Meet Local Directors, Musicians, Artists, & Educators

Collaborating with ViVace Assai


Recognized by critics as offering “tremendously sensitive direction” and being “a gifted and spirited conductor,” Philip Bauman currently serves as music director of the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Michigan City Messiah and conductor of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Youth Orchestra. Known for his charismatic presence on and off the podium he is frequently hailed for his innovative programs and consistently captivating performances.


In the summer of 2014, Mr. Bauman led a successful concert tour conducting in Austria and Germany. Performances were held in Vienna, Munich and Salzburg where he led the concluding ceremony of the International Cantus MM Music Festival. A passionate advocate for music education, Mr. Bauman is dedicated to exploring music with young people through educational concerts and work with youth orchestras.


During his tenure at the La Porte County Symphony, he is credited with significantly raising the orchestra’s artistic level, spearheading a resurgence in the educational programming, more than doubling the audience and expanding the budget three-fold since his arrival in 1994. A passionate advocate for music education, Mr. Bauman has dedicated much of his career to exploring music with young people through educational concerts and work with youth orchestras.


Through his work with Chicago Opera Theater, The Opera Factory, Light Opera Works, da Corneto Opera and the Jarvis Conservatory, Mr. Bauman has gained a reputation as a highly respected conductor of the stage. His 1993 performances of Four Saints in Three Acts with Chicago Opera Theater were unanimously praised by the press. John Von Rhein, music critic of the Chicago Tribune said of his performances, “Philip J. Bauman drew a clean, buoyant and lively reading from the 21- piece orchestra, coordinating stage and pit very well. The final scenes in fact were very moving.”


Mr. Bauman made his podium debut with Chicago Opera Theater in 1989, when as assistant conductor, he led the season’s final performance of Romeo and Juliet on five minutes notice. Since that dramatic and successful debut, he has had a tenyear association with the company and has conducted highly acclaimed performances of Where the Wild Things Are, Carousel, Count Ory , La Traviata, A Waterbird Talk and The Medium with Metropolitan Opera star Mignon Dunn. In 1994, Mr. Bauman once again stepped in on short notice, this time with the Elgin Symphony for the ailing Margaret Hillis; Bauman conducted a subscription concert to much acclaim.


Mr. Bauman has conducted Adios a la Bohemia, Bohemios, La Purpura de la Rosa and two productions of Manuel de Falla’s La Vida Breve for The Opera Factory, Desert Song and Princess Ida for Light Opera Works, and Nabucco, Attila, Don Carlo, Lucrezia Borgia and Verdi’s Requiem with the da Corneto Opera Ensemble. He has conducted The Saffron Rose, La Revoltosa, Agua, Azucarillos y Aguardiente, Doña Francisquita, La Alegria de la Huerta and Gigantes y Cabezudos for the Jarvis Conservatory in Napa, California, El Barbero de Sevilla for the Amarillo Opera in Texas and The Opera Factory, in addition to traveling to Idaho to conduct the Boise Opera in productions of Carousel and South Pacific. For Harbor Arts (MI), Mr. Bauman has conducted Rigoletto and Pagliacci and La Boheme with Harbor Country Opera (MI). In the Chicago, Illinois area he has served as music director and conductor of The Opera Factory, the Chicago Brass Choir, the Lake Shore Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra, and as director of orchestras at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park.


Mr. Bauman spent 13 years as an associate conductor with the Elgin Symphony where he conducted over 100 performances encompassing subscription, pops and educational concerts. For five seasons he served as assistant conductor of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra appearing on Pops and Classical concerts. He has also conducted the Wheaton Symphony, da Corneto Opera Ensemble, Indiana Opera North, the Downers Grove Oratorio Society, North Shore Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Youth Symphony Orchestra, Suburban Youth Symphony, DuPage Repertory Theater, and Circle Theater of Forest Park. He holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in music theory from Western Michigan University.


We truly appreciate all his work in Northwest Indiana and his collaboration with ViVace Assai over the years! Click on the post for La Porte County Symphony Orchestra under our EVENTS page to learn more!!!


Kirk Muspratt, Music Director/Conductor, was named a “Chicagoan of the Year” by music critic John von Rhein and the writing staff of the Chicago Tribune. In honoring Kirk, von Rhein said, “Ask the delighted adults and kids who flocked to his concerts…with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra…They will tell you he made concertgoing an interactive experience that was both enlightening and – are you ready? – fun.” Recognized as one of the outstanding figures in the new generation of conductors, Kirk Muspratt has garnered international critical acclaim and was hailed as “a knowledgeable musician who delivers superbly controlled, gorgeously shaped readings” (St. Louis Post- Dispatch), and the Los Angeles Times declared, “Watch him!”


Kirk begins his sixteenth highly acclaimed season as Music Director of the Northwest Indiana Symphony. In his first 15 seasons, he has instituted several highly commended programs that include a popular Solo Competition for Children that results in a child performing at almost every Northwest Indiana Symphony concert, and his vision was instrumental in founding the South Shore Summer Music Festival.


In order to involve the community to the maximum, Kirk created “Just Ask KirkTM” cards for audience members’ questions, “Interactive Intermissions” for patrons, musicians of the orchestra, and chorus members to meet, and a “KirkatureTM” cartoon to help advocate the credo: “Symphonic music is for everyone.”


Kirk served as Resident Conductor to Lorin Maazel at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1991-1996), was appointed as Associate Conductor to Joseph Silverstein at the Utah Symphony Orchestra (1990-1992), and served both as Assistant Conductor to Leonard Slatkin at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra (1987 – 1990). He was Music Director of the Alberta Ballet (1997 – 1999), and served as a Cover Conductor at the New York Philharmonic.


In addition, Kirk has guest conducted the orchestras of Los Angeles, Montreal, London, Korean Broadcast Symphony, and many more around the United States and Canada. He presently serves as Artistic Director and Conductor of DuPage Opera Theatre as well as the Music Director of the New Philharmonic Orchestra in Chicago. Kirk will make his debut conducting appearance with the Joffrey Ballet this season.


In Europe, Kirk was Assistant Conductor in the opera houses of Monchengladbach / Krefeld, Germany, from 1985 to 1987. His American opera conducting debut came with the Utah Opera in 1991. He has also conducted for the Calgary Opera, Utah Opera, Arizona Opera and Opera Illinois.


As a teacher, Kirk has taught at the Conductors’ Institute of the University of South Carolina, the Conductors’ Guild National Workshops, Association of Canadian Orchestras National Conference in Toronto, the Conductors’ Studio at Illinois State University and at Westminster Choir College in Princeton. During the summer, he has taught graduate conducting classes at VanderCook College of Music, at the Northwestern University seminar for singers, and most recently at the SAI National Convention in St. Louis. Muspratt recently completed six-year tenure on the Board of Directors of the Conductors’ Guild.


Kirk is a native of Crows Nest Pass, Alberta, Canada. His early training was as a pianist. After leaving Alberta, he studied in St. Louis and New York with Harold Zabrack. Kirk continued in both a bachelor’s and master’s programs at Temple University with Adele Marcus and Alexander Fiorillo. He went on to study conducting at the Vienna Conservatory of Music. Kirk became a citizen of the United States in November, 2010.


We truly appreciate all his work across Chicagoland and wish him all the best!! Click on the post for Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra under our EVENTS page to learn more!!!


American born and trained, Maestro Troy Webdell has enthralled audiences for years with his ability to connect people through the language of music. His innovative programming and balance between contemporary music, world music and the standard orchestral repertoire has created a welcomed niche in the world of classical music.  As an advocate of new music, Webdell has premiered numerous works by composers including Roxanna Panufnik, Alan Hovhaness, Michael Schelle, Miho Sasaki, Halim El Dabh, Ana Milosavljevic, David DeBoor Canfield, Rudolph Dolmetsch, and Max Lee. 


Webdell is the founder and conductor of South Shore Orchestra, a regional orchestra located in Valparaiso, Indiana. Under his artistic leadership, SSO has performed a wide range of symphonic repertoire including symphonies, classical masterworks, contemporary music, opera, musicals, and world music. In 2015, Maestro Webdell and the SSO were honored to perform a celebration concert in Chicago’s Symphony Center for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The concert featured a 600 member Chinese chorus with SSO performing Xian Xinghai’s Yellow River Cantata and was broadcast internationally from Chicago to China. Webdell’s interest in world music and culture has taken him on multiple orchestral concert tours throughout China to conduct in renown concert halls in over 30 cities including Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Ningbo, Jiaxing, Shaoxing, Dinghai, Anji, Xiaoshan, Quanzhou, Yangzhou, Fuzhou, Wenzhou, Suzhou, and Hong Kong where his interpretations of the Chinese classical music repertoire have been received with critical acclaim. Additionally, Webdell has earned awards for his orchestral conducting in America especially in the genre of musical theatre, including outstanding musical/orchestral direction awards for productions of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Man of La Mancha. 


Maestro Webdell’s dedication to music education and his commitment to engage students of all ages into the fabric of music can be seen daily when he teaches and conducts over 200 string students in the Crown Point Community School Corporation in Indiana. Webdell has also been a collaborator in developing an El Sistema based youth orchestra, interactive educational symphony concerts, scholarships for college-bound students, and “Unity Event” concerts featuring over 300 community chorus and orchestra musicians. As a clinician and guest speaker, Webdell has presented clinics at the International Music and Confucianism Symposium (USA) and at the Indiana Music Educators Association (IMEA) Festivals and State Conventions including an instrumental conducting clinic entitled “Conducting Young Musicians Expressively,” and a music composition clinic entitled “Composing Kids!” His primary conducting teachers/mentors have included Stanley DeRusha, Stephen Pratt, Frederick Fennell, Ray Cramer, William Hochkeppel and Michael Haydn.


We truly appreciate all his work in Northwest Indiana, and wish him all the best!! Click on the post for South Shore Orchestra under our EVENTS page to learn more!!!


Deneza Jadol is one of Northwest Indiana’s hidden treasures. As a life long singer, Deneza’s passion for music developed within the Michigan City Area School district, under the direction of Derek Meilaender and Dennis Kienitz. She studied choral performance, music theory, and became a member of some of the top performing ensembles at Michigan City High School, including Treble Chorale and City Singers.


In 2013, she performed with ViVace Assai, other local artists, and MCHS alumni on Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest stage.  After high school, she began singing her own songs and compositions at various locations across the region, including Parkside Urban Bistro, Front Porch (Valparaiso), and Sweet Lou, That’s Who! (Westville). She works occasionally with Derek Meilaender to continue her studies and progress as an artist and a composer, but her time is currently predominantly spent in nursing school at Purdue Northwest. He recalls what it has been like working with Deneza over the years.


“When I started working in Michigan City, Deneza was one of my first students at Krueger Middle School. Her passion and dedication to music were clear from the start, but the amount of progress she’s shown over the years has just been astounding. She is also one of the kindest, most enthusiastic, and creative artists working to keep her music career active while studying nursing at Purdue. I could not be prouder of all her accomplishments.”


In addition to singing, composing, and studying, Deneza runs her own photography business. Her photograph on Lake Michigan is featured as the cornerstone of our webpage design. We truly appreciate everything she has done around Northwest Indiana and wish her all the best!!!


Biography Coming Soon


Victoria Myhand is another rising artist of Michigan City! As an avid participant and stage hand for the Young People’s Theatre Company, she is no stranger to the stage. She studied theater, choral performance, and show choir under the direction of Becky Tiedeman, Dennis Kienitz, and Michelle Howisen.


One of Victoria’s greatest passions is show choir, and in her spare time she has also begun writing her own songs. In 2013 she performed at Navy Pier with ViVace Assai, other local artists, and MCHS alumni on the Winter Wonderfest Stage. She is currently a freshman at Indiana University, and has performed with Grace and Deneza at the “Feed the Soul” Showcase Events over the years.


We truly appreciate everything she’s done for YPTC, Michigan City High School, ViVace Assai, and wish her all the best!!!


Jeffrey Scott Doebler serves as director of music education and bands at Valparaiso University, where he also conducted the Handbell Choir from 1992-2000. His previous experience includes public school teaching in Emmetsburg, Iowa, and Shakopee, Minnesota, as well as graduate teaching assistantships at Valparaiso University and the University of Minnesota. He is equally effective when working with younger students, older students, and professional musicians. Dr. Doebler holds music education degrees from Luther College (B.A.), Valparaiso University (M.M.), and the University of Minnesota (Ph.D.). He is a native of Palatine, Illinois.


Professor Doebler’s career of more than 30 years in music education has achieved a unique balance of conducting, teacher preparation, leadership in the profession, and working with musicians from the beginning through professional levels, but all aspects of his vocation have had an ultimate focus on teaching. He has been recognized for excellence in teaching by peers, colleagues and students. Dr. Doebler was the recipient of the 2008 Carlo A. Sperati Award from Luther College, for outstanding achievement in the field of music. In 2006, Dr. Doebler was named Outstanding University Music Educator of the Year by the Indiana Music Educators Association, and also received the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award from Quinlan & Fabish Music. Professor Doebler is the 2005 recipient of the Valparaiso University Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award. Also in 2005, he was inducted into Phi Beta Mu, international band conductors fraternity, and Sigma Alpha Iota presented him its national award, Friend of the Arts. In 1999, Dr. Doebler received a First Annual Students’ Choice Teacher of the Year Award from Alpha Phi Omega and Mortar Board. He has been listed twice in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. In 2001, he received the Orpheus Award “for significant and lasting contributions to the cause of music in America,” by the Valparaiso University Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. It is believed that this was the first Orpheus Award bestowed by the VU Chapter in its then 40-year history. In 2010, the Dunes Moraine District of the LaSalle Council, Boy Scouts of America honored Dr. Doebler with the Silver Seagull Award, in honor of his many years as Assistant Scoutmaster, Acting Scoutmaster, Webelos Leader, and Den Leader.


Professor Doebler is active throughout the year as a guest conductor, consultant, and clinician, and has appeared professionally in over 25 states, Canada, Malta, Australia, New Zealand, and China. In a typical year, Dr. Doebler will work with over 3000 students. He has served as a community music conductor, church music director, and also as director of Royal Brass Ensembles for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. As a high school teacher, Dr. Doebler earned a reputation for leading the transformation of struggling bands into model programs. He was also active in site-based management and district-wide strategic planning. At the university level, his interpretations, repertoire selection, conducting, and leadership have been highly praised. Dr. Doebler has conducted and prepared ensembles for performances in the Sydney Opera House (Australia), Severance Hall (Cleveland), Orchestra Hall (Chicago), St. George’s Basilica (Malta), Oriental Performance Hall (Shanghai), Shanghai Conservatory, Grand Opera Theatre (Hangzhou), Wrigley Field (Chicago), Orchestra Hall (Minneapolis), Ordway Music Theatre (St. Paul), EPCOT, Disneyland, and for events such as the International Special Olympics, and the NCAA National Gymnastics and Volleyball Championships. During the summers of 2005-2013, Dr. Doebler traveled to China as an invited lecturer and guest conductor on American music education and concert band music. In 2010 he presented information about these tours at the 29th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education. In July of 2006, Professor Doebler served as director of the jazz band for the National Youth Gathering of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in San Antonio.


Dr. Doebler is president of the Indiana Bandmasters Association (IBA). He is a former president of the Indiana Music Educators Association (IMEA), and currently serves as editor of IMEA’s state journal. In past years, he has served IMEA as convention chair, All-State Future Music Educators Colloquium chair, contributing editor, convention future planning chair, professional development chair, and co-chair of the strategic planning steering committee. A leader in Indiana’s teacher education reform project, Dr. Doebler served as chair of both the Fine Arts Advisory Group and the Licensure Committee of the Indiana Professional Standards Board. For IBA, he has conducted the All-State, All-Region and All-District Bands, and will conduct the Junior All-State Band in 2014. He has served Lutheran Summer Music, the national Lutheran high school music camp, as concert band conductor and guest conductor, handbell choir conductor (founder), summer program director, and faculty affairs coordinator. Dr. Doebler is founder and conductor of a professional-level concert band, Windiana, which debuted in 2001 at the Indiana Convention Center. In 2006-13, Windiana completed highly-acclaimed concert tours of China. Windiana was one of five bands, nationwide, to perform for the 2011 National Convention of the Association of Concert Bands.


Professionally, Dr. Doebler holds memberships in Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Sigma Alpha Iota, Phi Beta Mu, National Association for Music Education, Indiana Music Educators Association, International Society for Music Education, National Band Association, Indiana Bandmasters Association, College Band Directors National Association, College Music Society, Iowa Bandmasters Association, Association of Concert Bands, American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, and the World Future Society.


Dr. Doebler is working with Miguel Rosario-Vega specifically to create collaborative concerts between high school and Valparaiso University students. Thank you, Dr. Doebler!!!