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Viterbo University Hosts Accreditation Team from the National Association of Schools of Music

Viterbo University will host a team of evaluators from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) on Thursday, Feb. 24 and Friday, Feb. 25 as part of the 10-year reaccreditation of the Music Department and all curricular programs in music. Team members Dr. Lynn Wheeler, Pacific Union College, and Dr. Ramona Holmes, Seattle Pacific University, will meet with administrators, faculty, staff and students, observe classes, lessons and rehearsals, hear music students perform, attend the opera production of The Marriage of Figaro, view the music holdings in the library, and tour the Fine Arts Center and other facilities.
The Music Department has its roots in the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration heritage, who began to teach instrumental music in La Crosse in the 1870s. In 1904, the FSPA established the St. Rose Conservatory of Music, the direct predecessor of the Preparatory School of Arts that was in operation until May 2010. In 1940, Sr. Agnetis Heinz created a two-year music curriculum for the St. Rose College of Music (a separate institution from Viterbo College), which was accredited by NASM in 1942. In 1944, the St. Rose College of Music became the Department of Music, when it merged with Viterbo College. Sr. Francesca Zoeller’s efforts to gain NASM accreditation for a four-year music curriculum came to fruition in 1954, when Viterbo College also received accreditation by the North Central Association.

Because nurturing the musical arts and training music teachers were among the first academic curricula developed at Viterbo, the Music Department’s history and mission strongly reflect the musical heritage of the FSPA that continues to shape the identity and direction of the university. The Music Department plays a significant, integral, and highly visible role in maintaining these FSPA traditions, as evidenced by the department’s regular participation in such campus-wide events as the annual St. Francis Day Mass (Founder’s Day), baccalaureate Masses and graduation ceremonies, the Ethics Institute Lecture Series, the Humanities Symposium, Scholars Day, the President’s Festival of Lights, Lessons and Carols, presidential inaugurations, athletic events and other campus activities.

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