Alumnus joins Music Department as director of Messiah & choral activities

Mark LucasBethany College welcomes Mark Lucas, Ph.D., alumnus of 1994, as associate professor of music, director of choral activities, and conductor of the Bethany Oratorio Society.

“The expertise that Dr. Lucas brings to this position is outstanding,” says Music Department Co-Chair Melody Steed, D.M.A. “In addition, as a former resident of Lindsborg and a graduate of Bethany College, he will provide unique insight and energy to the music department and the Messiah Festival. I am very excited to welcome him to the faculty.”

At Bethany, Lucas will direct choral groups, including the college choir and chamber choir, and serve as co-chair of the music department with Associate Professor of Music Dan Masterson, D.M.A. Lucas will also lead the historical Bethany Oratorio Society, which has performed Handel’s “Messiah” every year during Holy Week since 1882, as conductor and artistic director.

“In many ways I have been preparing for this job for the past twenty years,” says Lucas. “It has always been my dream to come back to Lindsborg and Bethany College, and I have been most encouraged by the attitude of togetherness and collegiality amongst the faculty and administration I have met.”

Lucas is eager to strengthen the bonds between Bethany and the community through music. “One of my main goals is to create an attitude of togetherness between Bethany, Lindsborg, and the surrounding communities,” he says. “It will take active participation by all parties in order to realize the goal of growth of the Oratorio Society and music program. It is a great time to be at Bethany College!”

Lucas comes to Bethany from the University of Oklahoma, where he was a tenured associate professor of choral music education and the associate director of choral activities. He conducted the University Singers, taught choral conducting and courses in choral methods, and supervised student teachers.

Lucas received a degree in music education from Bethany and a Master of Music in choral conducting and a doctorate in choral music education from the University of Oklahoma. His dissertation “Adolescent Males’ Motivations to Enroll or Not Enroll in Choir” is a study of what factors influence young men in grades 7 and 8 to participate in choir. His more recent work has been published in the Choral Journal and Applications of Research in Music Education. Lucas currently serves on the advisory committee for the Music Educators Journal.

As a tenor, Lucas has sung professionally with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and remains active in teaching studio voice. As a conductor, Lucas’ past work ranges from preparing major works, such as Brahms’ “Requiem” and Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” to extensive work with middle and high school choirs. In his teaching he employs an integrated approach to choral methods, using authentic teaching experiences as a major part of coursework.

Lucas is a frequent clinician and adjudicator for choral groups of all ages. He founded the Young Men’s Vocal Workshop at the University of Oklahoma, which has featured more than 1,000 young men in concert. He also began the OU Men’s Choir, a group of 40 to 50 men drawn from the university’s population. This ensemble, formerly the Oklahoma Men’s Glee, had not been active for over 30 years.

Before the University of Oklahoma, Lucas served for four years as director of choral activities at Kansas Wesleyan University and taught vocal music to students in grades 6 to 12 in Marion, Kan. Lucas enjoys spending time with his wife, Jeanne, and their two sons, Matt, 11, and Jake, 10.

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