SBUBolivar, Missouri Est. 1878

Department of Music at Southwest Baptist University

Questions? Contact

Martha Hicks, D.M.A.
Chair, Department of Music, and Professor of Music
(417) 328-1633


Jane Munson-Berg
Andrew Campbell
Robert Carney
Martha Hicks
Brian Hopwood
Terri Knupps
Melinda Smashey Jones
Robin Smith
James Tarrant
Jeffery Waters
Renee Waters

Faculty associates

Marc Baker - percussion
Alejandro Gonzalés Béltran - cello
Mark Bowdidge - organ
Regina Bruner - clarinet
R. Catherine Burgher - Higher Ground
Michelle Draper - flute
Delrae Glidwell - music education
Carol Harrison - violin, viola
Eric Jackson - french horn
Angel McGlasson - oboe
Sara Miller - piano, accompanist
Melissa Roberts - piano
John Strickler - guitar
Joe Wooderson - voice
Tim Wootton - trumpet

The SBU Department of Music has both choral and instrumental performing groups.

Choral and Vocal Studies

  •  Chorale — The premiere choral ensemble of the university has performed extensively across the state, the country, and the world. This selectively auditioned ensemble also performs regularly for major music education and denominational conventions. The choir specializes in a cappella music from the Renaissance through modern periods as well as non-Western European traditions.
  • Concert Choir — Concert Choir is an ensemble designed to provide intensified study and performance experience with a varied repertoire of challenging choral music. This choir performs mainly on campus, and occasionally tours within the region.
  • Bolivar Community Chorus — The Bolivar Community Chorus provides an opportunity for residents of the Bolivar area to continue to enjoy making music with a choral ensemble. The ensemble joins forces with Concert Choir and with the Masterworks Chorus for various performance opportunities. Bolivar Community Chorus is also open to SBU students.
  • Chamber Singers — The Chamber Singers are auditioned from the larger Chorale to form a small chamber vocal ensemble each semester. In the fall of the year, the group presents to sold-out performances the popular “Ye Olde Madrigal Dinners,” a Christmas celebration of song and dinner set in Elizabethan England. Each spring semester, the Chamber Singers focus on a particular genre of vocal chamber repertoire and present concerts ranging from vocal a cappella jazz to pre-1600 music to show choir productions and more.
  • Masterworks Chorus — The Department of Music presents each year the Masterworks concert. The presentation involves the university’s massed choirs, faculty soloists, the SBU orchestra, Springfield Symphony members, instrumentalists from the SBU Symphonic Winds, and area musicians. 
  • Higher Ground — Higher Ground is a contemporary Christian worship ensemble that tours throughout the entire academic year leading worship, Disciple Now, as well as many mission projects. Comprised of both vocalists and instrumentalists, there are many opportunities for the service to the Lord.
  • Opera Theatre — Opera Theatre is open to all students by audition. The course is a place in which singers develop performance skills relative to operatic and/or music theatre repertoire and prepare solo and ensemble work for performance. Performances consist of one minor production in the fall,and one major production in the spring. Opera scenes are performed every fall, and full-length shows are performed in the spring, alternating between an operatic show and a music theatre show. Music theatre shows are performed in collaboration with the SBU Theatre Department.

Instrumental Studies

  • Wind Symphony — The Wind Symphony is available to all woodwind, brass, and percussion players and is comprised of music majors as well as talented students from many other disciplines. Exploring traditional and contemporary works for band, the ensemble is known for its consistently high level of performance. Annual tour stops include schools and churches throughout Missouri and surrounding states, including performances in Branson (Down From His Glory) and the Missouri Music Educators Association Convention at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach. 
  • Chamber Orchestra — The Chamber Orchestra is an ensemble comprised of music and non-music majors. Dedicated to the highest level of musical excellence, the ensemble performs a wide-ranging repertoire from Baroque through Contemporary periods in both string and full orchestra settings. Performances include the annual Masterworks concert that features presentations of major choral works for full orchestra, chorus, and soloists.
  • Jazz Ensemble — The Jazz Ensemble rehearses two hours per week. Students perform the standard jazz band repertoire as well as contemporary charts written for the big-band instrumentation: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, piano, bass, guitar, and drums. Selected students may perform in a jazz combo as well. Improvisation is encouraged, although it is not a requirement for the audition. The ensemble performs one or two concerts per semester, including occasional “Jazz Chapel” programs as a feature of the university’s chapel schedule.
  • Clara Fuson String Quartet — The Clara Fuson String Quartet was established to give four gifted string musicians the opportunity to play from the world’s extensive repertoire of string quartet music. The Clara Fuson String Quartet performs at events in the department of music and for weddings, concerts and banquets on campus and in the surrounding area. The quartet is named after Clara Fuson, one of the charter members of University Heights Baptist Church in Springfield, a school teacher and a trained violinist who played in the Springfield Symphony for many years.
  • Woodwind Ensembles — Within the department of music, a number of woodwind ensembles are active in any given semester; typically, these have included flute quartet, woodwind quintet, clarinet quartet, saxophone quartet, and woodwind trio. The ensembles are coached by SBU faculty members and provide music majors and non-music majors opportunities to explore the rich and varied repertoire that has been written for chamber groups of woodwind instruments.
  • Brass Ensembles — SBU offers various brass groups in both the Fall and Spring semesters. Available ensembles include Brass Choir, Brass Quintet, Trumpet Quartet, Trombone Quartet, and Tuba/Euphonium Quartet. (The number and types of ensembles available are dependent upon student interest.) Brass players can gain knowledge of the subtleties of brass instruments. Participation increases awareness of the ensemble concept, confidence in individual abilities, and the development of idiomatic characteristics of brass playing through regular performances, often in conjunction with other ensembles. Participation is open to all interested brass instrumentalists. 
  • Percussion Ensemble — The Percussion Ensemble performs a variety of music for the total percussion section — drums, keyboard, metallic, and wooden instruments. Several performances are given throughout the year. The group is open to all percussionists.
  • Pep Band — The Pep Band is an organization of select musicians that performs for SBU football games and men’s and women's basketball games. This popular and enthusiastic group has also traveled with the teams to the MIAA tournament. The ensemble is open by audition to any student at SBU who participates in Wind Symphony.