Music News


May-June 2012



Jay GilbertGreetings from the music department, and welcome to the first issue of our online newsletter, Fanfare!  

We are pleased that you are visiting us here and in the coming months hope to provide you with a plethora of information about the wide array of activities we are undertaking in the music program.

These range from a major revision of the music education curriculum to Doane Choir’s collaboration with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra to perform Benjamin Britten’s monumental War Requiem.

Throughout these many exciting changes and events, we continue to strive to build a program where our students are deeply immersed in music making and music teaching.

So, without further ado, we share with you our successes, our undertakings, and even our challenges as we continue to build on the long tradition that is the Doane University Music Department.

With our best wishes,

Jay W. Gilbert, DM 
Professor of Music
Chair of the Music Department
Director of Bands

Doane Choir Reunion July 14-15

Join Doane Choir director Kurt Runestad and alumni as we sing favorites like "Precious Lord" and "The King of Love" during the worship services at First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, NE, on July 14-15, 2012. Don't worry if you don't know the songs; you can learn them in rehearsal! Please wear black pants/skirt and a cream or white blouse/shirt for the performance; ties are optional. Please bring a black folder with you as well. 

The schedule will be as follows:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

2 p.m. Alumni Reception at First Plymouth Church
3-5 p.m. Rehearsal
6 p.m. Optional dinner in Lincoln 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

9 a.m. Sing in worship service
10 a.m. Breakfast at First Plymouth Church
10:30 a.m. Sing in worship service 





Hotel Accommodations

If you are coming from out of town, feel free to browse through this list of hotels in the Lincoln area.


Please RSVP by Monday, July 2nd to or call 402.826.8561. Please include your vocal part and if you will be attending dinner on Saturday night.

War Requiem

On April 28, 2012, the Doane Choir combined with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra and other area choirs to perform Benjamin Britten’s monumental choral-orchestral piece, the War Requiem. 

One of Britten’s masterpieces, it is widely considered to be among the best choral-orchestral pieces written in the twentieth century.  Information about the performance of this piece:

  • It was premiered in May of 1962 at the re-opening of Coventry (England) Cathedral, after the building’s destruction in World War II. 
  • Britten interspersed the evocative anti-war poetry of Wilfred Owen in between and amongst the traditional Latin text, creating striking juxtapositions. 
  • Britten also included music for a boys choir in the piece, to represent the innocence of youth. 
  • The epic work utilizes up to 400 performers. Due to the scale of this performance, it is rarely performed, making Doane’s involvement a distinct privilege. 
  • The performance also included The American Boychoir (from Princeton, New Jersey), two choirs from the University of Nebraska, the Abendmusik Chorus which is in residence at First Plymouth UCC church in Lincoln, and Lincoln’s professional choir, Abendchor. 
  • Maestro Ed Polochick conducted the performance at the Lied Center in Lincoln.  

Choir in Brazil

Doane Choir in Brazil

On May 18, 2011 members of the Doane University vocal music department embarked on a nearly two week tour in Brazil. The members of the Brazil choir visited the cities of:
  • Bauru
  • Sao Paulo
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Petropolis
  • Ouro Preto
  • Belo Horizonte
  • Manaus
The choir sang in each of these cities, and were received warmly by the Brazilian people. After each concert, the audience asked for encores and autographs, which the choir gave eagerly.

A diverse repertoire of pieces that included:

  • “Christ the Appletree” by Stanford Scriven
  • “O Vos Omnes” by Brazilian composer Alberto Ginastera
The choir sang in some of the best-known cathedrals and theatres in South America. These included:
  • the Candelaria cathedral in Rio de Janeiro
  • the Teatro Municipal, the oldest theater still in use in all of the Americas.

Amidst singing concerts and enjoying the warm welcome given to them by the Brazilian people, the members of the Brazil choir, along with their adult sponsors, were able to experience many elements of the Brazilian culture. They enjoyed daily “all you can eat” buffets, heaping with the cuisine of the country; they experienced the extravagance of a Samba show, and relaxed on the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches in Rio de Janeiro. They even spent two days on a boat riding down the Amazon River! It was an unforgettable tour for everyone, musically and otherwise.

Mairin Wolfe
2012 Doane University graduate in English Education
3-year member of the Doane Choir.


Welcoming Lance Nielsen

Dr. Lance D. Nielsen joins Doane University beginning fall 2012 as Associate Professor of Music.
Lance will teach a variety of courses including:
  • introduction to music education
  • instrumental music methods
  • music technology
  • assist with the supervision of music education in field experiences
Lance is well known to music educators in Nebraska for the quality of his teaching, leadership and mentoring.
Education and Experience
For more than twenty years Lance has taught in a variety of Nebraska school settings, in places such as:
  • Kimball
  • Norris
  • Lincoln
He has served as:
  • President of the Nebraska Music Educators Association
  • NAfME National Tri-M Chair
  • NMEA Band Chair
  • co-Chair of the NAfME 2010 Technology Academy at the Music Education Week in Washington.
He is a frequent presenter at music conferences including:
  • the Third International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education in Germany
  • the 2011 TI:ME Conference in Ohio
  • various state level music conferences. 

In March of 2012 he was elected President of the North Central Chapter of the NAfME.

He has published articles in Teaching Music and the ISTE Leading with Innovations Journal
Dr. Nielsen brings a wealth of local and national experience and expertise. He joins Kathleen OhlmanDianne Ferguson, Jay Gilbert, Kurt Runestad and the 26 adjunct faculty of the Doane University Music Department in providing exceptional music education experiences for our students.

Summer Research

As part of Doane's summer research program, Dr. Kurt Runestad has undertaken four projects over the last five years.  Each summer, he works with an undergraduate student to create 2-4 performing editions to be used in the Doane choral program the following academic year. 

The process includes:

  1. Identifying pieces written by historical composers, that are no longer under protection of copyright. 
  2. Taking a trip to the UNL music library that allows Runestad and the students to collect copies of pieces from the composers collected works editions, the most reliable scholarly editions available. 
  3. Students entering the pieces into a music notation program (Finale), and editing them for practical use by the Doane ensembles. 

For example:

  • Runestad and the students make decisions where singers breaths should be, and indicate them in the score (by inserting short rests), increasing rehearsal efficiency. 
  • Most pieces are in a language other than English, so translations are conveniently inserted for reference by the choral singers. 
  • The students working on the projects get comfortable using Finale, and also learn to consider the wide variety of editorial decisions that are made during the creation of a performing edition. 
  • The projects come to life in the rehearsal room the following year, and each piece receives a number of performances by Doane choral ensembles. 
  • The projects are also part of Doane’s “MindExpo,” a spring research fair held annually to highlight Doane’s undergraduate research programs. 

Past summer research students have appreciated what they’ve learned in the projects. 

“The summer research project allowed me to gain a better understanding of what works best when editing and rehearsing music in a choral setting. I was able to directly apply the knowledge I gained from the experience to my choral groups,”

Maggie Doane (nee Frei), '10
music education major

(created performing editions of four pieces in the summer of 2009)


“The summer research project gave me a valuable introduction into what it takes to complete a performing edition, as I had never used music notation software before.  I didn't realize how much went into creating a usable piece of music until I went through the whole process.”  

Kirsten Jergensen
(worked on two pieces in the summer of 2010)

Doane Choir in Atlanta

On April 4th, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was staying in the Lorraine Motel with a few of his associates. As the group was getting ready to leave for the church where he was giving a speech, Dr. King called down to musician Ben Barnes, “Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.” Shortly after saying this, Dr. King was shot and never regained consciousness. On April 9th, 1968, Mahalia Jackson performed ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ at his funeral.

While in Memphis on the winter 2012 Doane Choir tour, students visited the Lorraine Motel, now the National Civil Rights Museum, and sang a tearful ‘Precious Lord’ below the balcony where Dr. King stood in his last moments. Doublewide also performed their beautiful acappella version of ‘MLK’ while stoppers by looked on. There was not a dry eye to be found and at the church that night, both songs were especially powerful. The choir as a whole agreed, they would never think of or sing ‘Precious Lord’ the same way.

The 2012 Doane Choir tour, ‘Walk In the Light,’ took Doane Choir to the southeastern United States; starting in St Louis, Missouri, passing through Tennessee, Georgia, and Arkansas, and ending in their own Heckman Auditorium. Equal parts performance, worship service, and hymn celebration, this tour was a unique experience for both audience and choir, as they were taken on a journey of faith, joy, and enlightenment.

Many thanks are extended to visiting conductor Tom Trenney, music department secretary Becky Brewer, accompanist Bill Carpenter, parent chaperones Scott and Jean Spilker, and coach driver Keith Dettmer and his wife, Judy.

Rachel Overbeck '15

For more information about music department activities, visit us on:


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