Photo by Abigail Wade // Columbia College

Columbia College’s Visual Arts & Music Department, housed under the School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, recently named Emily Edgington Andrews and Bryan Stenson as the new leaders of the Music program. It offers both academic programs and vocal ensemble opportunities for its students to showcase their talents.

Edgington arrives at CC following a seven-year stint with the University of Missouri’s School of Music. She held multiple roles within the department, including serving as an adjunct choral faculty member and director of community music outreach.

Overall, Edgington possesses more than 20 years of experience as a faculty member, artistic director and conductor for a non-profit arts organization, and director of music programs across high school and collegiate departments. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education from the University of Missouri. Edgington holds master’s degrees choral conducting from Truman State University and the University of Missouri, as well as a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in voice from Truman State University.

Stenson came to mid-Missouri from Plano, Texas, where he served as the associate director of music for children and youth at Christ United Methodist Church. Prior to that, he spent six years as a tenor, educational outreach co-chair and enlisted conductor and arranger for the U.S. Army Band – “Pershing’s Own” – in Fort Myer, Virginia.

In total, Stenson has nearly a decade of experience of guest and instrumental conducting, as well as private voice instruction. He possesses a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from George Mason University, as well as a master’s degree from Butler University and bachelor’s degree from Pacific Lutheran University.

The duo recently sat down with CC Connected to share more about their first months as part of the Columbia College team.

CC Connected: What attracted you most to Columbia College?

Bryan Stenson: I love the small-school environment. Having gone to a smaller-sized liberal arts college for my undergraduate studies, I felt called to teach in a student-centered environment that focuses on providing its students with a wide breadth of creative learning experiences. In terms of music-making, I feel like there are unique performance opportunities that we can provide for students that they might not be able to get in larger institutions. CC also stood out to me in its affiliation with military and international students. Having grown up overseas in Japan and then later serving in the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” in Washington, D.C., I highly value the college’s commitment to serving all types of students from around the globe.

Photo by Abigail Wade // Columbia College

CCC: About two months into your new role at the college, what has stood out to you as a whole and specifically within the music program?

BS: The amount of pride the community has for Columbia College has stood out. The students really embrace the school as a home for them, which shows in the strong camaraderie they have with one another. In the music program, it has been fun to see the upperclassmen welcome the new students into the Jane Froman Singers. For some of our singers, it’s their first time ever being in a choir, but they are all so integral to the group dynamic and sound due in part to the openness and acceptance of them by the returning members of the choir. The legacy of Jane Froman permeates through a lot of what we do. The choir recently performed at the President’s Society Dinner, and I was fortunate enough to be able to speak with alumni of the group. One of them noted to me, “Once a Froman, always a Froman,” and that stuck with me. Clearly the choir was a deep part of their collegiate career, and we’re honored to continue that tradition with our current students.

CCC: What are you excited about most when looking ahead to the future of the CC music program?

Emily Edgington: I’m most excited about the potential for growth here. The sky’s the limit. Being in a smaller college that is open to innovation and collaboration, the possibilities are truly endless. I love that next semester we are going to start a new treble ensemble (Froman Treble Choir) for sopranos and altos, as well as launch our first-ever gospel choir artist-in-residency in late January/early February that will be open to all students, faculty and staff.

Photo by Abigail Wade // Columbia College

CCC: What/when are some events and opportunities for the CC community to watch and listen to the talented music students during the remainder of the 2022-23 school year?

EE: The CC music department is an active and vibrant part of the community, performing at multiple events on and around campus throughout the year. There are many opportunities for those interested in supporting the music program by attending concerts in-person, watching performances online, or even joining us as a participant. One easy way to stay connected is by following us on Facebook.

Our first large-scale concert of the year with the Jane Froman Singers is Wednesday, Nov. 16, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Columbia. The 7 p.m. CST performance is free and open to all! Later in the semester, we’re looking forward to ringing in the holiday season at the annual CC Holiday Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 2, as our musicians lead carols and perform seasonal favorites on Bass Commons. Spring 2023 performance highlights include a community gospel choir concert in early February, the Jane Froman Singers and Froman Treble Choir choral concert in April, and The Dillingham Family Music Showcase featuring CC soloists and chamber groups at the end of the year.