“After 31 years at another institution of higher learning, I chose to come to North Park because I was very drawn to the mission of the institution, and I was attracted by the reputation and strong history of the School of Music,” says Craig Johnson, dean of the School.
As dean, he oversees all the activities of the school, working with faculty and staff to provide courses, ensembles, and activities to enrich the experience for music students. “We have an exemplary faculty, comprised of many of the finest music professionals in the region,” he says.
Complementing the full-time faculty, the School brings in a wide range of full-time performers from across Chicago who give lessons to students, conduct ensembles, and teach a variety of courses. “The School of Music also has many different master classes during the year when artists come to campus to engage with our student,” Dr. Johnson says. Connecting students with world-class musicians is a high priority for the School.
Drawing on the University’s core identity as Christian, urban, and multicultural, Dr. Johnson and his colleagues create opportunities for students to sing, play, and participate in events that help form them into the best musicians they can be. “Many music students pursue internships and mini- and student-teaching in the city of Chicago. In addition, we are in partnership with the People’s Music School in the YOURS orchestra program at Hibbard and Monroe elementary schools,” Dr. Johnson explains.
Multiculturalism and faith are often explored in the choral and instrumental music that students perform, which incorporates a variety of styles, from sacred music of the church to contemporary worship to gospel and spiritual styles, he says.
Along with his career in musical education, Dr. Johnson has a parallel career in church music, most recently serving as director of music at North Community Lutheran Church in Columbus, Ohio, and teaching graduate choral conducting at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, also in Columbus. He has conducted choirs at conferences of the Ohio Music Education Association, the Ohio Choral Director’s Association, the Central Division of the American Choral Director’s Association, and the Organization of American Kodaly Educators National Conference. He is active as a clinician, adjudicator, and consultant. He serves the National Association of Schools of Music as an evaluation team member and leader, and as a member of the Commission on Accreditation.