Chair and Associate Professor of Music
Degrees earned: MME,
experience: LaDonna lyric soprano, earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree
in vocal performance at the University of Hartford, Hartt School in West
Hartford, Conn. At Clarke University, she chairs the music department and instructs
private voice, elementary music education methods and guides senior thesis
LaDonna has continually focused on teaching music since
completing her undergraduate degree in music (vocal performance) with a
concentration in music education at Clarke University. She taught elementary and
middle school music in Catholic schools in Bellevue, Iowa, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, Calif. and Des Moines, Iowa. In the schools she established
successful school choruses and enjoyed directing school musicals with over 500
participants. She earned a master’s degree in music education with an emphasis
in Kodàly methodology from Holy Names College, Oakland, Calif. She returned to
Clarke University as staff liturgist and music instructor in 1996.
LaDonna enjoys performing in choral groups and as a soloist.
In 2006, she recorded a collection of 15 songs, Love’s Rondelay, by composer Robert J. Dvorak, for the Alliance
Publications Inc. label. She has collaborated with composers and seeks to
premiere new works. In 2012, she recorded two song cycles by Dr. Amy Dunker: Teasdale Songs and Dickinson Songs. Her most recent faculty recital of French melodies highlighted her sabbatical
travels to France in 2011.
Her operatic roles include that of Mrs. Gobineau (Menotti’s The Medium) and Annina (Verdi’s La Traviata).
As a soprano soloist, LaDonna frequently sings for the
Sinsinawa (Wis.) Mound Civic Chorus’ annual performances of the Messiah. In 2012, she performed Antonin
Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and Grieg’s
incidental music to Peer Gynt with
the Finger Lakes Choral Festival at Hochstein Hall in Rochester, New York. This
past year, she sang with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Bach’s
Cantata No. 150. She performs regularly as a chorister with the Dubuque
Chorale. Since 2012, LaDonna raises her baton with the Archdiocesan Chorale of
Good teaching begins by meeting, a student at his/her place of comfort, skill
level, and level of interest. It leads a student beyond his/her place of
comfortable unknowing, to a new level of skill and interest. It means being a
good listener and a convincing speaker.
The student/teacher relationship is one of trust and caring.
Mistakes are an opportunity to learn more about a subject but also more about
oneself. It is important to take the subject seriously, but not to take one’s
self too seriously.
Clarke’s impact on
LaDonna: Clarke is where I first came to college. When I returned as a music
instructor and campus ministry staff member, it was a joy to be working with
some of those who had taught me just 14 years earlier. It was then, and
continues to be, a friendly and caring place to learn. Thank you to the Clarke
BVMs and faculty who encouraged me. I am a proud member of the Clarke faculty
LaDonna’s impact on
students: Teaching is a special calling in life. It is challenging because
the process of learning takes many avenues. There is nothing more uplifting
than hearing back from students, often many years later, who share a story of
how, unknowingly, you made a difference in their lives.
Movie – Babe
Book – Whatever
I’m reading now
Quote – “Music
expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be
silent.” Victor Hugo
Class in college –
Elementary Music Methods
Place traveled - Nice,
Hobby – Baking