Anton ArmstrongAnton Armstrong

Mixed Choir Conductor
In-Depth Session: Working with the Developmental Singer
Spotlight Session: Working with the Adolescent Singer: Adventure or Nightmare?

Anton Armstrong is the Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College and the conductor of the St. Olaf Choir. He joined the St. Olaf faculty in 1990 after ten years on the faculty of Calvin College where he led the Calvin College Alumni Choir, the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, and the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale. Dr. Armstrong is a graduate of St. Olaf College and earned advanced degrees at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University. He is editor of a multicultural choral series for Earthsongs Publications and co-editor (with John Ferguson) of the revised St. Olaf Choral Series for Augsburg Fortress Publishers. Armstrong is the founding conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy. A graduate of the American Boychoir School, Dr. Armstrong served for over twenty years on the summer faculty of their summer program ALBEMARLE and held the position of Conductor of the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale, a 75-voice treble chorus based in Grand Rapids, from 1981-1990. He has conducted the Troubadours, a 30-voice boys ensemble of the Northfield Youth Choirs, since 1991. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Boychoir School and the Board of Chorus America.

Anthony BatezaAnthony Bateza

Spotlight Session: Martin Luther’s Legacy: Reforming Faith, Hope, and Love

Anthony Bateza is Instructor of Religion at St. Olaf College. A candidate for Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, his work examines the reception of the virtue tradition in Protestant moral theology. To this end, his research focuses on Martin Luther, his place within the Augustinian tradition, and the impact of Luther’s legacy on figures in the 19th and 20th centuries (Kant, Hegel, Bonhoeffer).  His broader research and teaching interests include modern western Christian thought, continental philosophy, critical race theory, and questions of identity and moral agency.  An ordained Luther pastor (ELCA), he holds a M.Div. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and a B.S. from Iowa State University.

James E. BobbJames E. Bobb

Service Organist
In-Depth Session: Playing the Text: Hymn Playing in Various Styles
Spotlight Sessions: Composing for Your Congregation

James E. Bobb is Assistant Professor of Organ & Church Music; Director of St. Olaf Cantorei, Cantor to the Student Congregation at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Following the Lutheran cantorial tradition, Bobb regularly composes or improvises music for weekly worship and directs the 96-voice Cantorei in concerts, worship services, and the annual St. Olaf Christmas Festival. Bobb plays organ and/or oversees the preparation of music for the six live-streamed chapel services each week, including Sunday morning Eucharists. As Assistant Professor of Music, Bobb is one of two professors of organ and teaches church music classes in one of the few undergraduate-only programs leading to a Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music.

Lisa BrownLisa Brown

Conference Administrator
Spotlight Session: Worship Enviornment

Lisa Brown has been the Administrative Assistant in the College Pastors’ office since 2008. Her favorite part of the job is spending time with students, but daily chapel services in Boe Memorial Chapel run a close second. Outside of work, she spends time gardening, reading and dreaming of traveling to far-off places.


FergJohn Ferguson

Conference Coordinator
In-Depth Session: Organ Masterclass
Spotlight Session

John Ferguson retired in June 2012 after serving 29 years as Elliot and Klara Stockdal Johnson Professor of Organ and Church Music and Cantor to the Student Congregation at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. His responsibilities included directing the church music-organ program, teaching organ and conducting the St. Olaf Cantorei. While at St. Olaf he oversaw three major capital projects: the renovation of space adjacent to the music building into an organ recital hall housing a new Dobson organ (3/42); the complete renovation, acoustical upgrade and installation of a new Holtkamp organ (3/89) for Boe Memorial Chapel; and a new suite of rooms housing the school’s seven practice organs. During his tenure the organ department at the college defied national trends by growing in enrollment and in quality. In retirement he continues his travels to design and lead hymn festivals for which he is internationally known as well as composing and arranging, adding to the many publications already in print. Drawing upon his 59 years experience as a church musician, especially his work at the Kent, Ohio United Church of Christ (15 years while on the faculty of Kent State University) and Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota (5 years full time), he is at work on his fourth book exploring his philosophy of the vocation of the church musician.

Katherine FickKatherine E. Fick

Wednesday Worship Preacher
In-Depth Session:  Be a Part of Thursday’s Easter Vigil
Spotlight Sessions: Millennials; Worship Environment
Plenary Session: Millennials

Katherine E. Fick has served as the associate college pastor at St. Olaf College since August 2014. A native of Minnesota, Pastor Katie earned a B.A. in music at Augustana University (Sioux Falls, SD) and an M.Div. from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. Before coming to St. Olaf, Fick served as the pastor at Hayward and Trondhjem Lutheran churches in southern Minnesota.  Pastor Katie is thrilled to be at St. Olaf and the most satisfying part of her call is meeting and talking with students about anything — relationships, vocation, family, stress, faith, doubt, joy, homework — whatever is on their minds! She reads incessantly, runs periodically, enjoys movies and the theater, goes to as many student events as possible, and travels whenever she can, from Washington, D.C. to Germany to South Sudan.

David HagedornDavid Hagedorn

In-Depth Session:  Ethnic Percussion in the Church

David Hagedorn is an Artist in Residence at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where he teaches percussion, jazz studies, and world music. In June, 2011, Downbeat magazine deemed St. Olaf Jazz I to be the “Best Undergraduate Large Jazz Ensemble” in the 34th annual student music awards.
He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, and the University of Minnesota. Hagedorn has an album, “Solid/Liquid” on the artegra label in SACD format released in October of 2003, and a duo album with pianist Dan Cavanagh (a St. Olaf alum), “Horizon”, released in December of 2010. Most recently released in April 2014, is a recording with the Chris Bates Good Vibes Trio.   He has recorded with the George Russell Living Time Orchestra on Blue Note Recordings (nominated for a Grammy award), jazz singer Debbie Duncan on Igmod Recordings, Brian Setzer Big Band, Pete Whitman X-tet, Phil Hey Quartet, the Out to Lunch Quintet, and also with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra on Teldec Recordings. Hagedorn regularly performs in the Twin Cities with groups such as the Phil Hey Quartet, JazzMn, and Chris Bates Good Vibes Trio. On the classical side of music, he also has performed with the Minnesota Orchestrea, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, VocalEssence, Cantus, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Grand Teton Festival Orchestra.

Therees HibbardTherees Hibbard

Women’s Choir Conductor
In-Depth Session: Singing With Your Whole Self: Integrating Body, Mind, Voice and Spirit in Choral Rehearsals

Dr. Therees Tkach Hibbard has served as conductor, adjudicator, and clinician for numerous choral organizations throughout Great Britain, Europe and North America; as well as in Greece, Hong Kong and Muscat, Oman. Her work as a voice and movement specialist in the training of choral singers and conductors has created unique opportunities for her to collaborate with choirs and conductors from around the world. Prior to her appointment to the St. Olaf faculty, she has served as Associate Director of Choral Music at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, as well as working for twelve years as a singer, choral conductor, singing tutor and senior lecturer at several UK colleges and universities in the London area including the London College of Music, the Royal College of Music Junior Department, and Roehampton University. She also served as tutor for the Choral Conductors’ Training Course for the Association of British Choral Directors that she helped develop and implement throughout the UK. Her research on enhancing choral performance through movement training has led to the development of a comprehensive choral education philosophy of “BodySinging”; most clearly demonstrated through her work with the Oregon Bach Festival Youth Choral Academy. In addition to her work as a conductor and teacher, she has also performed professionally as dancer, vocal soloist and chorus member both in London and the United States. She serves on the music faculty of St. Olaf College where she conducts the Manitou Singers and Chamber Singers.

Linda KerkerLinda Glanz Kerker

Spotlight Session: Art Celebrating the Everyday and Unexpected

Linda Glanz Kerker is a garden/landscape designer at Kerker Inc., a design/build firm in the Twin Cities which she co-owns with her husband, Bill. Trained as a graphic designer, Linda discovered that using her design skills to create gardens had more impact in people’s’ daily lives. Celebrating the glory of seasonal change with clients brings her deep satisfaction.  When not planting flowers and pulling weeds, Linda looks forward to taking welding classes and learning how to operate a wood lathe. They have one son at Southwest High School.

Mark Lawson

Mark W. Lawson

Spotlight Session: A Publisher’s Perspective

Mark W. Lawson is the President of MorningStar Music Publishers in St. Louis, MO, and has served in that capacity since 1998. He is active as a clinician, writer and conductor, and has produced many recordings of choral music and hymn festivals. Mr. Lawson was conductor of The Gateway Ringers, an auditioned community handbell group, from 1997-2003. He has conducted numerous youth choir and handbell festivals in several states, and has been responsible for developing several important choral series in his capacity at MorningStar. Mr. Lawson has contributed written material to numerous music periodicals and books over the last 20 years. Mr. Lawson has a degree in Music Education from Southwest Baptist University, and a Masters of Church Music degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Thomas LongThomas G. Long

Tuesday and Friday Worship Preacher
Plenary Presentation
In-Depth Session:  Accompany Them with Singing: What’s Happening to Christian Funerals?
Spotlight Session: Conversation with Tom Long

Thomas G. Long is the Bandy Professor of Preaching Emeritus at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. A Presbyterian minister, Dr. Long has served churches in Georgia and New Jersey. He has taught preaching for over forty years — at Erskine Theological Seminary, Columbia Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, and, from 2000-2015, at Candler. Dr. Long has served as the president of the Academy of Homiletics and as senior homiletics editor of the New Interpreter’s Bible. He has been editor of Theology Today, is currently an associate editor of Journal for Preachers, and serves as an editor-at-large at The Christian Century. He is the author of textbooks on preaching and worship, collections of sermons, and biblical commentaries on Matthew, Hebrews, and the Pastoral Epistles. In 2011, he was awarded the Emory Williams prize for excellence in teaching by Emory University, and in 2015 he received Emory’s “Scholar/Teacher Award,” the top faculty scholarship award of the university. He delivered the 2006 Lyman Beecher Lectures in Preaching at Yale Divinity School, and these have been published as Preaching from Memory to Hope. His most recent books are Accompany Them with Singing: The Christian Funeral, What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith, and The Good Funeral: Death, Grief, and the Community of Care (with Thomas Lynch).

Jill MahrJill Mahr

Handbell Choir Director
In-Depth Session:  Handbells: Ten Warm-ups to a Better Choir
Spotlight Session: Learn Four-in-Hand Bell Technique

Jill Mahr holds a B.M. degree in flute performance and music education with a jazz minor from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She earned a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance at Northwestern University, where she studied with Walfrid Kujala of the Chicago Symphony. In addition to flute instruction, Ms. Mahr directs the St. Olaf Handbell Choir, the St. Olaf Chapel Ringers, and oversees the direction of the student-led Manitou Handbell Choir. Previously she was director of the King’s Ringers at Mount of Olives Baptist Church in Duluth, MN. She is an active member of AGEHR (American Guild of English Handbell Ringers) and is currently their Area VII secretary. Ms. Mahr is principal flute in the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, flute instructor at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Carleton College and has a private flute studio in her home.

Matthew MarohlMatthew Marohl

Monday Worship Preacher
In-Depth Session:  Be a Part of Thursday’s Easter Vigil
Spotlight Sessions: Millennials; Worship Environment
Plenary Session: Millennials

Matthew J. Marohl has served as the college pastor at St. Olaf College since July, 2012. A native of North Dakota, he received a B.A. degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, an M.Div. from Luther Seminary and a M.Th. from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Pastor Marohl also studied at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland and was awarded a Ph.D. Biblical Studies (New Testament) in 2005. Before coming to St. Olaf, Marohl served as an associate pastor at churches in LaGrange IL and Davenport, Iowa. He was a member of the faculty at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, teaching New Testament from 2006-2009. Pastor Matt says, “I have the best job in the world! It is an honor to be a pastor to college students.” Why does he consider his the best job in the world? The worship life at Boe Chapel is vibrant and he enjoys having conversations with Oles about every matter of college life. Matt loves music and is actively engaged in a number of writing projects. His previous three books include, most recently, Unexpected New Life: Reading the Gospel of Matthew.

Jeffrey O'DonnellJeffrey O’Donnell

Conference Audio Engineer & Order of Service Designer
Spotlight Session:  Technology in Worship: Sound Reinforcement, Recording and Webcasting: A Case Study

Jeffrey O’Donnell is the director of Broadcast/Media Services at St. Olaf College and Executive Producer of the college’s sacred music radio program Sing For Joy (singforjoy.org). He is a 2002 graduate of St. Olaf College. O’Donnell oversees the college’s initiatives in concert recording, web streaming, and program outreach. Jeff has been involved in many successful radio and CD projects, including the world-renowned St. Olaf Christmas Festival distributed by American Public Media. His work as a mastering engineer has been praised in magazines such as Gramophone, International Record Review, and Audiophile. In 2013 he ventured to Norway with the St. Olaf Choir to serve as audio producer for the production of a Christmas program to be aired on PBS stations nationwide, and was awarded a 2013 Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® award for his work.

Catherine RodlandCatherine Rodland

Service Organist
In-Depth Session: The Orff Process – A Royal Road to Learning
Spotlight Session: Gems for the Church Organist: Reformation and Resurrection

Catherine Rodland, whose playing has been described as “transcendent” (The American Organist), is Artist in Residence at St. Olaf College. She graduated cum laude with departmental distinction in organ performance from St. Olaf in 1987. She received both the MM and DMA from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where she was a student of Russell Saunders.  At Eastman, Catherine received the prestigious Performer’s Certificate and the Ann Anway Award for excellence in organ performance. She is a prizewinner in several competitions including the 1994 and 1998 American Guild of Organists Young Artists Competition, the 1994 Calgary International Organ Competition, and the 1988 International Organ Competition at the University of Michigan for which she received first prize. She concertizes extensively throughout the United States and Canada. At St. Olaf Catherine teaches a full studio of organ students as well as music theory and ear training classes.  She performs regularly at St. Olaf, as a solo organist and as a featured soloist with the St. Olaf Orchestra and the St. Olaf Band.

Joanne RodlandJoanne Rodland

In-Depth Session: The Orff Process – A Royal Road to Learning

Joanne Harris Rodland, a graduate of Bucknell University and Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music, has served the church through music throughout her career. From 1968 to 2014, she served The West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, NJ as Associate Minister of Music with her husband The Rev. John R. Rodland and then as Minister of Music following his death in 1989. A choral conductor and organist, she is also a certified Orff-Schulwerk specialist and has conducted workshops and choir festivals nationally. Joanne has published many articles on the use of the Orff process in church music with a special emphasis on the development and the use of speech chants within the children’s choir program. Also a graduate of The Westchester Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, Joanne worked as a therapist in N.J. from 1986 until her retirement in 2014. She has found the two careers to be integrally related!

Beth ShugartBeth Shugart

Spotlight Session: Of Primary Importance: Children’s Choirs
Reading Session

Reverend Beth Brown Shugart is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church.  Currently she is serving at First United Methodist Church in Duluth, Georgia. Beth grew up in a graded choir program, and is certain that church choir provided the foundation for her theology.  She began working with children’s choirs when she was in eighth grade.  As an adult Beth has served as a minister of music for over thirty years.  She is a past president of the Choristers Guild Board, and served as a contributing writer and unofficial project manager for Of Primary Importance, Volume III.

Elizabeth ShepleyElizabeth Shepley

Spotlight Session: Pedagogy of Teaching Children

Elizabeth Jensen Shepley is in her sixteenth year as a conductor/teacher with the Northfield Youth Choirs and eleventh year as the organization’s Artistic Director. Liz conducts the Concert Choir, Anima, and the Treble Choir. She has a Master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas with an emphasis in Kodály, a B.A. in Music Education from Concordia College in Moorhead, and holds Orff-Schulwerk and Kodály certifications. Further study has taken her to the Orff Institute in Austria, the Jacques-Dalcroze Institute in Switzerland, the Kodály Institute in Hungary and the Royal School of Church Music in England. Liz was instrumental in the development of House of Hope Presbyterian Church Choir School in St. Paul and served as director and conductor/teacher for twelve years. She has taught music education in public and private schools, has chaired inner city music programs in Minneapolis and St. Paul and has led conferences and festival choirs nationwide. She has served as president of the Twin Cities Choristers Guild and on the board of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. Liz was the Director of Children’s Choirs at Bethel Lutheran Church in Northfield for 14 years and adjunct faculty at Luther Seminary in St. Paul as the instructor of Children’s Choir Repertoire and Techniques. Choirs under Liz’s direction have performed across the United States, Canada and Europe. Liz loves to bike, cook, read, golf & travel, and together with her husband, Bob, enjoys keeping up with her four sons, and Sammy the dog.

Mark StoverMark Stover

Spotlight Session: Same as it Ever Was

Mark Stover is the Artistic Director of Magnum Chorum, a 60-voice choir in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Mark also serves as Director of Choral Worship at Colonial Church in Edina where he oversees the choral activity at the church, designs worship services and conducts the Colonial Chorale. In 2015, Stover was appointed Interim Conductor of Viking Chorus and Chapel Choir at St. Olaf College, after serving a term on campus as an Instructor of Music, guest conducting the world-renowned St. Olaf Choir, directing the Collegiate Chorale and teaching choral conducting. He graduated from St. Olaf College and earned his Master of Sacred Music with emphasis in choral conducting from Luther Seminary where he worked extensively with mentors Dr. Anton Armstrong and Dr. Paul Westermeyer. Mark, his wife Julie and son Jack, live in Minneapolis.

Brita TaracksBrita DeRemee Taracks

Spotlight Session: Art Celebrating the Everyday and Unexpected

Brita DeRemee Taracks is an interior designer and owner of Mux Interior Design in Minneapolis.  For over 25 years she has been creating beautiful, comfortable and functional homes uniquely expressive of each client. Outside of business life, Brita loves exploring questions like What Is Art? and How Do We Know God? through writing, drawing, painting.  She and her husband, Doug, have three sons in college and are enjoying a new era as empty nesters.

Sean TonkoSean Tonko

Conference Lighting Director
Spotlight Session:  Technology in Worship: Sound Reinforcement, Recording and Webcasting: A Case Study

“Tonko” joined St. Olaf and Broadcast Media/Services after spending three years in the lighting department of the Guthrie Theater. Prior to that, Sean worked as the Master Electrician and Technical Director for the Southern Theater on Minneapolis’ West Bank.


Michon WeeksMichon Weeks

Conference Artist in Residence
In-Depth Session:  Be a Part of Thursday’s Easter Vigil
Spotlight Session

Michon Weeks received her MFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and her BA from Iowa State University, Ames. Her work has been shown regionally and nationally. She has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Forecast Public Art, Southwest MN Arts and Humanities Council, and the Southeast MN Art Council. In 2011 She created twenty etched-glass drawings for the windows of the Marshall-Lyon County Library. In 2015 Weeks created a large-scale wall drawing titled I Saw a Wheel on the Earth in Old Main at St. Olaf College.Weeks teaches studio art at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

Joshua WyattJoshua Wyatt

Conference Broadcast Engineer
Spotlight Session:  Technology in Worship: Sound Reinforcement, Recording and Webcasting: A Case Study

Before Joshua Wyatt stepped into the role of Associate Director of Broadcast / Media Services at St. Olaf College, he was a student at St. Olaf, immersed in music. He filled his days with choir practice (including the St. Olaf Choir), music studies, service as a worship cantor in Boe Chapel, and work at WCAL as an audio engineer, obtaining a degree in church music from St. Olaf in 2005. When a position opened in St. Olaf’s Broadcast Media department in 2007, Joshua was thrilled to join his passion for music with his expertise in engineering — on a campus that he loves. Today, Joshua can be found working behind the scenes on a myriad of projects for Sing For Joy and the Broadcast Media department of St. Olaf College. He is the lead audio and video engineer for concerts, lectures, and events on campus; provides technical support for Sing For Joy, assisting with production of shows and managing the archives; and he serves as the ever-ingenious website guru. When not in the studio or shop, Joshua can be found in the country near Goodhue, Minn., where he lives on a hobby farm with his wife Allison (St. Olaf ’06), along with some goats, chickens, ducks, and whatever else comes and goes from time to time.