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Kansas Wesleyan University

Bring Fusion to Your Music Education

The KWU Department of Music believes that teaching 21st Century musicians should involve the fusion of various musical styles and genres, coupled with the mentorship of students as they build their careers.

The forward-thinking concept of Fusion is at the core of our teaching philosophy as we strive to create the 21st century music educator, performer, and advocate of music.

The Department of Music offers the Fusion of:

  • Vibrant performance experiences for both music majors and non-majors.
  • A talented faculty whose background reflects diverse pedagogical styles, performance experiences, and musical interests.
  • Creative music-making activities such as improvisation and composition as integral parts of our programs.
  • KWU Ensemble performances partnered with strong ties to the local arts community in Salina, including the Salina Symphony and Salina Community Theatre.
  • Opportunities for generous scholarships with the McMosley Scholarship Competition.

Ensemble Opportunities

Students can participate in these groups!

Winds and Percussion

  • Wind Ensemble
  • The Howl of Kansas Wesleyan Pep Band
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Percussion Ensemble

Voice 

  • Philharmonic Choir
  • Wesleyan Chorale
  • Rise Up! Praise Band

Strings

  • KWU String Orchestra

Hands-On Learning in the Community

Through partnerships with several community organizations, KWU is able to provide students with many opportunities to rehearse and perform with professional musicians.

Salina Symphony Orchestra

All string music majors are invited to audition to perform in Salina’s regional symphony orchestra and learn about its operation. Wind/Percussion majors may be invited based on available openings. Students may have opportunities to assist the directors of the Salina Youth Symphony and Youth Choir attending rehearsals, sitting in with the younger players, leading sectionals and providing private lessons. This allows for the unique opportunity of hands-on teaching experience with elementary through high school students outside of the public school experience.

Salina Community Theatre

Kansas Wesleyan has a history of partnering with the nationally recognized Salina Community Theatre to put on a large-scale musical each year. This partnership includes students, faculty, and community members in the cast, crew, and pit orchestra. Unique among universities in the area, our partnership with the Salina Community Theatre gives students the opportunity to experience quality theatre productions without traveling outside of Salina.

Off-Campus Performances

Close ties within the community surrounding us also enable students to perform in community concerts, local churches, and even regional tours. The ensembles at KWU have gone on tours statewide, regionally, and even internationally and we are excited for these opportunities to continue and expand. Most recently, the choirs toured the Southwest region; in the past, they have even traveled internationally throughout Europe and even China!

Students Teaching Students

KWU students may also give private lessons to young area musicians while being mentored and advised by faculty.

Performances

Close ties the community also enable students to perform in musical theatre and opera productions, community concerts, and local or regional tours. The Kansas Wesleyan University Philharmonic Choir and its select-voice ensemble, the Wesleyan Chorale, tour regionally, nationally, and internationally (every four years). Past tours include China, California, England, and the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary.

Department of Music Information

Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Department of Music to provide students with a comprehensive music education by focusing on:

  • A theoretical understanding of the musical language
  • The art of performance
  • The spiritual role music plays, individually and culturally

Ensemble Opportunities

Winds & Percussion

Wind Ensemble

The KWU Wind Ensemble is dedicated to performing the highest-quality literature of the wind band, both old and new! This ensemble performs one to two concerts per semester, in addition to hosting honor band festivals, performing at university and community functions, and going on regional tours. Working in collaboration with the KWU String Orchestra, select members of the group will join the orchestra to perform full orchestra pieces on concerts. For more information about Wind Ensemble, contact Director of Bands, Dr. James McAllister at [email protected].

The Howl of Kansas Wesleyan Pep Band

The Howl is Kansas Wesleyan’s athletic band! Performing at athletic events with all new instruments, new instruments and a new look, this is an exciting group that we are building into the 21st century marching band. If you’re looking for a high-energy energy ensemble and something different from a traditional marching band, this is the group for you. For more information about The Howl, contact Director of Athletic Bands, Chris Miertschin at [email protected] or (785) 829-6273.

Jazz Ensemble

The KWU Jazz Ensemble is a select ensemble that focuses on jazz techniques and repertoire. The jazz ensemble stays busy by preparing for concerts, festivals and community functions.

To request the jazz ensemble for community performances, please contact Steve Leuth at [email protected]

Percussion Ensemble

This group performs exciting and eclectic percussion music from all over the world.

For more information, contact Director Dean Kranzler at [email protected]

Voice

Philharmonic Choir

The Philharmonic Choir is the larger concert choir at KWU. The membership is open to any KWU students, and the ensemble has students in all areas of academic studies. This group tours regionally or nationally each spring and performs a variety of music from classical to contemporary. Also, the group tours internationally every four years. The past spring tours include: Tour of China in 2006, California in 2008, England in 2010, and Czech Republic-Austria-Hungary in 2014.

For more information, please contact Dr. Anne Gassmann at (785) 833-4375 or [email protected]

Wesleyan Chorale

The Wesleyan Chorale is a select vocal ensemble of 24 students. Auditions for this ensemble are held each fall, and membership is based on a one-year commitment. The ensemble performs and entertains in a variety of venues on and off campus throughout the academic year.

For more information, please contact Dr. Anne Gassmann at (785) 833-4375 or [email protected]

Rise Up! Praise Band

Ready to perform your faith? If so, then KWU’s new praise band: Rise Up! is waiting for you. Not only will you be part of this remarkable faith group, you will also learn the skills necessary to lead a praise band — all while earning academic credit and helping support the spiritual needs of our campus and community! Want to know more? Contact Dr. Gustavo do Carmo at [email protected]

Strings

String Orchestra

The KWU String Orchestra performs demanding literature from across the medium. The ensemble is highly active in the community and region.

The KWU SO has garnered state and national recognition in recent years. In 2017, the orchestra was selected for the first time in program history to perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop and followed that appearance with a return to KMEA in 2019. The orchestra was honored with the “American Prize” as a Finalist for the 2017-2018 Ernst Bacon Award for Best Performance of American Music – Collegiate Division. The KWU SO enjoys a unique partnership with The Salina Symphony, which, via audition, serves to enhance orchestra members’ string/chamber music experiences with a full-orchestra one.

For more information, please contact Dr. Leonardo Rosario at [email protected].

Music Studio and Facilities

The KWU campus is home to two facilities frequently used by the Department of Music.

Sams Chapel is the home for all Band, Choir and Orchestra concerts, as well as Band and Orchestra rehearsals.

The Music Center includes individual practice rooms, instrument lockers, studios and more.

Sams Chapel