Fantasia Faculty Q&A




Sure, we at the Music Department know each of our awesome faculty is good at what they do.  But what else do they enjoy?  Each year before Fantasia, we like to highlight one of our professors and get to know a little more about them.  This year, we asked our beloved Professor Mildred Yi some fun questions (and added some handy links for your enjoyment).  Check it out!


Music Dept: What is your favorite Christmas carol?
Yi: The First Noel


Music Dept: What is one of your best Christmas memories?
Yi: Celebrating first Christmases with my children


Music Dept: What Christmas tradition or activity do you enjoy the most?
Yi: My children get a special book for each Christmas


Music Dept: What was one of the best Christmas presents you received?
Yi: Getting a Pound Puppy (stuffed animal) with a red sweatshirt


Music Dept: What is a random fact about you that people probably wouldn’t guess?
Yi: Hiked in the Himalayas, like to eat jellyfish


And now a question for you:


Have you been to our annual Christmas Fantasia yet?


If your answer is “No”, then you’re in a for a real treat!  
If you’re answer is “Yes”, then you’ve probably been excited all year for the next one!


Either way, we invite you, your family and your friends to join us as our faculty and students all come together to bring in the holiday season and celebrate the birth of our King!  Click here for more information on this fantastic concert!


www.vanguard.edu/fantasia | (714) 966-5441 | fantasia@vanguard.edu


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Recap: 2015 Invitational Choral Festival

What a joy it is to bring multiple choirs together to sing and experience the beauty of choral music!  The Vanguard University Music Department held its first ever Invitational Choral Festival on October 27 and 28 which included 400 plus students from schools all over Southern California.


The Corona Del Mar Vox Angelica Women’s Chorus.

The Festival began Tuesday night with the Women’s Chorus Festival featuring Woodbridge High School’s Bel Canto Women’s Chorus under the  direction of Rob Blaney followed by the women’s chorus from Corona Del Mar High School, Vox Angelica under the direction of Andrew Ball. Each group performed their three pieces beautifully and had the opportunity to work with our guest adjudicator and clinician Stan McGill. The Tuesday night festival concluded with a performance of Vanguard’s own Women’s Chorus Luminaria under the direction of Dr. Joni Prado.

Click here for more about the Women’s Chorus.

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The Vanguard University Women’s Chorus under the direction of Dr. Joni Prado.


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Woodbridge High School under the direction of Rob Blaney

Wednesday’s Festival hosted seven different mixed Choirs from high schools including Woodbridge High School under the direction of Rob Blaney, Heritage Christian High School under the direction of Dr. Galen Clark, Brethren Christian High School under the direction of Ryan Yoder, Edison High School under the  direction of Joe Kral, La Mirada High School under the direction of Evan Eliason, Hesperia High School under the direction of Amanda Graley, and Marina High School under the direction of Eric Graham. Each school performed a variety of pieces ranging from classical to contemporary spanning hundreds of years of music composition. All the choirs gave commanding performances and drew praise from their peers and and directors. Wednesday’s festival ended with a performance from the Vanguard University Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. James Melton.

Click here for more about the Concert Choir. 


The Vanguard University Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. James Melton.



Stan McGill, Guest Adjudicator and Clinician.

Stan McGill taught 33 years in secondary choral music education in Texas and Missouri. Professional positions include Texas  Music  Educators Association Vocal Chair, and President of both TMEA and Southwest American Choral Directors Association. He  has  served on numerous TMEA, TCDA and ACDA committees including Program for the 2009, 2013 & 2017 National ACDA  Conferences. He is active as an adjudicator, speaker, director and clinician throughout the United States. He was one of four  national authors for the Warner Brothers Music Expression Textbook for Secondary Choirs. Mr. McGill, along with co-author Dr.  Morris Stevens, wrote “90 Days to Sightreading Success” and “Another Sightreading Success” available through AMC Publications.  Their middle school sight reading methods book “18 Lessons to  Sightreading Success” is available through Hal Leonard. His choral  methods book “Beyond Singing”, is also published by Hal Leonard and co-authored with Elizabeth Volk. His choral arrangements  are available through Shawnee Press and he is editor of the Stan McGill Choral Series with Hal Leonard. He is a contributing author for the 2015 release of the  Leonard/McGraw-Hill music textbook Voice in Concert.

Mr. McGill has had extensive leadership service with ACDA and his articles have been published in the Southwestern MusicianCommon TimesChoral Journal, and Texas Sings. He has directed numerous honor choirs including all state choirs in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. He directed the 2008 SWACDA 8-10 Boys Honor Choir in Kansas City. His choirs have performed nine times for TMEA, SWACDA and National ACDA Conventions and have made 3 European tours. A native of Sikeston, Missouri, Mr. McGill graduated from William Jewell College and received his master’s degree from Arizona State University. In 2014, Mr. McGill received the “Choral Excellence Award” from the Texas Choral Directors Association, based on his contributions to choral music in Texas, mentorship and inspiration to colleagues and students, and continued advocacy for the future of choral singing.  He continues to serve as a church choir director.

“Thank you to the 400+ students that represented 8 schools in our first-ever Vanguard University Invitational Choral Festival. We hope to see you all next year!” 

Choral Festival Program Information



Audiologist Jane Steckler Shares About Hearing Health

Every semester, the Vanguard University Department of Music holds a “Bootcamp Series” and invites guest speakers to pBlausen 0328 EarAnatomy.pngresent an educational series on a myriad of topics including potential career paths, music field research, and common musician health issues.

As part of our Bootcamp Series this semester, we recently had audiologist Jane Steckler come and share with us about pitch, volume, the anatomy of the ear, hearing loss, and hearing protection.

If you missed the presentation, you can watch the highlight videos below, but here are some notable statements from Jane:

“You cannot protect your ear, and not wear ear protection.”

“Once hair cells are damaged, they are irreparable.”

“Hearing devices do not bring your hearing back to normal. They do a lot [...] but it’s not normal. While you can, do something about it.”

How the Ear Works:

How to Test Hearing:

Hearing Loss/Noise Damage:


For more safety and development features, please visit our Student Professional Development Page.

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Spotlight: Dr. Izumi Kashiwagi & Her Upcoming Chamber Music Recital

Dr. Izumi Kashiwagi is preparing to hold a Chamber Music Recital on campus on Tuesday, October 20th at 5:00 PM in Needham Chapel.  She is the recipient of many scholarships and awards, and she earned masters and doctorate degrees in Keyboard Collaborative Arts from University of Southern California under the instruction of Kevin Fitz-Gerlad receiving full scholarship, Koldofsky fellowship and teaching assistantship. She has been active in performing in Los Angeles and Tokyo and has acknowledged as Liszt scholar/Piano artist from Liszt International Competition in Los Angeles and has collaborated with various renowned artists such as the former principal cellist of Los Angeles Philharmonic and the violin professor at the Eastman School of Music. 

Q: How did you get interested in music, and what specifically drew you to the piano?

I am the youngest in my family, and my siblings were already playing the piano, so it was natural for me to learn the piano as well. My mother was a junior high school music teacher. I also played the violin for eight years. (I cannot play it anymore!)

Q: How often do you practice, and for how long?

I try to practice everyday for at least 3-4 hours (ideally…)

Q: What have you enjoyed the most about investing in the students, here at Vanguard University?

I am always thrilled to listen to my students who work hard and show any improvement in their playing. It is a such wonderful feeling when they perform and feel satisfied with the performance. I am not looking for perfection in music. I am looking for achievement, improvement, joy and love of the music in students’ playing, and I have been enjoying teaching all of my students here at the university. Praise GOD!!!

Q: What inspired you to present this upcoming Chamber Music Recital on Tuesday, October 20th? How long has it taken you to prepare for this?

I would like to give our students  more opportunities to attend the professional classical music concerts. Also, I believe that watching the professors’ performances affect and inspire the students. When I was a student, I attended to my teachers’ performances and learned many things from watching his/her performances.

The cellist and I have been playing together for at least a couple of years now. For this particular concert, we have been practicing together since the end of summer.

Q: If you had to choose, what would be your favorite piece you will be playing at this next recital? Why?

Brahms Cello Sonata No. 1, Op. 38 in E minor

It is just a beautiful piece! Brahms is known as a composer who wrote many genres of classical music, not only piano repertoire, vocal rep, chamber music rep, orchestra rep, and choral rep. This piece has the quality of beautiful singing like in his vocal works, massive orchestral-like sounds and pianistic passages in all 3 movements.


Dr. Izumi Kashiwagi: Chamber Music Recital will be held on campus on Tuesday, October 20th at 5:00 PM in Needham Chapel. Please contact (714) 619-6410 for more details.

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Annabella Cervero - Composition Intensive

Student Spotlight: Annabella Cervero Attends Summer Composition Intensive

Bachelor of Music in Composition candidate, Annabella Cervero, was admitted as one of sixteen emerging composers to partake in the Saint Mary’s College Summer Composition Intensive in South Bend, Indiana this past summer. The Summer Composition Intensive consisted of twelve days of presentations, workshops, and lessons in different topics including Texture: Depth in Music, Joining Music Cultures, and Balancing Architecture and Emotion.

Q: Why were you interested in attending the Summer Composition Intensive?

Dr. Glancey introduced the idea to me.  He thought attending an event such as this would help improve my composition skills and prepare me for graduate school.   We found this particular composition intensive at St. Mary’s College through “The Composer’s Site”.

Q: How would you describe your overall experience?

I had a wonderful experience.  I learned so much about composition, networking, and the reality of what life is like as a professional composer.  I also met many amazing people.  As the only composition major at Vanguard, I don’t really have the opportunity to collaborate with other composers very often.   It was so refreshing to be surrounded by other composers for two weeks in Southbend, IN.

Q: Out of all of the different presentations and workshops you attended, which one stood out to you the most? Why?

I thought that every workshop and masterclass I attended was beneficial.  I was most inspired by the workshop with Dr. Paul Salerni on the topic of art songs.  However, the workshops that were most beneficial to my growth as a composer were the workshops with Dr. P.Q. Phan.  The topics of his workshops forced me to get out of my comfort zone and compose in ways I had never tried before.  For example, I have not spent much time researching or writing opera yet in my compositional studies, and in one workshop, I was given a project that required me to research, analyze, and compose an operatic monologue for a dramatic soprano in less than 24 hours.  On another occasion, I had project that required me to abandon all of my musical intuition and compose a piece completely based on numbers.  For this assignment, we were also encouraged not to use any instruments while generating our material, or even listen to the piece until it was completed.  This was particularly challenging for me, because I am usually very auditory in my composing process, and I like using a piano when I am in the process of notating my ideas onto paper.   This project forced me to really hone in on my written and aural theory skills to produce a completely technical piece.

Q: What do you think was the biggest lesson you learned while you were there?

In addition to all of the great lessons I learned about the art of composition, I also learned about the importance of networking and relationships in the music industry.  Who you know is just as important as what you know.  The composition intensive gave me a reality check on how challenging it is to make a living as an academic composer, and that you have to be willing to be flexible and versatile.  Almost everyone who makes a living as a composer also teaches or performs in some capacity.   Nevertheless, everyone I spoke to said that it was worth it.  The key is loving what you do.

Furthermore, because there was such a wide range of age, experience, and skill level among the participants of the intensive, I had the opportunity to learn about grad school programs as well.  It was a nice way to get me thinking about the near future.

Bella Composition Intensive

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Vanguard University Music Program Receives National Accreditation Membership

We are excited to announce that we are now accredited by The  National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)!

Written by Holly Clinard from the Vanguard University Marketing & Communications Office.

Costa Mesa, CA, July 27, 2015 – Vanguard University’s renowned department of music has been granted membership into the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Dr. Susanne Reid, professor of music at Vanguard University, made the announcement this week.

NASM serves as the national accrediting agency for music and music-related disciplines among collegiate and postsecondary schools. Founded in 1924, NASM continues to establish a more uniform method of granting credit, developing and maintaining basic standards for granting degrees and credentials. The association is made up of approximately 650 schools.

“We are most thrilled that our program is recognized nationally, and what this will mean for our students, knowing that NASM membership more easily paves the way for them in applying for graduate school,” said Dr. James Melton, chair of Vanguard’s department of music and professor of music.

Vanguard University’s department of music offers a bachelor of music, bachelor of arts in music and bachelor of arts in worship studies. Students who have graduated from the program currently earn graduate scholarships and assistantships to some of the strongest graduate programs in the nation in their chosen area of performance or concentration.

Member institutions of NASM develop national accreditation standards and guidelines in consultation with other organizations, focusing on artistic and educational essentials.

For more information about the National Association of Schools of Music, visit www.arts-accredit.org.

For more information on the Department of Music at Vanguard University, visit www.vanguard.edu/music.

To request an interview, contact:

Erin Hales, Director of Marketing & Communications


Vanguard University (VU) is a regionally ranked, private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. Located ten minutes from Newport Beach and an hour from Los Angeles, Vanguard equips students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. Vanguard is committed to academic excellence, boasting small class sizes that are designed to cultivate lasting professor-mentor relationships that enhance the learning process. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanguard a top 12 regional college in the west and a top veteran-friendly college for 2015, and The Princeton Review ranked Vanguard a 2014 “Best in the West” regional college. Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Vanguard offers more than 30 degrees and certificates through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs. Please visit www.vanguard.edu

For more Vanguard University press releases, go to: www.vanguard.edu/pressreleases

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Single Subject Program in Music Is Approved by CCTC


The Department of Music is thrilled to announce that The Single Subject Matter Preparation Program in Music has been approved by  the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), making Vanguard University one of six private universities in the state of California to hold this distinction. The Single Subject Matter Preparation Programs approved by CTCC are alternatives to the subject matter examinations and act as appropriate subject matter preparation for the Single Subject Teaching Credential.  Students interested in obtaining a teaching credential after completion of their Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree will need to apply for entrance into a credential program. Students should refer to the Graduate Program in Education at Vanguard University or other institutions for specific information concerning completing a teaching credential.


For more information on the Bachelor of Music degree at Vanguard University, please visit: http://www.vanguard.edu/music/courses/concentrations

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An Afternoon of Classic Concert Band Music

Please join the Vanguard University Concert Band in An Afternoon of Classic Concert Band Music

Newport Mesa Church Worship Center

Sunday, November 16, 2014 4:00 pm

This is the inaugural performance of the newly formed Vanguard University Concert Band.  The ensemble has not had a formal concert in 30 Years.  You will hear works by John Phillip Sousa, Gustav Holst, Frank Ticheli, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and more.  Please join us for an event where you will hear a variety of works written for the wind band.

2013 Christmas Fantasia

2014 Fall Orchestra Concert

2014 Fall Concert

Presented by the

Vanguard University Concert Orchestra

Friday, October 24, 2014 | 7:00pm | Newport Mesa Church


Jenny Chen, Christian Lucas – Concerto Winners | Dr. Joni Prado – Faculty Soloist | Mildred Yi – Conductor


  • SCHUBERT Overture in D Major, D.26
  • STAMITZ Viola Concerto No. 1 in D Major
  • WEBER Clarinet Concertino in Eb Major
  • STRAUSS Ständchen, Zueignung, Cäcilie
  • TCHAIKOVSKY Swan Lake Suite

*Admission is free to the community. Contact 714.619.6412 or music@vanguard.edu with questions.


Master Class with Marc Teicholz

Vanguard University Department of Music is excited to welcome guitarist Marc Teicholz for a Master Class on October 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm in Needham Chapel. Guitarist Marc Teicholz was awarded first prize at the 1989 International Guitar Foundation of America Competition, the largest, most prestigious contest of its kind in the United States. He was also a prize winner at the 1991 New York East-West Artists Competition. Described by Gramophone as “arguably the best of the new young guitarists to have emerged,” and by Soundboard magazine as “among the best we have ever heard,” Teicholz’s performances throughout the world include tours of the United States, Canada, Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Fiji. His recitals and master classes have received critical acclaim, and he has been featured in concert with orchestras in Spain, Portugal, California and Hawaii. For more information, see Mr. Teicholz website: marcteicholz.com