Evangel Profile

Dr. Michael Kolstad: Music Department chair

January 9, 2012

Dr. Michael Kolstad serves as chair of the Music Department and professor of low brass at Evangel University. A 1988 graduate of  Evangel, Kolstad earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in trombone  performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. During  his tenure at Evangel, he has made significant contributions in the music  field, not only at Evangel University but locally and nationally as well. Dr. Kolstad has performed extensively throughout North America and  Europe. He has given numerous  recitals and masterclasses, including presenting at the International Trombone  Festival hosted at the State University of New York College at Potsdam. Dr. Kolstad and his wife, Paula, have two  children. He is active in the community and his church, Central Assembly of  God, where he serves as orchestra director.

You, your wife, brother, sister and  brother-in-law are all graduates of Evangel. That’s quite a family legacy. What  do you think it is about Evangel that gives it that strong connection for so  many families?

Evangel is a world-class educational institution set in a  Christian environment. In my case, I was the first to come to the campus. My  experience was so positive that both my brother and sister wanted to  experience the same thing. My sister and I met our future spouses at  Evangel.

Did you ever envision yourself coming back  to Evangel to teach and one day even being chair of the Music Department?

Often college friends and I would dream about coming back to Evangel to  teach. As students, we understood what made Evangel so special. I never  believed that it would happen. When the call came, I was stunned. It was a  dream come true.

What stands out as your proudest  professional accomplishment?

As a performer I have had the opportunity to perform in some  exciting settings. I spent one summer performing with Ringling  Brothers  Barnum & Bailey Circus and the group Manheim Steamroller. A few years ago I had the opportunity to  conduct the National Fine Arts Orchestra on the National Mall in Washington  D.C. As I’ve gotten older, the satisfaction that I get seeing my students  succeed is very gratifying. I have had students go on and graduate with  doctorates. I have had other students go on to become incredible performers,  teachers, music pastors and more. It is very gratifying to watch students excel  in their professions.

What do you think sets the Evangel University Music Department apart from music programs at other universities?

The people. In addition to being world-class performers and teachers, our  faculty and staff are Spirit-filled followers of Christ. They truly want to see  all of our students succeed and will often go the extra mile to help. Also, we  have some of the most incredible facilities in the United States. You can’t ask  for any better. Finally, we have the highest national accreditation available  for a Department of Music (NASM). That translates to excellence  in our curriculum, our teachers  and our students.

What do you enjoy most about working with Evangel University students?

Our students are the best. Not only are they incredibly talented, they are  great to be around. Being fellow believers in Christ creates a kindred spirit  between the faculty, staff and students. We all want to succeed, but more  importantly, we want to help each other to succeed.

Give us a sneak peek at some of the exciting things ahead for the Music Department.

We have some very exciting programs on the horizon. We are very excited about our graduate degree programs in Music Education and Music Performance. Other things on the drawing board  include a Women’s Chorus, Wind Ensemble, and expanding our current jazz studies  program.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Start the college selection process early.  You want to have as many options as possible when it comes to choosing a  college or university. This will also allow you to explore all the various  financial aid options (scholarships, loans, etc.). I would also suggest that  you look at the quality of the universities. Are they accredited? What are the  graduation rates? Are the graduates of the school successful? Finally, pray  and then pray some more for guidance.

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Members of Evangel University’s HeartSong group explore the ruins of the Forum in Rome during their spring break trip to Italy. Photo by Sein Kwon.