choirs, and adjudicated solo and ensemble festivals. She has served as interim Director of Choral Studies at Fresno Pacific University on two occasions, and directed the choirs at Morro Bay High School and Berean Academy (KS). Karen serves as pianist, vocalist and sound technician for the worship team at their home church in Morro Bay, CA. In addition to her musical career, Karen has spent many years counseling at her church as well as a local pregnancy support center.
Karen and her husband, David, met in college and decided on choir tour that they really like-liked each other. They have been married 27 years and thoroughly enjoy traveling, eating, ministering to others and laughing together. They also enjoy and are grateful for their four adult children, one of whom is a senior at Westmont!
Paul Mori '77 first gained his reputation as a conductor with the Bach Ensemble of Baltimore in the 1990s. That chamber orchestra performed a wide-ranging repertoire, from Bach to Bartok, and was featured numerous times on the public radio station WBJC's prestigious "Music in Maryland" series. Dr. Mori went to Baltimore to study at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, earning a master's degree in bassoon performance with Phillip Kolker and later completing a doctorate in orchestral conducting, stuyding with the legendary Frederik Prausnitz. He has served as musical director of the Rainier Symphony (1996-2001) and as the music director of the Bainbridge Orchestra and the Rainier Youth Symphony. He has also appeared as guest conductor for various orchestras, including the Northwest Mahler Festival Orchestra and the Huntington Chamber Orchestra (a professional orchestra in West Virginia). Dr. Mori returned to Baltimore, the place of his musical roots, in December 2005 when he conducted a concert with the world-renown violinist Hilary Hahn and members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. At Westmont he teaches bassoon, conducts the Wind Ensemble, and coaches chamber ensembles.
Matthew Roy's first experience as a choral conductor was as a Masters student at Eastern Washington University where, among other works, he premiered "Little Tree," an original composition based on the poetry of Scottish preacher and mystic George MacDonald. Since then he has led a variety of ensembles from community youth choruses to high school musicals. As a graduate of Westmont College ('07) he studied choral and orchestral conducting with Steve Hodson, subsequently working with Julian Gomez-Giraldo, Kristina Ploeger-Hekmatpanah and Alissa Aune. He has a Masters in Music from Eastern Washington University ('12) and a PhD in Music from UCSB ('18). He is currently the Music Director at El Montecito Presbyterian Church where he leads the Chancel Choir and Praise Band.
As a co-Director of Choral Union, Matthew is interested in introducing students to the fundamentals of choral singing and reinforcing the standards of excellence that exemplify all Westmont ensembles. His experiences in choral music through multiple lenses—as a director, singer, accompanist, conductor, and scholar—and background in music history, world music, and linguistics allow him to engage students in the practices of making music from a wide variety of angles.