The Cole Family Summer Music Festival at Southwestern College June 3-8

Southwestern College will host The Cole Family Summer Music Festival June 3-8 on the SC campus.

The festival is for students ages 14-20.  Campers will choose from tracks in jazz band, choir, orchestra, composition, piano, and praise and worship teams.  The daily schedule will include ensemble rehearsals, technique class, practice time, recreation time, and much more. 

Under the supervision of festival dean Timothy Shook, the tracks are led by award-winning conductors, performers, and teachers.

  • Tim Shook, piano—Shook is chair of the division of performing arts at Southwestern College and operates a large independent piano studio in Wichita. He has coached several state winners of the Kansas Music Teachers Association (KMTA) Honors Auditions, serves on the Music Teachers National Association board of directors, and is past president of KMTA. He co-chaired the designing of Music Progressions, a non-competitive syllabus of independent music study, for KMTA. Shook has presented workshops for piano teachers throughout the Midwest, as well as in New York City, Malaysia, and Singapore.
  • David Gardner, choir—Gardner conducts the A Cappella Choir and the Southwestern College Singers, as well as teaching conducting, vocal diction, and private voice.  He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2005 Southwestern College Fassnacht Outstanding Faculty Award, and a second-place finish in the 2001 American Choral Directors Association National Student Conducting Awards Competition.  He is active both regionally and nationally as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator.
    Gardner’s Carnegie Hall conducting debut was in March of 2005, and he appeared there again on March 19, 2010, conducting Mozart’s Solemn Vespers.  He has performed as a vocal soloist, conductor, and chorus member with Wichita Grand Opera, and has prepared choruses for the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Wichita Grand Opera, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Arizona Symphony.  In March of 2008 he led the Southwestern College choirs in a series of well-received concerts across Italy.  The tour culminated in a performance during Easter Sunday Mass at the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice.
  • Christopher Schmitz, composition—Schmitz is the director of the Center for Music Composition at Southwestern College. His jazz and classical compositions have been featured in performance venues throughout the United States (including Carnegie Hall) and his music has appeared in award-winning feature films. Schmitz presented sessions on “Teaching Musicianship through Composition” at the 2012 Kansas Music Educators Association conference.
  • Stephen Butler, worship teams—Butler is music pastor at First Baptist Church in Arkansas City. He also writes and arranges cantatas, as well as performing concerts throughout the Midwest.
  • Jeff Gordon, jazz band—Gordon is an adjunct faculty member at Friends University, where he teaches applied jazz improvisation, jazz combo classes, is the big band trumpet section coach, and is a member of the Friends Faculty Jazz Sextet.  He holds a master’s degree in trumpet performance and a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies from Wichita State University.  Locally, he has performed with the national Broadway tour of “Wicked,” The Temptations, The Four Freshman, Wayne Newton, Las Vegas acts The Scintas and Bob Anderson, and with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra.  He regularly plays lead trumpet in the pit orchestra for Music Theatre Wichita, Crown Uptown Theatre, and other area music theater productions.  Gordon also maintains an active private teaching studio in the Wichita area.
  • Daniel Stevens, orchestra—In addition to his responsibilities as director of strings at Southwestern, Stevens is founder of the Southwestern College Youth Symphony and conductor of the South Kansas Symphony at Southwestern. Stevens is a professional violist with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra/Opera and has been a featured soloist and chamber musician. Stevens was part of a string trio that played a concert in Carnegie Hall in March 2010.

“In addition to fresh emphasis on individual track instruction, we are excited to offer some new activities this summer including private lessons, faculty recitals, and even more small ensemble opportunities,” Shook says.

He also adds that activities like ultimate Frisbee, movie night, swimming, and drum circles will add to the fun.

Through generous support from musician and trustee emeritus Dr. George Cole and his late wife, Linda, the all-inclusive cost for the week-long festival is $375 when the application to attend the festival includes a signature of recommendation from a private music instructor or school music teacher. 

For more information about The Cole Family Summer Music Festival at Southwestern College, call (620) 229-6141 or visit the website at

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