AQ Difference

Betty Helen Weiss Cohan Piano Prize
The 2014 Betty Helen Weiss Cohan Piano Prize in Honor of Sister Mary Thomas McNamara recipient is Benjamin Koval, a 2014 graduate. As the recipient of the Piano Prize, Ben was awarded a check in the amount of $1,000 upon graduation.
About the Piano Prize: This monetary award is made to a graduating senior music major in the Aquinas College Music Department who has exceptional piano ability. The overall GPA must be a minimum of 3.0 at the time of graduation. The Piano Prize was established to honor the namesake’s memory of the great affection and respect for the teachers at the Sacred Heart Academy, an Aquinas College predecessor institution, and must be used to assist the recipient in the furtherance of their musical goals. Qualifying students must submit a current Resume and a Letter of Application to the Music Faculty expressing their dedication to pursuing goals as a pianist. Should there be no well qualified candidates in a given year, the minimum of $1,000 award will remain in the endowment until the following year. The first award was made in the spring of 2010.
AQ Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Scores Top Honor Nationally
Grand Rapids composer and Aquinas College Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Roger MacNaughton, has been awarded first place in the United States for his composition “Charlevoix Keepsake” by the International Music Aid Awards. Performed by MacNaughton on piano and Steve VanRavenswaay on cello, the winning composition is one of six original instrumental tunes written by MacNaugthon and recorded on the 2006 Acoustic Arts CD release Winter Canvas. >>More

AQ Fine Arts Day Session on " What to do with a Major in Music."  Let your passion guide you!

The List of Books:
  • Beeching, Angela Myles (2010) Beyond Talent, Creating a Successful Career in Music (Second Edition). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN-10: 0195382595, ISBN-13: 9780195382594
  • Weissman, Dick (2010) Making a Living in Your Local Music Market, Realizing Your Marketing Potential (Fourth Edition); Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Publishing Corp.
  • Crouch, Tanja L. (2008) 100 Careers in the Music Business (Second Edition); Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series.
  • Galper, Hal (2007) The Touring Musician, A Small Business Approach to Booking Your Band on the Road; New York, NY: Alfred Publishing.
  • Cameron, Julia (2002) the Artist's Way, a Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity; New York, NY: Penguin Putnam Inc. ISBN 1-58542-146-4
  • Lloyd, Carol (1997) Creating a Life Worth Living, A Practical course in career design for artists, innovators, and others aspiring to a creative life. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-06-095243-1;
  • Dearing, James W. (1991) Making Money Making Music (No Matter Where You Live); Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books.
  • Hoover, Deborah A. (1989) Supporting Yourself as an Artist (2nd Edition), a Practical Guide; New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Music Career Exploration:
Kretschmer Visit








Pictured at left: Glenn and Jeanine (Kretschmer) Swanson, Dr. Paul S. Brewer, Mary Hurd, Barbara Witham McCargar and Sr. Catherine Williams pose on the Art and Music Center lawn after a morning spent touring and talking in the AMC, September 22, 2010.

Students and Graduates
Outstanding Seniors: Each year the Music Department chooses a student that best embodies the scholarship, musicianship and leadership qualities of a top music graduate.

Past recipients include:

  • 2014-2015: Anna Rose Egres
  • 2013-2014: Hayley Stoner and Benjamin Koval
  • 2012-2013: Chelsea Funk and Bethany Pattinson
  • 2011-2012: Mary Skuza and John Telfer III
  • 2010-2011: Elizabeth Christian and Scott Kirchner
  • 2009-2010: James Trares
  • 2008-2009: Caitlin Brooks
  • 2007-2008: Todd Wilkie
  • 2006-2007: Nina Croll and Mary Harwood
  • 2005-2006: Janae Woody
  • 2004-2005: Peggy Bynoe
  • 1999-2000: Andrew Fleser
  • 1998-1999: Erin Flynn

AQ Music majors have gone on to earn graduate and doctoral degrees in Performance, Education, Composition, Conducting, Sacred Music, Religious Studies, Jazz Studies and many non-music fields. To support and acknowledge their study of Music we offer many Music Scholarships. Graduates have gone on to make significant contributions to the arts community in which they have resided as private and classroom teachers, performers, church choir and music directors, theatrical performers and directors, choir and band members, and in arts organizations.


Graduate and Professional Schools

  • John Telfer, III - DePaul University
  • Theresa Wasinski - Emory University
  • Janae Woody - St. Petersburg College
  • Peggy (Bynoe) Naber - Western Michigan University
  • Br. James-Peter Trares, O.P. - Aquinas Institute of Theology
  • Kathy Gibson - Fort Hays State University
  • Kameri Muir - Aquinas College
  • Nicole Storey – The University of Notre Dame
  • Erin (Flynn) Evans, Ph.D., RPSGT – University of Surrey (UK), Harvard
  • Nicholas J. Cooper – The University of Notre Dame
  • Matthew Stansfield – Boston Conservatory
  • Andrew Fleser, DMA – Westminster Choir College of Rider University, University of Minnesota
  • Sara Jakubiak – Cleveland Institute, Yale University
  • Thomas Koron – Western Michigan University
  • Laura (Rzeszut) Van Vlack – Southeast Technical of Minnesota State College, Red Wing, Minn.
  • Louis Sinigos – Michigan State University
  • Nathan Weber – Aquinas College
  • Schianti Dixon Jaramillo – Western Michigan University
  • MaryAlice Clor Miller – Aquinas College
  • Dennis Rybicki – Calvin College
  • Kurt Poterack, Ph.D. – Michigan State University
  • Brenda Baker – Aquinas College
  • Gregory Knowles, Ph.D. - Honolulu University of Arts, Central Pacific University
  • Monique Salinas Stauffer, Ph.D. – Central Michigan University, Michigan State University
  • Jeffrey O. Halsey – Bowling Green State University
  • Barbara Witham McCargar – University of Michigan, AIMS Institute
  • Catherine Williams, O.P. – Aquinas College, VanderCook College of Music
  • Elizabeth Watkins Caluda, DMA – Northwestern University, The Catholic University of America
  • Susan (Strahan) Catanese – University of Michigan
  • Brian Bartusch - Eastern Michigan University


  • Andrew Fleser, DMA – McNally Smith College of Music, Minn.
  • Brendan Hieshetter – Flint, Mich.
  • Kathy (Gibson) Wagner – Aquinas College and Cornerstone University, Mich.
  • Pamela Norton – Grattan Academy Charter School, Belding, Mich.
  • Mary Harwood – West Catholic High School, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Pamella LaPerna – Wayland Union School District, Mich.
  • Peggy Bynoe – Forest Hills Public Schools, Mich.
  • Jennifer (Williams) Davis - Indiana
  • Eva Marie Truog – North Carolina
  • Suzy Thomasma – Hastings Public Schools, Mich.
  • Nathan Weber – Grand Rapids Public Schools, Mich.
  • Louis Sinigos – Northview Public Schools, Mich.
  • Barbara (Cook) Gaines – National Heritage Academies, Mich.
  • Keith and Karah Hiscott – Michigan
  • Kelli Tilley Smith - Michigan
  • Michael Norman – DeWitt Public Schools, Mich.
  • Monique Salinas Stauffer, Ph.D – Girls Choral Academy, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Miriam Lynch – Saint Mary School, Mt. Clemens, Mich.
  • Dennis Rybicki – Catholic Central High School, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Brenda Baker – Forest Hills Public Schools, Mich.
  • Gregory Knowles, DMA – Julliard School, New York
  • Diana (Peffer) Johnson – Aurora, Ill.
  • Cindy Byerly – Grand Rapids Public Schools, Mich.
  • Elizabeth Huls – East Middle School, Rockford, Mich.
  • Amy (Forslund) Amos – Forrest Hills Public Schools, Mich.
  • Mary (Ryan) Way - North Carolina
  • Mary Alice Clor Miller – Wyoming Public Schools, Mich.
  • Pete Siers – Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Malcolm Brannen – Grand Rapids Community College, Mich. retired
  • Kurt Poterack, Ph.D. – Christendom College, Virginia
  • Mike Hyde – Hope and Aquinas Colleges, Mich.
  • Elizabeth Watkins Caluda – Shenandoah University, Virginia
  • Jeffrey O. Halsey – Bowling Green State University, Ohio
  • Kathy (Maitner) Proulx – Saint Thomas the Apostle, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Deborah Smith – Wyoming
  • Joseph Fortin – Vivace School of Music and Arts, Harbor Springs, Mich.
  • Susan (Strahan) Catanese -  Chippewa Valley Schools, Mich. retired
  • Lorraine Hardebeck – Grand Rapids Public and Catholic Schools, Mich. retired

Church Musicians

  • Pam Szczesny McKenzie – Christ the King, Howard City, Mich.
  • Todd Wilkie – St. Stephen Catholic Church, E. Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Barbara Witham McCargar - St. Stephen Catholic Church, E. Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Andrew Fleser – Valley Community Presbyterian Church in Golden Valley, Minn.
  • Emily (Rogalski) Rushmore – Saint Dominic Catholic Church, Wyoming, Mich.
  • David Doppel – Saint Mary Magdalene, Kentwood, Mich.
  • Dennis Rybicki – Cathedral of Saint Andrew, Diocese of Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • David Dunst –  Church of St. Peter, Mendota, Minn.
  • Barbara (Williams) Rewa – St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Mary Harwood – St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Jerry Stege – Saint Joseph Parish, Manistee, Mich.
  • Jeff Kamaloski – Saint Mary of Caramel Shrine, Manistee, Mich.
  • Larry Barton – Saint Mary Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Eileen Bockheim – Saint Thomas the Apostle, Mich.
  • Kathy (Maitner) Proulx – Saint Thomas the Apostle, Mich.
  • MaryAlice Clor Miller – Saint Jude Catholic Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Catherine Williams, O.P. – Saint Sebastian Catholic Church, Byron Center - Mich.
  • Joe and Kathy Westdorp – Basilica of Saint Adalbert, Grand Rapids, Mich. retired
  • Brian Bartusch - Central Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Performers and Music Careers

  • David Doppel, Guitar – Kentwood, Mich.
  • Kathy (Gibson) Wagner, Vocalist – Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Todd Wilkie, Pianist, Accompanist – Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Sara Jakubiak, Soprano – New York
  • Andrew Fleser, Collaborative Pianist - Minnesota
  • Todd Evans , Pianist and Composer – Massachusetts
  • Louis Sinigos, Drummer and Vocalist - Mich.
  • Gwendolyn Faasen, Soprano, Guitar, Flute, Harp – Tallmadge, Mich.
  • Ric Troll, Percussion and Composer – Tallmadge, Mich.
  • Edye Evans Hyde , Vocalist – Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Mike Hyde, Guitar – Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Kevin Murphy, Guitar
  • Janet (Gottschall) Fried, Soprano - Minnesota
  • Jeffrey O. Halsey, Jazz Bassist - Ohio
  • Pete Siers, Percussion – Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Barbara Witham McCargar, Soprano – Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Joseph Herdegen, Production Assistant - Grand Rapids Symphony
  • Celeste (Stefaniec) Dyehouse, Director of Ticketing Operations - Grand Rapids Symphony
  • Sarah Clapp, Manager of Artistic Operations - Kalamazoo Symphony
From international performers to school teachers to college professors to church musicians to symphony staff and bluegrass or jazz musicians, AQ Music graduates are part of the musical fabric of their communities.