Dr. Clara C. Christian
Dr. Clara Christian is Assistant Professor of Piano and Coordinator of the Piano Program at College of the Ozarks. In addition to teaching applied piano, she teaches music history, piano pedagogy, piano literature, chamber music, and class piano. Before coming to College of the Ozarks, she was on the faculty at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Northwestern University's Music Academy (Evanston, IL).
An active performer, Dr. Christian has given solo recitals throughout North America as well as in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has performed in venues such as the Chicago Cultural Center, the “Jaani Kirik” Recital Series (St. Petersburg, Russia), and the Fourth Presbyterian “Fridays at Noon” Concert Series (Chicago, IL). She has served as rehearsal accompanist for the Chicago Master Singers where she was privileged to work with conductor Alan Heatherington, and she performs frequently as a collaborative artist. She is the pianist for “Fuse Trio,” with saxophonist Matthew Sintchak and clarinetist David Gould, and they will perform at the International SaxOpen Conference in Paris, France in July 2015.
Dr. Christian received her DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), and earned a M.M. from the Peabody Institute (Johns Hopkins University) in Baltimore, Maryland. She was the recipient of the Chicago Area Musician's Club of Women Elaine and Jerome Nerenburg Piano Scholarship, their top prize in piano. She was also a finalist in Northwestern University's Thaivu Isaak Piano competition, and a recipient of the Peabody Institute's Career Development Grant.
An active member of the Music Teacher's National Association, Dr. Christian presented at the 2012 National Conference and the 2013 Illinois State Conference. She is the advisor for the College of the Ozarks MTNA chapter, and coordinates a Fall Piano Festival on campus for area music teachers and their students. Dr. Christian is also a member of the Federation of Music Clubs and the College Music Society.
Dr. John Cornish
Dr. John Cornish is Assistant Professor of Music at College of the Ozarks, where he is the director of the chapel choir and instructor of voice, conducting, church music, and music exploration classes. Dr. Cornish also leads worship each Sunday at the college’s chapel services in Williams Memorial Chapel. Prior to joining the faculty at College of the Ozarks, Dr. Cornish taught at San Jacinto College in Houston, TX, where he directed the college choir and taught a variety of music-related courses. Dr. Cornish has also previously taught at Cameron University in Lawton, OK, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.
From 2008-2012, Dr. Cornish was Associate Conductor of the Southwestern Seminary Master Chorale, Fort Worth’s largest professional choral ensemble. In addition to preparing the chorus for numerous classical and pops concerts with the Fort Worth Symphony, he conducted the chorus in performances of John Rutter’s Magnificat and other choral works, including his own compositions. Dr. Cornish was also featured as a tenor soloist with the Master Chorale in performances of Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Rachmaninoff’s Vespers. A life-long church musician, Dr. Cornish has served on the music staff of five different congregations in Texas and Oklahoma. Dr. Cornish is also an active choral composer, with one published work (Abide with Me, 2012) and several other works pending publication.
Dr. Cornish holds degrees from Cameron University (B. A.) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.M. and D.M.A). John has been mentored by conductors David Thye, John Stanley Ross, Michael Cox, and Kurt Sprenger, and by composers Stephen Johnson and Dan Forrest.
John is married to Rashel, and they are the parents of Claire (6) and Cameron (4).
Dr. Bruce Gerlach
Dr. Bruce Gerlach hails from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and moved to Missouri in 1993, where he began his college teaching career at College of the Ozarks. His undergraduate degree is a B.S. in Music Education from The King's College in Briarcliff, NY, studying voice and organ. He went on to his Master's degree with an M.M. in Music Composition from West Chester University in PA. He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, under Dr. John Dickson and past ACDA president Dr. Milburn Price.
Dr. Gerlach has been a church musician all of his life specializing in choral conducting and organ. He served for six years as Chair of the Division of Performing and Professional Arts at College of the Ozarks. He stays busy judging contests and leading clinics and workshops in Missouri and Pennsylvania. He has also composed, produced, and recorded numerous CDs. His most recent is A Tall Pines Christmas released in December of 2010. You can hear some of his compositions and arrangements online at http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/brucegerlach. He has been married for over 30 years to Margie who is a Junior High Spanish teacher. They live in the Branson area and have two grown children, each of whom performs music professionally.
Dr. Kevin Powers
Dr. Kevin Powers is an Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at College of the Ozarks. He oversees all aspects of the instrumental program which include conducting the Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, and Pep Band. Music ensembles under Dr. Powers’ direction have given numerous concerts both on and off campus, including a recent performance trip to Washington, D.C. Before coming to C of O, Dr. Powers taught fifth through eighth grade junior high band and general music in Harrisonville, MO. He was previously the orchestra director at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, and before this Director of Bands at Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music from Emporia State University and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Dr. Powers lives in the Branson area with his wife, Traci.