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 general, music performance, and music composition tracks or earn the professional Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.) degree that leads to a public school teaching credential. Study at a school accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
Westmont hosts its 14th annual Christmas Festival, retelling the Christmas story by weaving narration with music from the Westmont Orchestra, College Choir, Chamber Singers and Choral Union on Friday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m., all at First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Ave. Tickets for this year’s event, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo: The Song of the Angels,” cost $15 each and go on sale Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. at westmont.edu/christmasfestival. Tickets are sold online only.
Each year the program tells the Christmas story in a fresh way and from a new perspective. “The theme is evocative of the transcendent joy of the Christmas story,” says director Michael Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship. “You can expect many different iterations of the ‘Gloria’ of the angels to fill the evening this year that will fill hearts with wonder and joy.”
The orchestra opens the program with Rimsky Korsakoff’s grand “Christmas Polonaise,” followed by the choir’s soaring “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” in six parts by Thomas Weelkes.
“The program will also feature the Westmont Chamber Singers and Choral Union performing familiar carols, delightfully fresh compositions of the season, and some exciting music with African cultural roots,” Shasberger says.
- 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
Pianist and organist who accompanies and conducts choral groups
Internationally acclaimed violinist and Juilliard graduate
The maestro of Westmont’s orchestra and choir
Active Faculty By Instrument
- Daniel Fraats, Brass Coordinator
- Eric Heidner, Trombone, Tuba
- John Mason, French Horn
- Jim Mooy, Trumpet
- Dr. Steve Butler, Composition
- Dr. Steve Hodson, Conducting
- Dr. Michael Shasberger, Conducting
- Ensemble Directors
- Dr. Grey Brothers, Chamber Singers, Choral Union
- Dr. Nichole Dechaine, Choral Union
- Dr. John Douglas, Jazz Ensemble
- Dr. Paul Mori, Chamber Orchestra, Wind Chamber
- Dr. Michael Shasberger, College Choir, Orchestra
- Music History and World Music
- Dr. Grey Brothers, Music History
- Dr. Steve Butler, World Music
- Music Theory
- Dr. Steve Butler, Music Theory
- Jonathan Palmquist, Percussion
- Piano and Organ
- Erin Bonski-Evans, Collaborative Pianist
- Jim Connolly, Piano Technician
- Neil Di Maggio, Collaborative Pianist
- Dr. John Douglas, Jazz Piano
- Dr. Steve Hodson, Piano Coordinator, Piano, Organ
- Dr. Egle Januleviciute, Piano
- Thomas Joyce, Organ
- Heather Levin, Piano
- Pascal Salomon, Piano
- Jim Connolly, Double Bass
- Marcia Dickstein, Harp
- Ira Glansbeek, Cello
- Trevor Handy, Cello
- Angela Miller, Viola
- Emily Sommerman, Violin
- Dr. Han Soo Kim, Strings Coordinator, Violin
- Anthony Ybarra, Guitar
- Emil Cristescu, Voice
- Dr. Linda Di Fiore, Voice
- Dr. Nichole Dechaine, Voice
- Dr. Robert Rockabrand, Voice
- Sara Rockabrand, Voice
- Catherine Del Russo, Oboe
- Andrea Di Maggio, Flute
- Trey Farrell, Oboe
- Dr. Joanne Kim, Clarinet
- Andrew Martinez, Saxophone
- Dr. Paul Mori, Wind and Brass Coordinator, Bassoon
- Andy Radford, Bassoon
- Adelle Rodkey, Oboe
- Laura Walter, Flute
Meet the Staff
Westmont’s principal choral ensemble and touring concert choir, is under the direction of Dr. Michael Shasberger. 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, under the direction of Dr. Grey Brothers, 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, under the direction of Dr. Grey Brothers and Dr. Nichole Dechaine, 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 ChoralUnion focuses on choral music fundamentals and provides opportunities for large mixed, single-gender, and chamber ensembles. The ChoralUnion 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 ChamberConcert.
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 Fall Westmont Invitational Choral Festival. The focus of the festival is pedagogical and performance oriented, NOT competition.
Choral Festival: October 2019. Festival date to be determined.
Application Deadline: September 15, 2019
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.
WESTMONT ACADEMY FOR VOCAL EXCELLENCE (WAVE)
Our distinguished teaching faculty consists of outstanding singers, choral conductors, and teachers, who will teach, inspire, and mentor the students in their lessons, performances, workshops, and classes. In addition to daily lessons and classes in musicianship, students will perform in recitals, participate in the academy choral ensemble, and attend master classes dealing with such topics as vocal technique, repertoire, artistry, and language and diction.
Career Paths for Music Majors
- Performing musician
- Music teacher
- Church music
- Music publishing
- Music management
- Music business
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 $100 to $299 receive one season pass good for the following concerts: Fall Orchestra Concert, Concerto Concert, Spring Choral Masterworks, and the Spring Orchestra Concert. Patrons will also have their name appear in the program as a dedicated donor to our music program. If the donation is received before October 1st, 2018, you will also be included in our Christmas Concert invite mailing list where you may RSVP for up to four Christmas Concert tickets.
Individuals, families and foundations contributing $300 to $499 receive four season passes plus all of the Patron benefits. Benefactors also get to *adopt one musician of their choosing!
Individuals, families and foundations contributing $500 to $999 receive four season passes plus all of the Patron benefits. Guardian Angels also get to *adopt two musicians of their choosing!
Individuals, families and foundations contributing $1,000 or more receive four season passes plus all of the Patron benefits. Program Sponsors 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.
*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 email@example.com 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 season pass(es) you receive as a result of your contribution. For more information or to give without receiving the benefit of a season pass, contact Zac Landrum at (805) 565-6271.
Daniel Gee ’13: Daniel earned a master’s degree in choral music at the University of Southern California. A conducting fellow with the Long Beach Symphony, he serves as choir director at Evergreen Baptist Church SGV. He also teaches a private studio of cello students in Los Angeles and works as a freelance cellist. “Westmont’s Music Department is simply an exciting place to be. I encourage prospective students and music majors to explore ways you can grow and contribute to the program. Treasure the unique opportunity to pursue your craft in the intentional, integrated and supportive Body of Christ at Westmont. Graduate school reminded me what a unique and special place Westmont is.”
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.”