Find Your Major

Music at Eureka College


Email Dr. Riskind at with questions.


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.






View our Fine and Performing Arts Calendar

Five Concentrations

  • Vocal Performance
  • Piano Performance
  • Music Education
  • Music Ministry
  • Music History and Theory
  • Music Minor also offered
Vocal and Instrumental Ensembles and Lessons
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.
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.
Church Music Programs
Music Publishing Companies
Music Therapy: Health Care Facilities
Summer Festivals
Career Opportunities
Church musician/Music Minister
Curator (music museum)
Music administrator (performing arts organization)
Music critic
Music editor (publishing company)
Music librarian
Music Professor (higher education)
Music reporter
Music Teacher: (private lessons)
Music Teacher (K-12)
Music therapist
Student Characteristics
Detail Oriented
Open to change

Staff Contacts

Dr. Sarah Riskind

Assistant Professor - Music/Director of Choral Activities (309) 467-6399


Learn More

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

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

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

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 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

A $3000 scholarship is available for an incoming student who is an accomplished musician with outstanding vocal talent, selected by audition each February. Additional scholarship money is granted to returning students who demonstrate exemplary dedication and ability in music courses, ensembles, and private study. For more information, contact Dr. Riskind at