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McPherson College Hires Hopkins To Build Instrumental Music Program

posted May 08, 2013 in ACADEMICS

College memories fade and class notes get misplaced, but for Kyle Hopkins being a musician means always learning something new.

“It’s something you have for your entire life,” Hopkins said. “It’s such an integral part of our humanity.”

Now those at McPherson College are excited that Hopkins’ passion for music will be coming to the college campus full-time in August, when he begins as band director and associate professor of music.

Dr. Kent Eaton, provost, described Hopkins as approachable, relational, and a person with global interests.

“I think he brings exceptional experience and energy,” Dr. Eaton said. “We expect that five years from now when people think of McPherson College, ‘strong music program’ will be one of the first things that comes to mind.”

Most recently director of bands for 12 years at McPherson High School and McPherson Middle School, Hopkins has also taught in Topeka and Shawnee Mission and served as a disability examiner for the State of Kansas, specializing in childhood disability. He’s no stranger to the MC campus, either, having served as adjunct faculty at both MC and Bethany College. A talented horn player, he has performed with the Topeka Symphony and Kansas City Philharmonia and currently performs as principal horn with the Wichita Grand Opera and the Salina Symphony.

He earned a bachelor of arts from the University of Kansas in 1989, then studied Russian language and culture at KU and the Gornyi Institute in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia) before earning a bachelor of music education from Washburn University in 1999 and a master of music from Kansas State University in 2009. His honors include USD 418’s “Teacher of the Year” in 2011 and the district’s nominee for “Kansas Teacher of the Year” in 2012.

Dr. Eaton said Hopkins and a strong instrumental music program at McPherson College will benefit the entire campus.

“It means a much more rounded education for us all, not just for the students in music,” he said. “Having a strong music program raises us all to a higher appreciation of music.”

That parallels Hopkins’ goals to create a stronger community among the band members and across the campus. Ultimately, he plans to expand the program to offer a number of instrumental options - such as jazz band or pep band.

For Hopkins, music education extends past being a “study” into a spiritual endeavor.

“When we study music,” he said. “We’re studying our very existence and diving deeper into what it means to be human.”

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