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Musical Menus Creates Community

By Clarke News  |  April 5, 2022
John Lease (left) presented Connor Frederick and Joshua Chapman with two of the inaugural John Lease High School Soloist Awards during the Saturday evening performance of Musical Menus, alongside Artistic Director and Clarke Assistant Professor of Music, Josh Glasner.

With performances March 31-April 2, Clarke’s Musical Menus event returned this year as an opportunity to bring the community together over food, music, and a love of the arts.

Over 260 attendees enjoyed performances across three evenings, each offering a unique program celebrating the songs of Broadway performed by Clarke students, employees, and alumni, as well as area high school performers.

“Our entire music faculty was taken aback by the support for our students, our alumni, and our local high school musicians,” said Joshua Glasner, Assistant Professor of Music and Artistic Director of this year’s event. “While it is no stretch of the imagination to say that the arts and music are alive and well in Dubuque, all of us in the Music Program at Clarke are hopeful that this year’s Musical Menus clearly shows the positive impact music and the arts can have on our community.  We can’t wait to take these efforts even further in the future!”

This year’s production also featured the inaugural John Lease High School Soloist Award, in which a rising senior in each of Dubuque’s local high schools received a scholarship for their exemplary musicianship, their commitment to the success of their classmates, and their potential to be leaders in their respective music programs during their senior year. Each winner also had an opportunity to perform during one of the Musical Menus showcases.  This year’s winners were:

  • Joshua Chapman, Wahlert Catholic HS
  • Conner Frederick, Senior Dubuque HS
  • Claire Hillebrand, Western Dubuque HS
  • Payton Reid, Hempstead HS

As part of the evening’s festivities, attendees were able to enjoy appetizers and desserts prepared by Clarke’s Dining Services, with assistance from students in the Nutrition and Food Science program. The students contributed items like infused oils and pickled garnishes for the event and displayed posters explaining the science behind the evening’s dishes in the Atrium prior to the musical performances.

Musical Menus also provided unique opportunities for community involvement this year, with several local organizations providing financial support and sponsoring tickets for area high schoolers to attend the performances. Business sponsors included Klauer Optical, Jubeck New World Brewing, and Wayfarer Coffee, and Centrally Rooted.

Centrally Rooted also served as a community partner also assisted in promoting the event, alongside the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dubuque, St. Mark Youth Enrichment, United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States and the Clarke University Activism & Values Informed Education (AVIE) Scholars. Thank you to these and all the partners and performers who shared their time, talents, and resources.

All proceeds from this event benefit recruitment to and continued development of the Clarke Music program, including equipment, resources, and travel for students and faculty.

To learn more about upcoming community events at clarke, visit