Music has the awesome ability to stir emotions, provoke thought, even blur cultural lines like virtually no other medium. The curriculum for a music degree at Friends University is designed for students who wish to use their musical talents to enrich their lives and the lives of others through instruction and performance.
Music students may choose to study one of the performance areas, prepare for a career in music education, or perhaps prepare for a ministry of music in churches. The music department is located in the Riney Fine Arts Center on the main campus of Friends University where eight full-time and 17 adjunct faculty members teach students to share their talents with others.

Friends University offers music performance opportunities from chamber to large ensembles, and in a variety of styles from classical to jazz. Each music ensemble provides a different playing environment for students to become well-rounded performers as soloists and in a group setting.

Singing Quakers

A select vocal organization of 90 voices that has gained an enviable reputation throughout this part of the country for the high musical quality of its performances. Each year the choir performs a candlelight concert and two other formal programs. The choir also takes a week’s tour each year. Many appearances and broadcasts are scheduled for the choir each season in Wichita and the surrounding areas. The choir has performed in Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City and has toured Europe seven times, as well as Australia and New Zealand, presenting the finest in sacred and secular music.

Concert Choir

A choral organization open to all students at the university by audition. The choir annually presents the Friends University Christmas Convocation and performs numerous concerts in the Wichita area.

University Band

The University Band plays for athletic functions and presents several formal concerts each season. The concert unit frequently appears before educational conferences and community functions.

The Jazz Department

The jazz department is unique in the opportunities it provides for playing and studying jazz in a small university setting. Many jazz students at Friends University perform around Wichita and go on to top graduate schools or performance careers. The jazz department allows students the opportunity to participate in a variety of jazz ensembles. The department offers two 17-member jazz big bands, a 12-member jazz vocal ensemble, several jazz combos, a two-semester jazz improvisation class, the Jazz Friends Community Big Band and applied lesson faculty for all jazz instruments. Each spring, Friends University hosts a two-day festival for school jazz ensembles and jazz choirs. Students from across Kansas come to work with leading jazz educators and hear jazz musicians in concert. Students at Friends help in coordinating and managing the festival and get the opportunity to play with and learn from the guest artists.

Friends University Community Orchestra

Friends University Community Orchestra consists of instrumentalists from the college and community. This 60-piece orchestra presents three concerts annually and performs some of the finest orchestral literature.

Chamber Orchestra

A string orchestra specializing in the music of the Baroque and Classical time periods as well as music of the 20th century. The Chamber Orchestra performs concerts on and off campus.

Percussion Ensemble

The Percussion Ensemble performs on-campus each semester in addition to performances in and outside of the Wichita community. The group is made up of three to 13 percussionists and plays a wide variety of styles from traditional to jazz to exotic. The Percussion Ensemble received outstanding ratings at the Frontier City Music Competition and was selected to perform at the Kansas Music Educators’ Association In-Service Workshop in February 2016.

In addition to these organizations, opportunities are given to students for participation in smaller vocal and instrumental group ensembles.

Program Outcomes

  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze harmonies, melodies and forms from Gregorian chant to 20th Century music and the student will demonstrate the ability to sight read, sight sing, harmonize and modulate using diatonic and altered chords.
  • Demonstrate understanding of music from the Middle Ages through 20th Century and demonstrate a technique of critical analysis on self-evaluation of music works.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for performance through self-critique.
  • Demonstrate an ability to rehearse and conduct instrumental/vocal music from a variety of periods and styles with clarity, expressiveness, and both verbal and non-verbal communication.

Potential Areas of Employment

  • Music stores and studios
  • Education
  • Church music programs
  • Private instruction

View music courses. 

Music Events


Choral & Vocal Music Events

Broadway, classical, world music and more! Known for stirring performances at home and abroad, the sounds of Friends University choirs range from the intimacy of the Jazz Vocal Ensemble to the majesty of the 200-voice Choral Union. Under the leadership of Dr. Mark Bartel, Dr. Paul Brodene Smith, Rolaine Hetherington, Craig Curry and special guest conductors, the voices of Friends University are sure to inspire you!


Instrumental Music Events

The Concert Band concerts feature renowned guest artists and some of the greatest new and standard literature from the wind band repertoire. The Friends University Community Orchestra includes students and community members in full orchestra. Chamber ensembles, including the Percussion Ensemble and the Chamber Orchestra offer more opportunities for great music.


Jazz Events

Revel in the sounds of the Friends University big bands and jazz combos. The 2015-16 jazz season includes appearances by world-class guest artists that you will not want to miss! Under the direction of Lisa Hittle, the student jazz groups will entertain and amaze you with their talent and passion for playing the music of the jazz greats.



Dr. Mark Bartel

  • Associate Professor of Music; Director of Choral Music
  • Fine Arts
  • B.R.S., Concord College; B.A., University of Winnipeg; M.M., M.S.M, Southern Methodist University; D.M.A., Eastman School of Music-University of Rochester

Dr. Stephen Eaves

  • Professor of Music; Chair of Fine Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M.E., Union University; M.M.E., University of Mississippi; D.M.A., University of South Carolina

Rolaine Hetherington

  • Assistant Professor of Music/Applied Voice
  • Fine Arts
  • B.A., Hendrix College; M.M.Ed., M.M., Louisiana State University

Lisa Hittle

  • Assistant Professor of Music; Director of Jazz Program
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M., Kansas State University; B.M.E., M.M.,Wichita State University

Dr. Jamie Knight

  • Assistant Professor of Piano
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M., Friends University; M.M., D.M.A., Manhattan School of Music

Toni Libhart

  • Assistant Professor of Music and Percussion; Academic Recruitment Coordinator
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M., B.M.E. M.A.E., Wichita State University

Dan Racer

  • Assistant Professor of Music
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M.E., Southwestern Oklahoma State University; M.M., Wichita State University

Dr. Paul Smith

  • Assistant Professor of Applied Music/Voice; Director of Opera Workshop
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M., M.M., Roosevelt University; D.M.A., University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

Dr. John Taylor

  • Professor of Music
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M.E., Bowling Green State University; M.M.E., Indiana University; Ph.D., Ohio State University