After graduating from Bethany in 2007, Amanda went on to earn her Master’s degree in Music Composition and Technology from the University of Wisconsin (Peck School of the Arts). At Peck school of the arts, she earned the Chancellor’s award and a professor’s assistant position. As a professor’s assistant she taught music theory to UWM college freshman and sophomores several times a semester, tutored during office hours, corrected homework and exams, kept grade records, and managed the music computer lab. Amanda is now a sacred music composer.
WHAT YOU DO • • • I compose sacred music by commission or by my own will. I am currently composing works for the Martin Luther College Wind Symphony, Women’s Choir, and for the Bethany Lutheran College Concert Choir. I am also a member of the Joey Schumann Lutheran Ceili Orchestra. We travel to area churches and provide music for worship. I sing and play piano with others on the fiddle, bagpipes, tin whistles, bodhran drum and guitar. We’ve recorded CDs available for purchase online. Previously, I have taught piano, voice, and music composition lessons.
My accomplishments include having my pieces performed by commissioned ensembles such as sfSound and professional dancer/choreographer Fenn & Company, completing my thesis, “Chinese Cantata”, and graduating summa cum laude.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU • • • Music has always been an integral part of my life. I was raised in a home that appreciated many different genres of music (from classical, folk, classic rock, blues) but the largest influence to me was likely hearing my dad sing and play his guitar at home. My parents encouraged us to play and improvise along! At the age of four I taught myself to play piano by ear and would record early compositions on the back of Fisher-Price tapes. Also, growing up in the Lutheran faith cultivated in me a rich appreciation for hymnody, choral, praise, and liturgical church music.
I am inspired most by God’s love. I believe that God has placed music alongside my faith in my heart to glorify Him. Music is a joy to create. I am interested in the variety of ways (e.g. acoustic/electronic, tonal/atonal) that music can be formed to express emotion, thought, or simply be a process. I like music theory and teaching the hows of music.
HOW YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE • • • My goal as a composer is to create excellent music in service to others and God. Glorifying God through music is my aim every time. Currently, one of my goals is to compose a hymn a month. My hymn challenge can be followed on my web site.
These passages from Colossians have been a great guide: Colossians 3: 16-17, Colossians 3: 23-24. My intention isn’t to be rewarded with earthly blessings but to serve and glorify my Lord. I don’t need to worry about our culture’s preferences or criticism. The competitive pressure is lifted from my shoulders as I do the best with the gifts God has given me. There is no greater motivation than His love.
HOW BETHANY HAS PREPARED YOU • • • BLC has prepared me in so many ways that I will not be able to share all of them. I am self-driven and while attending BLC I sought out opportunities to compose music for the concert choir, music ensembles, and the concert band. I was able to listen and work with the musicians in rehearsals. The knowledge gained from these experiences could not be taught in a classroom. The entire music faculty, including Professor Wurster, Professor Lo, Professor Marzolf, and Professor Tollefson, were and continue to be wonderful leaders and mentors to me.
I was able to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in three years instead of four. Bethany considered my personal journey and counseled me with unique assistance to help me reach my goal with success.
I am most thankful for the guidance and strengthening of my faith while at BLC. My classes held the standard of God’s truth in their content, the chapel and vespers services offered were priceless and helped me focus on the “One Thing Needful” then and still today, and I sang in the choirs that praised God with excellence. I am forever grateful for my time and experiences at Bethany.
WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST • • • What I remember most about Bethany is the sincerity. This quality is hard to find in colleges and the workplace. BLC cares for each student’s faith life and their quality of life following their time at college.
ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS • • • My advice for current students is to take responsibility for their education. This is an essential time that goes by very quickly – so slow down and focus on your goals. No excuses. Think creatively about how you can expand your learning with the tools around you. Contact professionals you admire in your field – more often than not they respond. What happens during your undergrad will have an impact on your future more than you realize so it is wise to invest in it well.