Amplify Engagement

Amplify Engagement demonstrates the UNI School of Music’s commitment to our role to better our community. The musicians at UNI have always provided world class musical experiences for audiences in the Cedar Valley and across the globe. Through Amplify Engagement, we seek to engage with our traditional audiences and introduce ourselves to new audiences. Throughout the year, we will engage with audiences in unconventional venues on campus, perform across the Cedar Valley, share our music with Iowans young and old, and demonstrate that music is a vital part of the human experience - music is for everyone! Hearing, performing, and interacting with music improves the quality of our lives, brings us together, and builds our community. We look forward to seeing you this year!

Are you a UNI student, faculty or alumni artist engaging musically within the community? Share your story and use #AmplifyEngagement to let us know!

Amplify Engagement graphic


2023/2024 Amplify Engagement Activities

Voice Students - Community Engagement

Information gathered and reported by Dr. Jean McDonald. 

Although it is clearly known to some, it may not be widely known that UNI School of Music voice students have a long history of vital contribution to music ministry in churches, and on occasion civic organizations, throughout the Cedar Valley. While there are often a few who hold positions as conductors of chancel choirs, many others serve as choral section leaders, special music soloists, worship band musicians, and cantors. In most cases this commitment is weekly, and requires participation two days per week. 

Students who serve our community in this way benefit in many ways beyond the boundaries of practical experience. Interacting regularly with people of all ages and a diversity of beliefs, these students form a variety of meaningful relationships, and begin to recognize their value within the larger community. A happy outcome for the School of Music is witnessing the support these congregants show for our students at the time of their degree recitals, opera performances, and choral concerts. With some frequency, a student recital will have much better community attendance than a faculty recital as a singular result of this activity! 

Please take a moment to look through the listing and photos below: a representative selection of students at work in these settings. Some of the photos also feature UNI SOM graduates who have remained in the community to pursue advanced degrees, or who are now working, but have continued their music practice in this setting. 

  • Marcos Antunez, Junior Vocal Performance Major — directs the choir, First Presbyterian Church, Waterloo, IA 
  • Adrian Benson, Freshman Music Major — section leader, First Presbyterian, Waterloo, IA
  • Ruthellen Brooks, Sophomore Music Education Major — alto section leader at First Presbyterian Church, Cedar Falls, IA, as well as their SHINE (Sunday School) co-music director; also volunteers at Wesley United Methodist Church as choir member, and teaches the Littlest Angels (K-2) in the summer at Wesley Summer Music Camp
  • Maria Casady, Junior Music Minor  — member of Crosspoint Church Worship Band, Waverly, IA
  • Julia Fink, Senior Music Major — regular member of the The Metropolitan Chorale (a Cedar Valley community chorus); section leader, First Presbyterian, Waterloo, IA 
  • Ellie Gavin, Senior Vocal Performance Major — First Congregational United Church of Christ, Waterloo, IA
  • Bryson Grove, Sophomore Music Education Major — volunteer co-leader for the UNI Navigators worship band
  • Emma Hawkinson, Senior Vocal Performance Major — section leader, First Presbyterian, Waterloo, IA 
  • Sophia Jensen, Freshman Theater Major, Music Minor — worship team member, UNI Navigators worship band
  • Lilly Kallenberger, Sophomore Music Education Major — section leader First Presbyterian, Cedar Falls, IA
  • Jamie Knox, Senior Music Education Major — volunteer singer in church choir at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls, IA; substitute director when needed, cantor, and volunteer soloist; in the past she has also given voice lessons through the College Hill Lutheran Church Conservatory
  • Benjamin Lumley, Junior Music Major — worship leader at Stonebridge Church in Boone, IA, singing and playing guitar; plays French horn for the Boone Municipal Band
  • Calista Rowe, Senior Music Education Major  — section leader, Central Christian Church, Waterloo, IA
  • Akela Salter, Junior Music Education Major — works for the UNI Children's Choir; teacher/helper for the UNI Camp Musicmania
  • Joley Seitz, second year master's Vocal Performance Major — First Congregational United Church of Christ, Waterloo, IA 
  • Jean McDonald, Jeff Brich, Michelle Monroe, music faculty — volunteer members of the Cedar Heights Presbyterian Community Presbyterian Church; Jean and Jeff also extended their choral volunteerism participating in a Kickstarter project for Minneapolis-based composer Iver Hubert, recording excerpts of work Becoming Earth, where they had the opportunity to make music with community musicians throughout the twin cities