Coe College band rehearsal

Successful Alumni


Shayla James graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and Bachelor of Arts in political science. She is from Kansas City, but now resides in San Diego, where she attends UC-San Diego as a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in music. She is in the integrative studies program which promotes engagement with contemporary music activity and integrates multiple methodologies, experiences and resources. Her research interests are in critical studies and ethnomusicology. She is also a teaching assistant for world music and popular music undergraduate courses.

"The encouragement, support and knowledge I received at Coe from teachers, staff and peers aided me in becoming a highly motivated and conscientious student. Through teaching and tutoring opportunities at Coe, I gained the experience and confidence to be a successful teaching assistant in my first year of graduate school. Furthermore, I credit Coe's curriculum for giving me the ability to work independently, write papers and discuss concepts with other peers, as these are assets in graduate study."


Renee Gapinski Schultz graduated Coe in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music degree in music education. She is currently the band director at River Ridge C.U.S.D. in Hanover, Ill., where she teaches 5th grade through 12th grade band. During the summer of 2010, Renee traveled to Europe as adviser for the Iowa Ambassadors of Music. She is completing a Master of Music degree at the University of Northern Iowa. Renee is a member of a community band and also teaches piano lessons.

"The professors in the Music Department at Coe became my second family.  I was challenged and supported every time I walked inside Marquis Hall.  I had so many opportunities to grow, both in music and outside of music, that I wouldn't have gotten if I had gone to a bigger school.  I left Coe feeling prepared and excited to start my career."


Matt Wheeler graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music degree, double majoring in piano performance and music composition. He is currently earning his master of music in instrumental conducting at University of Minnesota - Duluth, where he is a teaching assistant with the school of music.

“Coe provided excellent training and preparation for my further studies - in everything from theory and performance to academic research and writing - and gave me the freedom to apply those skills in practical experiences in a way that no large university could. I remember conducting one of my compositions, ‘Carpe Diem!’ (inspired by the Coe College Class of 2001 motto) with the concert choir at baccalaureate. It was thrilling!”


Nathan Barford graduated Coe College in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in music (violin performance). He went on to Bowling Green State University, Ohio, where he earned a master's in instrumental performance in 2010. Nathan is currently in his first year of medical school at A.T. Still University in Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri.

“In four years at Coe, I completed my B. A. in music, gave three violin recitals, earned all the prerequisites for medical school, worked at the Writing Center, and studied abroad in London for a semester.  Coe’s liberal arts approach to learning has prepared me both for my musical studies and for medical school.”


Luke Johnson graduated from Coe in 2007 with a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal music education. He went on to VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, where he earned a master's in music education in 2012. He is currently the Director of Vocal Music at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He also directs the Southwest Iowa Women's Chorus. Luke has performed with Resonance Vocal Arts Ensemble, Omaha Symphony, St. Cecilia Cathedral Choir and various community theaters in western Iowa.

“Though my degree was more from a conservatory-style program at Coe, I still appreciated the liberal arts education I received with my involvement in organizations and professors.  It has strengthened my ability to help the students in Atlantic to be more aware of the world outside of Cass County.”

  • Matthew Adamson directs instrumental music at Eisenhower 9th Grade School and is an associate director at Eisenhower Senior High School in Houston, Texas.
  • Wes Anderson is the high school band director at Jefferson High School (Jefferson, IA).
  • Annette Yurecko Balkenede is the Financial Coordinator of the Audience Services Department for the Minnesota Orchestra.
  • Angelyn Fullarton Benson has conducted and played shows in several east coast venues including New York City, as well as for the National Tour of Barry Manilow's Copacabana and the Hawaiian Tour of A Chorus Line. As a composer/lyricist, her original score of A Christmas Carol received multiple full production performances in the Washington, D.C. area. Angie has also served as a voice coach and musical director/pianist on the faculty of Karen Prunzik's Broadway Dance Studio in Pittsburgh.
  • Bob Benson is the technical coordinator for the Coe College department of music and supervisor of Sinclair Auditorium. He also teaches music business, music production, and electronic music for Coe, and oversees Coe's annual Music/Business lecture series.
  • Melissa Darnold is the middle school choir director at Bettendorf Schools (Bettendorf, IA).
  • Beth Sheldon Davies is the music curriculum facilitator for the Cedar Rapids Community School District and a band director at Franklin Middle School.
  • Brianna DeJong is the high school choir director at Xavier High School (Cedar Rapids, IA).
  • Twice voted best singer of the season in the Neues Rhineland critics poll, tenor Jeffrey Dowd continues his singing career in Europe.
  • Andrew Drinkall is Director of Choral Activities at Troy Buchanan High School in Troy, Missouri.
  • Chelsea Dunn teaches at Wilson Middle School where she is head of the orchestra program. She also serves as administrative assistant for the Jazz Summit and Festival of Bands.
  • Jackie Edwards is a music therapist at Bridge View School in St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Cindy Egger teaches guitar at Rockhurst University in Kansas City and is the music director/guitarist at St. Andrew Christian Church in Olathe, Kansas. Her CD, Finger Pickin' Good!, is available through her website A bit of her life is captured in Kathryn Sommer's A Power of Her Own, portraits of 60 notable women in the Kansas City area.
  • Michael Engberg is an adjunct professor of music at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado. He teaches classes in Music Theory, Music Business and Law, and Audio Production. In addition, he teaches classical, electric, pop-rock, and jazz guitar.
  • Hailey Gehrls is an elementary music teacher at Linn-Mar Community Schools (Marion, IA).
  • Laura Arbore Granner is the Morning Drive Time announcer for Kansas City's Country Station 106.5--The Wolf. She also performs with the Dickens Carolers and the Kansas CityLyric Opera chorus.
  • Dr. Holly Hart is a public radio classical music broadcaster at University of Iowa Broadcasting. She maintains her keyboard skills by accompanying opera workshops and musical theater productions.
  • Jodi Jetson is the Outreach Coordinator for McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • In addition to maintaining a large successful private voice studio in Las Vegas, Nevada, Heather Knowles Korn sings with the Las Vegas Philharmonic Chorus.
  • Laura Kutscher-Dankler is the choral music editor at GIA Publications, Inc. in Chicago. She maintains an active career as a piano soloist, accompanist, and composer. Laura also conducts the choir at St. James Catholic Church in Arlington Heights.
  • US Navy Musician First Class Jennifer Oracki Lange is a member of the Navy Band of the Great Lakes based in Chicago, Illinois. She was recently named Navy Band Musician of the Year for the entire Southwestern United States.
  • Katheryne High Levin is Director of Music at Brentwood Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, California. She also sings with the professional recording and performance group String of Pearls.
  • Brooke Lyons is a member of the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps of the United States Army, based in Ft. Meyer, Virginia.
  • Lisa Moore Marner maintains a private clarinet studio and is a member of Cedar Rapids Symphony/Orchestra Iowa.
  • Satoshi Matsumoto is a Managing Director Quality Control Division at Pioneer Corporation in Tokyo, Japan. This division includes the Environmental Preservation Group.
  • Jordan McLaughlin is the high school choir director at Bettendorf High School (Bettendorf, (IA).
  • As a student, David Meindl won Mu Phi Epsilon's International Original Composition Award for his composition, Winter. He continues to use his composer skills of creativity and analysis while running a small search engine marketing company in Barcelona, Spain. In addition to specializing in promoting websites that target multiple languages, he helps companies obtain top rankings in the search engines as well as develop their online advertising and publicity campaigns.
  • Soprano Miriam Browning-Nance is a founding partner of Project Opera of Manhattan, a program designed to give performance opportunities to all types of young artists involved in operatic production. During POM's 2006 and 2007 seasons, she performed the roles of Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, while also serving as the Managing Director of the company. You can learn more about Miriam and Project Opera of Manhattan at
  • Tricia Ostermann is an Assistant Music Buyer at the Barnes & Noble corporate headquarters in New York City, where she provides service for B&N music departments nationwide, previews new music and films, helps handpick new artists to spotlight, and serves as the resident classical and musical guru. She is also pursuing a career in theater and film and has garnered rave reviews for her self-produced and directed cabaret shows around the NYC area.
  • Ramona Pansegrau is the Music Director and Principal Conductor for the Kansas City Ballet. Each summer she serves as Music Director for the Ballet School at Jacob's Pillow, and every four years she is the Music Director for the International Ballet Competitions held in Jackson, Mississippi. In June 2008 she conducted at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; July and August she performed in Ascoli, Italy.
  • Aaron Parry was the executive producer of Barnyard: The Original Party Animals at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California. He is now President/CEO of Main Street Pictures, Inc., as well as Producer for Paramount Pictures. Learn more about Aaron at
  • Kristin Patch is the Artistic Coordinator for the Omaha Symphony Orchestra.
  • David Rosales is the middle school orchestra director at Pleasant Valley Junior High (Bettendorf, IA).
  • Malcolm Ruhl's music direction credits include Oklahoma! at ATC (earning him a Jeff nomination) and Woody Guthrie's American Song (a Jeff award) at Northlight Theatre. He also received Jeff nominations for Blues in the Night at Northlight and Pump Boys and Dinettes at the Forum Theatre. Malcolm appeared as Jackson in the Broadway production of Pump Boys and Dinettes and as Jackson and Musical Director for the record-breaking run at Chicago's Apollo Theatre. Composer credits include Holiday Memories at Northlight (and more than 30 subsequent productions nationwide) and Cicada Dance, for which he received Kennedy Center/ACTF awards for original play, music and lyrics. He has performed with Big Joe Turner, Harry Chapin, The Osmond Brothers, Vassar Clements, and Jason Robert Brown. Malcolm teaches voice and composition, and writes choral and band arrangements for several schools in the Chicago area.
  • Kathy Rundus, Coordinator of Vocal Studies at Fullerton College in Fullerton, California, teaches voice and conducts the Fullerton College Chamber Singers. She also maintains a voice studio at California State University, Long Beach, and is a member of the John Alexander Singers, a 24 voice professional choral ensemble. Kathy serves as an adjudicator, clinician, and workshop leader in high schools, churches, and universities. Her book Cantabile, combining voice science and pedagogy with practical applications for both individual and choral voice training, will be available from Pavane Publishing.
  • Julie Gummert Scrivener is the production editor and administrator in charge of graduate awards at Western Michigan University. She is also the music director at Gull Lake United Methodist Church where she has been on the music staff for more than 20 years.
  • Katie Rowe Senn is Director of Orchestras at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • Thad Sentman teaches orchestra in the Cedar Rapids Community School District.Works by composer Scott Shoemaker have been performed throughout the US as well as in Europe and Africa. His sonata for saxophone and piano, Sanctuary!, was recently included on a CD recording featured by the Society of Composers, Inc. Several of his works have been published by Cimarron Music of Salem, Connecticut. Currently, he is the Adjunct Professor of Music Therapy at The University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa.
  • Nicolle Stern teaches orchestra in the Cedar Rapids Community School District.
  • Sara Sweeney teaches elementary music grades 1-6 at C.E. Jacobson Elementary School in Rush City, Minnesota.
  • Mark Taylor teaches grades five and six band in Centerville, IA. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Band Association representing elementary, middle school, and junior high directors.
  • Jeff Weiler, curator of the organ for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, serves as consultant and project manager for numerous church, university, and symphony orchestra organ projects. He recently edited The Wurlitzer Pipe Organ: An Illustrated History, published by the American Theatre Organ Society. In addition, Jeff presents organ-related lectures; his articles have appeared in many major newspapers, and his commentaries have been broadcast on National Public Radio. As an organist, he has composed and performed more than 30 silent film scores, including performing on the Mighty Wurlitzer for the grand reopening of the Chicago Theatre. Learn more about Jeff at
  • Ben Work received his Master of Music degree at the University of Northern Iowa and is now a K-12 music teacher for the West Harrison Community School District. In 2004, while teaching at St. Joseph's School in Marion, Iowa, Ben received one of five Outstanding Teaching Awards given by the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation.
  • Kelly Workman is a high school band director at Muscatine High School, Muscatine, Iowa. She earned a Master of Music degree at Northwestern University.
  • Emily Wall is a high school choral director at Davenport Central High School, Davenport, Iowa.