By Suzanne Weiss/Director of Public Relations
MANITOWOC, Wis. — It is early afternoon and Dr. Ken Harned returns to his office in a jubilant mood after a choral rehearsal that went especially well.
Dr. Harned — who, as a choral singer, has enjoyed performing on stage with a variety of celebrities including Angela Langsbury, LeAnn Rimes, Liz Callaway, Conan O’Brien and Weird Al Yankovic — is settling into academic life in Manitowoc.
He was recently appointed assistant professor of choral music at Silver Lake College and is currently preparing his students for the "Christmas at Silver Lake" concert on Sunday, Dec. 4, his first holiday concert at the college. The concert will showcase the talents of the college’s vocal and instrumental groups at 2:30 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.
“The music students at Silver Lake College are wonderful to teach. They have great attitudes and work very hard in choir. I’m challenging them and they’re living up to my expectations,” he said. “I am excited to see how we progress as an ensemble and musical family throughout the year.”
Dr. Harned conducts the Silver Lake Chorale, an auditioned student choir, and Silver Lake Concert Choir, comprised of students and community members. This is in addition to teaching conducting, sight-singing, applied voice and choral music education courses.
“One of our main goals is to focus on musical excellence. We want to bring to life the beautiful artistry inherent in each song so our audiences can be inspired by the performance. We are preparing a great variety of repertoire this year, from traditional choral literature to Broadway, jazz and gospel music,” Dr. Harned said. “Another emphasis in our choral program this year is developing a culture of respect for each other as musicians.”
Dr. Harned also spent five years working with the Disney Performing Arts program at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
“We hosted backstage workshops and Disneyland performances for school bands, choirs and dance groups from all over the world. I led a workshop, ‘The Music of Disneyland,’ where I took groups on a tour through the park and discussed how Walt used music to tell a story and set the proper mood for each land.” Dr. Harned said.
“The theme park also hosted all the Rose Parade bands before New Year’s Day. They marched on Main Street before the park’s Christmas Parade. We also had backstage workshops where we taught the students how to record a soundtrack, teaching them a piece of music from a Disney movie, recorded them playing the background and then showed them the film with their ensemble playing the soundtrack,” he said.
Dr. Harned, an Ohio native who spent many years living on the West Coast, said he was glad to be back in the Midwest. His previous university experience includes teaching positions at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Goodwell, Oklahoma; St. Charles Community College, Cottleville, Missouri; and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He also has more than 10 years of experience teaching high school vocal and instrumental music in the public schools.
Dr. Harned received his Doctor of Arts in conducting from Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.; a master’s degree in choral music from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles; and Bachelor of Music Education from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.