Presser Scholar Award

The Presser Scholar Award was established in 1939 by the Presser Foundation in honor of Theodore Presser, the publisher of Etude music magazine and founder of the music publishing firm bearing his name. The award, funded by a monetary gift from the Presser Foundation of Haverford, Pennsylvania, is presented annually to a current Luther music major chosen by music faculty vote by consideration of excellence and merit. Luther is proud to have more than 50 Presser Scholars among its music alumni. Luther College is pleased to announce Zachariah Mayer as the recipient of the 2020 Presser Scholar Award.

Zachariah Mayer is a senior music education major and double bass player at Luther College. The son of Jason and Kelly Mayer, he grew up in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the oldest of 8 children.

While at Logan High School, Zach played in the high school orchestra under the direction of Mr. William Sisson. In addition, he played in the La Crosse Area Youth Symphony, Wisconsin All-State Honors Orchestra, and the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. He studied double bass privately for seven years with Mr. Troy Birdsong.

Currently, Zach is a member of the Luther College double bass studio, and he is a student of Dr. Andi Beckendorf. He is the principal double bass player in the Luther College Chamber Orchestra and the Luther College Symphony Orchestra. In 2019, Zach traveled with the Luther College Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Daniel Baldwin, to Vienna, Austria. Living, practicing, and performing in the “The City of Music” for three weeks was a major highlight of Zach’s time at Luther College.

Zach holds a work study position in the music marketing office, where he licenses music for audio and video recordings for Luther College music ensembles. Additionally, he works as a piano technician student worker, assisting with the maintenance and repair of the 110 pianos on the Luther College campus. While home on breaks, Zach works at Leithold Music and Kwik Trip.

While outside of the music building, Zach enjoys hiking and biking outdoors, for which Decorah has offered plenty of opportunities. He is also learning some of the basics of violin family instrument repair.

Zach has been inspired to pursue a career in music education by the many wonderful teachers he has had in his life. He has had practicum and observation experiences in the Chatfield, MN school district and the Decorah, IA school district. In addition, he taught private bass lessons as part of the Luther College Community Music School, and he served as a section coach for the La Crosse Area Youth Symphony. After finishing his coursework in January of 2021, Zach will student teach for a semester in preparation for his career as an orchestra teacher.