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AcademicsMusic Faculty / Ensembles / Facilities / Events Calendar


The department of music at College of the Ozarks is dedicated to the highest level of excellence in the musical instruction and performance. Our students, faculty, and ensembles play a vital role in serving our campus and surrounding community. Numerous performance opportunities are available to a wide variety of experience levels and backgrounds. Let’s make music together!

Academic Programs

Graduates in music are prepared to follow their calling into areas such as music education, music and worship ministry, performance, and composition, or to continue their education at a Master's degree level. The music teacher education program at College of the Ozarks is accredited with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to offer certificationin instrumental and choral music education.

All music students earn either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree, and can choose from one of the five areas of emphasis listed below:

General Music

  • Prepares the student for graduate and/or professional work in music
  • Allows a number of elective choices to complement the degree
  • Requires a recital during the senior year

Choral or Instrumental Music Education

  • Requires a double major in music and K-12/Secondary education
  • Prepares the student for state teacher certification
  • Field experiences and student teaching in approved schools 


  • Prepares the student for a career in collaborative piano, private teaching, and/or graduate studies in piano performance
  • Features specialized courses including piano pedagogy, piano literature, and piano duo classes
  • Includes performance opportunities in a variety of venues
  • Requires a recital during the senior year

Vocal Performance

  • Prepares the student for a career in vocal performance, graduate studies in voice, and/or private teaching
  • Features specialized courses in voice including vocal pedagogy and foreign language diction
  • Requires collateral courses in theatre,including acting and stage movement
  • Requires a recital during the senior year


Music Ministry

  • Prepares the student for music and worship ministry in the local church
  • Features specialized courses in church music and music ministry
  • Requires a minor in Christian Ministry
  • Requires an internship in a local church and/or culminating project


  • Prepares the student for a career or graduate work in music composition
  • Features specialized instruction in advanced theory topics
  • Students will compose acoustic and electronic music using both traditional techniques and advanced computer technology
  • Requires a composition recital during the senior year


The music department also offers three music minors: general music, piano, and vocal performance.


Performance Opportunities

There are numerous performance opportunities both on and off campus. The music department is involved in several seasonal and patriotic events including Christmas Card, major cultural & patriotic convocations, baccalaureate & commencement services, off campus tours, and a host of student, faculty, ensemble, and guest artist concerts. Students also have ample opportunities to showcase their individual talents on student recitals held throughout each semester.



Student Travel

Students in the music department have traveled the world. Recent trips include performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City, traveling to Washington D.C., journeys to England, Germany, Russia, and other overseas destinations as well as numerous regional and national competitions, conferences, master classes, and festivals.

Music Faculty



Dr. Luke Carlson

Director of Theory, Composition
& Orchestral Activities

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Email: lcarlson@cofo.edu


Dr. Clara Christian

Director of Piano & Piano Area Coordinator

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Email: cchristian@cofo.edu

Dr. John Cornish

Director of Choral Activities

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Email: jcornish@cofo.edu


Dr. Kevin Powers

Director of Bands

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Email: kpowers@cofo.edu



The music department also utilizes highly qualified and competent music professionals from the region to supplement and enhance course offerings in areas such as voice, piano, guitar, woodwinds, percussion, strings and harp. Many of these adjunct professors maintain vibrant private studios in which a student may choose to study his or her chosen instrument.



A variety of music ensembes are available for students participation at College of the Ozarks. All ensembles are open to both music majors and non-music majors. All ensembles perform on and off campus on a regular basis. 



A non-auditioned choral ensemble with a primary objective of performing sacred music for chapel services on Sundays.

Mr. Gregg Busch, director



An auditioned choral ensemble that performs advanced repertoire from all eras of music. The Chorale performs on and off campus, tours to area schools and churches, and travels both domestically and abroad.

Dr. John Cornish, director



A large wind ensemble that performs a variety of repertoire arranged and composed specifically for band. The ensemble performs both on and off campus.

Dr. Kevin Powers, director



A small ensemble dedicated to the craft of bell ringing.

Mrs. Jamey Derks, director



A select group of soloists that perform jazz standards.

Dr. Kevin Powers, director



An auditioned ensemble for a select instrumentation. The ensemble performs traditional big band arrangements and jazz standards both on and off campus.

Dr. Kevin Powers, director



A large instrumental ensemble of wind, brass, percussion, and string players. The Orchestra performs one to two concerts per semester and presents a wide variety of repertoire from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras.

Dr. Luke Carlson, director



A group of instrumentalists that perform at basketball games.

Dr. Kevin Powers, director


The Edith Gittinger Music Center was completed in August 2003 and offers students some of the finest music facilities in the state. It houses acoustically-engineered practice rooms, audio/visually equipped class rooms, a piano lab, electronic music studio, dedicated choral and instrumental rehe