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Alumni Profiles

ONU Music Graduates: Inspiring Performances of a Lifetime

ONU music majors have been accepted into prestigious graduate schools such as the San Francisco Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, and SUNY in Buffalo. They’ve followed their dreams to play clarinet in the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight, win a starring role in a Cleveland Institute of Music opera production, open a thriving piano studio in Chicago, and work with famous drummers as the artist relations manager for Ludwig-Musser Percussion. They are using their musical gifts to make differences in people’s lives, serving as music ministers in churches and teaching music in public and private schools across the nation.

Here are just a few examples of some of the things our graduates are doing:

ImageMark Blowers, BM ’13, BFA ’13

Since graduating ONU with a BM in music education and a BFA in musical theatre, Mark has done more than 20 shows in five states and two countries. He has performed off-Broadway in shows such as Fabulous! and The Love Note, toured Singapore in 2013 with My Fair Lady, and shared the stage with the legendary Leslie Uggams, who made history as the first African-American woman to play the title role in Mame in a professional production. In 2016, Mark makes his New York City debut as a choreographer with the new musical Marilyn Exposed.

Michael Oberhauser, BM ’07

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Michael Oberhauser's compositions have been performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; on the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU 88.5; and by Opera Alterna, the Ohio Northern University Symphony Orchestra, the Ohio Northern University Singers and the opera department at the Catholic University of America. Michael is a composer from Maumee, Ohio, who now lives in Washington, D.C. After earning his Bachelor of Music in composition from Ohio Northern University, where he studied with Dr. MJ Zank, he moved to D.C. to attend the Catholic University of America, where he studied with Andrew Simpson. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland. He studied there with Lawrence Moss and Mark E. Wilson. Michael also is a frequent music director, and he currently teaches the Graduate Aural Skills Review at the Catholic University of America.

ImageGreg Decker, BM ’05

Greg Decker is an assistant professor of music theory at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. His research focuses on the analysis of opera, especially systems of meaning in Baroque music dramas. He has published or forthcoming articles on this and related topics in Music Theory Online, IntégralThe Opera Journal, and I Concentrate on You: A Companion to the Music and Lyrics of Cole Porter (forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press). He has presented his research at numerous national and regional meetings. At Bowling Green, Greg regularly teaches the first-year theory/aural skills sequences and graduate courses in Schenkerian analysis and other music-analytical topics. After earning a BM in music education from Northern, Greg earned both his master's degree and Ph.D. in music theory from Florida State University.

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Andrew Schultz, BM ’06, BSBA ’06

Andrew Schultz is the director of music programs at Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. In addition to leading the department, Andrew teaches courses in voice and conducting, and recent tours by his choirs include Colorado and Nashville. As the artistic director for the Defiance Community Cultural Council, Andrew coordinates five arts series in the community. In addition to his BM in music business and his BSBA in management from Northern, Andrew earned a master's degree in choral conducting and MBA in management from Bowling Green.  Andrew also has accepted a position as a doctorate of musical arts candidate in choral music at USC Thornton School of Music.  He was also awarded a Teaching Assistantship with the USC Chamber Singers and assistant to Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe. 

ImageLindsey Newlove, BM ’10

Lindsay Newlove loves her students at Crestview Local Schools in Convoy, Ohio, and they love her. She teaches K-6 general music, directs sixth-grade Swing Choir, and teaches her fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students how to play guitar. The Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) even recognized her outstanding work – honoring her with the Ohio Music Education Association’s Outstanding Music Educator of the Year Award” at the OMEA State Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in February 2015. At ONU, she was an associate conductor of the University Singers and assistant conductor of the Women’s Chorus. She served as treasurer and president of ONU’s chapter of the Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association (OCMEA). She also traveled to Estonia and Finland with the University Singers.

I WAS FORTUNATE TO BE TAUGHT BY PROFESSORS WHO LOVED SHARING THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND PASSION FOR MUSIC. THEY SUPPORTED ME THROUGHOUT MY FOUR YEARS AT ONU, THROUGH MY JOB SEARCH, AND INTO MY FIRST YEARS OF TEACHING,” SHE SAYS. “NOW, I TRULY LOVE EACH MINUTE THAT I GET TO SPEND WITH MY STUDENTS. WHETHER IT BE SINGING, DANCING, COMPOSING OR PLAYING INSTRUMENTS, I AM FORTUNATE TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE MY LOVE OF MUSIC WITH CHILDREN.

Kaitlin McKibben, BM ’15

ImageKaitlin McKibben teaches one period of sixth-grade beginning band at Maury River Middle School in Lexington, Va., and then she commutes over to Rockbridge County High School where she does most of her teaching. There, she teaches one period of Concert Band (the lower, freshman group), Wind Ensemble (the elite audition group), Jazz Band, and Chorus.  During the fall, she is responsible for leading the marching band/pep band. In the spring semester, Kaitlin also started an afterschool percussion ensemble that meets once a week.

ONU greatly prepared me to be a well-rounded teacher and to teach a wide variety of classes. ONU got me into the classroom early on in my college career, which allowed me to see if this is really what I wanted to pursue. They also let me experience a wide variety of classroom types (choral, band, general music), which helped me to define my teaching style and what kind of classes I really wanted to focus on. It hasn't always been easy, but I have been able to learn a lot and hope to continue expanding my teaching knowledge.

ImageElizabeth Druesedow, BM ’15

After graduating from ONU in 2015, Elizabeth Druesedow is attending graduate school at the University of Florida to obtain her master's degree in clarinet performance. She is a graduate assistant in the UF Clarinet Studio, and she currently teaches Woodwind Skills and clarinet lessons to music minors as well as students in the Gainesville, Fla., community. She aspires to get her DMA In performance after she receives her master's degree.

ImageNathan singer, BSME ’15

Ohio Northern University gave Nathan the opportunity to double major in both engineering and music while completing his degree in five years (four years of school, one year of engineering co-op experience).

I am blessed that ONU was able to allow me to pursue both majors. As a result, I am now able to pursue careers in which I can utilize my engineering skills and music skills.

Nathan is currently a computer aided engineer at Cooper Tire & Rubber Company in Findlay, Ohio. Using Finite Element Analysis, Nathan virtually tests tires designed by tire engineers. His work assists the tire engineers in developing and improving tire designs and their materials. Nathan will be pursuing a master's degree in engineering management beginning in fall 2016 from Duke University to continue to develop his engineering career.  He will earn his degree online so that he can continue to work at Cooper Tire & Rubber company.

Nathan also has received many opportunities to utilize the music skills he developed through his music major at ONU. He co-directs the Children’s Choir at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Findlay, a choir that consists of 30 children in the third through eighth grades. Nathan also is a substitute pianist for many churches in the area, including Our Lady of Consolation Shrine (Carey, Ohio), Our Lady of Lourdes (Ada, Ohio) and St. Wendelin (Fostoria, Ohio). Because of an internship opportunity he received in 2013 at Our Lady of Consolation (OLC) in Carey, he now sings for the Carey Chorale at OLC. In the Chorale, he not only helps to provide music through singing, but also has been given the opportunity to accompany the choir help direct and lead the choir when the music director is not present.

ImageI do plan to begin my own piano studio once I finish my graduate studies. ONU gave me the opportunity to teach piano to eight different students ranging from the age of eight to 17. This opportunity showed me how much I enjoy teaching and mentoring the youth, and I surely want to continue that by giving piano lessons in the near future.

Marissa mediati, BM ’14

Marissa holds a significant flute assistantship at Ithaca College in New York.

ImageTyler Graves, BM ’11

Freelance performer and educator
Cincinnati, Ohio

Ohio Northern University was a great choice for my undergraduate education because of the many performing opportunities that were presented to me, ranging from performing in musical pits, to a performance in Germany with the Wind Orchestra. The faculty were another reason for my success and enjoyment at ONU and beyond, as they guided me through both musical and life lessons. After ONU, I attended Miami University and received my Master of Music in performance.

ImageJeff Martin, BM ’13

At Clark Montessory School in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jeff teaches six steel drum bands in grades seven-12. Clark is one of the few high schools in the country with a full-time steel drums teaching position.

I am glad I chose ONU for my undergrad because I gained a wide variety of first-hand experiences in music and in teaching. Even while covering the designed coursework, the ONU faculty were supportive of me pursuing my own interests in music education, whether it was through incorporating it into my degree requirements or providing additional studies and experiences. The diversity of my music education degree prepared me to teach anything I was willing to pursue.

ImageMiriam Stoner, BM ’13

Miriam is pursuing a Master of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). She spent summer 2013 studying in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria, where she soloed in the Varna International Music Academy and participated in the University of Miami Frost School of Music Program.

I'm glad I chose to attend ONU because I was able to gain valuable performance experience in a personal and professional setting that truly prepared me for the next level. The faculty and staff of the music department at Northern are all truly invested in the futures of each and every one of their students. At the Cleveland Institute of Music, I have appeared as Papagena in Mozart's The Magic Flute, the Spirit in Handel's Dido and Aeneas, and Sophie in scenes from Der Rosenkavalier by Strauss.

ImageKrista Shorf, BM ’13

As music teacher at Akron Public schools, Krista teaches seventh-grade general music, middle school orchestra, and high school music appreciation.

ONU provided me with a wealth of teaching, performing and enrichment opportunities that put me ahead of the game in my first year of teaching. During my time at ONU, I was prepared for the realities of being a music educator in the real world. Completing ONU’s rigorous course load for music education and having numerous other opportunities throughout college made me confident in my abilities even as a first-year teacher. I have the problem-solving skills and resources to work through daily issues and the social skills to effectively work with both my students and other teachers. I am one of the youngest teachers working in the entire district and one of only a few who recently completed their undergraduate degree. ONU has definitely granted me an exceptionally well-rounded education, allowing me to keep up with even experienced educators.

ImageSamantha Riedlinger, BM ’13

Samantha is a graduate teaching assistant, with an emphasis in music theory and musicianship, at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
In addition to studying for her master’s degree in flute performance, she assists with second-year theory and musicianship, teaches a Fundamentals of Music Theory course for non-music majors, administers the Recitals 1000 class, manages recitals, and participates with a wind band ensemble and in the flute studio.

Being a field commander and assistant conductor at ONU really gave me the confidence I needed. Field experience, coupled with methods classes, provided the experience to be able to manage a classroom and help students understand and learn. With our theory and ear-training courses, I learned everything else that I need to succeed in what I am doing today.

Faith Heflin, BM ’11

I graduated in spring 2011 with a Bachelor of Music in music education, with piano as my instrument of concentration. I am currently the general music teacher for students grades K-4 at Mariemont Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have developed my own studio of private piano students ranging from first- through eighth-grade students. I am glad I chose ONU to complete my undergraduate work because my time there helped to shape me into the musician, educator and person I am today. I received a well-rounded education that gave me the confidence to pursue all of my professional and educational goals.

Clayton A. Slusser, BM ’08

I wanted to write you yet one more email thanking you for all of your support for me in applying to graduate schools and giving me the letters of recommendation that you provided. Without them, and without all of you, I doubt I would have turned out to be the musician that I am today. I was accepted to California Institute of the Arts! I can’t thank each one of you enough for all of your guidance over the four years that I was a student with you at ONU.

Clayton received his MFA in performance/composition with a focus in world (Balinese) music in 2011 from California Institute of the Arts.

Virginia (Harrod) Herrick, BM ’10

I chose ONU because the caliber of music was high, the vocal ensembles I participated in were phenomenal groups of musicians, and because of the ONU Holiday Spectacular. Currently, I live with my husband in Charlotte, N.C., where I sing with Opera Carolina and serve as a private piano and voice instructor.

ImageRebecca wilden, ba ’15

Rebecca Wilden majored in music to set a solid foundation for a future career as a music librarian. At ONU, she participated in numerous musical ensembles and had the chance to travel and perform in Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany,  Luxembourg and 25 U.S. states. Today, she’s pursuing a Master of Information Science from the University of Michigan. She performs with the University Band at UM and with a church choir. She plans to become a music librarian in an academic library, where she aspires to create connections between music and other academic disciplines.

BEING A MUSIC MAJOR TEACHES YOU HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME, COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS AND BE CREATIVE. THESE SKILLS PROVIDE A SOLID  FOUNDATION AND WORK ETHIC THAT WILL SERVE YOU WELL NO MATTER WHAT CAREER YOU PURSUE.

Department of Music

Patty Warner

419-772-2150
p-warner@onu.edu
Presser 202
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810
Monday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tuesday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wednesday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thursday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed