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.

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Develop your passion for music and prepare for a career in education, performance, ministry, or graduate studies.

The Bachelor of Music in Performance degree offers majors in vocal and instrumental areas (keyboard, woodwinds, brass, strings, jazz, and percussion). The 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. The 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).

Students from all degree programs across the university may participate in ensembles, private lessons and stage productions. 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. 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. 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.

Panya Amphone, 2020 Music Education and Mathematics

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 Music Education and Mathematics


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

Concert Choir

The 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 Choir

The 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.

The Singing Quakers

Founded 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 Ensemble

The 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 Productions

Music 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 Union

The 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 Choir

The 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

University Band

The 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 Orchestra

The 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 Orchestra

This 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 Ensemble

This 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.


This auditioned ensemble performs at football games. The 12-member ensemble is directed by Andy Slater.

Chamber Ensembles

Various small instrumental ensembles are formed according to student interest and availability. These ensembles are coached by faculty specialists and also satisfy chamber performance requirements.

Jazz Ensembles

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 Ensembles

The 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 Ensemble

The 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Career Options

A degree in Music can be used in more ways than you may think. Take a look at some of the potential careers that can result from this area of study.

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4-Year Career Plan

The path to your future career starts long before graduation. Learn what steps you need to take along the way to put you a step ahead.

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Career Services

We’re here to help. Get in touch with our Career Services team to prepare and plan for your future profession.

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Music Events

Choral & Vocal 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. Dale Heidebrecht, Rolaine Hetherington and special guest conductors, the voices of Friends University are sure to inspire you!

Instrumental Music Events

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

Jazz Events

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.

Featured Faculty

Rolaine Hetherington

Rolaine Hetherington

  • Assistant Professor of Music/Applied; Voice (directs Concert Choir)
  • Fine Arts
  • B.A., Hendrix College; M.M.Ed., M.M., Louisiana State University
Jamie Knight

Dr. Jamie Knight

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

Shawn M Knopp

  • Assistant Professor Music Education & Band Director
  • Fine Arts
Toni Libhart

Toni Libhart

  • Assistant Professor of Music; Academic Recruitment Coordinator (coordinates scholarships and auditions)
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M., B.M.E. M.A.E., Wichita State University
Matthew Schloneger

Dr. Matthew Schloneger

  • 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

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