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Academic Programs


Derrick Pennix

Derrick Pennix
  • Title Associate Professor of Music
  • Work Phone 574.807.7162
  • Office Everest-Rohrer Chapel/Fine Arts Center, Room 125 1001 Bethel Circle Mishawaka IN 46545 USA EST

Derrick A. Pennix is currently Associate Professor of Music at Bethel College. His teaching responsibilities are: Applied Voice Lessons, Opera Workshop, Vocal Literature, and Vocal Diction. He also is Music Director for the musical theater productions. He currently serves on the Multi-Ethnic Research Team (MERT) at Bethel College.

Dr. Pennix received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock, CA. His Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts were received from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He has served as Adjunct Voice Professor at Bethel College (now Bethel University), St. Paul, MN; Macalester College, St. Paul, MN; and Northwestern College, St. Paul, MN.

Dr. Pennix has performed as soloist for the Minnesota Orchestra, and as a member of The Minnesota Opera. Recent accomplishments include Music Director for the Osceola Community Players’ production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He has most recently performed a solo recital titled, American Art Song: The African American Heritage.

His community involvement includes Council Member for South Bend Community Schools at Clay High School, the Fine Arts Magnet School; a Trustee for the Vesper Chorale; and a member of the Executive Board for the African American Arts Association. 

Teaching Interests:
Applied Voice Lessons, Opera Workshop, Vocal Diction, Vocal Literature
Publications and Research:
  • Led Session for Bayview Baptist Church Summer Music Conference. Session topic: “Healthy Ways to Sing Gospel Music” San Diego CA, July 2001.
  • Workshop Leader, El Cajon Church of the Nazarene, El Cajon CA. Adult Choir Workshop on the history and performance practice of African American Sacred Music, October 15, 2000
  • Led session. Church Music Conference February 12, 2000 “The Gospel Choir: Tradition and Singing” Sponsored by PLNU Music Department and Choral Conductor’s Guild, San Diego. Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego CA
  • Led session, Church of the Nazarene Regional Conference, “Fresh Start” February 2001 “History: Keys to Understanding African American Gospel Style”. Menifee CA.
  • Led session, Church of the Nazarene Regional Conference, “Fresh Start”, February 2000 “Focus on Worship” Menifee CA
  • Served on panel discussion for pastors and lay-leaders on worship style and focus, PLNU, fall 1999
  • Lecturer - The Ordway Music Theater’s Arts Dialogue and Insight This program was targeted to high school students who have been studying various aspects of African American music. I was asked to give an overview of the history of African American music and then relate this to current social situations. I shared this time with two other specialists in African American music. This event culminated in a program at the Ordway Music Theater in St. Paul MN given by the musical group Street Sounds from Oakland CA. This was a two-day event in February 1999.
  • Lecturer - University of Minnesota’s A+ Program This program was designed to assist grade school teachers with the development of arts programs in general and specific areas. I was asked to work with children grades 4 – 6 and the music specialist a Gideon Pond Elementary School in Burnsville MN. I introduced them to African American spirituals teaching them methods for understanding, interpretation, and performance. The teaching session with the students was repeated for other grade school teachers and the results of how the students responded were shared. I worked with the students in April and May 1998 and gave the results at the A+ Program Conference at the University of Minnesota, July 29 and 30, 1998.
  • Lecturer - Minnesota Chorale “Bridges” Project This program explored the sacred music of the African American community. Specifically, I spoke on the history, performance practice, and use of Negro Spirituals as part of the African American sacred experience. I was also asked to conduct and teach Minnesota Chorale members and the general public in a “community gathering”. The focus of this session was on a cappella gospel quartets in the Golden Age of Gospel Music, 1940 – 1955. We also looked at praise songs that were popular in African American churches in the 1960s and 1970s. This event was held at First Baptist Church, Minneapolis MN, May 1998.
  • Led session for the Minnesota Music Educators Association’s 1998 Mid-Winter meetings in Minneapolis. The session topic was, “The Performance Practice of Spirituals.” February 1998.
  • Lecture recital sponsored by the Minnesota Chorale’s Out-Reach Program for Como Park High School in St. Paul MN. The topic was, “The Place of Negro Spirituals in African American History”. April 1997.
  • Lecture Recital “The Development of African American Sacred Music.” Macalester College, St. Paul MN, November 1994.
  • Lecture Recital “The Development of African American Sacred Music” for Gathering at the River: The Music and Culture of the Twin Cities, a program sponsored by The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, October 1994.
Awards and Achievements:
  • Awarded a Research and Special Projects Grant for the creation and implementation of a course on the Art, Literature, and Music of the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Awarded the Patricia Roberts Harris academic fellowship through the University of Minnesota. 1992.
  • Numerous professional and academic performances both solo, chorus, opera and theatre.
Community Involvement:
  • Music Director, Osceola Community Players, for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, July, 2005
Professional Associations:
  • National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS)
  • Center for Black Music Research
  • College Music Society
Professional Links: