The Master Singers

Media Sponsor

Wisconsin Public Radio

Season Sponsors

Wisconsin Arts Board

The National Endowment for the Arts

Transportation Sponsor

Kobussen Buses, Ltd.

Concert Sponsors

The Casper Foundation

Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic

Dr. Gary & Nancy Schwartzhoff

The Bailey Family

The Basilica of Saint Mary

Friends of the Master Singers

The Master Singers Circle

The White Family

Composer In Residence

Connor Koppin, Composer-in-Residence

Connor Koppin, Composer-in-Residence composer of choral music living and writing in Des Moines, IA.

Here is how you pronounce my last name (for those that are wondering):

Ko (koh)- pPIN (peen) (stress the 2nd syllable)

My works have been worthy of winning awards as well as being considered “exceptionally crafted” (Melisma) with the ability to closely tie music and text. My compositional output consists primarily of choral music but also includes works for instrumental ensembles, film scores, and songwriting.

I've been commissioned by reputable ensembles like The Wartburg Choir, Luther College Collegiate Chorale, Luther College Norsemen,The Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, and The Central Bucks West Choir. I'm looking forward to writing for several choirs this year including- Theodore Brimeyer and the Urbandale High School Men's Choir, Benjamin Murray and the Fox Chapel Madrigal Singers, The Wartburg Choir and Dr. Lee Nelson, and serving as Composer-in-Residence for The Master Singers of Eau-Claire, WI.

My piece, “There Will Come Soft Rains” was the winner of the inaugural Capital Hearings Young Composer’s Competition in 2014. My music has been included in reading sessions at the following conferences: TCDA, ICDA, MCDA, and WCDA. Some of my scores are currently published with Walton Music, Morning Star Music Publishers, ECS publishing, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Music Spoke, Hal Leonard, and CJKMusic. I also am a teacher of choral music. I have taught vocal music for 2 years and am now entering my third year of teaching in the Des Moines area.

I am also working towards a master’s in choral conducting in the graduate program at Michigan State University where I study conducting with Dr. Jonathan Reed and Dr. David Rayl. My fiancee, Chelsea, and I are currently living in Des Moines, IA with our amazing dog, Arvo.

To learn more about Connor's work, visit

Silver Anniversary Quotes From Composers

“Thank you for the opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff and The Masters Singers. Your support of my work has ranged from performances of a wide variety of my pieces, to performances of my major works, to the commissioning of a piece for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts performance in 2013. Thank you for your commitment not only to music, but to new music and living composers. Your Silver Anniversary is a testament to the enduring power of great music, performed by singers with a passion for it, and I’m honored to have had a part in your programming and music-making. May you continue to beautify the upper Midwest with your work for many more years!”
—Dan Forrest, composer

“Having served as commissioned and visiting composer for The Master Singers has afforded me a “first class seat” to witness the contributions this wonderful ensemble gives to the artistic life of Eau Claire. There is no greater joy than to love music, to make music and to share that joy with family, friends and the community. Honor it, support it, embrace it! There is no doubt that your performances will always give pride and inspiration to those who participate, as well as those in attendance, under the dedicated, artistic direction of my friend and admired colleague, Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff. In my heart, I will always be an honorary member of The Master Singers.”
—James Mulholland, composer

“During recent years, I have been more than delighted to have several choral works performed by The Master Singers and their fine conductor Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff, yet being provided the opportunity in 2014 to collaborate on a new composition, entitled To Night, was a great honor. They are a marvelous and versatile group of singers in whom I felt could sing anything I put on the page with precision, spirit, and grace. These singers and their performing prowess are a treasure to the Midwest region.”
—Eric Barnum, composer

“In my tenure with The Master Singers, I learned great artistry is a result of discipline and devotion. Being able to serve as composer-in-residence allowed my work to be brought to life in a way I didn’t know possible.”
—Andrew Steffen, composer

“Music Celebrations International (MCI) has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with The Master Singers since 1992. Our interest in The Master Singers is the high quality of this semi-professional ensemble. Their performances are unique in quality, exciting repertoire, involvement in artistic improvement, touring opportunities, and commissioned works from some of America’s greatest composers under the direction of one of America’s foremost conductors, Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff. This ensemble receives raves and noticeable audience appreciation whether in Eau Claire, Paris, Rome, London, or many other domestic or European locations. MCI has hosted The Master Singers on two international tours and three domestic choral festivals including the JFK and FDR Presidential Choral Festivals in Washington, D.C. Congratulations to The Master Singers on your Silver Anniversary Season!”
—John Wiscombe, MCI President

“Years ago, a composition teacher taught me—while referring to the journey a musical motive embarks upon throughout a piece—that “an object is heavier because of the weight of where it’s been.” Experience forges a rare gravitas in just such a motive as it passes through new contexts, overcoming resistance, contrasts, digressions and modulations. I’ve always felt this to be a microcosmic model of the totality of life: to be born, endure trials, resistance, change, and then to remain intact: purified of the hubris of youth and inexperience; clothed in wisdom and understanding. So, it is with this formidable organization and their visionary guide, Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff. Twenty-five years has rendered the Eau Claire Master Singers a rare gravitas and expressive authority. I have been fortunate to collaborate with these my friends on three separate occasions, on works that have required dedication, sacrifice, and heart that can only be tempered by the fires and adversities of life. Together, we’ve shared with the world the last Easter letter of a young G.I. felled in the jungles of southeast Asia; the inspirational speeches of a young American president (JFK) who would not live, as lamented his brother Teddy, “to comb grey hair;” and the proclamations of another president (FDR) who, in the gathering clouds of impending world war, outlined a vision that—if assimilated—could end all war. These are works whose performances were only made authentic by the collective and individual authenticity of their singers and conductor. In celebrating twenty-five years, the Eau Claire Master Singers unearths even greater treasures wrought through experience: treasures whose nature is truth, and whose language is music.”
—Ethan Wickman, composer

“The Master Singers from Eau-Claire have played a significant role in my development as a composer. I assume there are many individuals who share this exact same sentiment. Dr. Schwartzhoff has made a significant footprint on the lives of American composers in his willingness and diligence to annually commission new works. The composer-in-residence program has gifted me something that many composers could only dream of, an opportunity to write for an ensemble with unabashed support from the commissioning party. I have heard nothing but kind words and positive remarks from the singers of the ensemble as well as Dr. Schwartzhoff himself. With each work, I try to do something unique, something different than before. At times, this can yield music that pushes singers and audiences alike. It has been wonderful to know that should I happen to fall, I will land softly in the net of the Master Singers. Thank you to this organization for its significant role in developing and preserving high-level choral music in the state of Wisconsin and in the lives of many others.”
—Connor J. Koppin, composer

"Between 2011 and 2015, I have had the pleasure of holding a variety of titles with The Master Singers. Whether it was being an usher, page turner, videographer, singer or composer-in-residence, I have found this ensemble, and the individuals who run it, to be dedicated to a high standard of sharing something far grander than the musical notes printed on the page. The Master Singers constantly hit the mark of bringing a human experience to their audiences. Each song they sing paints an aural picture on the canvas of our imaginations. Music is a higher form of communication that not only touches your soul but opens the doors of hope for a better future."
—Zachary Moore, composer

“Congratulations to The Master Singers and Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff as you celebrate your 25th Season of creating beautiful choral music together. I’m am honored to have my compositions included on your concerts. In addition, I look forward to collaborating with poet Max Garland to create a new work for choir and strings which you will be premiering in October 2018. What a wonderful way to celebrate the opening of your new Confluence Center, the two rivers that have played a rich history in Eau Claire, as well as, the arts in your community! Have a wonderful 25th Anniversary Season!”
—Elaine Hagenberg, composer

Works Commissioned by the Master Singers

The Master Singers is honored to celebrate our association with leading composers during our history. Thank you to these composers whose musical gift has enriched our lives and thrilled audience for 25 years.

Elaine Hagenberg – 2018-2019

  • Work with Max Garland, poet

Connor Koppin – 2016-2018

  • Thy Little Ones
  • Waves that Seek the Shore
  • Circles of Motion
  • A Star’s Light

Ethan Wickman - 2015-2016

  • A Destiny of Liberty

Zachary Moore – 2014-2016

  • The Fall of Rome
  • Carol of the Bells
  • My Flight to Heaven
  • Sleep My Child, Sleep
  • October Song

Eric Barnum – 2013-2014

  • To Night

Ethan Wickman – 2012-2013

  • Let the Word Go Forth

Dan Forrest – 2012-2013

  • Eternal Father, Strong to Save

Andrew Steffen – 2011-2014

  • Solitude
  • There Is a Gift
  • I Am Not Yours
  • Adoro te, Devote
  • Cradle Song
  • Goin’ Home
  • O Nata Lux

Eric Barnum – 2011-2012

  • Corpus Christi

Ethan Wickman – 2010-2011

  • Epistle: Quid Quaeritis Viventum Cum Mortuis?

Jeffrey Van – 2010-2011

  • Sweet Was the Song

Z. Randall Stroope – 2009-2010

  • O Magnum Mysterium

James Mulholland – 2007-2008

  • The Gift of Love

Cary John Franklin – 2006-2007

  • What is This Lovely Fragrance?

Daniel Kallman – 2001-2002

  • o by the by