• Overview
  • Faculty
  • Career Tracks
  • Off-Campus Study
  • Unique Opportunities
  • Ensembles
  • Facilities
  • Events Schedule



The Department of Music offers a diverse program of musical studies and activities for Ripon College students. The former includes appreciation, history/literature and theory courses, as well as applied music at all levels in voice, piano, organ, harpsichord, stringed, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. Students may participate in one or more performance ensembles, including the Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Choral Union and Chamber Singers. Membership in all of these groups is available to both majors and non-majors by audition.

The music department works with students as individuals and in groups to develop their performance skills and knowledge of music theory, history and literature. Music students share a personal relationship with faculty whose work as teachers, performers, and scholars keeps them and their students in touch with the realities of today’s musical world.

The department offers both a music major and minor. Students wishing to major in music may choose one of three areas of concentration: performance, history/literature-theory, or music education. The performance concentration culminates in a senior recital, the history/literature-theory in a research project, and the music education in student teaching and certification. Music majors from Ripon College have successfully pursued careers in performance, higher education, public school and studio teaching, church music, and other professional fields.


Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty advisor based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty advisor throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. Staff in the Office of Constituent Engagement and Career Services help to match your interests to concrete goals and construct a plan for success, offering support through three stages of career development – planning, exploration and search. Student Support Services provides tutoring and additional academic and skill development, as well as tools to help with note-taking, exam preparation, goal-setting and time management. Mentors in the Collaborative Learning Center provide in-depth, one-on-one or group mentoring for students about class projects and college-level writing, and can share problem-solving strategies to overcome academic obstacles.

Advising at Ripon.


Charles Stephan

Charles Stephan

Adjunct Instructor of Music

[email protected]

John Hughes

Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities

[email protected]
Kurt Dietrich

Kurt Dietrich

Professor of Music, Barbara Baldwin De Frees Chair in the Performing Arts, Chair of the Music Department

[email protected]
Maria Dietrich

Maria Dietrich

Adjunct Instructor of Music, Executive Director at Thrasher Opera House

[email protected]
Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller

Adjunct Instructor of Music, Guitar

[email protected]

Meghan Hilker

Adjunct Instructor of Music

[email protected]

Sandra Polcyn

Adjunct Instructor of Music

[email protected]
Sarah Mahler Kraaz

Sarah Mahler Kraaz

Professor of Music, College Organist

[email protected]

Satoko Hayami

Adjunct Instructor of Music

[email protected]

Todd Truesdale

Adjunct Instructor of Music

[email protected]

William Nelson

Adjunct Instructor of Music

[email protected]

Career Tracks

What can I do with a music major?

An undergraduate degree in music can lead to a career in performance, teaching, producing, promotion/media relations, administration, sound engineer and research.

Alumni of our program are enrolled in a variety of graduate-level programs at some of the nation’s most prestigious research universities for disciplines from music to business to theology.

Recent graduates of our program work for:

  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Berlin High School
  • Community Pharmacy – Co-op
  • Francis W. Parker School
  • Green Lake Festival of Music
  • Green Lake Public Schools
  • Liberty NW Insurance
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Milwaukee Public Schools
  • Taste of New Orleans
  • Teitenbaum Group
  • U.S.D.A.
  • UW-La Crosse
  • West Salem Public Schools

Job titles of recent graduates include:

  • Unix Systems administrator
  • Director of instrumental music
  • K-8 music and band instructor
  • Facilities technician
  • Development associate for major and planned giving
  • Private piano teacher
  • Actor
  • Music teacher

Off-Campus Study

Music students may take advantage of many off-campus programs. Two common programs are the ACM’s London and Florence: Arts in Context program and the ACM Chicago Program’s Arts emphasis.

Whether you choose a program that is international or domestic, it is an experience bound to change your view of the world. Click to learn more about Off- Campus Study and Liberal Arts In Focus at Ripon College.

Financial aid continues for students who choose to participate in an approved study-abroad program, minimizing additional expenses.

Unique Opportunities

Off-campus Studies

Music students may take advantage of many off-campus programs. Two common programs are the ACM’s London and Florence: Arts in Context program and the ACM Chicago Program’s Arts emphasis


The department sponsors nearly 30 free concerts every year. These include Ripon College ensembles and faculty recitals as well as professional ensembles such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Band holiday performance


Choral Union

Choral UnionRipon College’s Choral Union is open to students, faculty, staff, and community members and presents at least one concert per semester. Through the ensemble’s repertoire, singers are exposed to a variety of musical styles, time periods, languages, instrumental collaborations, and high-quality texts. Additionally, Choral Union frequently performs with other ensembles. Recent collaborations not only include the college’s orchestra and Chamber Singers, but also the Green Bay Civic Symphony. Highlights of the 2014–15 season include Brahms’s Schicksalslied, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, and Thompson’s Frostiana. Please contact Dr. John C. Hughes, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, for more information ([email protected]; 920.748.8788).

Chamber Singers

Chamber Singers is Ripon College’s premier choral ensemble and is open to students of all majors through a rigorous audition process. Chamber Singers primarily performs advanced unaccompanied literature; however, instruments occasionally join in performance. The ensemble presents at least one major concert per semester, as well as several other concerts on and off campus as musical ambassadors for the college. In January 2017, Chamber Singers will tour four Midwestern cities. Please contact Dr. John C. Hughes, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities, for more information ([email protected]; 920.748.8788).

Jazz Ensemble

Jazz EnsembleThe Ripon College Jazz Ensemble is a big band that plays music from the earliest jazz through the most contemporary jazz styles. From within the group, a number of different jazz combos perform as well on the two major Jazz Ensemble concerts each year. Development of improvisation skills is a major goal of the group. The Jazz Ensemble also performs on a pops concert each year and occasionally at off-campus events.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Symphonic Wind EnsembleThe Ripon College Symphonic Wind Ensemble is made up of brass, winds and percussion. In recent years, the group has had approximately 50 to 55 members. It is largely a student group, although there are a few community members. The group performs two major concerts each year, as well as a pops concert and a concert of small ensemble music. Literature ranges from band classics from throughout the 20th century to transcriptions of music from other media, marches and lighter fare.


OrchestraUnlike many schools its size, Ripon College has a long-standing, vital College Orchestra. Made up of students and community members, the group puts on two concerts a year that feature orchestral works from all of the style periods of Western music. Concerts often feature guest soloists. Children’s concerts are another type of event that the orchestra puts on with some regularity.


Demmer Recital Hall

Music Facility Provides Numerous Opportunities

The music department is located in C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts. The center houses teaching studios, a practice area, lockers and instrument storage space, classrooms, a choral rehearsal room and a resource center.

The library of scores and recordings includes more than 10,000 items and ample listening stations for student use. A generous number of soundproof practice rooms are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, and the instruments are carefully maintained by a resident technician.

Demmer Recital Hall provides excellent acoustics for all forms of musical performance. A fully equipped sound control booth makes high-quality recording possible from either the stage of Demmer Recital Hall or the choral rehearsal room.

The collection of instruments for use by the students includes some of the finest in every class – Bechstein, Hornung/Moller and Steinway pianos, a Dowd French double harpsichord, a Zuckerman 5-octave clavichord and a Bedient 40-rank tracker organ, LeMay string instruments and a large number of wind instruments of well-known makes. Macintosh computers with music software and MIDI interface are available for student use.

Events Schedule

Calendar of Events: 2016-2017 Academic Year

Click here to view the 2016-17 Fine Arts Events Schedule