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Music at Eureka College


Fall 2020 Music Performances will be live-streamed from our Eureka College Music Department Facebook page.

Sun, October 18, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Chorale/Chamber Singers Concert: Alone/Together, Part 1

Sun, November 8, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Chorale/Chamber Singers Concert: Alone/Together, Part 2

Sun, November 15, 4:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m. Chamber Ensemble Inaugural Concert

Tues, Nov 17 12:30 p.m - 1:30pm Student Voice/Piano Recital



Mission and Program Goals

The Music Program at Eureka College offers courses in music theory, music history, applied lessons, ensembles, conducting, and other related courses to the entire College community and beyond. Our goals are to:

  • Prepare all Eureka College students for a lifetime of involvement in and appreciation of music of all styles and eras
  • Highlight every student’s creative potential through performance, composition, improvisation, and artistic expression
  • Provide performance and leadership opportunities for any interested Eureka students
  • Educate and provide musical enrichment for the community


The Music Program is part of Eureka’s integrated learning experience, offering both academically rigorous courses and opportunities for co-curriculars like Chorale and Chamber Ensemble. Music is inherently interdisciplinary, and we provide courses that fit into the 10 Essentials, with particular strengths in Intercultural Understanding and Aesthetic Sensibility. We are a part of the Uniquely Eureka Curriculum which emphasizes the arts.


The Music Major prepares students for the increasingly multi-faceted professional music world of the 21st century. Musicians today take on multiple roles in contexts such as K-12 and higher education, private instruction, church ministry, community music, arts administration, etc., in addition to solo and ensemble performance. A liberal arts education prepares musicians who are able to thrive in this environment and enhances their employability.


Why Study Music at Eureka?

  • Individualized attention: Low Faculty-Student ratios and a supportive, yet rigorous environment with faculty who are committed to helping you reach your professional goals
  • Performance opportunities: Unlike at bigger programs where seniority rules, at Eureka, you will have multiple performance opportunities as soon as you are performance ready, perhaps even in your first semester!
  • Highly qualified faculty: Eureka’s Music Faculty hold degrees from the best conservatories and universities in the country, and have performed all over the country as well as internationally.
  • Unique programs and courses: Scroll down for our #UniquelyEureka offerings!



We offer the Music Major in 5 concentrations: Vocal Performance, Piano Performance, Music Education, Music Ministry, and Music History and Theory. We also offer a Music Minor. The Bachelor of Arts in Music includes a set of core courses which all majors must complete, including music theory, musicianship, Western art music history, and world music. For more information about concentration-specific requirements, contact Dr. Martínez at



Interested in joining a music ensemble?

Email Dr. Riskind at, times are listed below.

Chorale TTh 2:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (MUS281/MUS081)

Chamber Singers MW 2:00 p.m. - 3:15pm (MUS382/MUS082, audition required)

Chamber Ensemble M 3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. and additional times to be arranged (MUS284/MUS084, all instruments welcome!)


Choral Ensembles

Choral ensembles are central to Eureka’s musical community, and auditions are held in the beginning of each semester. Dates and sign-up sheets will be posted here and on our Facebook page. Both ensembles are conducted by Director of Choral Activities Dr. Sarah Riskind and accompanied by Dr. Mark De Zwaan.


Eureka College Chorale

The Chorale is Eureka’s largest vocal ensemble, open to both majors and non-majors with an optional audition. Singers build skills in vocal technique and  musicianship through traditional music from cultures around the world, classical music from the Renaissance to the present, and more. In addition to performing several concerts on campus each year, the Chorale sings at regional high schools, churches, and festivals and sometimes tours nationally and internationally. Performances also include solo opportunities by audition.


Eureka College Chamber Singers

Chamber Singers is Eureka’s select vocal ensemble, open to both majors and non-majors by audition. Members are chosen for sightreading and aural skills, vocal color, and balance of voice parts. Though the repertoire covers a similar range as in Chorale, there is a greater emphasis on developing advanced musicianship skills in unaccompanied music. In addition to performing alongside the Chorale in campus and off-campus performances, this ensemble holds an annual Renaissance Christmas Dinner for the local community. Performances also include solo opportunities by audition.




Instrumental Ensembles

Eureka College Chamber Ensemble

The Chamber Ensemble is open to students who play any instrument– strings, winds, brass, percussion, piano, non-orchestral instruments, and beyond. Because of this flexible instrumentation, repertoire is determined by the instruments in the group each semester. Many pieces are arranged by the instructor and/or ensemble members, while others are contemporary or early music with flexible instrumentation, improvisatory pieces, and folk music harmonized by ear. Some pieces involve duets, trios, and quartets from within the ensemble. Students may come with varying levels of technical skill, but should have had at least three years instruction or instructor permission. Directed by Dr. Riskind.




Private Instruction in Voice (Dr. Adriana Martínez)

Vocal studies at Eureka focus on the development of healthy technique, expressive interpretation, and clear and sensitive delivery of text in any language.


Private Instruction in Piano (Dr. Mark De Zwaan)

Piano studies at Eureka are centered around the exploration of technical and interpretational challenges relevant to piano performance. Content is chosen based upon student interest and skill level to develop coordination of movement and musical understanding.




All Music courses are open to majors and non-majors. For a full list of courses, contact Dr. Riskind at Selected courses are listed below:

  • Music Cultures in the United States        
  • World Music
  • American Popular Music
  • Latin American Popular Music
  • Mexican Folk Music
  • Western Art Music History
  • Theory and Musicianship
  • Choral Conducting
  • Sacred Music
  • Private Instruction in Voice and Piano    
  • Foreign Language Diction for Singers
  • Musical Theatre                                          
  • Opera and Lyric Theater Workshop
  • Composition
  • Improvisation
  • Intro to Audio Production and Computer Music

Meet the Faculty


Dr. Adriana Martínez (

As a specialist primarily in American music, broadly defined, Dr. Martínez’s research and teaching focuses on the role that music – folk, popular, and classical – plays in the formation of national identity in Latin America and the United States, as well as on binational and transnational cultural processes throughout the region.  Her dissertation explored the musical nationalisms (art and popular) of Mexico and the United States in the context of the binational relationship.


She has presented her research at national and international conferences, including those held by the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, the International Musicological Society and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. An article on a nineteenth-century Mexican album of piano music she discovered at the Newberry Library in Chicago in 2017 will be included in a collection of essays to be published by the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía. Currently she is preparing a scholarly monograph tentatively entitled Musical Encounters: Music, Politics, and Identity in the United States-Mexico Borderlands, which attempts, for the first time in scholarly literature, a comprehensive look at the role of music in the U.S.-Mexico encounter at the borderlands. In 2017 she worked on this monograph at an interdisciplinary, NEH-funded Summer Institute at the Newberry Library.


As a singer, Dr. Martínez, who is a lyric soprano, appeared most recently as Mimì (cover) in La Bohème with MIOpera in Normal, IL (August 2019). She had her European debut in 2018 as Gertrude in Hänsel und Gretel (Trentino Music Festival, Fiera di Primiero, Italy). Dr. Martínez appeared in 2017 on tour with OperaMaya in Mexico in scenes from Turandot (Liu), Die Zauberflöte (First Lady), and Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Konstanze). In July 2017 she returned to Chicago Summer Opera in scenes from Little Women (Amy) and The Turn of the Screw (Flora).

She has also performed in Austria, Canada, and the U.S.

Previous full roles include Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte with ViVaCe Vancouver Summer Opera Workshop, Suor Maria in Giordano’s Mese mariano with Miami Music Festival, Omega in Gluck’s Le Cadi Dupé with New York Lyric Opera Theater, Mrs. Gobineau in Menotti’s The Medium and the Novice in Puccini’s Suor Angelica with Chicago Summer Opera. Partial roles include Maria in West Side Story, Ortlinde in Die Walküre (Lincoln Center), Leonora in Il Trovatore, Marianne in Tartuffe, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, and Malika in Lakmé.

Born in Mexico City, Mexico, Dr. Martínez holds a Bachelor's degree in Music from the University of Charleston (WV), and a Master’s and PhD in Musicology from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. She is Assistant Professor of Music at Eureka, where she teaches music history, music theory, and voice.



Dr. Sarah Riskind (

Previously based in Boston and Seattle, conductor and composer Sarah Riskind is the Director of Choral Activities and an Assistant Professor of Music at Eureka College. Her research focuses on choral arrangements of Judeo-Spanish music, choral improvisation pedagogy, and Renaissance polyphony. Through her work as choral director and faculty at The Walden School (, an inspiring summer program in NH for creative musicians, she has become an advocate for developing musicianship and improvisational skills in choirs of all ages and abilities.


Dr. Riskind’s compositions are featured in the Project Encore ( catalogue of contemporary choral music and available at Among her original works are Jewish and Judeo-Christian music, secular pieces with improvisatory elements, and frequent settings with string obbligato parts. Recent premieres include We Were Once Strangers by Seattle’s Esoterics, Imposter Syndrome by members of Ensemble Dal Niente, and Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter by the Pacifica Choirs. Psalm of the Sky for tenor-bass choir, violin, and piano was premiered in the Cincinnati College-Conservatory Creative Commissions Project showcase in February 2020. She has also written for the Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and the International Contemporary Ensemble as part of the Walden School Faculty Commissioning Project.


Dr. Riskind enjoys accompanying voices as a violinist/fiddler and improvisor, and she has most recently sung soprano in the Mägi Ensemble, a professional Baltic women’s choir in Seattle. She holds a DMA in Choral Conducting from University of Washington, an MM in Choral Conducting from University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a BA in Music from Williams College.



Dr. Mark De Zwaan (

American pianist Mark De Zwaan has been featured as a classical artist across the United States and China. He has led masterclasses at venues such as the Steinway Gallery in Hangzhou and the Steinway Pacific Headquarters in Shanghai. De Zwaan’s dimensional approach to performance is evident in his multi-disciplinary aptitude for music-making. He was awarded by Indiana University for his artistic excellence and received a double nomination for the American Pianist Awards in 2016. De Zwaan is a staunch proponent of Franz Liszt and his music, and a proud member of the American Liszt Society. He earned his Doctorate and three previous degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music as a student of Karen Shaw. De Zwaan teaches applied piano at Eureka College where he also serves as Staff Accompanist.


Student Testimonials


Student Spotlights

I want to teach music because everyone has a connection to it. It is easy to relate or communicate with others through music. I have made close friendships with people from my music courses. My professors are strong role models of excellent musicians and they make me want to improve my own skills.  Chorale has helped me refine my singing abilities and apply what I have learned from other classes. My sophomore year, we sang the piece Indodana in Burrus Dickinson hall. The acoustics and the way our voices all blended together made me realize how much of a musical instrument choir really is. We are all part of a whole and our contributions make beautiful music.

- Lauren Fitzanko ‘20: Music Education


Chorale has been the first choir experience for me since 6th grade and I feel that it has given me the opportunity to meet some lovely people and work on my vocal skills regularly. Both were big concerns for me in coming to Eureka from community college, where I wasn't involved in any extra curricular activity at all. I was worried that I wouldn't find any friends, and that I had missed my last chance to sing in an organized group/setting. Joining chorale has provided me with both and helped make my transition to Eureka much more pleasant!

- Katelyn Aukes ‘20, Psychology


I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the music program at Eureka College. Before I got to Eureka, I had never sung in a group before. I saw college as a chance to branch out, and luckily the music program was willing to mold me into a part of something beautiful. Making music with the chorale and chamber singers for the last 4 years has given me: stress relief, new friends, and a creative outlet.

           - Elsie Croasdale ‘20, History/Political Science, Pre-Law


At Eureka College, I have been involved in many activities, including theatre, residential life, and Cru; however, through it all, one of the most impactful and, honestly, fun programs I have been a part of has been the music program. Even though my major is not music or anything music-related, I have been able to sing in both Chorale and Chamber Singers during my four years here and, in doing so, have been able to sing and act in the Renaissance Christmas Dinner (one of my favorite things!) and many concerts. Additionally, I have been able to start a male a cappella group - Dischords - and lead them for three years, singing some of my favorite barbershop arrangements of classics like "You've Got a Friend in Me" and "Hello Mary Lou." One thing I've learned at college is that I am not myself without music in my life, and Eureka College has been a place that has allowed me to express that part of myself, regardless of my major. Being at a school like this, where only you set the bar for how far you want to go, has been a unique, motivating, and fulfilling experience.

- Cody Wirth ‘20, Mathematics, Hispanic Studies, and Secondary Education



Alumni Spotlights

When I enrolled at Eureka College as a freshman music major I had no idea the impact that decision would make on my life.  I have spent the last 25 years as a professional opera chorister with Lyric Opera of Chicago & San Francisco Opera.  I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this career without the foundation that was laid at Eureka.  Many of my colleagues attended the finest conservatories and universities with large music departments. I remember being intimidated by the names of their alma maters, but then we would discuss music and I knew that my education had totally prepared me for this career.  Often I was shocked by how much more solo experience I had during my undergraduate days.  I was able to give three full solo recitals and was a soloist with the Chorale on many concerts.  The music faculty was always available for additional lessons and rehearsals and that extra time and support was significant in my ability to sing at the highest levels. One of my fondest memories of EC  was singing in the Chorale.  Not only was it a great musical experience, it was fun!  We toured to Europe, New Orleans and throughout the Midwest.  Those tours were a blast and are always the highlight of alumni weekend stories.  There is something special about making music with your friends.  At Eureka you don’t have to be a music major or minor to sing in the Chorale.  Many of my friends went on to careers in education, medicine, business, law and many of them still sing in community choruses or with their church choirs.  My time in the Chorale was truly some of my best time at Eureka College (and I had a great experience).

        - Mary Finch ‘84, Vocal Performance



Prospective Students

Whether you are a prospective Music major or would like to learn about opportunities for non-majors, we encourage you to observe classes, rehearsals, and lessons in the historic McCallister Chapel. Contact Dr. Martínez at or Dr. Riskind at to schedule a visit, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


To apply for a vocal or piano performance concentration, contact Dr. Martínez at to schedule an audition.


Not sure which concentration is right for you? Not to worry! Students don’t have to declare a concentration until the Fall of their sophomore year if they come in to Eureka College as freshmen, or by the Spring of their first year at Eureka for transfer students.


Music Scholarships

For Incoming Students:

  • A $3000 scholarship is available for an incoming student who is an accomplished musician with outstanding vocal talent, selected by audition each February.


For Returning Students

  • Additional scholarship money is granted to students who demonstrate exemplary dedication and ability in music courses, ensembles, and private study.


For more information, contact Dr. Riskind at




View our Fine and Performing Arts Calendar

Assistant Professor of Music (Voice, History. Theory)

Dr. Adriana Martinez
300 East College Ave.
Eureka, IL 61530

Director of Choral Activities, Assistant Professor of Music (Ensembles, Composition, Conducting)

Dr. Sarah Riskind

Instructor of Music and Staff Accompanist (Piano, Accompanying, Music Technology)

Dr. Mark De Zwaan