Steeped in musical traditions
Studying Music at Friends University prepares you to pursue professional instruction or performance, while establishing a firm intellectual foundation and boundless artistic development.
Start your future in music.
Choose from three majors in music, including a Bachelor of Music in Performance, Bachelor of Music Education or Bachelor of Arts in Music.
- Bachelor of Music in Performance DegreeThe Bachelor of Music in Performance degree offers majors in vocal and instrumental areas (keyboard, woodwinds, brass, strings, jazz, and percussion).
- Bachelor of Music Education DegreeThe Bachelor of Music Education degree offers training in instrumental and vocal music. The Jazz concentration includes studies in jazz history, theory, arranging and pedagogy, and the Music in Worship concentration provides a practical focus for students wishing to pursue the field of music and worship ministry.
- Bachelor of Arts in Music DegreeThe Bachelor of Arts in Music degree includes all core music courses, while providing flexibility for electives and future career options. Our music degree programs are fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
Schedule an audition.
A Passion for Music
Develop your passion for music and prepare for a career in education, performance, ministry, or graduate studies with one of our three degrees in music.
Participate in Ensembles
Students from all degree programs across the university may participate in ensembles, private lessons and stage productions.
Annual events include the Jazz Festival, the Miller Solo Competition, the Sebits Jazz Guest Artist Series, the Sing It! Vocal Festival and the University Band Composer/Conductor-in-Residence program.
Eight full-time and seventeen adjunct faculty members provide valuable instruction and mentoring.
Music scholarships are awarded on the basis of audition regardless of degree program. These awards include special scholarships such as the Sebits Jazz Scholarship, the Anita George Vocal Scholarship and the Cecil J. Riney-Eastminster Choral Scholarship.
The small size of Friends University affords exceptional and intensive performance and leadership opportunities to undergraduate students. These include guest artist masterclasses, student conducting, leading roles on stage, accompanying, ensemble section leading and hands-on management.
Students also have opportunities to travel nationally and internationally. Singing Quakers tour internationally every four years and the opera program is launching a summer opera program in 2021 in Arezzo, Italy.
“I want to teach my students to master their theory and technique along with giving them the performance experience like I had been afforded through my Friends University professors.”David Lord, 2004 Graduate, Bachelor of Music in Music Performance
“Friends University provided me the opportunity to explore and develop all facets of music while allowing me to pursue a jazz concentration in trombone performance. This was a great steppingstone to further my career as a full-time freelance musician and pursue a doctorate in jazz studies. I hope to teach jazz at the university level one day and share my passion for making music that enriches lives and helps others do the same.”Zach Rich, 2016 Graduate, Bachelor of Music in Music Performance
“The Music program at Friends University has equipped me with the connections and resources to propel my career into the future. The faculty, staff and students have provided a nurturing community in which I have grown as a musician, educator and follower of Christ.”
Panya Amphone, 2020 Graduate, Music Education and Mathematics
To view more Fine Arts testimonials and stories, visit the Fine Arts testimonials page.
Friends University Music Ensembles
Participation in ensembles fulfills degree and scholarship requirements, and provides an opportunity for both the development of solo and group performance skills, and the integration of applied and academic studies. Ensembles provide a supportive community of excellence to foster professional and personal growth and to represent the university.
Vocal Music Ensembles
Choose from seven vocal ensembles!
- Concert ChoirThe Friends University Concert Choir is foundational to the university’s vocal program. This 75-voice choir performs a wide variety of choral literature and focuses on the development of vocal technique, music literacy, and performance skills. It is open to all Friends University students by audition. Concert Choir engages students in a well-rounded choral experience that includes performance opportunities both on and off campus as well as tours and service. Rolaine Hetherington is the conductor of the Concert Choir.
- Chamber ChoirThe Friends University Chamber Choir is a select choir open to members of the Friends University Concert Choir. This 12-voice ensemble performs an eclectic mix of choral music suitable for the small ensemble. The Chamber Choir fosters the development of individual musicianship, leadership skills, and collaborative performance. The choir performs at campus events and local schools. Dr. Dale Heidebrecht and Rolaine Hetherington are the directors of the Chamber Choir.
- Singing QuakersFounded in 1924, the Singing Quakers is the oldest musical organization at Friends University. This select 60-voice choir performs a broad spectrum of standard choral literature, choral-orchestral works, and musical theatre repertoire. The Singing Quakers tour annually across the state and region, and every four years, mounts an international tour. Students may audition for the Singing Quakers after one year of membership in the Friends University Concert Choir. Dr. Dale Heidebrecht is the conductor of the Singing Quakers.
- Jazz Vocal EnsembleThe Friends University Jazz Vocal Ensemble performs standard vocal jazz literature, both a cappella and accompanied. This select 12-voice ensemble offers intensive training in musicianship, vocal style, and performance skills. The Jazz Vocal Ensemble is part of both the choral and jazz programs at Friends University. It performs on campus, and throughout the state and region. Students in the Jazz Vocal Ensemble are also members of either Concert Choir or Singing Quakers. Dr. Dale Heidebrecht is the director of the Jazz Vocal Ensemble.
- Opera/Musical ProductionsMusic for the stage at Friends University promotes the development of young artists through the performance of level-appropriate works, the practice of stagecraft and deportment, and experience in technical skills, such as costuming and set construction. Students may receive Opera Workshop credit through participation in both opera and musical productions. Music degree students, as well as qualified students from other majors, are eligible to audition for productions, which include one annual large production, as well as opera scenes or excerpts from operas or musical theatre. Dr. Matthew Schloneger and Rolaine Hetherington are the musical directors.
- Choral UnionThe Friends University Concert Choir and Singing Quakers combine to form the Choral Union. This large chorus performs annually at Christmas Candlelight concerts as well as in choral-orchestral concerts with the Friends University Community Orchestra. Dr. Dale Heidebrecht is the conductor of the Choral Union.
- The Singing Quakers Alumni ChoirThe Singing Quakers Alumni Choir represents the musical legacy and faith heritage of Friends University through its performances of varied sacred music repertoire. Its annual concert features well-known guest soloists, conductors, and composers. The choir is comprised of alumni of the Friends University Singing Quakers. Part of the mission of the choir is to provide scholarships to Friends University students. Eric Stone is the artistic director of the Singing Quakers Alumni Choir.
Instrumental Music Ensembles
Choose from six instrumental ensembles!
- University BandThe University Band presents multiple concerts each season, including performances featuring internationally renowned guest performers and composers. The band performs at university events, educational conferences, community events, and has also toured internationally. Shawn Knopp is the conductor of the University Band.
- University Community OrchestraThe University Community Orchestra consists of instrumentalists from the university and the community. The 60-piece orchestra presents several annual concerts and performs standard orchestral literature as well as contemporary works. Dr. Lillian Green is the conductor of the University Community Orchestra.
- Sinfonietta OrchestraThis chamber orchestra is an auditioned ensemble specializing in Baroque, Classical, and 20th century chamber music. The 20-piece string ensemble performs on campus and in the community. Kay Buskirk is the conductor of the Sinfonietta.
- Percussion EnsembleThis auditioned ensemble performs a wide variety of styles including traditional, jazz, and exotic. The 3-13-member group performs on campus, in the community, and participates in competitions and educational conferences. Andy Slater is the director of the Percussion Ensemble.
- DrumlineThis auditioned ensemble performs at football games. The 12-member ensemble is directed by Andy Slater.
- Chamber EnsembleVarious small instrumental ensembles are formed according to student interest and availability. These ensembles are coached by faculty specialists and also satisfy chamber performance requirements.
The Friends University Jazz Department provides unique opportunities for playing and studying jazz in an intimate setting. Applied instruction is offered in all jazz instruments, in addition to studies in jazz improvisation. The annual jazz festival welcomes high school students from across Kansas to work with leading educators and to hear world-class performers. Dr. Robert Brooks is the Director of the Jazz Department.
- Instrumental Jazz EnsemblesThe Jazz Department offers two 17-member jazz big bands, and several jazz combos, which perform a range of contemporary jazz repertoire and selected popular music. Jazz ensembles perform on campus, on local and regional tours, and have performed at competitions in national and international jazz festivals.
- Jazz Vocal EnsembleThe Friends University Jazz Vocal Ensemble performs standard, traditional, and contemporary vocal jazz literature, both a cappella and accompanied. This select 12-voice ensemble offers intensive training in musicianship, vocal style, and performance skills. The Jazz Vocal Ensemble performs on campus, and throughout the state and region. Members of Concert Choir and Singing Quakers may audition. Dr. Dale Heidebrecht directs the Jazz Vocal Ensemble.
Go Above and Beyond
Extra Curricular Opportunities
Collegiate Chapter of Kansas Choral Directors Association (KCDA)
The KCDA chapter provides students with opportunities for professional orientation and development in choral conducting and leadership. Membership in the collegiate chapter of this national organization is encouraged for Bachelor of Music Education (vocal concentration) students, but open to all students regardless of major. KCDA is affiliated with the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Activities include attendance at professional conventions, hosting local clinic sessions, and participation in service-learning activities.
Mu Phi Epsilon (ΜΦΕ), Chapter Epsilon Phi
Mu Phi Epsilon is an International Professional Music Fraternity, having as its purposes the advancement of music throughout the world, the promotion of musicianship and scholarship, loyalty to the Alma Mater, and the development of a true bond of friendship. Students may be selected for membership.
Collegiate Chapter of National Association of Music Education (CNAfME)
Composed of pre-service music educators, this organization provides students with opportunities for professional orientation and development in music education. Membership in the collegiate chapter of this national organization is encouraged for all Bachelor of Music Education students, but is open to all students regardless of major. CNAfME is affiliated with the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Activities include attendance at professional conventions, hosting local clinic sessions, and participation in service-learning activities at Friends University.
In addition to these organizations, opportunities are given to students for participation in smaller vocal and instrumental group ensembles.
Loan Repayment Assistance
Follow your passion without stressing about post-college debt. This degree program qualifies for the Loan Repayment Assistance Program through Friends University.
- 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.
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. Dale Heidebrecht, Rolaine Hetherington and special guest conductors, the voices of Friends University are sure to inspire you!
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.
Revel in the sounds of the Friends University big bands and jazz combos. This 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.
- Assistant Professor Strings & Orchestra Director
- Fine Arts
- Assistant Professor of Music/Applied; Voice (directs Concert Choir)
- Fine Arts
- B.A., Hendrix College; M.M.Ed., M.M., Louisiana State University
- Assistant Professor of Piano
- Fine Arts
- B.M., Friends University; M.M., D.M.A., Manhattan School of Music
- Assistant Professor Music Education & Band Director
- Fine Arts
- Assistant Professor Music, Director: Choral Studies
- Fine Arts
- Associate Professor of Voice
- Fine Arts
- A.A., Hesston College; B.A., Goshen College; M.M., University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; Ph.D., University of Kansas