News Room

Faculty Successes in Music

The faculty are the greatest resource of the Department of Music. They design and deliver the curriculum, and mentor and advise students while establishing regional, national and international reputations for their expertise and contributions to the profession. The music faculty earned their credentials from premiere institutions and were selected to teach at IPFW for their extraordinary talents as artists, performers and scholars, and for their proven abilities to communicate effectively with students.

The Music faculty number thirteen full-time and six half-time professors, augmented by more than twenty part-time faculty.  This highly qualified and experienced faculty teaches interactively in small classes and through individualized instruction and mentoring.  All classes are taught by accomplished professionals; there are no graduate assistants teaching in the arts at IPFW. 


Dr. Nancy Jackson was selected to co-chair a preconference roundtable workshop at the World Congress of Music Therapy that took place in Vienna, Austria in July. The workshop was entitled Music and Time: International Perspectives and explored the concept of time within the context of health and wellness. Dr. Kathleen Murphy from University of Evansville was the other co-chair, and together with colleagues from five additional countries, we presented and discussed the impact of time on music therapy treatment for numerous clientele groups including oncology, chronic pain, mental health, autism, eating disorders, palliative care, and addictions.

Dr. Melanie Bookout resided in Chicago for several weeks this summer in order to pursue her sabbatical project in the Newberry Library and the Chicago Historical Society. She also gave a concert in June for Germanfest with the Eleganza Baroque Ensemble and  attended the national Viola da Gamba Society Conclave at Miami University in Ohio.

In June, Assistant Professor Sam Savage performed the role of Flavio in Vincenzo Bellini's "Norma" in New York with The Hudson Opera Theater directed by Ron DeFesi. Savage has been asked to perform a recital at the prestigous Longwood University Chamber Music Series on October 18, 2014.  He has also been asked by The Metropolitan Opera to participate in their upcoming production of "Die Meistersinger" by Richard Wagner in November and December of 2014 as a member of the extra-chorus.

Associate Professor of piano Hamilton Tescarollo performed two international recitals with cellist Carlos Audi (Audi-Tescarollo Duo) in São Paulo City, Brazil. “Recitais Eubiose” Concert Series, was performed on July 19 and “Escola Municipal de Música de São Paulo,”on  July 16.  The program included Schubert’s “Arpeggione” sonata, Mendelssohn’s “Song without words,” and Debussy’s sonata, as well as two pieces by Brazilian composers: Villa-Lobos’ “Bachianas No. 5” and Camargo Mariano’s “Cristal.” Tescarollo also served as a member of the final round jury panel for the 29th International Young Artist Piano Competition from June 26 – 29 at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. The competition showcased young competitors up to age 28 from throughout the country and included fellow jurors Dr. Ralitza Patcheva, piano faculty, Catholic University of America; and Dr. Mikhail Volchok piano faculty, University of Maryland at College Park.

In a local performance, Tescarollo performed in the Plymouth Summer Arts Festival at Plymouth Congregational Church in Fort Wayne, July 13. “Sing a New Song: An Oratorio” is a piece by Indiana living composer Howard Terrell for choir, soloists, and two pianos and featured the Heartland Chorale, conductor Robert Nance, and Fort Wayne Philharmonic pianist Alexander Klepach.

Tescarollo also performed a solo recital on campus as part of the IPFW Gene Marcus Piano Camp on June 15, featuring  Aria from Bachianas No. 4 by Villa-Lobos ; Mozart’s, Rondo from Sonata in C Major, K. 309; and Bach-Busoni’s Chaconne.

Tescaroll also served as the director of the 3rd Annual IPFW Gene Marcus Piano Camp and Competition.

Continuing Lecturer Laura Lydy has been working over the summer to prepare for the 23rd Annual Mid-America Guitar Ensemble Festival to be hosted by IPFW on March 27, 28 and 29, 2015.  Close to 20 different universities are expected to participate in this exciting event. As Festival Director, Lydy has arranged for the internationally recognized Canadian Guitar Quartet as our guest artists and commissioned the guitar orchestra piece "Thunders and Strums" from one of the most prominent guitar ensemble composers, Patrick Roux.  Roux will also attend the festival to conduct the premier of the composition. She has also commissioned a painting by local artist Alex Pancner to serve as the logo for the festival. The festival will be sponsored by Chuck and Lisa Surack and Sweetwater.

The third Gene Marcus Piano Camp and Competition, led by Dr. Hamilton Tescarollo, was a success, with 8 students in the camp and 28 in the competition. The competition recital will be televised on PBS39 in the near future and we were able to secure donations to provide scholarships for some campers for the first time. The final camp recital showcased the campers’ individual skills as well as piano pieces for four hands pieces learned during the camp.

Michael Lewellen, continuing lecturer in horn, participated in the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming as part of their world-class symphony under the direction of Donald Runnicles. General Music Director of Deutsche Oper Berlin and Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Melanie Bookout, associate professor of music history and literature presented her paper at the Association for Core Texts and Courses Twentieth Annual Conference in Los Angeles from April 13 -16, 2014. The paper’s topic was on the use of a medieval Japanese text, Essays in Idleness, as a way of opening the topic of traditional Japanese notions of beauty and time for general education students.

Chris Rutkowski, clinical assistant professor of music composition and technology, presented “One Music, One Computer: Music Technology and Trained Musician, Unprecedented New Professional Opportunities” at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington, on Feb. 27, 2014. The talk featured Rutkowski's Concerto for Saxophone and Wind Ensemble (commissioned by the Jacobs School and three other universities) and his advanced computer editing of the recording, as well as his film score for assistant professor Andres Montengro's computer animation The Secret of the Lost Station.

Farrell Vernon was chosen to perform a piece is entitled Perpetual Travelers for E Sopranino Saxophone, Accordion, and Vibraphone at the North American Saxophone Alliance's national conference at the University of Illinois-Champaign. The conference was March 20-23, and the piece by Dr. Tim Reed, was performed Friday, March 21, with Ann Donner on accordion, Brandon Ford (’06) on vibraphone, and the composer Tim Reed who also is an associate professor of music at Manchester University.

Farrell Vernon’s second solo sopranino CD release in 2011 entitled High Notes: More New Music for the Sopranino Saxophone was chosen as the featured CD of the month in the Australian Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine, Vol. 15, Issue 4, 2014. The CD also featured other IPFW faculty members including Laura Lydy, Melanie Bookout, composer Ken Johnson, Hamilton Tescarollo, Derek Reeves, Eric Schweikert, and Brad Crossland (’10, percussion).  The cover of the CD features the work of John Hrehov, professor of painting and chair of the Department of Fine Arts.

Associate Professor and Director of Music Therapy Nancy Jackson will be co-chairing a workshop at the World Congress of Music Therapy taking place in Krems an der Donau, Austria in July 2014. Jackson, along with Dr. Kathleen Murphy of University of Evansville, developed the workshop entitled Music in Time: International Perspectives, which includes eight professionals with differing music therapy clinical expertise from the USA, Germany, Australia, England, and Canada.


On Wednesday, November 20, IPFW Assistant Professor of Music Therapy Linda Wright-Bower was recognized along with the IPFW Department of Music during the IPFW Basketball Academic Highlight at the Gates Center during their basketball game. The Department of Music has been an integral part of IPFW sports with the IPFW Pep Band leading the way at every home game.

Chris Rutkowski, clinical assistant professor of music composition and technology, began his three-year term as editor of the Music Business-Industry component of the College Music Society's academic journal, Symposium, with an in-depth profile of the University of North Texas Department of Recording Services.

Assistant Professor of Music Therapy Linda Wright-Bower presented a paper at the national conference of the Association for General and Liberal Studies on September 19 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Indianapolis titled: High Impact Practice or Creative Curriculum? A Selective Review of Creative and Expressive Art Content in General Education Courses. The session included an overview of creative art content in 25 general education programs at mid-sized universities from seven states including Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.

Hamilton Tescarollo, associate professor and director of keyboard studies, performed a solo recital at the Wednesdays on Wayne Street concert series, at First Wayne Street United Methodist Church on October 16, 2013. The program included piano transcription of J.S. Bach's Chaconne for violin by Ferrucio Busoni as well as works by Mozart and Villa-Lobos.

Assistant Professor Sam Savage, coordinator of voice for the Department of Music served on the faculty of the University of Toledo Art Song Festival in Ohio from June 26 – 30, 2013. IPFW vocal performance sopranos Natasha Kersjes and Stephanie Johnson auditioned for and participated in the festival, as well.

Local musician Fernando Tarango is completing his M.A. in Liberal Arts at IPFW with a concentration in Music Technology. Tarango maintains a busy performance schedule in addition to his studies. In the last year, he has performed in a variety of concerts with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and co-created children’s programming with Sameer Patel for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Regional Discovery Concerts. He helped produce the first ever Fort Wayne Fringe Festival and composed music for the Mikaudatze Dance Theatre. He is also the front man and songwriter for the band, Wickersham Brothers, who have been featured on WBOI's Meet the Music

IPFW Department of Music continuing lecturer Ken Johnson, D.M.A., worked over the summer to prepare a course on interdisciplinary arts for online delivery with Aesthetic Press, Inc., associated with Colorado Christian University in Denver, Colorado. Johnson also completed a four-movement work for sopranino saxophone and guitar to be premiered by IPFW Department of Music Associate Professor Farrell Vernon, and continuing lecturer Laura Lydy. He also completed a first draft of new work for symphonic band.

Associate Professor of Music Melanie Bookout attended the 51st Viola da Gamba Society Conclave in July at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Approximately 180 viola da gamba players from around the world attended the week-long workshop and concert series where they gathered to play music, attend classes and hear featured performers. The viola de gamba is a six-or seven-string bowed instrument that was popular during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Bookout also serves on the board of directors and two subcommittees for the conclave.

Farrell Vernon, associate professor of saxophone studies, released two CD's:
Convergence: Sopranino Saxophone Across the Centuries, (CRC3252) Centaur Records
Sempre Saxophone Quartet: Music of William Schmidt, (CRC3262) Centaur Records
Both are available on Amazon and iTunes.

Michael Lewellen, (Continuing Lecturer/Horn) , performed with the Grand Teton Music Festival (GTMF) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming during July 2013. Mr. Lewellen has performed at GTMF annually since 1999.

VCD Assistant Professor Andres Montenegro presented a seminar on Emerging Technologies for Interactive Animation for Universidad de Playa Ancha in Valparaiso, Chile. The digital, live-streamed seminar presented to faculty and students was open to other artists, musicians, performers and designers.

VCD Assistant Professor Andres Montenegro won the residency award for his animated film project,”The Little Quest of Petrovsky,” at the Carrefour de la Creation at the International Animation Festival Competition of Annecy, France. Double Metre Animation adjudicated this film category. Annecy will support its production and development in Paris in December 2013. The short animated film will be distributed in France, Europe and presented at Annecy's 2014 festival.

The Audi-Tescarollo Duo, comprised of pianist Hamilton Tescarollo, associate professor of music and director of keyboard studies at IPFW, and cellist Carlos Audi, was invited to perform at the College Music Society (CMS) International Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The duo, which specializes in South American music, was selected to present the program entitled Hidden Gems of Brazilian Music during this prestigious conference from among over 200 proposals submitted by international artists and scholars. The performance took place at the Borges Cultural Center, Auditorio Piazzolla, in downtown Buenos Aires.
Associate Professor of Music Hamilton Tescarollo's article in the column "This & That" on alternative repertoire choices for C.P.E. Bach's Solfeggietto was published in American Music Teacher, the official journal of the Music Teachers National Association, June/July issue.

Mezzo-soprano and adjunct music faculty member Ashlee Beth Bickley will be singing the title role in Rossini’s Cenerentola at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Realizing Rossini Festival on July 6.

Associate Professor of Music Melanie Bookout is on the board of directors of the Viola da Gamba Society of America and will be travelling to Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., for the 51st annual VdGSA Conclave in July. Bookout will have a series of articles published in their future VdGSA newsletters and she has been appointed co-chapter liaison for this society.


Sam Savage, Coordinator of Studio Voice, was a participant in the Opera of Festival of Rome during this summer. Savage performed tenor roles in the Mozart's "Magic Flute," directed, and taught voice.

Continuing lecturer in music Kenneth Johnson, D.M.A., was one of two 2012 recipients of the Distant Education Coordinating Committee Award for Innovative Online Teaching. The award, given by the Division of Continuing Studies, carries a stipend of $1,000 to be used for professional development. The selection committee made its decision based Johnson’s innovativeness, quality of course design, learning satisfaction and enhanced student learning outcomes.

Sam Savage, assistant professor and coordinator of studio voice, performed the leading role of Ciano in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci in June, 2012 at the Western Plains Opera in Minot, North Dakota. He also taught and performed at The Art Song Festival in Toledo, Ohio, and served on the faculty for the Operafestival di Roma and covered all of the tenor rolls in The Magic Flute in July 2012.

Assistant professor of music therapy Linda M. Wright-Bower is the 2012 recipient of the Friends of the University Outstanding Teacher Award. The award carries a stipend of $1,500. Ms. Wright-Bower has taught at IPFW for 25 years. Her philosophy of teaching encompasses the idea that students learn best when they first experience music before learning musical concepts such as pitch and rhythm, and that the teacher’s role is to constantly look for ways in which the students can actively work with concepts to deepen their understanding.

Over the years, Wright-Bower’s introductory music therapy course has become less about careers in music and more about using music to promote health and wellness. Students now create their own CD covers, make mandalas, write songs, study guided imagery, meditate with music and write critical thinking journals. Linda is a founding CELT advisory board member and recipient of the CELT Luminary Award.

Chris Rutkowski, clinical assistant professor of music composition and technology and director of IPFW/Sweetwater music technology program, was appointed as one of nine editors of the College Music Society (CMS) academic journal, Symposium. CMS is a consortium of college, conservatory, university and independent musicians and scholars from all disciplines of music. Symposium provides students and professionals in the field of music with information on conferences, workshops, scholarly articles and reviews. Rutkowski will be editing the music business and industry pages for Symposium, which after 50 years of publication moved from print to an online format.

Robert Bean, professor and chair of the IPFW Department of Music, was honored by the Mississippi State University Department of Music as one of their two alumni of the year (2011). During a recent visit to the MSU campus he led master classes for piano students, coached various ensembles, and spoke to MSU music majors about career paths in the field of music. Dr. Michael Patilla, who studied with Dr. Bean at the University of Montevallo, nominated him for this award and was selected by a committee of MSU faculty members.


Assistant Professor Sam Savage, tenor, was featured in performances of Turridu from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana with the Cape Cod Opera in July and August.

Sam Savage, Coordinator of Studio voice, performed the role of “Alfred” in Die Flederamaus with the New Rochelle Opera, New York, June, 2011  

Robert Bean, Professor and Chair of the Department of Music, was selected as the 2011 Alumnus of the Year by the Department of Music at Mississippi State University.  Dr. Bean went to MSU in November for a short residency as part of the award.

Melanie Bookout, Music History and Literature, completed her two year term as an IPFW Featured Faculty member with an early music concert at Northern Arizona University, May 5, 2011

Farrell Vernon, Director of Jazz Studies, was granted a sabbatical leave for the Spring 2011 semester to continue work on creating, publishing and recording works for the Sopranino saxophone.