Category: Music


Students Recognized for Leadership, Academic Excellence and More

May 9, 2023 | Art Campus News Media Music

East Central College faculty, staff and administrators recognized many students for their outstanding accomplishments in the past academic year, both inside and outside the classroom.

The ECC Campus Life and Leadership’s annual Student Achievement Night on May 4 was an opportunity to recognize students for leadership, academic excellence, club engagement, success in the classroom and as student employees.

Academic Excellence Award

The Vice President’s Academic Excellence Award was presented to Caroline Miller. This prestigious award recognizes one student each year who demonstrates exemplary academic excellence during their time at ECC.

The recipient must maintain a minimum of a 3.4 GPA, and they must be nominated by a department chair. All nominations were submitted to the College vice presidents for consideration.

Outstanding Student Leader

Maggie Sikes was chosen as the 2023 Outstanding Student Leader. She was nominated by Lisa Hanneken, Business/Accounting faculty member and the club advisor for the Christian Club.

The award recognizes one student for exceptional leadership skills and abilities. Sikes also was chosen as the recipient of the Collaborative Excellence Award, nominated again by Hanneken. This award highlights a student leader who may not always want to be at the forefront as a leader, but whose collaborative spirit proves essential to the success of the club and the maintenance of an encouraging environment.

Club Officer Awards

The awards for club officers are given to student leaders for their contributions as stewards of student engagement on campus. Students are nominated by club advisors.
The following students were recognized for their service as club officers:

  • Brooklyn Hyatt, Student Government Association President
    • Theo Krummel, Student Government Association Vice President
    •             Megan Pritchard, Student Government Association Public Relations Officer
    •             Taylor Sikes, Student Government Association Recording Secretary
    •             Augast Haddad, Outstanding Student Government Association Member
    •             Parker Williamson, Art Club President
    •             Abby Stanfield, Art Club Vice President
    •             Lacy Buchanan, Art Club Secretary
    •             David Braun, Art Club Treasurer
    •             Carolyn Horst, Art Club Social Media Representative
    •             Maggie Sikes, Christian Club President
    •             Carly Hamlyn, Phi Theta Kappa President, Chi Delta Chapter
    •             Victoria Plocinski, Phi Theta Kappa Executive Vice President, Chi Delta Chapter
    •             Kaitlynn Myers, Phi Theta Kappa Vice President for Public Relations, Chi Delta Chapter
    •             Annika Brunner, Phi Theta Kappa Vice President for Recording & Finance, Chi Delta Chapter
    •             Riley Klekamp, Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished Chapter Member, Chi Delta Chapter
    •             Annika Brunner, Rotaract Club Vice President
    •             Hunter Sperry, Rotaract Club Secretary & Treasurer

Academic Distinction

Awards of academic distinction are given by faculty members for students exhibiting excellence in academic.

Though these students will likely have a high mark in the gradebook, a student chosen for this award should also demonstrate an understanding of the course material, be an active participant in class, and contribute to the larger culture of succeeding and high-level thinking in the classroom.
The following students were given awards for academic distinction:

  • Nathaniel Wissman, Nursing
  • Joelle Phillips, Welding
  • Jacob Feth, Welding
  • William Herbst, Business
  • Katarina North, Accounting
  • Terry Ahrenhoersterbaeumer, Accounting & Business
  • Michael Buhr, Business
  • Sean Merriman, Accounting
  • Shane Kearbey, Business
  • Stephen Casey, Music
  • Joshua Liebhart, Music
  • Madalyn Montgomery, Music
  • Owen Borcherding, Business
  • Ian Meyer, Business
  • Olivia Vandegriffe, Business
  • David Kelch, Accounting
  • Grace Hoerstkamp, Business
  • Adam Creasy, Media Studies
  • Riley Klekamp, Humanities
  • Caroline Miller, Humanities
  • Emma Thomas, Humanities
  • Max Johnson, Humanities
  • Adam Vancil, Humanities
  • Zack Hill, English Composition
  • Katarina North, The Doyle Stricklin Memorial Award for Outstanding Performance in Accounting
  • Brianna Gildehaus, Outstanding Performance in Business Award

Spirited Falcon Award

The ECC Spirited Falcon awards are given to students in recognition of perseverance, a consistent willingness to learn and improve, and measured improvement.

This award is designed to honor students who, despite any obstacles they may face during their semester, demonstrated a continued commitment to their education and success as a student.
The following students were given Spirited Falcon awards:

  • MacKenzie Rolf, Nursing
  • Rose Adams, Reading Composition
  • Sean Merriman, Accounting
  • Kevin Corley, Humanities
  • Crystal Smith, Humanities
  • Julia Sampson, Business

Student Employees

The student employees at ECC go above and beyond in their efforts to balance coursework and their student work opportunities.
The following students were recognized as Outstanding Student Workers:

  • Hugh Steinman, The Learning Center
  • Kyley Henry, The Learning Center
  • Chase Schroeder, The Learning Center
  • Ian Meyer, The Learning Center
  • Julio Gonzalez, The Learning Center
  • Miguel Gonzalez, The Learning Center

NAE Honor Society

Adult Education and Literacy students who were recently inducted into the were honored at Student Achievement Night.
The following students were inducted into NAEHS:

  • Arellana Zepeda
  • Ashley Watson Carrell
  • Athena Burke
  • Christina McKean
  • Gorette Nyirasebura
  • Griselda Gonzales
  • Heather Mertell
  • Jagdish Prasad
  • Lauren Hoey
  • Mikela Lackey
  • Mirwais Amiri
  • Mukesh Lnu
  • Naresh Jatav
  • Rajpoot Lnu
  • Rita Mauer
  • Shelly McMullin


‘Late Bloomer’ Uncovered his Passion at ECC — Music Education

November 3, 2022 | Campus News ECC Rolla Inspiring Excellence Music

Nathaniel Sater has always had a passion for music. But it wasn’t until he was in his 40s when he realized he could have a career doing what he loves the most.

And like so many in the community, East Central College was where he turned to pursue his dream.

Sater, of Pacific, graduated from ECC with an Associate Degree in Music In 2015. He already earned a business degree from Fontbonne University in 2007, but music is in his bones and that drove him toward a second go at college.

“I am a bit of a late bloomer. I had piano lessons as a child, and bought a guitar when I was 28, but I didn’t start what I considered seriously studying music until the fall of 2013,” he said.

Sater enrolled at ECC that year after meeting with Dr. Jennifer Judd, music program coordinator, who he credits with recognizing is talent, encouraging him, and pointing him in the right direction.

“Dr. Judd asked me some questions and I think that she saw I had realistic goals of just being a better musician than I was the day before, and that I was willing to spend the time in the practice room in order to get better,” he said.

“I was eager to learn and be taught. It was like walking through a gate. I was treated like a serious musician at the very beginning of my training and from day one — it was exciting.”

Once he started in the program, Sater learned from Dr. Judd, Dr. Timothy Sexton, choral director; Aaron Bounds, band director; as well as music adjunct Bill Hopkins and former music instructor Sue Chu.

“Nate was an energetic and enthusiastic music student,” Judd said. “He was always willing to work on new concepts and was great at working with other students in the Jazz Combo groups.”

Bounds added that Sater was eager to learn and share what he already knew about music.

“He was a joy to work with, adding much passion and life experience to many of our discussions,” he said.

Sater noted that ECC fits his desire to and grow as a musician perfectly.

“Dr. Judd knew exactly where to place me for (music) theory, instrumental study, history and ensemble study,” he said. “She is amazing.”

First Time Around

In 2008, a year after graduating from Fontbonne, tragedy struck Sater and his family. His mother died from pancreatic cancer after a year-long battle.

“After that I had no direction. I had a good job, but it wasn’t filling my soul,” he remembered. “I had a talk with myself, recalled doing well in classes that weren’t fulfilling for me, like business management, and I guess my focus shifted back to realizing the power of hard work.

“I decided that I should have studied music starting back in my youth,” Sater continued. “I just didn’t believe that I could be good as a child. It is a huge part of my personal identity to be a musician and an instructor.”

It was those thoughts that guided Sater back to higher education, and to ECC’s music department.

Post ECC Career, Education

Sater took a job teaching for an after-school program in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area after graduating from ECC. He taught music classes and lessons in both English and Spanish.

“I taught the children mostly guitar and piano, but some drums and violins,” he said. “This job made me realize that I was good at talking about and teaching music, so it led back to Missouri where I enrolled at Central Methodist University.”

Sater became the first recipient of the Rita Gulstad Transfer Scholarship at CMU, which is specifically designed for community college students who want to complete a four-year degree at the university.

He graduated from CMU in 2019 with a degree in Music Education. His next stop was Lindenwood University where he earned Master of Music Education.

Now, in his mid-40s, Master’s degree in hand and still carrying the influence of ECC faculty, Sater said he is looking a career as a music teacher.

“I am looking for a job like what Aaron Bounds does at ECC,” he said. “He gets to teach a course on the history of jazz that I have heard is very interesting. I envision myself teaching Theory I and II, History of Jazz, giving lessons on the guitar and possibly other instruments, conducting the jazz band, and other ensembles such as a guitar quartet.”

Sater noted that his experience in ECC’s Music Department has been such a positive influence that he also wants to work at a community college.


Sater has been performing music on stage since 1999. He has played a variety of music in nine states.

“I perform with blues bands, solo gigs, jazz bands, big bands, rock bands, reggae bands, Grateful Dead tribute bands, party and dance bands, and Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute bands,” he said. “I mostly play piano/organ but do also do guitar and harmonica.”

About ECC Music

ECC is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

The college offers Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) in Music and Associate of Arts (AA) in Music. To learn more about the program, visit

For more information, people may contact Dr. Judd at or 636-584-6696, Dr. Sexton at or 636-584-6698; or Bounds at or 636-584-6697.


Students Recognized at Achievement Night in Union

May 20, 2022 | Art Campus News Media Music

East Central College students were recognized last week for leadership, academic excellence, club engagement and success in the classroom.

ECC’s Campus Life and Leadership annually holds a Student Achievement Night awards ceremony to celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of students.

Students are nominated for awards by faculty who recognize academic excellence, perseverance, and contributions to a culture of student success both in and out of the classroom.

Club Officer Awards

These awards are given to student leaders to recognize their contributions as stewards of student engagement on campus. Students are nominated by their club advisors.

The following students were honored for their service as club officers:

  • Brooklyn Hyatt, Student Government Association, President
  • Alexis Johnson, Student Government Association, Vice President
  • Sage Sparkman, Student Government Association, Public Relations Officer
  • Theo Krummel, Student Government Association, Chief Recording Officer
  • Dora Bell, Past Student Government Association, Public Relations Officer
  • Kylee Vawter, Art Club, Secretary
  • Abby Stanfield, Art Club, Treasurer
  • Sarah Mier, Phi Theta Kappa, President
  • Donna Hall, Phi Theta Kappa, Vice President
  • Caroline Dunne, Phi Theta Kappa, Vice President of Recording and Finance
  • Dora Bell, Phi Theta Kappa, Vice President of Public Relations
  • Adrian Smith, Rotaract, President
  • Samantha Peterson, Rotaract, President and Vice President
  • Brianna Sullivan, Psychology Club, President
  • Emma Weston, Psychology Club, Vice President
  • Alik Callahan, Student-Missouri State Teachers Association
  • Jennifer Shaw, Student-Missouri State Teachers Association.

Academic Awards

Awards of academic distinction are given to students by faculty members in recognition of academic excellence.

Though these students will likely have a high mark in the gradebook, a student chosen for this award should also demonstrate an understanding of the course material, be an active participant in class, and contribute to the larger culture of succeeding and high-level thinking in the classroom.

The following Union students were given awards for academic distinction:

  • Ashley Foster-Jungfermann, Health Information Management
  • Julie Krull, The Learning Center/Mathematics
  • Sarah Harris, The Learning Center/Chemistry
  • Joe McInnes, The Learning Center/English
  • Malorie Smiley, Nursing
  • Ruby Mitchell, English
  • Vickie Gumpenberger, Business
  • Candice Whistler, Doyle Stricklin Memorial Award for Outstanding Performance in Accounting
  • Samantha Loddeke, Reading Comprehension
  • Emily Moody, Music
  • Zach Southard, Music
  • Manny McQueen, Art & Design
  • Abby Stanfield, Art & Design
  • Miriam Bondor, Art & Design
  • Ash Dodson, Art & Design
  • Chloe Eades, Art & Design
  • Emma Brown, Art & Design
  • Emily Knoppe, Art & Design
  • Donna Hall, Technical Writing
  • Kar Meyer, English & Humanities
  • Emma Thomas, English
  • Riley Klekamp, English
  • Collin Immekus, Humanities & Media Studies
  • Dora Bell, Media Studies
  • Tyler Melvin, English & Media Studies
  • Emrhys Bradley, English & Humanities
  • Taylor Duvel, Industrial Engineering Technology
  • Emrhys Bradley, Philosophy Department Student of the Year

Spirited Falcon Awards

Spirited Falcon awards are given to students by faculty members in recognition of perseverance, a consistent willingness to learn and improve, and measured improvement as deemed appropriate by the faculty nominator.

This award is designed to honor students who, despite any obstacles they may face during their semester, demonstrated a continued commitment to their education and success as a student. The following Union students were given Spirited Falcon awards:

  • Pierocarlo Previte, The Learning Center/Learning & Athletics
  • Julio Gonzalez, The Learning Center/Tutoring & Athletics
  • Miguel Gonzalez, The Learning Center/Tutoring & Athletics
  • Charlena Borges, Nursing
  • Lyndsey Graczyk, Nursing
  • Taylor Kelley, Reading Comprehension
  • Marin Muster, Art & Design
  • Sara Carter, Art & Design
  • Gabby Girardier, Art & Design
  • Kylee Barton, English
  • Justin Todd, Philosophy
  • Claire Smith, Philosophy
  • Theo Krummel, Philosophy
  • Abby Stephens, Philosophy
  • Sarah Sartorius, Paramedic Technology


ECC, Department Receive 10-Year Music Accreditation

January 11, 2022 | Campus News Music

East Central College and its Music Department received full accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), a rare distinction among community colleges.

The NASM Commission on Community Colleges approved the ECC’s 10-year accreditation.

NASM is an organization of approximately 637 accredited institutional members, including colleges and universities. The association establishes standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees in music-related disciplines. The standards ensure the level of rigor expected of students and articulating requirements of the curriculum.

ECC has been accredited by NASM since 2014. The Music Department and the college underwent a comprehensive review in 2020-21 for a reaccreditation process, which included a team of evaluators coming to the college for an on-site visit in March 2021.

Dr. Jennifer Judd, the music department program coordinator, noted that the purpose of pursuing NASM accreditation is to provide an optimal learning environment for music students and to develop a nationally recognized program.

“We were able to demonstrate the administration and community’s strong support of our program and the fine work by our faculty, staff, and students during the review process,” she said.

According to Dr. Robyn Walter, ECC vice president of academic affairs, there are very few community colleges that hold a NASM distinction.

“I am so proud of our music department faculty and staff, our students, and our patrons who support them,” she said.  “NASM accreditation is a remarkable achievement. Full accreditation with a 10-year approval is an amazing achievement. Such a mark of quality!”

NASM is recognized by the United States Department of Education as the agency responsible for the accreditation of all music curricula and is designated as one of the U.S. Secretary-approved accrediting bodies for federal funding, like the Higher Learning Commission.


College Gifted Steinway Grand Piano

November 23, 2021 | Campus News Music Performing Arts

It was the generosity of an area woman and her connection to East Central College Foundation Patrons of the Arts members that facilitated a historic donation to the ECC Music Department.

The department recently received a 7-foot Steinway and Sons Model B grand piano, which matches a performance piano currently used by students and faculty at ECC.

According to Dr. Jennifer Judd, music professor and program coordinator, this is the first time the college has had two performance pianos the same size, which will greatly benefit instruction and performances.

The Steinway piano was donated by Joan Kerr, of Wildwood, who had inherited the instrument from musician Preston Bowling.

Since she does not play, Kerr felt it would be appropriate to donate it to a worthwhile recipient to honor Bowling.  Her neighbors, who have been ECC Patrons of the Arts members for many years, heard about the instrument and asked Kerr d if she would be willing to donate the Steinway piano to the ECC Music Department.

“It is good to pass the legacy of a wonderful instrument from musician to musician,” Judd said. “We all appreciate her generosity.”

Judd added that the Patrons who helped facilitate the gift to ECC asked to remain anonymous. She added that Patrons of the Arts have been incredibly generous to the college’s music department.

“I would like to thank our Foundation and Patrons of the Arts for their tireless support,” she said.

“All of the other grand pianos in the music department were purchased by contributions from our patrons. ECC patrons play a vital role in the success of our program.”

Students, Teachers Benefit

ECC student Zacharias Sourthard, of Rolla, said he sees great benefits from having matching performance pianos on campus.

“This is a great benefit to the department, and I have found that the piano sounds much richer than others I have practiced on,” he said.

Sourthard added that the opportunity to play on the Steinway piano is a great experience for his future endeavors.  He is slated to graduate in the Spring 2022 with an Associates Degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in piano.

Sourthard has been accepted to the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, where he will study piano pedagogy — the study of teaching piano.

He said he is still exploring his options to teach after he graduates with a bachelor’s degree, and he ultimately would like to teach piano at a university.

“I aspire to teach music theory and performance,” Sourthard said.

He already is gaining experience in teaching piano at Watson School of Music in St. James where he teaches piano lessons.

“It is giving me the opportunity to start teaching instead of learning second hand,” Sourthard said.

In addition, he also will be the accompanist to solo and ensembles this spring during the Missouri High School Sports and Activities recitals.


Dr. Blackmore Receives Outstanding Adjunct Award

November 19, 2021 | Campus News Music Performing Arts

East Central College music adjunct instructor Dr. Lisa Blackmore recently received a Missouri Community College Association Adjunct Faculty Award.

Blackmore teaches Music History, World Music and trumpet lessons at ECC. She also teaches at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri Baptist University, and plays with the St. Louis Wind Symphony, Compton Heights Band, and many other ensembles.

She is highly respected within higher education institutions and the region’s music community, according to those who nominated her for the MCCA award.

“Dr. Blackmore is a talented artist and a dedicated teacher. She epitomizes excellence as a university professor,” the nomination reads. “She always goes above and beyond to give herself to her students, her colleagues, and the community.

“She fosters positivity, inspiration, and professionalism among those she works with. She serves the college and her students with uncompromising integrity. Her dedication and commitment to her students is exemplary.”

Blackmore regularly attends ECC’s Music Department evening concerts to support her colleagues and her students.

One example of her commitment to educating the next generation is her involvement in the ECC Instrument Petting Zoo Project, which features hands-on experiences with real instruments. Through the project, Blackmore performs and demonstrates instruments for area school children.

“Her technique of introducing the horn instruments by blowing through a seashell demonstrates her ability to immediately engage her student’s attention and make learning music fun.”

A former student testified to the impact Blackmore had on her higher education and life when she said:

“Dr. Blackmore pushed me to be the best I could be, holding me to a high standard of scholarship at the community college I attended, while at the same time always being there with any help she could give.

“She saw me as an individual and encouraged me not to just settle for being average. That prepared me well for my transfer to UMSL (University of Missouri-St. Louis) later,” the student added. “Even now, in a career role as a music school director, I value her professional input, and am privileged to call her both former professor and friend.”​

The MCCA conference was held Nov. 10-12 in Branson.


Music Student Teaches Bass Guitar and Performs on Stage

October 11, 2021 | Campus News Music

Cole Parsons is working toward an Associate in Fine Arts Degree while studying music at East Central College, his melodies also are heard outside the classroom.

Parsons, of Beaufort, is a 2018 Union High School graduate who plays bass guitar in three bands. The music he performs ranges from older blues and country, to diverse rock n’ roll from the 60s to the 80s, to contemporary rock and newer “poppy” music.

Parsons has been playing bass for 11 years. He was influenced to play by his father, who also is a bass player and, like Cole, has performed on stages in the area.

In addition to the bass, the younger Parsons plays piano, guitar, harmonica and periodically a few other instruments.

Teaching Bass

When he isn’t performing with a band at local wineries, or in the music rooms of ECC, Parsons is teaching bass at River City Music in Washington.

“Teaching has been a wonderful experience, I have really enjoyed seeing my students make progress, especially when their faces light up with pride as we overcome a particularly difficult passage of music together,” he said.

Parsons said he noticed an opening at River City Music last spring and mentioned his interest in the position to Dr. Jennifer Judd, who encouraged him to pursue the job.

“Dr. Judd said to go for it, so I interviewed, and it went really well,” he said. “I started with just one student and now I am up to six — they are all individual, personal lessons.”

Parsons added that he doesn’t have a set curriculum for his students, but encourages their individuality.

“I prefer to teach them the type of music they want to learn,” he said. “I ask what kind of music they like, or what bands they are into, and then I find songs that support the lessons.

“It is a lot easier to teach songs they want to learn because it encourages them to practice,” Parsons added.

Visit the River City Music YouTube page to see a video of Parsons talk about playing and teaching bass guitar here.

The ages of Parsons’ students vary just as much as the type of music they like to play. Right now, Parsons is teaching students with ages from 12 to 75.

In addition to his already jam-packed schedule — at River City Music, the ECC Music rooms and performing on stage — Parsons also writes music, including songs for himself and friends, and advertising jingles that he sells to earn royalties.

After Graduation

Parsons noted that he is not certain what he will do after he graduates from ECC in the Spring of 2022.

He may attend Webster University, but there are not clear plans to continue to a four-year school.

“I’m on course to graduate next semester and if I don’t go to Webster, I’d continue to grow my connections to the local music community and online, while I continue teaching and gigging,” he added.

Parsons noted that, while he enjoys performing, teaching bass has really grown on him.

“I have always wanted to be a player and now that I am teaching too, I enjoy being in between the two,” he said. “I really enjoy teaching, and that came out of nowhere.”

To learn more about the ECC music program, visit or email Dr. Jennifer Judd at

To learn more about classes at River City Music, or to sign up for bass lessons with Parsons, people may visit or call 636-239-9674.


VIDEO – East Central College Choir Performs at Immanuel Lutheran Church

December 5, 2017 | Campus News Inspiring Excellence Music

Happy Holidays from East Central College! Enjoy a beautiful song from the ECC Choir!