Christendom College will welcome recognized musicologist Dr. Sara Pecknold to the faculty this coming fall, where she will be teaching in the college’s music department. An expert in the scholarly study of the history of music, Pecknold will teach multiple classes and serve as Assistant Director of the college’s Fra Angelico Fine Arts series, helping to expand the college’s musical scholarship in exciting new ways.
“I have known Sara Pecknold as a fellow member of the Board of Directors of the Dom Mocquereau Foundation at the Catholic University of America for a number of years,” says Dr. Kurt Poterack, professor in the college’s music department and director of Christendom’s Choir and Schola Gregoriana. “She is an excellent musicologist. Having another musical scholar on campus will be a delight and help to impress upon students that music is not just a nice thing to listen to, but is also a serious scholarly discipline and, therefore, a true liberal art.”
Pecknold earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Seattle Pacific University before obtaining her M.M. in Vocal Pedagogy and her Ph.D. (with Distinction) in Historical Musicology from the Catholic University of America. A recipient of numerous honors, including from Princeton University, the American Musicological Society, and the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, Pecknold is looking forward to sharing her knowledge with the Christendom community this fall as a visiting assistant professor.
“I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I very much look forward to working and praying with the Christendom community this coming academic year,” says Pecknold. “For me, the appeal of teaching at Christendom lies foremost in the College’s faithfulness to its Catholic identity, and, secondly, to its fostering of the great Western liberal arts tradition. Holy Mother Church is in many ways the authoress of this tradition, and I am excited to serve at an institution that understands and celebrates this.”
Pecknold will teach multiple courses at Christendom, including one focusing on Mary in Music and Art. The course will explore music, writings, and images honoring the Mother of Our Lord, created throughout the past two millennia of Christianity. In addition, Pecknold will work with Poterack on the college’s Beato Fra Angelico Fine Arts Program, which offers students a further opportunity beyond the classroom to experience directly the higher and more aesthetically praiseworthy aspects of Western civilization and contemporary culture through live performances, lectures, art exhibitions, and other on-campus events throughout the academic year.
This exciting expansion of the college’s music department comes in conjunction with the new, traditional handcrafted pipe organ that is currently being constructed for the college’s new Christ the King Chapel. The beautiful new organ will help the college connect even more with the broader liturgical music community, helping to bring traditional, beautiful music back into churches again.
“Considering that, in the great tradition of the Latin West, the pipe organ has developed as the unrivaled sacred instrument, knowledge of this instrument is of great importance,” says Poterack. “Our contribution to the broader liturgical music community will be to provide skilled organists to reintroduce people to their own heritage, improve the sense of the sacred and, who knows, maybe even replace the pianos, guitars and musical saws still present in many parishes.”
The new four manual, 46 rank pipe organ, specially built for the new chapel, will bring even more exciting opportunities for interested students and will perfectly complement the college’s existing organ offerings, which includes an organ lessons class and an AGO Service Playing Certificate examination through the college’s music minor. Interested students are also able to apply for the college’s Benedict XVI Organ Scholarship.
For more information on the college’s music minor, visit here.