Christopher O’Connell selected as Luther College Presser Award recipient

October 19, 2017

Luther College senior Christopher O’Connell of Rochester, Minnesota, is Luther’s 2017 Presser Scholarship Award recipient.

O’Connell, the son of Colleen and Michael O’Connell of Rochester, is a 2014 graduate of Lourdes High School in Rochester.

O’Connell was recognized at the Homecoming concert, Sunday, Oct. 8. The Presser Award was one of four honors announced during the concert.

The Presser Scholarship 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, is presented annually to a current Luther music major chosen by music faculty vote by consideration of excellence and merit.

O’Connell began his musical career with piano lessons. He started trombone lessons when he was 10. As a junior and senior in high school, he served as the marching band drum major. That experience influenced his decision to pursue music education in college.

Since enrolling at Luther, O’Connell has been on the dean’s list every semester and is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society. He’s also honed his skills as an audio technician, recording student recitals

In the music department, he’s been a member of the Luther College Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Combo, Concert Band and Trombone Choir. On Nov. 8, he’ll conduct the Trombone Choir during the Brass Ensembles Concert at 7 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall.

O’Connell also has developed an appreciation for choir, serving as a section leader in the Collegiate Chorale. Later this semester, he’ll serve as the musical director and conductor of “Rent.”

In 2016, he organized, conducted, produced and edited music for the original short film “Insomnambulist,” created by a colleague at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.

O’Connell has worked as an instructor, musical director, accompanist and arranger for the Rochester Civic Theatre Musical Theater Camps in the summer, in addition to the Rochester Catholic Schools Theater Camp and Rochester Repertory Theater. He’s also assisted his alma mater marching band program and taught applied lessons in Rochester.

After graduation, O’Connell plans to teach high school music and possibly attend graduate school for conducting.

Luther is home to one of the largest collegiate music programs in the nation, with six choirs, three orchestras, three bands, two jazz bands and more than 800 student musicians. Luther students participate in large ensembles, faculty-coached chamber groups, private lessons and master classes. Nearly 275 music majors study music theory, ear training, history, education, composition, jazz, church music and performance.