Baker choir hires new director

Story by Brenna Thompson, News Editor

Last Spring, Cathy Crispino made the decision to retire from being Baker’s choir director. As a result, Baker was able to launch a search for someone to take over the choral responsibilities.

Chair of the Department of Music and Theatre, Trilla Lyerla, said that the opening for the job as the new choir director was advertised as someone with significant teaching experience.

Ryan Olsen, director of choral ensembles, was the perfect fit as he had collegiate teaching experience at a liberal arts college at Colorado State University.

“It’s always sad to lose fantastic colleagues,” Lyerla said.

However, the music department is thrilled to begin a new journey expanding in quantity and growing the influence of the choir programs.

Olsen grew up in Kansas, and is well versed in the choral community around the state. Therefore, it made sense for him to join the Baker faculty, as his abilities to communicate and connect with both high school and collegiate choral ensembles is a huge asset for the university.

“There is a long-standing tradition of music in this area,” Olsen said.

He is excited to be a part of this tradition and hopes to uphold the reputation of Baker musicality as one of the top choral leaders in Kansas.

Compared to a state school, Olsen has been pleasantly surprised at the diversity of his students interests and majors, recognizing the well-roundedness that Baker students embody.

“Students here don’t want to just take their classes and leave, they truly want to be involved in music and take it seriously,” Olsen said.

Lyerla said Olsen will primarily teach three choral ensembles as well as recruit new choir members, teach private lessons and applied-voice lessons and choral conducting.