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Calvary Proudly Hosts Sam Rotman Piano Concert

Calvary Proudly Hosts Sam Rotman Piano Concert

Calvary University is proud to host seasoned concert pianist, Mr. Sam Rotman, and his performance, Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary Concert.

Mr. Rotman received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School in N.Y.C. His most prestigious award was being a Laureate Winner at the 4th International Beethoven Competition in Vienna, Austria in 1973. In 1978, Mr. Rotman participated in the 6th International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, Russia. Mr. Rotman has given over 3,100 performances in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Eastern and Western Europe, Southeast Asia, South Africa, India, China, and Russia, totaling 61 countries.

Mr. Rotman has devoted a specific area of his musical life to the study and performance of the works of Beethoven. Beginning with a series of all Beethoven concerts in 1970 (the Beethoven bi‑centennial), he was presented on Public Broadcast System in a special Beethoven concert. He has also released an all-Beethoven CD, featuring five major works of the composer. For the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven, Mr. Rotman will be performing an all-Beethoven program.

The concert at Calvary will be an All-Beethoven program in celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Beethoven.

In May 2016, Mr. Rotman was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from The Master’s University.  He is the only recipient of such an Honorary Doctorate in the school’s history.

Mr. Rotman’s recordings include:

  • Impressions: Piano Portraits of Claude Debussy;
  • Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with Piano Works by Rachmaninoff, and
  • Piano Music of Beethoven.

Reviewers in the United States, and France have noted the following about Mr. Rotman’s performances:

“Mr. Rotman is a pianist of no small talent. He possesses a thoroughly prepared technique. He is a mature and thoughtful interpreter and his playing is convincing and alive, He enjoys his work and is able to communicate his ideas and his enthusiasm to his audience. His playing was profound, expressive, dynamic, and exciting.”

“Mr. Rotman’s interpretation of the Beethoven “Pathetique” Sonata left you with nothing more to wish for as far as getting close to the composer’s dramatic way of gaining his listeners. All of the many details of this music were being expressed. Every piece was played with the same brilliance.”

In addition to his concert, Mr. Rotman will give his Christian testimony.

The performance will be held on Monday, November 8, 2021 at 7:00 PM in Calvary University’s Liberty Chapel on 1570 Elmwood Ave, Kansas City, Missouri. All are welcome to attend, free of charge. 

 

Kathryn Phillips: a music department graduate assistant

Kathryn Phillips: a music department graduate assistant

Phillips presented a fingerstyle guitar piece in General Recital.

“Seeing students progress is the biggest joy.”

Kathryn Phillips is a 2020 Calvary alumna who has served as a graduate assistant for the music department, teaching multiple students. “I do private guitar lessons. Right now I have four students, and then I do a group guitar lesson and that has three students in it.” Phillips is also working alongside Brittany Hill in teaching an online praise band class. In the past, the online praise band class had been very similar to the in-person praise band. Phillips explained, “Dr. An asked us if we could do something with the class, and involve the students. So they changed it to separate people teaching it— me and Brittany. We can’t play together online, but everyone gets Pro Tools, a recording software, and records songs together and then mixes them together.”

Alongside being a graduate assistant and pursuing her master’s, Phillips has worked at PT’s (a local coffee shop), managed the Warrior Cafe on campus, and played in a band called Safari. Phillips said that after college she would like to pursue “something in the realm of teaching” but if that doesn’t work out “I have my band in Lawrence— Safari.” 

Phillips says that her favorite thing about being a graduate assistant has been “teaching the individual lessons. It’s really fun to see students progress. So I really like teaching intermediate students because there’s so much to learn, and seeing them learn new things and play new things really well.”

Phillips says her advice to undergraduate music students is to “pay attention in classes and do your homework really well, because you’re paying a lot for the classes. I just hear about a lot of students who sleep during this class or whatever and are not really paying attention. Especially for music classes— especially with Dr. An— it can be really engaging, and you can learn a lot. To learn in college, you have to apply yourself because you can go through and get a degree without learning very much. But I think it’s important to actually apply yourself, actually learn, and actually do the work well.”

Phillips performed with lux voces for the Belton Rotary Club.

Grad assistant Christopher Stolberg loves teaching music

Grad assistant Christopher Stolberg loves teaching music

Graduate Assistant Feature

“That is my favorite part about music. I love to take what I know and I love to pass it on.”

Christopher Stolberg is a graduate assistant for the Calvary University Music Department under department chair, Dr. Haekyung An. Stolberg considers himself “one of Dr. An’s right hand men.” Stolberg also teaches two classes in the department.

“I teach lux voces,” Stolberg said, “which is an auditioned performance group where typically music majors, although they don’t have to be, are auditioned and then I select a number of them and we go around to different churches and schools throughout the year and just bring worship to different venues.

“I also teach music appreciation, which is a level 100 course. It just kinda goes over the fundamentals of music, the history of it.”

In addition to being a graduate assistant, Stolberg is working toward a Master’s degree in the Science of Worship Arts at CU. Stolberg also is an independent contractor as an accompanist for private lessons and plays piano for events both on and off campus.

Stolberg said, “After I get my master’s I want to do music. And I don’t care where it leads me. You’ll hear stuff like ‘Oh, what kind of job can a poetry major have?’ or ‘What can a musician or an actor do?’ What will I probably end up doing? I’ll probably end up as a worship pastor at some point, and I’d be happy to fulfill that. I don’t think you have to have a calling to do that, I just don’t. You can, but I don’t think you need that calling.

“I will probably teach in some capacity for most of my life if not the rest of my life. I love it! That is my favorite part about music. I love to take what I know and I love to pass it on. I love to raise up generations of new musicians. That’s why I love doing stuff like lux voces. That’s why I love even teaching music appreciation with a bunch of non-music majors. I love to get people excited about music, because it’s really exciting!”

Stolberg also has advice for undergraduates. “Practice! Gosh, just practice! It’s really simple. I know everyone says it. But at the same time don’t lose yourself to it. When I was preparing for my senior recital I stayed up until one or two AM every night, I didn’t cut people out but I didn’t hang out with people — I got lost to the music. What happened is that my senior recital went really well, but after I couldn’t touch a piano for like a month. I had to fast from it because it had become an idol. And so as much as you practice, hang out with friends, go on adventures, read books, and watch movies. It’s okay to enjoy time that’s ‘wasted,’ because enjoyed time isn’t wasted time. So practice, but also just enjoy the experience. Love your friends, love God, and have a good time.”

Dr. An Chairs Music Department

Dr. An Chairs Music Department

Dr. An sings during Convocation.

Long-time Music Faculty Moves Into New Role

Dr. Haekyung An, who has taught at Calvary for ten years, transitioned to chair the Music Department this fall. An earned her Bachelor and Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, a Master of Music in Opera and Musical Theater from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 

An said she pursued a music career because, “Music is my best friend… I didn’t need any choice, so it was very natural for me from a young age.” Her wide range of experience, from classical to musical theatre to opera, gives her an extensive body of training to teach from. An said Calvary’s students “all come from different places, dealing with different issues in singing,” and she enjoys getting to know them and helping them hone their skills.

As she steps into this new role, An said, “I want our students to get great training, to have a great experience so that they can go out there and do the things that they want to do.” She added, “There are many graduates out there doing work, especially worship arts degrees… It’s a huge compliment [to the department]. And also, it’s amazing to watch their journey glorifying God, that they’ve trained here and they’re doing it out there.”

Despite the challenges of teaching in a COVID-safe environment, An is excited for the semester’s opportunities. She said, “I love my colleagues; they’re the best people. We work closely together and going forward, even though we are dealing with the situation with COVID, whatever the circumstances our work is not going to stop.”

Dr. An teaches a Master Class on performing audition pieces.

Calvary student releases EP album

Calvary student releases EP album

This summer, Calvary music student Martin Maharas released an EP album with his band, Blood and Hyssop. The album, titled First Fruits, has six songs all based in Scripture. Maharas described the mission of Blood and Hyssop, saying, “In a world where contemporary Christian music often follows culture more than Scripture, my music springs forth from the Bible and guides the hearts of believers for the glory of God.”

Maharas has been writing and performing music for years, playing in Calvary’s praise band and in Calvary’s music team, lux voces. He said his experience with lux voces especially developed his desire for excellence in the field of music. The work of being in a band, “it’s not like being on a praise and worship group… Lux voces made me crave the real thing.” He had wanted to produce an album for several years, but ran into obstacles of time, money, and opportunity. When he met Sean Lea of Shadow Scape Records, he decided to pursue it, and began the process of producing his first album.

The band name Blood and Hyssop comes from the hyssop used in the Old Testament for sprinkling with blood. Maharas said, “The hyssop was the applicator, and I want the band to be the applicator of truth.” Collaborators on the album include bassist Jacob Claxton and two Calvary alums: Chris Stolberg on piano and Jordan Hoffman on drums.

Maharas’ time at Calvary has given him a chance to hone in on the Scriptures behind his lyrics. He said, “[at Calvary], I got biblical classes to ground me in how you interpret the Scriptures… Scripture says what it says, and you discover its meaning.” Speaking at this year’s OnRamp event, Maharas described the role Calvary had played, both in his personal growth and in the production of this album. “I can’t say that it’s only because I came to Calvary, but I can say that it wouldn’t be what it is without Calvary.”

The EP, First Fruits, can be found on Spotify, Amazon, and iTunes, or physical copies can be bought through Blood and Hyssop’s Facebook page. As Maharas starts work on producing a full length album, he encouraged other Christian artists, “Make great Christian art. Just make it. Make something that Christ would be proud of, that really brings glory and honor to him. Don’t settle for anything less.”

The album artwork features a painting by Calvary student Hannah LePage.

Joyful Tunes of Spring

Joyful Tunes of Spring

Calvary University’s Music Department presents “Joyful Tunes of Spring” on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Blue River Bible Church, 15608 Fairchild Dr., Kansas City, MO.  A variety of performers both vocal and instrumental, including the newly formed “lux voces”, Calvary Chorale, Music Students, Faculty and Staff.  Music selections range from Classical to Musical Theater to Contemporary both secular and sacred will be performed.  This is a FREE Concert.