Meet the Music Faculty
Larry Bennett is an Adjunct Professor of Music at Central Methodist University where he currently teaches applied lessons on trombone, euphonium, and tuba. Additionally, Larry plays Bass Trombone in the CMU Trombone Quartet and coaches the newly formed Tuba Ensemble. Since joining the faculty in 2002, Prof. Bennett has previously taught courses in Basic Conducting, Percussion Techniques and Brass Techniques. He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Methodist University and his Master of Arts degree from Truman State University.
Before coming to CMU, Larry served the school districts of Salisbury (4 yrs.) and Macon (27 yrs.) as the Band Director. Following his public school career, Bennett has held interim band directing positions at the University of Missouri (2001-2002) and at Central Methodist University (2007-2008). In addition, he was the Assistant Director of the Columbia Community Band from 2005–2008.
In previous years, Larry enjoyed playing trombone in the Columbia Community Band and the Memories Big Band. He is presently playing with the Harmonium Brass Quintet and the Just Friends Jazz Band. Professor Bennett also enjoys playing in the CMU Trombone Quartet - the other three members of that ensemble being students from his Central trombone studio.
Professional affiliations include the Missouri Bandmasters Association, National Association for Music Education, Missouri Music Educators Association, Music Teachers National Association, and Phi Beta Mu. Honors received include being selected the Emmons Band Director of the Year for the state of Missouri presented by Phi Beta Mu (1995), being honored with the Outstanding Jazz Educator Award by the Missouri Association of Jazz Educators (2013), being elected to the Hall of Fame by the Missouri Bandmasters Association (2002), being voted into the Hall of Fame by the Missouri Music Educators Association (2013), and being presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award by Central Methodist University (2010).
Professor Bennett lives with his wife, Janet, in Macon. They are the parents of three children: Ryan of Berwyn, Illinois; Kristin of Kansas City, Missouri; and Brendan who also lives in Kansas City.
Dr. Barb Berwin
Dr. Barb Berwin is a Professor of Music at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri, where she teaches Music Appreciation, Aural Skills, Keyboard Techniques, and piano lessons. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Music and Religion from Dana College in Blair, Nebraska; a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln; and a PHD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri in Columbia. She serves as organist at Boonesboro Christian Church.
Dr. John Perkins
Dr. John D. Perkins teaches applied trumpet and horn, coaches brass ensembles, and teaches music history. His primary teachers include Raymond Crisara, Albert Moore, and John Aley, and he studied briefly with Frank Kaderabek and Don Jacoby.
Perkins has held trumpet positions and performed with a multitude of orchestras, most recently with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra and the Columbia Civic Orchestra. He recently held the principal trumpet position with the Shippensburg Festival Symphony Orchestra for fifteen years. Repertoire performed in its entirety included Mussorgky Pictures at an Exhibition, Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, Strauss Death and Transfiguration, Stravinsky Firebird Suite, Dvorak Czech Suite and his Symphony Nos. 6, 8 and 9, Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue and his Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra, Beethoven Symphony Nos. 3, 5, and 7, Bernstein Symphony No. 2 and his Chichester Psalms, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5, Ives Circus Band, Mendelssohn Symphony Nos. 3 and 5, Barber Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Brahms Symphony Nos. 1 and 2, Bizet Symphony in C Major, and many overtures. He has performed several works as world or U.S. premieres with various ensembles.
Performing frequently for the Odyssey Chamber Music series, Perkins recently played Stravinsky L' histoire du soldat, Berg Chamber Concerto, and Martinu Le Revue de Cuisine. He has also played lead trumpet for the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, MU's Summer Rep Theatre productions, Stephens College musicals, and Video Games Live. He has performed at the International Trumpet Guild Conference and has several recording reviews articles published in the International Trumpet Guild Journal.
Perkins' applied CMU students have won the Collegiate Brass – Upper Division at the Missouri Music Teachers Association competition and have also been awarded honorable mention. His students are frequent soloists with the CMU Concert Band, and his brass ensembles perform repeatedly on instrumental and choir concerts and tours. Under his direction, the CMU Trumpet Ensemble was selected and performed at the 2014 International Trumpet Guild Conference at King of Prussia, PA.
Adjudicating frequently at solo and ensemble contests, Perkins enjoys working with younger brass players. He directs the trumpet clinics for the biennial CMU Invitational Brass Conference and offers trumpet lessons and high brass clinics to middle and high school students.
Dr. Susan Quigley-Duggan
Susan Quigley-Duggan is Professor of Voice and Opera at Central Methodist University’s Swinney Conservatory of Music where she has taught voice, diction, vocal repertoire, vocal pedagogy and opera workshop and literature since 2006. Previously, Dr. Quigley-Duggan taught voice and opera on the faculty at The University of Connecticut where she also received her doctorate. In the New England region, Susan has performed in musical theater, opera, operetta, recitals, chamber concerts and oratorio. She has performed as soprano soloist with The UConn Chamber Singers and with the CMU Conservatory Singers and Chorale and for numerous churches.She performed as narrator/ actress of the Hartford Symphony Kids/Touring program in the Hartford CT Schools. She was also the Opera Director for the Young Artist Express of the Connecticut Opera and prepared opera previews for Opera New England during her time in CT. She also spent three summers directing young professionals in musical showcases and opera at the summer resort, Quisisana in Maine.
At Central Methodist University Dr. Duggan has directed seven of Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas, including The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore, The Gondoliers, The Mikado, Iolanthe, Patience and Trial by Jury and A Topsy-Turvy Showcase and numerous showcases and scene program. She has received numerous MAC and F.A.CT. grants to fund her summer operetta productions. She has also directed The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, Trouble in Tahiti, Hansel and Gretel and La Vera Costanza and Die Fledermaus for The UConn Opera.
Dr. Quigley-Duggan is the student advisor for The Student National Association of the Teachers of Singing and is President of the newly formed Mid-Missouri NATS chapter and for 12 years was the VP of Publications for MMTA Notes. She has presented voice faculty recitals at MU, UCM, Lincoln University, Columbia College and CMU and vocal master classes at the UCM, UConn, MSU, Lincoln University, and Saint Charles and State Fair Community Colleges. Dr. Duggan enjoys collaborating on recitals with other music faculty while discovering new vocal repertoire for performance. Her vocal students have placed as college division winners at the Central Regional NATS, MO State NATS and Kansas City NATS and three of her vocal students were selected as state winners of the MMTA and MTNA Young Artist and Senior Voice Division as well as first and second place winners of undergraduate and graduate college MMTA divisions.
Dr. Duggan has adapted newly abridged opera versions of The Impresario, The Magic Flute and Cosi fan tutte for undergraduate college opera workshops. She also directs showcases such as A Valentine Toast to Opera and Musicals and A Grand Night for Singing and, A Magical Night of Operetta Delights. In 2018, Dr Duggan directed a G&S in operetta pastiche, entitled ‘Hail Poetry, Pirates and Gondoliers.” for the CMU Opera Workshop. In 2019 she directed and “A Valentine Toast to Broadway” and 2020 Dr. Duggan directs The CMU Opera Workshop in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado in The Little Theater.
Dr. Melissa Loehnig Simons
Active as a solo pianist, chamber musician and collaborative performer, Dr. Melissa Loehnig Simons is currently on faculty as Associate Professor of Music in Piano and Theory at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri. She spent five summers employed as a staff pianist at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria. She now spends her summers as a part of the piano faculty for the Red Lodge Music Festival, held in Red Lodge, Montana. During the summers while pursuing her degrees, she was chosen from a national field of applicants for the Opera Theatre Music Festival of Lucca (Italy), the Baldwin-Wallace Art Song Festival, and for the highly competitive Songfest Program in Malibu, California.
Dr. Simons has performed throughout the United States, including recently with Choral Arts, a semi-professional chorus based in Seattle, with whom she performed the world premiere of William Averitt’s The Dream Keeper, for chorus and piano four hands. Dr. Simons has performed as a guest artist for the Spokane Steinway Gallery, Eastern Oregon University, Clarke University, and the El Paso Summer Music Festival. She has also been invited to do guest artist work with the University of Washington Chamber Singers and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Singers. She is featured on two recently released CD recordings: Chimera produced by Albany Records and Mornings Like This produced by the Gothic Recording Label.
In February of 2011, representing Florida State University as a part of the Promising Artists of the 21st Century program, Dr. Simons was awarded the opportunity to travel and perform (along with soprano, Dr. Christina Villaverde) throughout the country of Costa Rica. This program is held as part of a collaboration between Florida State University and the North American Cultural Center in Costa Rica. Along with performing, Dr. Simons and Dr. Villaverde held several masterclasses at the University of Costa Rica, the Opera de camara de Costa Rica, the Escuela Municiple de Artes Integradas en Santa Ana EMAI, and the Centro Cultural Jose Rigueres in San Ramon. This concert tour also included the Latin-American premiere of Libby Larsen’s My Antonia.
Dr. Simons has had the honor of working with such musicians as Rachel Barton Pine, Warren Jones, Martin Katz, Graham Johnson, Barbara Bonney, Christa Ludwig, Stephanie Blythe, Margo Garrett, Jake Heggie, and many others. Dr. Simons received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance, graduating with honors from Whitman College. She also holds a Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano from Florida State University and has completed her Doctor of Music degree in Piano Performance with a focus on collaborative piano from the same institution.
Roy Skip D. Vandelicht
Skip Vandelicht is an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of Bands at Central Methodist University. He was appointed in 2008 after teaching for 31 years in the Fayette R-III School District. Skip received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Methodist College (University) in 1977, and a Master of Education degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1984. The Fayette High School Band earned numerous honors and awards, including playing for the Missouri Music Educators Association Convention four times, under his leadership. Besides his tenure at Fayette, Prof. Vandelicht also served as Adjunct Marching Band Director at CMU from 1983-1995.
A native of Fulton, Missouri, he served from 1992-1994 as Chairman of the Missouri All-State Band for the Missouri Bandmasters Association and from 1994-1996 as President of MBA. Prof. Vandelicht is an instrumental music adjudicator trainer for Missouri State High School Activities Association as well as a member of the MSHSAA Prescribed Graded Music List and Sight Reading Committees. Skip also served MMEA Band Vice-President from 2008 – 2010 and College/University Vice-President from 2014-2016.
Prof. Vandelicht received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Central Methodist in 1990, the Bandworld Legion of Honor Award in 2004, and the National Federation of High School Activities “Music Educator of the Year Award for Missouri 2008”. Skip was inducted into the Missouri Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame in 2013, received a Gold Chalk Award for excellence in teaching from CMU in 2013 and the Carolyn and Tad Perry Fellow Award from CMU in 2014. Prof. Vandelicht is an active clinician, adjudicator and conductor for bands in Missouri and surrounding states. Skip and his wife Melody reside in Fayette and have two children and five grand children.
Dr. Dori Waggoner
Dr. Dori Waggoner serves as Dean of the Swinney Conservatory of Music and chair of the Fine Arts Division. In addition to administering the division, she enjoys teaching theory courses and mentoring freshmen in the First Year Experience program.
Prior to seeking an advanced degree, Dori spent several years directing bands in the public schools of Missouri. Her students experienced success performing solos and chamber works at both the district and state levels. Concurrently, her bands earned numerous superior ratings and were consistently awarded top honors in a variety of music festivals. She remains active as a clinician, presenter, and conductor.
Dori has presented music education research and practitioners’ clinics at the conferences of the National Association for Music Educators, the Missouri Music Educators Association, the Missouri Bandmasters Association, the Kansas Music Educators Association, and the Kansas Bandmasters Association. Her research interests include error detection skills and pre-service music teacher training. She has been published in both the Journal for Research in Music Education and The Instrumentalist.
Dr. Claude Westfall
Dr. Westfall joined the Central Methodist University’s Swinney Conservatory of Music July 1, 2008 as director of Choral Activities and is an associate professor of music. Dr. Westfall is in his eleventh year at Central Methodist University where he supervises and directs the Conservatory’s choral music program.
His personal conducting and teaching duties include;
• the 30 voice touring choir Chorale
• teaching academic music education courses
• supervising student teachers and recruits for the university
Dr. Westfall has 43 years of experience teaching in Missouri. Secondary schools where Dr. Westfall have served as director of choral activities include;
• Hickman High School in Columbia, 2006-2007
• Parkway Central High School in Chesterfield, 1991-2004
• Boone County R-VI High School in Centralia, 1983-1991
• Lebanon Junior High School, 1977-1982.
His ensembles have performed at state and national conventions and have traveled extensively, performing in Germany, Austria and Italy.
Dr. Westfall earned his bachelor’s degree in vocal and instrumental music education K-12 from Southwest Baptist University, a master’s degree in education and choral conducting from Missouri State University and his PhD in curriculum and instruction/ music education with emphasis in choral conducting from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Dr. Westfall has been the recipient of numerous honors. In 1997 he received the John Schnell Faculty Dedication Award, in 1998 he was a member of the “USA Today’s All Teacher Academic Award for contribution to the Advancement of Music Education, in 2000 was a member Grammy Gold Signature School award for excellence in music education, in 2005 he received the Outstand Alumnus Award from Missouri State University, in 2006-2008 was recognized for his excellence in teaching at the University of Missouri-Columbia,in 2018, recipient of the prestigious Missouri ACDA Luther T. Spayde Award for excellence in Choral Music and in 2019 received the Missouri Music Educators award for 42 years of service.
Dr. Westfall is active as a clinician, adjudicator and conductor for choirs in the district, region and the nation. He is an active member of National Association for Music Education, Missouri Music Educators, Missouri Choral Directors Association and American Choral Association. Dr. Westfall and his wife, Diana Westfall, live in Fayette.
Dr. Laura Wiebe
Dr. Laura Wiebe conducts the Conservatory Singers and teaches applied voice, music history, and other academic music courses on the Fayette campus. Originally from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, she received a DMA in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa under Timothy Stalter, an MM in Choral Conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison under Beverly Taylor, and a BA in music with honors from North Park University (Chicago), where she studied conducting with Tom Zelle and Rollo Dilworth, and piano with Kuang-Hao Huang, Dora Alanen, and Kimberly Schmidt.
Dr. Wiebe has conducted collegiate, high school, church, and community ensembles throughout the Midwest. She has been a member of several professional choirs in the U.S. and abroad, including the Minnesota Chorale (symphonic choir of the Minnesota Orchestra) and the sacred ensemble Magdala in Oxford, England. She has also performed with the Madison Symphony Chorus and with master class choirs of the Association Celibidache in Gy, France and Trossingen, Germany. As a mezzo-soprano soloist, Dr. Wiebe has performed with the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, the new music group Ensemble: Périphérie, and on faculty recitals at Central Methodist University, Indian Hills Community College, and Coe College. In addition, she has performed with a variety of jazz artists and ensembles throughout the Midwest, including the Des Moines Big Band.
Dr. Wiebe's research and professional interests include the revival of Renaissance choral music in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century England, vocal and choral pedagogy, and phenomenology of music. In 2011, she was awarded a T. Anne Cleary International Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Iowa for research in Oxford and London. In January 2015, Dr. Wiebe will present as part of the panel discussion "Psalms Across the Empire: The Reform and Revival of Psalmody in the British Imperial Age" at the annual winter meeting of the American Society of Church History in New York City.
David James Witter (b. 1978) is a composer, instrumentalist, and educator active in jazz, rock, and new music scenes in Kansas City and Columbia, MO. He recently was appointed Director of Music Ministries and Assistant Professor of Music at Central Methodist University, and is currently completing a DMA in composition at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, projected to graduate in May. His award-winning music has been performed across the country, and has been recorded by several industry luminaries, including NYC chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound. Over the last few months, his activities have included earning prizes and commissions from the Mnemosyne Quartet and the UMKC Wind Symphony. In addition to spending recent time performing traditional and contemporary praise and worship music at the Crossing and Woodcrest churches in Columbia, and at First Christian and Concord Baptist Churches in Jefferson City, he’s kept busy playing electroacoustic trombone and performing conducted improvisation works with various KC ensembles. Prof. Witter is excited by the possibilities for modern praise music in the worship experience. He is blessed to run a program at CMU that is close to one-of-a-kind, in its aim of producing professional contemporary music ministry practitioners, with hearts towards creating meaningful worship through their music. He lives in Columbia, and has two children, Owen and Olivia.
Dr. Alison Robuck
Dr. Alison Robuck, oboist, teaches at Central Methodist University and for the Missouri Symphony Conservatory, and she performs with the Odyssey Chamber Music Series. She has performed as a member and a soloist for the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, the Heartland Festival Orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, the Peoria Bach Festival, and the Baroque Artists of Champaign. She has performed with the Indianapolis Symphony, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Evansville Symphony Orchestra, and with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. As oboe faculty for Ameropa, she has performed solo and chamber concerts in many locations in Prague including several in the Prague Castle, the Brevnov Monastery and in the Rudolfinum's Dvořák Hall. She was selected to attend the Sarasota Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival, Texas Music Festival and the Bowdoin Music Festival. She studied oboe with Dr. Nancy Ambrose King, Robert Atherholt, and Dan Willett.
Jonelle (Jonie) Loehnig
Jonie began playing for worship services at the age of 13. She began her formal music studies with a church BME music degree from Baker University where her major instrument of study was organ. After Master studies at Eden Seminary, she served in pastoral ministry in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for 25 years. She is an Adjunct Professor of Organ and Accompanist for Central Methodist University, Fayette, Missouri and accompanist for brass at University of Missouri, Columbia. She is a member of the American Guild of Organists.
Audra Sergel is a vocalist, pianist, educator, and composer from Columbia, Missouri. For 20 years, she has taught private vocal and piano lessons at Sergel Music Studio, as well as teaching, accompanying, and directing at Stephens College, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Central Methodist University. Sergel serves as the Artistic Director of the Quorus, Columbia’s LGBTQ+ Community Choir, and as the Music Director at Unity of Columbia. She has musically directed theatrical and cabaret productions across the midwest, and has performed at Okoboji Summer Theater, the Chicago Musical Theater Festival, TRYPS Institute at Stephens College, the Kansas City Fringe Festival, the Citizen Jane Film Festival, Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ, and the True/False Film Festival. As a composer, Ms. Sergel’s collaborative musical, Starting with My Voice, was selected and debuted at the Chicago Musical Theater Festival in 2014 and her work with Sassmouth: The Musical, received the Jackie White Memorial Award in 2017. Ms. Sergel lends her talents to many musical ensembles, including the Joel Anderson Jazz Ensemble, the Upsides, Violet and the Undercurrents, the Big Muddy Opera Company, and the Jane Doe Revue. Her quartet, the Audra Sergel Band, headlined the National Women’s Music Festival in Madison, WI in July of 2018 and her next album of original music, Smoke and Fire, will be available on all media platforms in 2020. Ms. Sergel holds a Master of Music Education from Central Methodist University. www.AudraSergel.com
Praised for his “accentuated juxtaposition of lyrical lines and passage work” (The Clarinet Online), Lucas Willsie continues to make a name for himself as a soloist and pedagogue. Currently, Dr. Willsie teaches applied clarinet and bassoon at Central Methodist University’s Swinney Conservatory of Music in Fayette, MO. He completed his DMA in clarinet performance at the University of North Texas where he taught Woodwind Methods for undergraduate music education students. He has performed as a soloist across North America and Europe. Lucas has performed with the North Texas Symphony Orchestra and can be heard on several recordings as a member of the North Texas Wind Symphony including a recording of Gernot Wolfgang’s Three Short Stories as bass clarinet soloist. Lucas is a member of the Hijinx Clarinet Quartet which regularly performs around the United States with the goal of bringing a hybrid of musical experiences to diverse audiences using traditional chamber music, new compositions, multimedia, and more! He has performed with the Richardson Symphony Orchestra, the Sherman Symphony Orchestra, the Lone Star Wind Orchestra, and Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra. He also performed William Bolcom’s Concerto for Clarinet with the Truman State University Symphony Orchestra as a winner of the Gold Medal Concerto Competition. Lucas also holds a master's degree in clarinet performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and bachelor's degrees in music education and clarinet performance from Truman State University. His primary teachers include Dr. Kimberly Cole Luevano, Dr. Diane Barger, and Dr. Jesse Krebs.