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Enrich Your College Experience with the Arts!

Join the Chorale, Dance Team, Gospel Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Lyric Theatre, or the Pep Band and receive a scholarship.

  • Share your talent
  • Have fun with new friends
  • Show your school spirit

Tell us you're interested, or ask about scholarships in an email to: perform@madonna.edu.

See the content below for more information on the different Performing Arts groups and their corresponding directors.

Take the Stage!

Chorale

The Madonna University Chorale is an ensemble of passionate vocalists with varied interests, academic majors, and abilities. Under the direction of Kevin Cushman, adjunct associate professor of music, Chorale members perform at local charity events, international dinners, and campus ceremonies, in addition to their scheduled performances during each term. While mastering a repertoire of classical works, the Chorale also performs contemporary pieces, spirituals, folk songs, multicultural music and original arrangements. Participants develop a deeper appreciation for music and refine their individual skills as musicians. Prospective members are asked to arrange a brief interview and audition with the director. Active members will receive a performing arts scholarship to help lower their out-of-pocket expenses to attend Madonna. For more information, please contact Performing Arts at  perform@madonna.edu .

Dance Team

The Madonna University Dance Team is a group of enthusiastic dancers who practice and perform with spirit and dedication. The Dance Team performs at men's and women's basketball games, campus events, and competitions. We are looking for members who have a serious work ethic, positive attitude, and a substantial dance background. Members must be committed for the entirety of the athletic season, which will run from August until February. Dance Team is open to students from any major and the auditions are held in April. The dancers are fortunate to train with the new coach, Calli Hornacek who is a former cheerleader for the Detroit Lions. Active members will receive a performing arts scholarship to help lower their out-of-pocket expenses to attend Madonna. For more information, please contact Performing Arts at  perform@madonna.edu .

Gospel Choir

The Madonna University Gospel Choir is a student-centered, faith-based, performing arts organization which explores practical worship, expresses campus ministry, and espouses Christian principles through a wide variety of genres, including traditional, contemporary, and inspirational gospel music. The music of the Choir is not particular to a group or ethnic background but to the Gospel message itself and its broad articulations within the experience of Christian music. The repertoire goes well beyond contemporary and traditional gospel music and includes African American spirituals, American hymnody, sacred anthems, gospel jazz, praise and worship choruses, and international folk songs of faith. Madonna University recognizes Gospel music as a vehicle of worship, a chronicle of history, and a cultural asset of the faith experience in America and beyond. The Gospel Choir is directed by Darnell Ishmel who grew up singing, playing, and directing gospel music at his local church. Active members will receive a performing arts scholarship to help lower their out-of-pocket expenses to attend Madonna. For more information, please contact Performing Arts at  perform@madonna.edu .

Jazz Ensemble

The Madonna University Jazz ensemble is a performance based instrumental music group designed for students who have prior experience playing an instrument and reading music. The ensemble can fluctuate from 4-20 musicians and features piano/keyboard, bass, drums, guitar, brass instruments and saxophones.  Performance opportunities include University concerts, various off-campus venues and fund raising events throughout the academic year.  Music selections range from traditional big band charts to small ensemble improvisations.  Participants will learn the jazz idiom, expand their musical ability and experience the joy of American jazz music while providing quality musical entertainment.  Auditions for membership are scheduled individually at a mutually convenient appointment with the Director of Instrumental Music, Kevin Del Pup. Active members will receive a performing arts scholarship to help lower their out-of-pocket expenses to attend Madonna. For more information, please contact Performing Arts at  perform@madonna.edu . 

Lyric Theatre

The Madonna University Lyric Theatre is open to all Madonna students, regardless of major, experience or skill level. Each academic year, the Lyric Theatre performs two varied productions, under the music/stage direction of associate professor Barbara Wiltsie. A great opportunity to continue your love of performing on stage, Lyric Theatre productions appeal to students who enjoy opera/operetta or musical theatre, and who want to gain confidence, poise and leadership skills – while they have fun learning dance styles and dressing in fabulous costumes. Our productions rehearse throughout the semester, culminating in a weekend of public performances; and offer all Madonna students opportunities for major roles, smaller roles, chorus and/or stage crew. Active members will receive a performing arts scholarship to help lower their out-of-pocket expenses to attend Madonna. For more information, please contact Performing Arts at  perform@madonna.edu .

Pep Band

The Madonna University Pep Band is performance-based and open to all students. Prior experience of playing a band instrument and the ability to read music at a fundamental-intermediate level is required, but marching skills are not necessary. If you play keyboard, bass, percussion, woodwind, or brass, and want to be part of a fresh, new, lively band, this is the ensemble for you! Most of the performances are at home (men’s/women’s) basketball games, various school functions and other athletic spirit-focused events. Selections will include a combination of traditional and modern music to present a popular, entertaining sound. It is recommended everyone has his/her own instrument; however, the university does have some instruments that can be utilized for the duration of the season. The director can also assist in locating the necessary instruments. Auditions for membership are scheduled individually at a mutually convenient appointment with the Director of Instrumental Music, Kevin Del Pup. Active members will receive a performing arts scholarship to help lower their out-of-pocket expenses to attend Madonna. For more information, please contact Performing Arts at  perform@madonna.edu.

Performing Arts Directors

Kevin CushmanDirector, Madonna Chorale

M.S., Madonna University

B.A., Michigan State University

kcushman@madonna.edu

734-432-5508, Room 1506G

Kevin Cushman

Kevin has been a lifelong music educator, beginning with Detroit Catholic Central H.S. and recently retiring from Redford Union Schools. In addition to private and public school education he has served as Minister of Music at churches in the Lansing Diocese, and is currently serving at St. Valentine Parish in Redford. Through the years Kevin’s choirs have performed in locations including Sydney Opera House, Westminster Abbey, the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and the State Capitol in Lansing, as well as the Governor’s home.

Performances have been given for local and state dignitaries as well as performing by invitation for the victims of the 9/11 tragedy at the White House; masses at the cathedrals in Milan and Florence, and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The highest honor coming when his choir performed for His Holiness Pope (St.) John Paul II during a private audience.  Kevin currently serves as an active adjudicator for the Michigan School Vocal Music Association and is a member of the American Choral Directors Association. He has been serving as an adjunct associate professor in the Music Department at Madonna University since 2008.

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Calli CutraroHead Coach, Dance Team

ccutraro@madonna.edu

734-432-5543, 2427

Calli Cutraro

Calli has been dancing since the age of three. She has been trained in pointe/ballet, lyrical, modern, jazz, tap and hip-hop. Calli is currently a kindergarten teacher in Farmington and a former cheerleader for the Detroit Lions. Previously, she was a member of the Oakland University Athletics Dance Team. She has worked for the Universal Dance Association, instructing choreography classes and as an adjudicator at various dance camps throughout the summer.

Additionally, Calli was the head coach of the Rochester High School Varsity Dance Team. Ms. Cutraro is a graduate of Oakland University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and is currently working to attain a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Michigan State University. She is looking forward to sharing her passion and expertise as the new coach of the Madonna University Dance Team.

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Kevin Del Pup

Director, Instrumental Music

Pep Band

Jazz Ensemble

kdelpup@madonna.edu

734-432-5708, 1506G

Kevin Del Pup

Kevin Del Pup serves the University as Director of Instrumental Music, working with both the Jazz Ensemble and Pep Band. Kevin has had an interest in music his whole life.  In high school he developed his skills on the jazz drum under the direction of well-known Detroit jazz artists, Jim Ryan and Dave Taylor. He continued to play semi-professionally while attending college and attained his degree in Music Education from Wayne State. Kevin comes to us with years of experience as a full-time teacher in the Redford Union School District.

Traditionally he works with middle and high school bands, but he has also directed a variety of performing groups to include jazz bands, pep bands, pit ensembles, and percussion ensembles. After fifteen years of teaching he continues to enjoy sharing his expertise and passion for music with such a wide array of students. He is always on the lookout for talented musicians to perform with while educating local young artists during the day.

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Darnell IshmelDirector, Madonna Gospel Choir

dishmel@madonna.edu

734-432-5715, 1506E

Darnell Ishmel

Darnell Ishmel grew up singing, playing, and directing gospel music at his local church. After finishing his training in Music and African American studies at the University of Michigan, he went on to make his professional debut with the Cincinnati Opera. Hailed by the New York Times for his, "show-stealing" stage presence, "rich baritone, precise diction and superb comic timing" in his New York opera debut, he is a flexible vocalist and an innovative recitalist who constantly explores programming to enhance the recital tradition, attract new audiences, and preserve the art form.

He is currently on staff as the Gospel Choir Director at Madonna University in Livonia, MI, the Michigan State University Community Music School in Detroit, MI; and is the Assistant Conductor of the Willis C. Patterson Our Own Thing Chorale in Ann Arbor, MI.  He is also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

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Barbara WiltsieDirector, Lyric Theatre

M.Mus., Manhattan School of Music

B.Mus., Eastern Michigan University

M.A. Eastern Michigan University

bwiltsie@madonna.edu

734-432-5715, 1506E

Barbara Wiltsie

Barbara Wiltsie, mezzo-soprano, has soloed with numerous symphonies, chorale groups and opera companies throughout the Midwest; including the DSO, Southwestern Michigan Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Bach Festival of Kalamazoo, Mendelssohn Chorale of Pittsburgh, The Singers Club of Cleveland, Opera!Lenawee, Michigan Opera Theater, Des Moines Metro Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Civic Opera, and Toledo Opera. A former long-time Michigan Opera Theatre Touring Artist, she has garnered many awards—such as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as a two-time Regional finalist, winner of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize and a winner in the NOA Artist Awards. A recipient of the 2004 Teaching of Excellence Adjunct Faculty award, her full-time duties since 2006 include Director (and founder) of Lyric Theatre and vocal-related classes.

In addition to her university duties, Ms. Wiltsie is the Founder & Managing Director for the Madonna University Summer Music Theater Intensive for high school students, as well as a sought-after adjudicator for MSVMA, NATS and other musical organizations. She is Co-Director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions - Michigan Committee. For more information about the Summer MT Intensive program, please visit http://madonnauniversitysummermt.weebly.com/.

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